Hungarian pop

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Hungarian pop is the pop music scene of Hungary. It is often associated with Rezső Seress's song Gloomy Sunday which was covered by numerous artists. The most notable artists include Kati Kovács, Zsuzsa Koncz, Locomotiv GT, Omega (band), Neoton Família. Among the new talents are Kállay Saunders and Linda Király.

History[edit]

1930s[edit]

Rezső Seress, the composer of Gloomy Sunday

One of the early acts is associated to Rezső Seress who composed the world wide hit Gloomy Sunday while living in Paris, in an attempt to become established as a songwriter in late 1932.[1] Seress composed the song at the time of the Great Depression and increasing fascist influence in Hungary, although sources differ as to the degree to which his song was inspired by personal melancholy rather than concerns about the future of the world.

In the 1930s and 1940s Pál Kalmár was one of the most celebrated singers in Hungary. He was also noted for singing the song Gloomy Sunday. He also appeared in the 1935 film St. Peter's Umbrella, directed by Géza von Cziffra.

1940s[edit]

Vali Rácz, actress and singer during the '30s and '40s

In the late 1930s Vali Rácz became a popular Hungarian singer and actress reaching her zenith in the 1940s. She was a regular nightclub performer and a recording artist. Rácz also appeared in approximately 20 Hungarian feature films. Due to her glamorous looks and sex appeal she gained reputation as the ‘Hungarian Marlene Dietrich’. Vali Rácz finished the Franz Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest 1932. From 1933 to 1934 she played at City Theatre and then at Hungarian Theatre. From 1936 she sang at 'Terézkörúti Színpad' and at City Theatre for three years. After 1945 she was a member of Royal Revue-theatre, Medgyaszay Theatre, then Kamara Varieté. She acted in twenty films, but was primarily a chanteuse, giving solo concerts at the Music Academy and Vigadó Concert Hall, as well as appearing regularly at the Hangli Kioszk nightclub.[2][3]

1950s[edit]

In the late 1950s Éva Mikes rose to fame in Hungary with her characteristic voice and tender style. Mikes started her music career at the late 50's at the studio of the Magyar Rádió. She was best known for her lyrical, romantic songs, she scored the first place in the very first Hungarian Top Hit Chart - published in Ifjúsági Magazin (Magazine for the Young People) in 1965 with her song Te szeress legalább. She became also popular in other Eastern European countries, such as the Soviet Union and Poland. She also appeared at the Sopot International Song Festival. After the local success of beat music classical pop lost popularity, she decided to retire permanently. In 1973 - after her daughter's birth - she left the stage and worked as a music teacher. Her notable singles include Ahogy mentem az utcán (1961), Ami szívemen a számon (1964), Egy kicsi szerencse (1965), Első szerelem (1965), Engem nem lehet elfelejteni (1965), Esős vasárnap délután (1965) and many more.

Erzsi Kovács's first major success was with the song Régi óra halkan jár ("The Old Clock Ticks Softly") in 1957, but she already had a platinum record in 1955, with two and a half million of her records sold. In 1964 her record company dropped her, and she moved abroad. In the next 14 years she sang in Germany, Sweden, and on cruise ships. After her return she toured mainly in the countryside. She also had several concerts at the Royal Park Stage, the Budapest Concert Hall and the Operetta Theatre in Budapest as well. On her album Mosolyogva búcsúzom she sings a Dalida cover Quand S'arrêtent les violons. Her singles include Veled is megtörténhet egyszer/Megszerettelek (1960), Szeretlek Budapest/Rejtély (1960), Ha könnyezni látom a két szemed/Bámulom az eget (1962), Szóba sem jöhet más tánc/Kék öböl (1964),[4] Hová tűnt a sok virág/Ki emlékszik rá (1964) and many more.

1960s[edit]

Kati Kovács performing at Sziget Festival in 2012

In 1962 the first Ki mit tud? was held by National Television spanning 10 seasons between 1962-1996. Achieving great popularity in the 60s, Ki Mit Tud? helped to launch the career of many artists who later became household names in the country, including actors like János Gálvölgyi or András Kern, singers like Kati Kovács, Zsuzsa Koncz or Zorán Sztevanovity, and bands like Hungária, Metro or Pokolgép.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Ki Mit Tud? became the most-popular and most-viewed show on the Magyar Television. According to rudimentary statistics of the time, the finals were viewed by 88% of the whole population. Utilizing regional quarter- and semi-finals, the contest moved a large number of participants. The 1965's show attracted 28.642 registered contestants performing in 7842 shows, watched by a live audience totaling to 180.000.[5]

Zsuzsa Koncz (2011)

In 1962 Zsuzsa Koncz won the Ki mit tud? songcontest with her song.[6] She was performing with various bands and musicians over the years, most notably Illés and János Bródy. In the 1970s, she made several successful tours abroad, mainly in Eastern Block countries as well as in West Germany (sometimes with the pseudonym, Shusha Koncz and Jana Koncz in German-speaking countries), but also in France, the U.S., and Japan.

Kati Kovács became the first famous nationally in 1965 when she won the seminal TV talent show in Hungary "Who Knows What?". A year later, she achieved some even greater successes with her performance of the song I Won’t Be Your Plaything (Nem leszek a játékszered) which won the TV Dance Song Festivals in Hungary in 1966. The psychedelic spiritual Lord Send Us Rain (Add már, uram, az esőt!) won the Hungarian Dance Song Festival and the German Song Contest in 1972. In 1974 she won the Castlebar Song Contest in Ireland with the song Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue. In the 1970s, she made several successful tours abroad, West and East - Germany, United Kingdom, the U.S., Cuba and Japan. German, English and Japanese albums appeared. Hungarian musical critics have praised her brown, raspy and very strong voice, and they've called her: "The Best Female Voice of Hungary". She can sing opera, rock, jazz, pop, dance, blues and rock and roll.

Gábor Presser

In 1965 Zsuzsi Mary appeared for the first time on stage, later she finished on the first place in the Hungarian Television's song contest, the Táncdalfesztivál, with the song "Mama" in 1968. The songwriter was Attila Dobos, who became her first husband. She became successful also in the Eastern Bloc countries too. In 1969, she married György Klapka, and soon after emigrated with her husband. They divorced in 1987, but maintained a good relationship. She returned to Hungary after the end of Communism. Mary came out as bisexual in 2008.[7]

Klári Katona performing at Sziget Festival in 2008

In 1966 a thirteen-year-girl appeared on the Hungarian pop secene called Klári Katona. Her career started after she sang her song Bővízű Forrás on the Táncdalfesztivál of 1972. She won an award for this song. Later, she provided vocals for Kék Csillag and Neoton, then pursued a solo career. In 1976 she gave concert in Istambul, Palma de Mallorca, and the musical festival of Sopot. 1977 marked the release of her first album, Savanyú A Csokoládé backed by Ferenc Demjén and Bergendy. Her real success came in the eighties with composer backing of Gábor Presser and Dusán Sztevanovity. She appeared as a host on several Hungarian television channels.

György Korda

In 1967 Pál Szécsi finished second at the Táncdalfesztivál with his song Csak Egy Tánc. Although he died at an early age (aged 30 in 1974), he became one of the biggest icons of the Hungarian pop history. his songs include Egy szál harangvirág, Gedeon bácsi, Karolina, Kék csillag, Két összeillő ember, and Talán sok év után. On 30 April 1974 he was found dead in his home in Budapest.

In 1967 Sarolta Zalatnay finished first at the Táncdalfesztivál winning the golden microphone award as well. Her first record was Ha Fiú Lehetnék which was followed by many other records. Among her famous songs are Hol jár az eszem?, Túl szép volt, Nem várok holnapig, Oh, ha milliomos lennék, Nem vagyok én apáca, János bácsi pipája and many more.

In 1968 the band Illés won the Táncdalfesztivál, while Neoton Família won the Ki Mit Tud? with their song Nekem Eddig Bach Volt Mindenem.

In 1969 György Korda won the songcontest, Made In Hungary. Later, in 1972 and 1973 he won the same competition as the best performer. His first album was released in 1970 with the eponymous name followed by several other records. Among his famous songs are Aki melletted él, Bocsánat, hogyha kérdem, Haver a nőkkel jól vigyázz, Rozsda lepi már az emlékeimet, Fehér galamb, Szeress úgy is, ha rossz vagyok and many more. In the 1980s he married Balázs Klári who was also a popular singer of the 1980s.

1970s[edit]

Neoton Família performing at VOLT Festival, Hungary in 2006

In 1971 Neoton Família's first studio album was released entitled Bolond Város. Later the band became one of the most popular pop bands in the 1980s' Hungary releasing more than 20 albums. Among their most famous songs there are: Don Quijote (1980), Marathon (1980), 220 fellett (1981), Monte Carlo (1982), Holnap Hajnalig (1983), I Love You (1986) and many more.

Leslie Mándoki made a career with Dschinghis Khan

In 1972 Judit Szűcs won the Hungarian songcontest Ki Mit Tud?. Later in the 90s she was considered as the Queen of the Disco.

In 1972 Zsuzsa Cserháti performed the songs Nem volt ő festő and Repülj, Kismadár at the Táncdalfesztivál. Six years later in 1976 her first studio album was released followed several other records such as Többé Nincs Megállás, Édes Kisfiam, Rácsaim Ledőltek Már and many more. Her famous songs include Kicsi Gyere Velem Rózsát Szedni (1973), Árva Fiú (1973), Boldogság, gyere haza (1979), A Boldogság és Én (1981), Száguldás, Porsche, Szerelem (1984) and Hamu és Gyémánt (1996).

In 1973 Péter Máté won the Hungarian songcontest, Made In Hungary with the song Hull Az Elsárgult levél.

In 1973 Judit Halász's first studio album was released entitled Kép A Tükörben. Later she became popular as the singer of children songs. She is also noted for singing the poems of famous Hungarian poets such as Ferenc Móra, Mihály Babits, Attila József, Sándor Weöres and many more.

Ferenc Demjén singing at a concert at the Kisstadion

In 1975 Leslie Mándoki fled from Hungary to West Germany. In 1979 he joined the West-German band, Dschinghis Khan. One of the greatest success of the band was the song Moskau, Dschinghis Khan and Hadschi Halef Omar. Later Mandoki rented the Park Studios near Lake Starnberg, Germany. He has worked as a producer for many German and international acts, including No Angels, Phil Collins, Engelbert, Joshua Kadison, Lionel Richie and Jennifer Rush. He also worked as a musical director for commercials, with clients Audi, Daimler and Disney.

In 1977 Ferenc Demjén's first studio album was released entitled Fújom A Dalt. Later he released more than 20 records and became a pop-icon in Hungary. He also worked with Klári Katona and Kati Kovács on their first albums. His song for the film Szerelem első vérig (1987) topped the Hungarian charts for 8 months. His notable songs include Hogyan Tudnék Élni Nélküled?, Szerelemvonat, Honfoglalás, Jégszív, Ne sírj, Féktelen Éj and many more.

1980s[edit]

In 1980 former Illés and Fongráf singer-songwriter János Bródy's first solo album was released entitled Hungarian Blues. Later he started writing lyrics for Zsuzsa Koncz and for the musical István, a király.

In 1981 Klári Balázs's first studio album was released. She became popular as the singer of the bands Periszkóp and Skála. Later she married György Korda, who was also a popular singer at that time, and released several albums with her husband.

Balázs Klári

In 1983 the Szikora-Környei-led R-GO's first studio album was released with the eponymous title. Later the band released several other records and became one of the leading bands of the 1980s pop scene. Their most famous songs include Ballag A Katona, Szeretlek Is, Meg Nem Is, Ne Félj, Te Kis Bolond and Szerelmes Vagyok, Mint Egy Nagyágyú.

In 1983 Neoton Famila won a special award for their song Holnap Hajnalig which was performed in English (Time Goes By) at the World Popular Song Festival.

In 1984 Első Emelet's first studio album was released with the eponymous title, followed by several other albums.

In 1984 Csepregi Eva, lead-vocal of Neoton Familia began your solo-career. She realised over than 20 albums and became the star of Hungary, USSR, Korea and Japan.

On 9 September 1984 singer-songwriter Péter Máté was found dead. Only with three full-length studio albums he managed to become one of the most prominent and popular singer of Hungary. His song Elmegyek became world hit with the title Nicolas sung by Sylvie Vartan in 1979.

On 5 February 1986, Éva Mikes died in Budapest after a long battle with cancer.

1990s[edit]

On 8 February 1990, Katalin Karády died in New York City and she was buried on 19 February 1990 at the Farkasréti Cemetery. She was awarded post-humus with the Righteous Among the Nations by the Knesset in 2004. However, she was mainly an actress, she was also noted for her songs.

In 1995 János Bródy was awarded with the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for his contribution to Hungarian music

In 1991 Jimmy Zámbó released his first album entitled Csak Egy Vallomás. Later he became the most romantic singer of the country with his songs such as Valahol Bús Dal Szól, Még Nem Veszíthetek, Szeress úgy, ahogy itt vagyok, Ugye nem bántad meg, Fogadj Örökbe and many other. His success can be attributed to the tastes of the Hungarian music listeners who immediately took to Zámbó's melancholic songs.

In 1993 Ákos Kovács disbanded Bonanza Banzai and released his first pop album entitled Karcolatok. Later he released several albums even in English language as well.

In 1993 Andrea Szulák represented Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest 1993 with her song Árva Reggel.

In 1995 János Bródy was awarded with the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary for his contribution to Hungarian music, while Klári Katona received the Order of the Hungarian Republic Small Cross.

In 1996 the Dobrády-Zuber-led T.N.T.'s first album was released by Warner Music Group. The band became one of the most successful pop bands in the late 1990s and the early 2000s. Their most famous songs include Lakatlan Sziget (1999), Sírni Tudnék, Holnap Hazautazom (1999), Bolond Aki Sír (2000), Tiltott Perc (2001), Nem Jön Álom A Szememre (2001), Kicsi Gesztenye (2002), Hova Visz A Hajó (2003), and Egyetlen Szó (2003). The T.N.T. were disbanded in 2005.

In 1997 the band V.I.P. represented Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest 1997 with their Miért Kell Hogy Elmenj?.

2000s[edit]

In 2000 the band Illés were awarded with the Kossuth Prize.

On 1 January 2001, Jimmy Zámbó was found dead in his home in Csepel, Budapest. He is considered as one of the most popular singers of the 1990s in Hungary.

In 2003 Megasztár, a voice talent television series started on TV2. The jury included Pierrot, Péter Novák, Gyöngyi Spitzer (a.k.a. Soma), Gábor Presser, Tamás Mester and many others. New talents emerged from the six seasons including Ibolya Oláh, Veronika Tóth, László Gáspár, Vera Schmidt, Ferenc Molnár, Gabriella Tóth, Tamás Palcsó, Magdolna Rúzsa, Péter Puskás, Nguyen Thanh Hien, Viktor Király, Renáta Tolvai and many others.

In 2006 the first Budapest Fringe Festival was held in the capital city on the model of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The festival brings more than 500 artists in about 50 shows to produce a wide range of interesting works in alternative theatre, dance, music and comedy outside the mainstream.

In 2007 the Hungarian indie-pop band The Moog became the first artist from the country to sign a record contract with an American label, Musick Records.[8][9] Since then the band have released three full-length studio albums, Sold for Tomorrow, Razzmatazz Orfeum,[10] and Seasons in the Underground.[11]

In 2007 Veronika Harcsa was awarded as the Best Voice of the Fringe at the Budapest Fringe Festival.

In 2009 Zoli Ádok represented Hungary at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest with his song Dance With Me. He finished 15th in the semi-final. His first album, Tánclépés was released in 2008, while his second Három Álom in 2011.

2010s[edit]

In 2010 the Hungarian X-Faktor was aired for the first time on RTL Klub to rival their counterpart TV2. The jury enlisted Feró Nagy, Péter Geszti, Miklós Malek, and Ildikó Keresztes. The talents of the first series included Csaba Vastag, Tibor Kocsis, Kati Wolf.

Kati Wolf represented Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 with the song "What About My Dreams?".[12]

In 2011 the band Compact Disco's sophomore record was released entitled II following the debut album Stereoid including the hit song Feel The Rain.[13]

On 24 December 2011, Zsuzsi Mary was found dead in her home in Budapest. She committed suicide on Christmas Eve, aged 64.[14][15][16] According to Magyar Távirati Iroda (MTI) her body was found the next day, 25 December 2011.[17] Her suicide was confirmed by her second husband, György Klapka.[18]

In 2012 Compact Disco won the Dal 2012 therefore they represented Hungary at the Eurovision. Their own song, Sound of Our Hearts finished 24th receiving only 19 points. The band became one of the most prominent electro-pop bands in the country along with others such as Carbonfools, Colorstar and Anima Sound System.

The Hungarian Eurovision Song Contest, the Dal 2013 was won by ByeAlex with his own song, Kedvesem, therefore he is going to represent Hungary at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013[19]

On 11 March 2013, László Bódi, the singer of the pop-rock band Republic, died of heart failure.[20]

Notable Hungarian pop bands and artists[edit]

Notable musicians of Hungarian descent[edit]

Notable Hungarian producers[edit]

Notables Hungarian pop records[edit]

Date Band Record Reviews Label/Release Producer(s)
1967 Illés Ezek A Fiatalok
1969 Omega 10 000 Lépés
1970 Omega Éjszakai Országút
1971 Lokomotiv GT Locomotiv GT
1972 Lokomotiv GT Ringasd el magad
1973 Lokomotiv GT Bummm!
1971 Lokomotiv GT Mindig magasabbra
1976 Lokomotiv GT Locomotiv GT V.
1977 Lokomotiv GT Zene - Mindenki másképp csinálja
1978 Lokomotiv GT Mindenki
2003 Linda Király Number 1 King Music Management Linda Király
2006 Magdolna Rúzsa Ördögi Angyal CLS Records Gábor Závodi & Gábor Presser
2007 The Moog Sold for Tomorrow [21][22] MuSick Records Jack Endino
2007 EZ Basic Hocus Focus [23][24] self-released Szabolcs Puha
2007 Žagar Cannot Walk Fly Instead [25]
2008 Zoli Ádok Tánclépés Zoli Ádok
2009 Compact Disco Stereoid CLS Music Compact Disco
2009 The Moog Razzmatazz Orfeum [26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34] MuSick Records Geoff Ott
2010 EZ Basic Hello Heavy [35][36] Twelvetones Records George Schilling
2011 Zoli Ádok Három Álom Zoli Ádok
2011 Compact Disco II CLS Music Compact Disco
2012 The Moog Seasons in the Underground [37][38][39][40][41] MuSick Records Ken Scott

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gloomy Sunday" at Feel The Blues With All That Jazz. Accessed 7 November 2011
  2. ^ http://valiracz.com/english/eletrajz.htm
  3. ^ http://mek.oszk.hu/02100/02139/html/sz22/21.html
  4. ^ "Hits of the World: Hungary". Billboard. 22 August 1964. p. 34. 
  5. ^ "Chapters from the history of the Hungarian Television - Final report of the Ki Mit Tud? of 1965" X.1.
  6. ^ "Koncz Zsuzsa - Biography". konczzsuzsa.hu. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  7. ^ "Mary Zsuzsi: a lányokat is szeretem". BORS Online. 2008-06-20. 
  8. ^ "The Moog at Musick Records". Musick Records. 20 February 2007. 
  9. ^ "The Moog at Pop Matters". Pop Matters. 20 February 2007. 
  10. ^ "The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum". Washington Post. 2 June 2009. 
  11. ^ "The Moog - Seasons In The Underground". Pop Matters. 28 March 2012. 
  12. ^ Kati Wolf to represent Hungary Eurovision
  13. ^ "Compact Disco - II". Discogs. 12 December 2011. 
  14. ^ Im memoriam Mary Zsuzsi: 100 kilósra hízott az öngyilkosság előtt
  15. ^ Ezért halt meg Mary Zsuzsi - drámai részletek + helyszíni fotó!
  16. ^ Teste miatt lett öngyilkos Mary Zsuzsi
  17. ^ Elhunyt Mary Zsuzsi táncdalénekesnő
  18. ^ Meghalt Mary Zsuzsi – fotók legemlékezetesebb fellépéséről
  19. ^ "It's ByeAlex for Hungary!". Eurovision TV. 2 March 2013. 
  20. ^ Meghalt Cipő | atv.hu (Hungarian)
  21. ^ The Moog - Sold for Tomorrow - Allmusic review
  22. ^ The Moog - Sold for Tomorrow - PopMatters review
  23. ^ "EZ Basic - Discography". EZ Basic's Official Website. 21 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "EZ Basic - Hocus Focus". Est. 15 November 2007. 
  25. ^ "Zagar - Cannot Walk Fly Instead". Mole Listening Pearls. 21 February 2012. 
  26. ^ "The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum". The Red Alert. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2009. 
  27. ^ "The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum". Indieball. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 2 June 2009. 
  28. ^ The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum - The Washington Post review
  29. ^ The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum - Allmusic review
  30. ^ The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum - AbsolutePunk review
  31. ^ The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum - The Red Alert review
  32. ^ The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum - Ventvox review
  33. ^ The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum - Wonka Vision review
  34. ^ The Moog - Razzmatazz Orfeum - Est review
  35. ^ EZ Basic (March, 2010)
  36. ^ "EZ Basic - Hello Heavy". Discogs. 29 March 2010. 
  37. ^ The Moog - Seasons in the Underground - PopMatters review
  38. ^ The Moog - Seasons in the Underground - L.A. Record review
  39. ^ The Moog - Seasons in the Underground - Blog Critics review
  40. ^ The Moog - Seasons in the Underground - Blurt review
  41. ^ The Moog - Seasons in the Underground - Allmusic review