The Null Device

Banned music / Gloomy Sunday

Gallery of the Forbidden, a list of albums, songs or cover art banned, restricted or bowdlerised by the Moral Minority or (more frequently) recording-company marketroids; from the Five Keys' misplaced thumb to that un-American Strokes song that got deleted from US releases of their album.

The MetaFilter discussion of this issue had an interesting tangent about a legendary Hungarian song which was allegedly suppressed after it triggered an epidemic of suicides:

"Gloomy Sunday", a Hungarian song for the violin, was believed to propel the despondent into suicide. Ironically, the title "Gloomy Sunday" has been used over and over since, for different songs unrelated to the original, which makes trying to find it even more difficult.

Snopes has this to say about Gloomy Sunday; apparently it did exist, though the suppression of it was an urban legend. And here's another story which ties it to a Nazi SS officer's suicide during the Holocaust.

I wonder whether the music for Gloomy Sunday exists anywhere; and, if so, how long until some post-rock band or other does a cover of it.

There are 7 comments on "Banned music / Gloomy Sunday":

Posted by: kstop http:// Wed Apr 21 10:22:00 2004

Loads of people have covered it in recent times, Bjork and Diamanda Galas for example (DG wrote her own lyrics to it, or possibly translated the originals, I can't remember off-hand.) Bjork's version included the happy ending bit that BH sometimes sang, sometimes didn't.

Posted by: acb Wed Apr 21 12:40:12 2004

The MeFi comment suggested that these weren't versions of the original Gloomy Sunday, but different songs with the same title.

Posted by: luna Wed Apr 21 19:53:50 2004

Long time listener, first time caller.

The lyrics of the Bjork cover, at least, correspond to the ones mentioned on Snopes.

Posted by: darren Thu Apr 22 00:43:27 2004

There's a film loosely based on it _ for details.

Posted by: Alexander Thu Apr 22 01:44:19 2004

The forbidden records list missed out on two important records that are extra famous (perhaps so obvious thety decided to leave it out): Jimi Hendrix's "Electric Ladyland" (showing a cover of naked women holding pictures of J.H. himself) and John Lennon's "Two Virgins".

Posted by: Anton Sherwood Mon Apr 26 06:24:04 2004

I think the only "Gloomy Sunday" that I've heard is on the obscure album <i>In the Beginning</i> by Genesis (Not That Genesis), and yes, the words are those cited by Snopes. I like the tune.

Posted by: hilary http:// Mon Apr 26 07:59:59 2004

Sinead O'connor does a cover of this on her album of covers, "Am I not your girl?" (proceeds of the alblum when to charity. It was a good album, and a good cover. Makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck.