So Who’s heard of the song GLOOMY SUNDAY! If you haven’t don’t feel bad not many people have and for several good reasons. First of all the song is old, it was written in by a composer by the name of Rezső Seress. I am sure you might pronounce it the wrong, if the name sounds a little odd it is because the gentleman hailed from Budapest Hungary. Another reason you may have missed the Hungarian hit because it may have something to do with its notorious ties to suicide. With the unfortunate nickname of the “Hungarian Suicide Song”, gloomy Sunday has become infamous for its correlation of victims listening to the track before choosing to take their own lives.
The Melancholic Tale Of Glooming Sunday!
With Seress himself being no exception, you see prior to writing the song Rezso Seress was coping with a harsh breakup with his girlfriend perhaps even his fiancee at the time according to some sources. He wrote the malevolent melody as what is assumed to be a coping form of expression. The lethal lyrics were then provided by László Jávor who was a Hungarian poet and a friend of Seress. Some sources even claim that it was actually László Jávor who actually suffered the heartbreak of a lost love that inspired the dark message of Gloomy Sunday.
Regardless the song was created and like many of the struggling songwriters work, initially the song had little to no reception. After a couple of years Hungarian pop singer Pál Kalmár recorded his version in 1935. It was then the epidemic of gloomy Sunday was truly born. Though the sources cannot be totally confirmed, legend has it that after the release of Pál Kalmár recording, a series of suicides spread throughout hungry.
According to the legend up to 17 cases of suicide revolving around the song were reported. With the victims dying near a reference to Gloomy Sunday.
Seress commented on the chain of suicides allegedly typed the release of his song by saying-
I stand in the midst of this deadly success as an accused man, this fatal fame hurts me I cried all the disappointments out of my head into the song and it seems that others with feelings like mine have found their own way to hurt in it.
It wasn’t long until the song was completely banned from hungry, but not before news of the song spread abroad. In 1936 British vocalist Sam Lewis in conjunction with a theater lyricist named Desmond Carter wrote and recorded an English version of Gloomy Sunday. This new version matched the despair of the original apart from a small adjustment at the third verse which gives it a small shred of hope to the listener.
The Real Tragedy Of The Song
Fast forward to 1941 when a definitive version of gloomy Sunday was done by American jazz, musician and singer songwriter Billie Holiday. Unconfirmed sources claim that the song was eventually banned from the US though it is often argued. It is confirmed that the song was in fact banned in Britain after accusations of the song being too upsetting for the public was made by the British broadcasting corporation. As for Rezső Seress things took a major turn for the worse after the birth of Gloomy Sunday when World War II swept through Europe. Seress became a victim of a Nazi labor camp though he survived the ordeal he was never able to succeed any further in his musical ventures and eventually joined the circus as a trapeze artist.
But the real story lies with a toxic romance that started at all. According to the lore of Gloomy Sunday Seress attempted to leverage the success of his song in an attempt to win back his lost love. To his dismay he learned that his beloved had passed away cause of death was suicide. Rumors claim that she had poisoned herself while gripping a sheet of music for none other than Gloomy Sunday. It had seen the song that she had inspired had come around to claim her as yet another victim. Despite the validity of these claims it was confirmed that not long after that, Seress himself took his own life in by leaping to his death from a window of an apartment building in his hometown of Budapest.
There are countless stories of different types of stimuli in popular media having a connection with suicide but very few have the history and lore of Gloomy Sunday. I guess all that’s left to do is listen to the song for yourself after all no sense in being afraid of a silly urban legend, right? Thank you for reading! I really hope you enjoyed this story if you did go ahead and share this article with your friends and leave a comment.
Here’s the original Suicide Song. Listen at your own risk.