Gloomy Sunday – The Suicide Song

The other day I wrote a post about Strange Fruit, one of the 20th Century’s more powerful songs, well here is another one for you!

This one in English is called Gloomy Sunday, or conversely, The Hungarian Suicide Song, owing to both its extremely gloomy nature, and the urban myths about how it causes people who are unlucky enough to hear it to rush out and commit suicide instantly – so you have been warned!

In Hungarian it was called Szomorú vasárnap (Sad Sunday),

Obviously it is in fact a Hungarian song, written by a poet by the name of Rezső Seress in 1933 and had words that were a gentle hymn about people’s sins, but very soon after it was published, another Hungarian poet László Jávor (I bet you didn’t know there were so many poets in Hungary in the 30’s) sat down and wrote his own lyrics to this song, and these are the lyrics that we all know and love today.  All about lost love, suicide, death and despondency (see a bit further down this post for an English translation of these words).

So the version I have bunged just below here is the music of Rezső Seress and the words of László Jávor, and the singer is Pál Kalmár, and was the first recording of this song, recorded in 1935.

So, have a listen to the original version of this depressing, but beautiful song, and then we shall discuss it further……

The Words:

Before going any further, it is probably a good idea for me to give you the English translation of the words of this song, so here goes:-

Sunday is gloomy,
My hours are slumberless.
Dearest, the shadows
I live with are numberless.

Little white flowers
Will never awaken you.
Not where the black coach
Of sorrow has taken you.

Angels have no thought
Of ever returning you.
Would they be angry
If I thought of joining you?

Gloomy Sunday

Gloomy is Sunday,
With shadows I spend it all.
My heart and I, have
Decided to end it all.

Soon there’ll be candles
And prayers that are said, I know.
Let them not weep,
Let them know that I’m glad to go.

Death is no dream,
For in death I’m caressing you.
With the last breath of my soul,
I’ll be blessing you.

Gloomy Sunday

Dreaming, I was only dreaming.
I wake and I find you asleep
In the deep of my heart, dear.

Darling, I hope that
My dream never haunted you.
My heart is telling you,
How much I wanted you.

See?   Not the most cheerful of songs is it?   But nonetheless those words have a real power and emotional kick to them, and are all too easy for almost all of us to identify with.

Continue reading “Gloomy Sunday – The Suicide Song”

Strange Fruit – A Grim Song

Possibly one of the most poignant songs about the disgusting aberration called racism is the song made famous by Billie HolidayStrange Fruit.

I have put a video of her singing it here, so watch and listen, and then I shall talk about it all a bit more.

This song – though to call it simply a song seems to be remarkably weak – was written by a New York Jew curiously enough, as a protest to the lynchings that were all too common in the southern states of the USA earlier in the 20th Century.

Abel Meeropol, who wrote this remarkable song as a poem in 1937, wrote it as a result of seeing the famous photo of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana in the early 30’s, and then put his poem to music at the request of a number of his friends, and his wife  gave it its first public performance in New York.

The lynching that sparked this song

Continue reading “Strange Fruit – A Grim Song”