|Origin||Sarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SFR Yugoslavia|
|Genres||Hard rock, progressive rock, folk rock, new wave, pop rock|
|Years active||1974 – 1989, 2005|
|Labels||Jugoton, Diskoton, Kamarad, Croatia Records|
|Associated acts||Kodeksi, Jutro, Indexi, Smak, Formula 4, Teška Industrija, Amila, Divlje Jagode, Vatreni Poljubac|
|Past members||Goran Bregović
Bijelo Dugme (trans. White Button) was a Yugoslav rock band, based in Sarajevo. Bijelo Dugme is widely considered to have been the most popular band ever to exist in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and one of the most important acts of the Yugoslav rock scene.
Bijelo Dugme was officially formed in 1974, although the members of the default lineup, guitarist Goran Bregović, vocalist Željko Bebek, drummer Ipe Ivandić, keyboardist Vlado Pravdić and bass guitarist Zoran Redžić, were previously active under the name Jutro. The band's debut album Kad bi bio bijelo dugme, released in 1974, brought them nationwide popularity with its folk-influenced hard rock sound, which was described as "pastirski rock" ("shepherd rock") by rock journalist Dražen Vrdoljak. The band's future several releases featured similar sound, maintaining their popularity, but in the early 1980s, with the emergence of Yugoslav new wave scene, the band moved towards new wave, managing to remain one of the most popular bands in the country. After the departure of Bebek in 1983, the band was joined by vocalist Mladen Vojičić "Tifa", with whom the band recorded only one, self-titled album, with which the band moved towards pop rock. The band's last vocalist, Alen Islamović, joined the band in 1986, and with him Bijelo Dugme recorded two albums, disbanding, with the rising tensions in Yugoslavia, in 1989. In 2005, the band reunited in the lineup that featured most of the musicians that passed through the band, including all three vocalists, for three concerts, in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Zagreb, Croatia and in Belgrade, Serbia.
- 1 History
- 1.1 The beginnings
- 1.2 Željko Bebek years (1974 - 1984)
- 1.3 Mladen Vojičić "Tifa" years (1984 - 1986)
- 1.4 Alen Islamović years and disbandment (1986 - 1989)
- 1.5 Post-breakup
- 1.6 2005 reunion
- 1.7 Post 2005
- 2 Influence and legacy
- 3 Members
- 4 Discography
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Kodeksi (1969 - 1971)
The band's history began in 1969. At the time, the future leader of Bijelo Dugme, Goran Bregović, was the bass guitarist for the band Beštije. He was spotted by the Kodeksi (trans. Codexes) vocalist Željko Bebek. As Kodeksi needed a bass guitarist, on Bebek's suggestion Bregović became the member of the band. The band's lineup consisted of Ismeta Dervoz (vocals), Edo Bogeljić (guitar), Željko Bebek (rhythm guitar and vocals), Goran Bregović (bass guitar), and Luciano Paganotto (drums). At the time, the band Pro Arte was also interested in hiring Bregović, but he decided to stay with Kodeksi. After performing in Dubrovnik (before these performances the only female member, Ismeta Dervoz, left the band) Kodeksi were hired to perform in a club in Naples, Italy. After two months, the band's guitarist Edo Bogeljić returned to Sarajevo, and Bregović switched to guitar. Local Italian musician was brought in to play the bass, but after he quit too, Bebek called up old friend Zoran Redžić. Redžić in turn brought along Milić Vukašinović as replacement on drums for Paganotto, who also quit in the meantime. Vukašinović brought new musical influences along the lines of what Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath were doing at the time. Additionally, he convinced the rest of the band on incorporating the new sound into their set, and within two weeks of his arrival, Kodeksi were fired from all the places they were playing.
The foursome of Bebek, Bregović, Redžić and Vukašinović stayed on the island of Capri and in 1970 relocated back to Naples. At this time, the other three members persuaded Bebek to stop playing the rhythm guitar reasoning that it is not fashionable any more. Bebek also had trouble adapting to the new material vocally. He would sing the intro on most songs and then step back as the other three members improvised for the remainder of songs, with Vukašinović taking the vocal duties more and more often. After being a key band member only several months earlier, Bebek thought his role was gradually reducing. During the fall of 1970, he left Kodeksi to return to Sarajevo.
Vukašinović, Bregović, and Redžić continued to perform under the name Mića, Goran and Zoran. Eventually, they returned to Sarajevo in the spring of 1971, when Bregović's mother and Redžić's brother came to Italy to bring them back. Upon returning, the trio continued performing around Sarajevo, however, not for long, as in late summer 1971 Vukašinović decided to move to London.
Jutro (1971 - 1973)
In autumn of 1971, guitarist Ismet Arnautalić invited Bregović to form Jutro (Morning). The band's lineup featured, alongside Arnautalić and Bregović, Redžić, Gordan Matrak on drums and vocalist Zlatko Hodnik. Bregović wrote his first songs as a member of Jutro. In 1972, the band got an opportunity to make studio recordings, and Bregović invited Bebek to sing. With Bebek the band recorded the song "Patim, evo, deset dana" ("I've Been Suffering for Ten Days"), which was released as the B-side of the single "Ostajem tebi" ("I Remain Yours"), which was recorded with Hodnik. After the song recording, Bebek left the band to serve the army, but the rest of the band decided to wait for his return.
During Bebek's short absence from the army, the band recorded four more songs: "Kad bi' bio bijelo dugme" ("If I Were a White Button"), "U subotu, mala" ("On Saturday, Baby"), "Na vrh brda vrba mrda" (the title being a traditional tongue-twister) and "Hop-cup", the first two appearing on a 7" single. Dissatisfied with the music direction the band was moving towards, Arnautalić left the band at the end of 1972 and took away the right to use the name Jutro from the rest of the members. The rest of the band fought Arnautalić for the rights during 1973, when drummer Goran "Ipe" Ivandić and keyboardist Vlado Pravdić (a former Indexi member) joined the band. At the middle of the year, Redžić left the band after an argument, and was replaced by Jadranko Stanković.
At this time, the band adopted the name Bijelo Dugme. They decided to change the name partially because of another, Ljubljana-based band with the name Jutro. As the band was already known for the song "Kad bi' bio bijelo dugme", they choose the name Bijelo Dugme. The band officially started working under this name from January 1, 1974.
Željko Bebek years (1974 - 1984)
"Shepherd rock" years: rise to fame and "Dugmemania" (1974 - 1979)
During 1974, the band cooperated with Bata Kostić, guitarist of the band YU Grupa, which were one of the pioneers in combining elements of the traditional music of the Balkans with rock. Bregović would later state on number of occasions that this studio cooperation influenced Bijelo Dugme's folk rock sound. Cooperating with producer Nikola Borota Radovan, the band recorded "Top" ("Cannon") and "Ove ću noći naći blues" ("This Night I Will Find the Blues"). Borota offered these recordings to the Sarajevo-based record label Diskoton. The music editor Slobodan Vujović refused them, stating that there was already a great number of signed acts and that Bijelo Dugme would have to wait for at least six months for the single to be released. This is widely considered the greatest business mistake in the history of Yugoslav record publishing. On the same day the band were refused by Diskoton, they signed a five year contract with Zagreb-based Jugoton, which released the songs on the 7" single. The band started promoting the single, performing mostly in smaller towns. Soon after, Stanković was excluded from the band and Redžić was invited to return. The following 7" single, featuring songs "Glavni junak jedne knjige" ("The Main Character of a Book"), with lyrics written by poet Duško Trifunović, and "Bila mama Kukunka, bio tata Taranta" ("There Was Mommy Kukunka, There Was Daddy Taranta"), was almost at the same time released by both Jugoton and Diskoton, as Bregović signed contracts with both of the labels. This scandal brought huge press covering and helped the record sale. The band had their first bigger performance at the 1974 BOOM Festival in Ljubljana, where they were announced as "the new hopes". The song "Ove ću noći naći blues" they performed at the festival was released on the double album BOOM Pop Festival Ljubljana '74. The band spent the summer performing in Cavtat and preparing songs for their first album. They soon released their third single, with the songs "Da sam pekar" ("If I Was a Baker") and "Selma" (with lyrics written by poet Vlado Dijak). This single saw huge success, bringing them large media attention.
During September, the band performed as the opening band for Tihomir "Pop" Asanović's Jugoslovenska Pop Selekcija, and during the October, in studio Akademik in Ljubljana, they recorded their debut album Kad bi' bio bijelo dugme. Several days before the album release, wanting to appear in the media as musch as possible, Bijelo Dugme performed at the Skopje Festival, playing a song by Grigor Koprov. Bregović later described this event as "the greatest disgrace in Bijelo Dugme's career". Bebek sung in bad Macedonian, and the band did not fit in well in the ambient of a pop festival. On the next evening, the band performed, alongside Pop Mašina, Smak and Crni Biseri, in Belgrade's Dom Sindikata, on the Radio Belgrade show Veče uz radio (Evening by the Radio) anniversary celebration, and managed to win the audience's attention. At the time, Bijelo Dugme cooperated with manager Vladimir Mihaljek, who managed to arrange the band's appearance on Korni Grupa's farewell concert, which won them new fans, as about 15,000 members of audience were thrilled with Bijelo Dugme's performance.
Kad bi' bio bijelo dugme, featuring a provocative cover designed by Dragan S. Stefanović's (who would also design covers for the band's future releases), saw huge success. It brought a number of commercial hard rock songs with folk music elements, which were described as "pastirski rok" (shepherd rock) by journalist Dražen Vrdoljak. This term was (and still is) sometimes used by the Yugoslav critics in order to classify Bijelo Dugme's sound. The album featured the new version of "Kad bi' bio bijelo dugme", "Patim, evo, deset dana", "Sve ću da ti dam samo da zaigram" ("I Will Give Everything to You Only to Dance"), ballad "Selma", blues track "Blues za moju bivšu dragu" ("Blues for My Former Darling") and rock and roll-influenced hit "Ne spavaj, mala moja, muzika dok svira" ("Don't You Sleep, Baby, while the Music Is Playing"). Immediately after the release, the album broke the record for the best selling Yugoslav rock album, previously held by YU Grupa's debut album, which was sold in more than 30,000 copies. In February 1975, the band was awarded a gold record at the Opatija Festival, as they sold their debut album in more than 40,000 copies. The final number of copies sold was about 141,000.
At the end of February 1975, Mihaljek organised Kongres rock majstora (Congress of Rock Masters) contest, which was intended to represent the best Yugoslav guitarists. Although Smak guitarist Radomir Mihajlović Točak was the unofficial winner, he was not pronounced one of the best, as his band Smak did not have a contract with Jugoton, which supported the Congress. Vedran Božić (of Time), Josip Boček (formerly of Korni Grupa), Bata Kostić (of YU Grupa), and Bregović were proclaimed the best. Every one of them recorded one side on the double album Kongres rock majstora. While the other three guitarists recorded their songs with the members of YU Grupa, Bregović decided to work with his own band and Zagreb String Quartet. After the album was released, the four guitarists went on a joined tour, on which they were supported by YU Grupa members. At the time, Bijelo Dugme released the single "Da mi je znati koji joj je vrag" ("If I Could Just Know what the Hell Is Wrong with Her"). The band went on a big Yugoslav tour, and in the spring of 1975, they were already considered the most popular Yugoslav band.
Before the recording of their second album, Bijelo Dugme went to the village Borike in Eastern Bosnia in order to work on the songs and prepare for the album recording. The album Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu (What Would You Give to Be in My Place) was recorded in London during November 1975. The album was produced by Neil Harrison, who previously worked with Cockney Rebel and Gonzalez. The bass guitar on the album was played by Bebek, as Redžić injured his middle finger just before the album recording started. Nevertheless, Redžić was credited on the album, as he worked on the bass lines, and directed Bebek during the recording. The lyrics for the title track were written by Duško Trifunović, while the rest of the lyrics were written by Bregović. The main album hits were "Tako ti je, mala moja, kad ljubi Bosanac" ("That's How It Is, Baby, When You Kiss a Bosnian"), "Došao sam da ti kažem da odlazim" ("I've Come to Tell You that I'm Leaving"), "Ne gledaj me tako i ne ljubi me više" ("Don't Look at Me like that and Kiss Me no More") and "Požurite, konji moji" ("Be Faster, My Horses"). The band used the time spent in studio to record an English language song "Playing the Part", released on promo single which was given to journalists. Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu was soon sold in more than 200,000 copies. This was the first Yugoslav album to be credited as Diamond Disc. After the album release the band went on a Kosovo and Metohija tour. During the tour, injured Redžić was replaced by former Kamen na Kamen member Mustafa "Mute" Kurtalić. Bijelo Dugme announced a big New Year concert in Belgrade's Sports Hall with Pop Mašina, Buldožer and Cod as the support acts, however the concert was canceled without explanation. The band was soon invited to perform for the Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito in Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb. Their performance was, however, stopped after only several minutes, reputedly because of the loudness.
As Redžić had to leave the band due to his army obligations, Formula 4 leader Ljubiša Racić came to the band as his temporary replacement. This lineup of the band went on a Yugoslav tour. In Sarajevo the band performed in front of 15,000 people and in Belgrade they held three sold out concerts in Pionir Hall. The press coined the term "Dugmemanija" (Buttonmania) and the socialist public went into an argument over the phenomena. At the beginning of 1976, the band planned to hold an United States tour, however they gave up the idea. The band did go to United States, but only to record the songs "Džambo" ("Jumbo") and "Vatra" ("Fire"), which were released as Ivandić's solo single, and "Milovan" and "Goodbye, Amerika" ("Goodbye, America"), which were released as Bebek's solo single. In June, the band members went to the youth work action Kozara 76, which was Bregović's response to the claims that the band's members were "pro-Western oriented". At the beginning of autumn, Ivandić and Pravdić left the band due to their army obligations, and were replaced by Vukašinović (who, in the meantime, joined Indexi) and Laza Ristovski, whose moving from Smak (at the time Bijelo Dugme's main competitors) saw huge covering in the media.
The band prepared for the recording of their third album in Borike. The album's original title was Sve se dijeli na dvoje, na tvoje i moje (Everything Is Split in Two, Yours and Mine) after Duško Trifunović's poem (which was later used as lyrics for the song recorded by Jadranka Stojaković). Bregović did not manage to write the music on the lyrics, so he intended to name the album Hoću bar jednom da budem blesav (For Once I Want to Be Crazy), but Jugoton editors did not like the title. The album was eventually titled Eto! Baš hoću! (There! I Will!). The album was once again recorded in London with Harrison as the producer and Bebek playing the bass guitar. It was released on December 20, 1976. The album hits included hard rock-oriented "Izgledala je malo čudno u kaputu žutom krojenom bez veze" ("She Looked a Little Bit Weird in a Yellow Sillymade Coat") and "Dede bona, sjeti se, de tako ti svega" ("Come on, Remember, for God's Sake"), folk-oriented "Slatko li je ljubit' tajno" ("It's So Sweet to Kiss Secretly"), simple tune "Ništa mudro" ("Nothing Clever", featuring lyrics written by Duško Trifunović) and two ballads, symphonic-oriented "Sanjao sam noćas da te nemam" ("I Dreamed Last Night that I Didn't Have You") and simpler "Loše vino" (written by Bregović and singer-songwriter Arsen Dedić and originally recorded by singer Zdravko Čolić). In the meantime, Racić asked for higher payment, so he got fired. He was replaced by a former Teška Industrija member Sanin Karić. This lineup of the band went on a Polish tour on which they were announced as "the leading band among young Yugoslav groups". They held nine successful concerts. After the band's return from Poland, Redžić and Ivandić rejoined them.
The band went on a Yugoslav tour, but experienced problems during it. The concerts were followed by technical difficulties and the audience was not interested in the band's concerts as it was during previous tours. The Adriatic coast tour was canceled, as well as concerts in Zagreb and Ljubljana for which the recording of a live album was planned, and clashes within the band were often. After four years Bijelo Dugme saw a decline in popularity and rumors about the band's disbandment appeared in the media.
The band wanted to organize some sort of spectacle to help their decreased popularity. On the idea of journalist Peca Popović, the band decided to hold a free concert at Belgrade's Hajdučka česma on August 28, 1977. Bregović had already performed on this location in 1973 with Jutro on an event organized by Pop Mašina members. The concert would also be Bijelo Dugme's last concert before the hiatus due to Bregović's army duty. Between 70,000 and 100,000 spectators attended the concert, which was the biggest number of spectators on a rock concert in Yugoslavia until then. After several opening bands (including Zdravo, Suncokret, Tako and Leb i Sol), Bijelo Dugme played a successful concert. Part of that atmosphere was recorded for Mića Milošević's film Tit for Tat. Eventually, it was discovered that the recordings of the concert could not be used for the live album, as the sound was bad due to technical limitations and the wide open space, so the band, on October 25 of the same year, played a concert in Đuro Janković Hall in Sarajevo, the recording of which was used for the live album Koncert kod Hajdučke česme (The Concert at Hajdučka česma). The only part of the Hajdučka česma concert that appeared on the album were the recordings of the audience's reactions.
After Koncert kod Hajdučke česme was mixed, Bregović went to serve the army in Niš and the band went on hiatus. Redžić continued to work on the Koncert kod hajdučke česme recordings, and a live version of "Dede, bona, sjeti se, de tako ti svega" was later used as a B-side for the single "Bitanga i princeza" ("The Brute and the Princess"), released in 1979. In June 1978, Bebek released his first solo album, symphonic rock-oriented Skoro da smo isti (We're almost the Same). During the same year, Ristovski and Ivandić recorded the album Stižemo (Here We Come). The album, featuring lyrics by Ranko Boban, was recorded in London with Leb i Sol leader Vlatko Stefanovski on guitar, Zlatko Hold on bass guitar, and Goran Kovačević and Ivandić's sister Gordana on vocals. The album was well received by the critics, and Ristovski and Ivandić decided to leave Bijelo Dugme. However, on September 10, the same day for which the beginning of the promotional tour was scheduled, Ivandić, alongside Goran Kovačević and Ranko Boban, was arrested for owning hashish. Ivandić was sentenced to spend three years in jail (Kovačević was sentenced to year and a half, and Boban to a year), but went to serve the sentence in 1981.
In June 1978, Bregović went to Sarajevo to receive a plaque from the League of Communist Youth of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the behalf of the band. In the autumn of 1978, drummer Điđi Jankelić (a former Formula 4 and Čisti Zrak member), who participated in the recording of Bebek's solo album, became Bijelo Dugme's new drummer, and Pravdić returned to the band to replace Ristovski. The band started preparing their new album in Niška Banja‚ but, as Bregović was still serving the army, they definitely reunited in Sarajevo on November 1. The album was produced by Neil Harrison, and several songs featured symphonic orchestra. The making of the album was followed by censorship. The original cover, designed by Dragan Stefanović and featuring female leg kicking male's genital area, was refused by Jugoton as "vulgar"; instead, the album ended up featuring a cover designed by Jugoton's designer Ivan Ivezić. The verse "Koji mi je moj" ("What the fuck is wrong with me") was excluded from the song "Ala je glupo zaboravit njen broj" ("It's so Stupid to Forget Her Number"), and the verse "A Hrist je bio kopile i jad" ("And Christ was bastard and misery") from the song "Sve će to, mila moja, prekriti ruzmarin, snjegovi i šaš" ("All of That, My Dear, Will Be Covered by Rosemary, Snow and Reed") was replaced with "A on je bio kopile i jad" ("And he was bastard and misery"). The album Bitanga i princeza (The Brute and the Princess) was released in March 1979 and praised by the critics as Bijelo Dugme's finest work until then. The album did not feature any folk music elements, and brought songs "Bitanga i princeza", "Ala je glupo zaboravit njen broj", "Na zadnjem sjedištu mog auta" ("On the Back Seat of My Car"), "A koliko si ih imala do sad" ("And how Many of Them Have You Had Till Now"), and emotional ballads "Ipak poželim neko pismo" ("Still, I Wish for a Letter"), "Kad zaboraviš juli" ("When You Forget July") and "Sve će to, mila moja, prekriti ruzmarin, snjegovi i šaš", all becoming hits. The album broke all the records held by their previous releases. The tour following the album release was also successful. The band managed to sell out Pionir Hall for five times, dedicating all the money earned from these concerts to the victims of the 1979 Montenegro earthquake. On some of the concerts they were followed by Branko Krsmanović Choir and a symphonic orchestra. On September 22, the band organized a concert under the name Rock spektakl '79. (Rock Spectacle 79) on JNA Stadium, with themselves as the headliners. The concert featured numerous opening acts, including YU Grupa, Boomerang, Galija, Prva Ljubav, Prljavo Kazalište, Opus, Tomaž Domicelj, Generacija 5, Mama Rock, Metak, Siluete, Suncokret, and others. More than 70,000 spectators attended the concert.
At the time, Bregović wrote film music for the first time, for Aleksandar Mandić's film Personal Affairs, and the songs "Pristao sam biću sve što hoće" ("I Accepted to Be Anything They Want", with lyrics written by Duško Trifunović) and "Šta je tu je" ("Is What It Is") were recorded by Bijelo Dugme and released on a single record. During 1980, Bregović spent some time in Paris, and the band was on hiatus.
Doživjeti stotu: Switch to new wave (1980 - 1982)
At the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s, the Yugoslav rock scene saw the emergence of the great number of new wave bands, closely associated to the Yugoslav punk rock scene. In December 1980, Bijelo Dugme released new wave-influenced album Doživjeti stotu (Live to Be 100), with only the new version of "Pristao sam biću sve što hoće" and "Pjesma mom mlađem bratu" ("The Song for My Little Brother") resembling Bijelo Dugme's old sound. The provocative cover designed by Mirko Ilić, an artist closely associated with Yugoslav new wave scene, appeared in three versions. This was the first Bijelo Dugme album produced by Bregović. Songs "Ha ha ha" and "Tramvaj kreće (ili kako biti heroj u ova šugava vremena)" ("Streetcar Is Leaving (or How to Be a Hero in These Lousy Times)") were the first Bijelo Dugme songs to feature political-related lyrics.
The band started their Yugoslav tour on February 24 with a concert in Sarajevo, and ended it with a concert in the club Kulušić in Zagreb, on which they recorded their second live album, 5. april '81 (April 5, 1981). The album, featuring a cover of Indexi song "Sve ove godine" ("All These Years"), was released in a limited number of 20,000 copies. Bijelo Dugme performed in Belgrade several times during the tour: after two concerts in Pionir Hall, they performed, alongside Iron Maiden, Atomsko Sklonište, Divlje Jagode, Film, Aerodrom, Slađana Milošević, Siluete, Haustor, Kontraritam and other acts, on the two-day festival Svi marš na ples! (Everybody Dance Now!) held at Belgrade Hippodrome, and on the New Year’s Eve and after it they held three concerts in Hala Pinki. At the beginning of 1982, they performed in Innsbruck, in Austria, on a manifestation on which the last host of the Winter Olympic Games (Innsbruck) hosted the following one (Sarajevo). On their return to Yugoslavia, their equipment was deprived on the custom, as it was discovered that they had put new equipment into old boxes. Jugoton decided to lend 150,000,000 Yugoslav dinars to Bijelo Dugme, in order to pay the penalty. In order to regain part of the money as soon as possible, the record label decided to release two compilation albums, Singl ploče (1974-1975) (7" Singles 1974-1975) and Singl ploče (1976-1980). To recover financially, during July and August 1982, the band went on a Bulgarian tour, during which they held forty one concerts. As Jankelić went to serve the army in April, on this tour the drums were played by former Leb i Sol drummer Garabet Tavitjan. At the end of 1982, Ivandić was released from prison and rejoined the band.
After Doživjeti stotu, Bebek's departure (1983 - 1984)
At the beginning of 1983, Bijelo Dugme recorded a children's music album ...a milicija trenira strogoću! (i druge pjesmice za djecu) (...and Police Trains Strictness! (and Other Songs for Children)). The lyrics for the album were written by Duško Trifunović. It was initially planned Seid Memić "Vajta" to sing, but eventually, vocals were recorded by the eleven-year-old Ratimir Boršić Rača, and the album was released under Ratimir Boršić Rača & Bijelo Dugme moniker.
In February 1983, the band released the album Uspavanka za Radmilu M. (Lullaby for Radmila M.). Bregović intended to release Uspavanka za Radmilu M. as Bijelo Dugme's farewell album and to dismiss the band after the tour. The album was recorded in Skopje and featured Vlatko Stefanovski (guitar), Blagoje Morotov (double bass) and Arsen Ereš (saxophone) as guest musicians. The song "Kosovska" ("Kosovo Song") featured Albanian language lyrics and, although they were simple and rock music-related, became provocative as it was recorded during delicate political situation in Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo. The songs "Ako možeš zaboravi" ("Forget, if You Can"), "U vrijeme otkazanih letova" ("In the Time of Canceled Flights"), "Polubauk polukruži poluevropom" ("Half-Spectre is Half-Haunting Half-Europe", the title referring to the first sentence of The Communist Manifesto) and "Ovaj ples dame biraju" ("Ladies' Choice") featured diverse sound, illustrating various fazes in the band's career. The album's title track is the only instrumental track Bijelo Dugme ever recorded. Uspavanka za Radmilu M. did not bring numerous hits as the band's previous releases (and is generally considered commercially least successful Bijelo Dugme album), however, the tour was very successful, and the audience's response made Bregović change his mind about dismissing the band. After the tour, Bijelo Dugme went on a hiatus and Bebek recorded his second solo album, Mene tjera neki vrag (Something Makes Me Do It). His last concert with Bijelo Dugme was on February 13, 1984, in Sarajevo Olympic Village. He officially left the band on April 23, 1984, deciding to dedicate himself to his solo career.
Mladen Vojičić "Tifa" years (1984 - 1986)
After Bebek's departure, Alen Islamović, vocalist for the heavy metal band Divlje Jagode, was approached to join the band, but he refused fearing that Bebek might decide to return. Reportedly, Dado Topić, former Korni Grupa and Time vocalist, was also considered by Bregović and manager Raka Marić as Bijelo Dugme's new vocalist, but refused the offer. Eventually, the new Bijelo Dugme singer became then relatively unknown Mladen Vojičić "Tifa", a former Top and Teška Industrija member. The band spent summer in Rovinj where they practiced for the upcoming album recording. At the time, Ivandić started working with the synthpop band Amila, whose fronrtess Amila Sulejmanović often performed as a backing vocalist on Bijelo Dugme concerts.
At the time Bregović, with singer Zdravko Čolić, formed Slovenia-based record label Kamarad, which co-released Bijelo Dugme's new album with Diskoton. The album was released in December 1984, entitled simply Bijelo Dugme, but is, as the cover featured Uroš Predić's painting Kosovo Maiden, also unofficially known as Kosovka djevojka (Kosovo Maiden). The album featured both Ristovski and Pravdić on keyboards, and, after the album recording, Ristovski became the official member of the band once again. Bijelo Dugme featured folk-oriented pop rock sound which had, alongside a cover of Yugoslav anthem "Hej, Sloveni" featured on the album, influenced a great number of bands from Sarajevo, labeled as New Partisans. The album featured a cover of "Šta ću nano dragi mi je ljut" ("What Can I Do, Mom, My Darling Is Angry"), written by Bregović and originally recorded by Bisera Veletanlić, Bijelo Dugme version entitled "Lipe cvatu, sve je isto k'o i lani" ("Linden Trees Are in Bloom, Everything's just like It Used to Be"), which became the album's biggest hit. Other hits included "Padaju zvijezde" ("The Stars Are Falling"), "Lažeš" ("You're Lying"), "Da te bogdo ne volim" ("If I Could Only Not Love You") and "Jer kad ostariš" ("Because, When You Grow Old"). The song "Pediculis pubis" (misspelling of "Pediculosis pubis") featured Bora Đorđević, the leader of Bijelo Dugme's main competitors at the time, Riblja Čorba, on vocals; he co-wrote the song with Bregović and sung it with Bregović and Vojičić. The album also featured Radio Television of Skopje Folk Instruments Orchestra, folk group Ladarice on backing vocals, Pece Atanasovski on gaida and Sonja Beran-Leskovšek on harp.
The album sale and the tour were very successful. The band held a successful concert at Belgrade's Sajmište, but also performed in clubs on several occasions. Vojičić, however, under pressure of professional obligations, sudden fame and media scandal in which it was discovered that he uses LSD, decided to leave the band. He performed with the band for the last time on a concert in Moscow, where Bijelo Dugme, alongside Bajaga i Instruktori, represented Yugoslav rock music on the Youth and Students World Festival. After leaving Bijelo Dugme, Vojičić would first join Bebek's band Armija B, then hard rock/heavy metal band Vatreni Poljubac (formed by Milić Vukašinović in 1977), and eventually heavy metal band Divlje Jagode (whose singer Alen Islamović replaced him in Bijelo Dugme).
Alen Islamović years and disbandment (1986 - 1989)
After Vojičić's departure, Alen Islamović was once again approached to join the band. At the time, Islamović's band Divlje Jagode were based in London, working on their international career. Doubting the success of their efforts, Islamović left them and joined Bijelo Dugme.
The new album, Pljuni i zapjevaj moja Jugoslavijo (Spit and Sing, My Yugoslavia) featured similar folk-oriented pop rock sound and was another Yugoslavism-inspired album, with the lyrics on the inner sleeve were printed in both Cyrillic and Latin alphabet. Bregović wanted to gather representatives of various political views to appear on the album: Vice Vukov, pop singer branded for being a Croatian nationalist, painter Mića Popović (the album cover should have featured his painting Dve godine garancije (Two Years of Warranty)), a dissident at the time, and Svetozar Vukmanović Tempo, a World War II hero. However, the idea of Vukov and Popović appearing on the album was too provocative, and Bregović gave up on it. Eventually, only Vukmanović appeared on the record, singing with Bregović and children from the Sarajevo orphanage Ljubica Ivezić in a cover of old revolutionary song "Padaj silo i nepravdo" ("Fall, (Oh) Force and Injustice"), and a photograph of Chinese modern revolutionary dancing appeared on the album cover. Vukmanović's appearance on the album was described by The Guardian as "some sort of Bregović's coup d'état". The album's main hits were pop song "Hajdemo u planine" ("Let's Go to the Mountains"), "Noćas je k'o lubenica pun mjesec iznad Bosne" ("Tonight a Moon Full like a Watermelon Is over Bosnia"), ballads "Te noći kad umrem, kad odem, kad me ne bude" ("That Night, When I Die, When I Leave, When I'm Gone") and "Ružica si bila, sada više nisi" ("You Were Once a Rose"). In 1987, Belgrade rock journalist Dragan Kremer, in the show Mit mjeseca (Myth of the Month) on the RTV Sarajevo, expressing his opinion about the band's new direction tore the album cover and made Bregović (who also appeared in the show) angry, which was one of the larger media scandals of the time. The incident however, did not affect the album sales. The tour was also very successful, and the concert at Sajmište featured opera singer Dubravka Zubović as guest.
The double live album Mramor, kamen i željezo (Marble, Stone and Iron), recorded on the tour and produced by Redžić, was released in 1987. The title song was a cover of an old hit by the Yugoslav beat band Roboti. The album offered a retrospective of the band's work, featuring songs from their first singles to their latest album. The album featured similar Yugoslavist iconography as the bands' previous two releases: the track "A milicija trenira strogoću" begins with "The Internationale" melody, during the intro to "Svi marš na ples" Islamović shouts "Bratsvo! Jedinstvo!" ("Brotherhood! Unity!"), and the album cover features a photograph from the 5th Congress of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Mramor, kamen i željezo was the band's last album to feature Vlado Pravdić. He left the band after the album release, dedicating himself to computer business. However, he continued to occasionally perform with the band, on larger concerts, and was, until the end of the band's activity, still considered an official member.
At the end of 1988, the album Ćiribiribela was released. Recorded during the political crisis in Yugoslavia, the album was marked by Bregović's pacifist efforts: the album cover featured Edward Hicks' painting Noah's Ark on the cover, the song "Lijepa naša" ("Our Beautiful") featured the national anthem of Croatia "Lijepa naša domovino" ("Our Beautiful Homeland") combined with the Serbian traditional World War I song "Tamo daleko", and the title track featured lyrics about a love couple which decides to "stay at home and kiss" if the war starts. The album's biggest hit was ""Đurđevdan je, a ja nisam s onom koju volim" ("It's St. George's Day, and I'm Not with the One I Love'"), a cover of traditional Romani song "Ederlezi", which featured Fejat Sejdić Trumpet Orchestra. Other hits included "Evo zakleću se" ("Here, I'll Make A Vow"), "Ako ima Boga" ("If There Is God"), "Šta ima novo" ("What's New"), "Nakon svih ovih godina" ("After All These Years"), pop-influenced "Napile se ulice" ("The Streets Are Drunk") and Dalmatian folk music-inspired "Ćirbiribela".
At the beginning of 1989, the band went on a tour which should have lasted until April 1. However, Islamović checked into a hospital with kidney pains, not notifying anyone from the band. The tour was ended and concerts in China and Soviet Union were cancelled. Bregović went to Paris, leaving Bijelo Dugme's status opened for speculations. In 1990, the compilation album Nakon svih ovih godina, which featured recordings made between 1983 and 1989, was released. As Yugoslav Wars broke out in 1991, it became clear that Bijelo Dugme will not continue their activity.
Bregović continued his career as a film music composer, cooperating mostly with Emir Kusturica. Redžić moved to Finland, where he worked as a producer, and after the Bosnian War ended, he returned to Sarajevo, where he opened a rock club. After the war broke out, Ivandić went to Belgrade, where he, in 1994, died after falling from the sixth floor of the building in which he lived; the death was believed to be a suicide. Ristovski continued to work as studio musician, at the same time recording solo albums and performing with Osvajači and Smak. Islamović, who recorded his first solo album Haj, nek se čuje, haj nek se zna in 1989, started a semi-successful solo career.
Bregović, who during the 1990s became one of the most internationally known modern composers of the Balkans, on numerous occasions stated that he will not reunite Bijelo Dugme. However, in 2005, Bijelo Dugme reunited with Goran Bregović on guitar, Željko Bebek, Mladen Vojičić and Alen Islamović on vocals, Zoran Redžić on bass guitar, Milić Vukašinović and Điđi Jankelić on drums and Vlado Pravdić and Laza Ristovski on keyboards. The reunion saw huge media attention in all former Yugoslav republics.
The band held only three concerts: in Sarajevo, at Koševo stadium, Zagreb, at Maksimir stadium, and Belgrade, at Belgrade Hippodrome. Before the concert at Belgrade Hippodrome, a show entitled Bijelo Dugme za kafanu (Bijelo Dugme for Kafana) was recorded for RTV Pink. The show featured folk singers Džej Ramadanovski, Stoja, Dragana Mirković, Usnija Redžepova, Dara Bubamara and Verica Šerifović, as well as pop singer Petar Grašo performing folk covers of Bijelo Dugme songs. The show also featured several songs performed unplugged by Bregović, Bebek, Vojičić and Islamović. The Belgrade concert attracted more than 200,000 fans, but was criticized because of the bad sound. The live album Turneja 2005: Sarajevo, Zagreb, Beograd (2005 Tour - Sarajevo, Zagreb, Belgrade) recorded on the tour was released.
In 2014, in order to mark the band's 40th anniversary, Croatia Records released a box set entitled Box Set Deluxe. The box set, released in a limited number of 1,000 copies, features remastered vinyl editions on all studio albums, and the reissued of the band's first 7" single as bonus. During 2014 and 2015, Bregović marked 40 years since the formation of the band and the release of their debut album with a series of concerts with his Weddings and Funerals Orchestra, featuring Islamović as vocalist.
Influence and legacy
Bijelo Dugme is generally considered to have been the most popular act ever to exist in former Yugoslavia, inspiring many artists from different musical genres. The musicians that were, in their own words, influenced by Bijelo Dugme include guitarist and leader of Prljavo Kazalište Jasenko Houra, singer and former Bulevar and Bajaga i Instruktori member Dejan Cukić, guitarist and former leader of KUD Idijoti Aleksandar Milovanović "Sale Veruda", singer and former Merlin leader Dino Merlin, and others. The acts that reorded covers of Bijelo Dugme songs include Aska, Srđan Marjanović, Regina, Revolveri, Prljavi Inspektor Blaža i Kljunovi, Viktorija, Sokoli, Massimo Savić, Vasko Serafimov, Zoran Predin and Matija Dedić, Branimir "Džoni" Štulić, Teška Industrija and others. The song "Ima neka tajna veza" was performed by Joan Baez on her 2014 concerts in Belgrade and Zagreb. The band's work has been parodied by Paraf, Gustafi, Rambo Amadeus, S.A.R.S., and others.
There were several books written about the band: Istina o Bijelom dugmetu (The Truth about Bijelo Dugme, 1977) by Danilo Štrbac, Bijelo Dugme (1980) by Duško Pavlović, Ništa mudro (1981) by Darko Glavan and Dražen Vrdoljak, Lopuže koje nisu uhvatili (Rascals That Weren't Caught, 1985) by Dušan Vesić, Bijelo Dugme (2005) by Asir Misirlić, Bijelo Dugme - Doživjeti stotu (2005) by Zvonimir Krstulović, Kad bi bio bijelo dugme (2005) by Nenad Stevović, Kad sam bio bijelo dugme (When I Was a White Button, 2005) by Ljubiša Stavrić and Vladimir Sudar and Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu (2014) by Dušan Vesić.
In 1994, Radio Television of Serbia aired a four part documentary about the band entitled Nakon svih ovih godina. In 2010, Igor Stoimenov directed a documentary about the band, entitled simply Bijelo Dugme.
The book YU 100: najbolji albumi jugoslovenske rok i pop muzike (YU 100: The Best albums of Yugoslav pop and rock music), published in 1998, features eight Bijelo Dugme albums: Bitanga i princeza (polled No. 10), Kad bi bio bijelo dugme (polled No. 14), Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu (polled No. 17), Bijelo Dugme (polled No. 28), Eto! Baš hoću! (polled No. 31), Doživjeti stotu (polled No. 35), Pljuni i zapjevaj moja Jugoslavijo (polled No. 53), and Koncert kod Hajdučke česme (polled No. 74). The list of 100 greatest Yugoslav album, published by Croatian edition of Rolling Stone in 2015, features three Bijelo Dugme albums, Bitanga i princeza (ranked No. 15), Eto! Baš hoću! (ranked No. 36) and Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu (ranked No. 42). In 1987, in YU legende uživo (YU Legends Live), a special publication by Rock magazine, 5. april '81 was pronounced one of 12 best Yugoslav live albums.
The Rock Express Top 100 Yugoslav Rock Songs of All Times list features eight songs by Bijelo Dugme: "Lipe cvatu" (polled No.10), "Bitanga i princeza" (polled No.14), "Sve će to, mila moja, prekriti ruzmarin, snjegovi i šaš" (polled No.17), "Sanjao sam noćas da te nemam" (polled No.31), "Ima neka tajna veza" (No.38), "Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu" (polled No.68), "Za Esmu" ("For Esma", polled No.78) and "Kad bi' bio bijelo dugme" (polled No.97). The B92 Top 100 Yugoslav songs list features three songs by Bijelo Dugme: "Sve će to, mila moja, prekriti ruzmarin, snjegovi i šaš" (polled No. 14), "Loše vino" (polled No. 32) and "Ako možeš zaboravi (polled No. 51). In 2011, the song "Meni se ne spava" ("I Don't Feel like Sleeping") was voted, by the listeners of Radio 202, one of 60 greatest songs released by PGP-RTB/PGP-RTS during the sixty years of the label's existence.
The lyrics of 10 songs by the band (8 written by Bregović and 2 witten by Trifunović) were featured in Petar Janjatović's book Pesme bratstva, detinjstva & potomstva: Antologija ex YU rok poezije 1967 - 2007 (Songs of Brotherhood, Childhood & Offspring: Anthology of Ex YU Rock Poetry 1967 - 2007).
- Goran Bregović - guitar (1974–1989, 2005)
- Željko Bebek - vocals (1974–1984, 2005)
- Jadranko Stanković - bass guitar (1974)
- Goran "Ipe" Ivandić - drums (1974–1976, 1977–1978, 1982–1989)
- Vlado Pravdić - keyboards (1974–1976, 1978–1987, 2005)
- Zoran Redžić - bass guitar (1974–1975, 1977–1989, 2005)
- Milić Vukašinović - drums (1976–1977, 2005)
- Laza Ristovski - keyboards (1976–1978, 1984–1989, 2005)
- Dragan "Điđi" Jankelić - drums (1978–1982, 2005)
- Mladen "Tifa" Vojičić - vocals (1984–1985, 2005)
- Alen Islamović - vocals (1986–1989, 2005)
- Mustafa "Mute" Kurtalić - bass guitar (1975)
- Ljubiša Racić - bass guitar (1975–1977)
- Sanin Karić - bass guitar (1977)
- Garabet Tavitjan - drums (1982)
- Kad bi' bio bijelo dugme (1974)
- Šta bi dao da si na mom mjestu (1975)
- Eto! Baš hoću! (1976)
- Bitanga i princeza (1979)
- Doživjeti stotu (1980)
- Uspavanka za Radmilu M. (1983)
- Bijelo Dugme (1984)
- Pljuni i zapjevaj moja Jugoslavijo (1986)
- Ćiribiribela (1988)
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