SZOMORÚ VASÁRNAP

Latest update on 06/01/2012

Artist: Pal Kalmar
Author: László Jávor/Rezsô Seress
Label: Odéon
Year: 1935

With Lajos Moitiny on piano. Copyright: 1933 - Hungarian title means The Last Sunday. The crushing hopelessness and bitter despair of the original lyrics by Seress were soon replaced by Lászlo Jávor's melancholic words. Just like St. James Infirmary a few years earlier, this song became an urban legend for its suicide content. Fact is the László Jávor lyrics were actually used in farewell notes a bit too frequently, especially in Hungary. The Billie Holiday version was banned from radio playlists in America while the BBC deemed its content too depressing for broadcasting. Rezsô Seress, who composed the melody, did commit suicide in '68 jumping out of a Budapest window. He was known there as 'the whistler' as he couldn't sing. He couldn't read music either and played piano with only two fingers, which he spent a lifetime doing in one and the same Kispipa (Small Pipe) restaurant in the bohemian neighborhood. Over the years celebrities from all over the world dined there listening to that ugly little man who wrote Gloomy Sunday, something local patrons didn't even know or cared about.

Covers:

1935:

Pjotr Lesczenko [Russian version as Mratschmoje Woskresenje, meaning the same]

1935:

Georges Boulanger [as Sombre dimanche, la chanson interdite a Budapest]

1936:

Paul Robeson [as Gloomy Sunday; English translation: Desmond Carter]

1936:

Hal Kemp [idem; vocal: Bob Allen; Sam Lewis is credited for the English lyrics here]

1936:

Paul Whiteman [idem]

1936:

Damia [as Sombre dimanche]

1940:

Artie Shaw [with the Sam Lewis lyrics]

1941:

Billie Holiday [idem; also in Simpsons episode Treehouse Of Horror XVIII]

1941:

Shelly Manne

1958:

Mel Tormé

1960:

Mickey Baker

1962:

Ketty Lester

1965:

Jimmy Smith

1966:

Herbie Mann

1967:

Carmen McRae

1969:

Ray Charles

1977:

Etta Jones

1980:

Lydia Lunch

1981:

Elvis Costello

1982:

Associates

1983:

Marc & The Mambas

1984:

Peter Wolf

1986:

Christian Death

1987:

Serge Gainsbourg

1992:

Sinéad O'Connor

1992:

Diamanda Galas [with the Desmond Carter lyrics]

1992:

Sarah McLachlan

1994:

Charles Brown

1998:

Sarah Brightman

1998:

Björk

1998:

Marianne Faithfull

1999:

Smithereens

1999:

Erika Marosan [in German-Hungarian film Gloomy Sunday, Ein Lied von Liebe und Tod]

1999:

Gyula Bodrogi-Agi Voith-Dezsó Garas [on Hungarian cd with nothing but Rezsô Seress repertoire]

2000:

Kronos Quartet

2001:

Heather Nova [all as Gloomy Sunday]

2004:

MC Sniper [Korean rap]

2005:

Venetian Snares [as Dagvilkos Vasarnap]

2005:

Eminemmylou feat. Legs MC

2006:

Angela Poka [Hungarian version]

Introduced in the west by black activist Paul Robeson (see Ol' Man River). Other versions: Billy Eckstine, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr., Jimmy Witherspoon, Stan Kenton, Acker Bilk, Yma Sumac, Josephine Baker and Maurice Chevalier. Sigmund Freud used the title of this 'chanson macabre' to define a pathology he called 'Sonntagsneurose'.

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

Arnold Rypens
Rozenlaan 65
B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

info@originals.be

No Facebook No Twitter