Sunday, 9 April 2017

Curses: The Curse of Gloomy Sunday

The Curse of Gloomy Sunday


Reszo Seress, A Hungarian born songwriter living in France, trying to make a living was determined to become an internationally famous songwriter, but failing dismally. Every song he composed and put forward to recording companies got rejected, but he never gave up.

His girlfriend would constantly fight with him, urging him to find a real job and throw away this dream that wasn’t happening for him.
One day, she was more cruel than usual and Seress and his Fiancee had a fight over his song-writing dream that saw them break up.

The day after, a Sunday, Seress was in his apartment, sitting at his piano, outside was dark and gloomy, and so was his mood. As the rain began to fall he muttered to himself, “what a gloomy Sunday”, his hands fell on the piano, and from them came a strange melancholy melody that encapsulated his morose mood, his feelings about losing his girl and the gloomy Sunday weather.
Within Thirty minutes Seress had composed the song “Gloomy Sunday”.

His first attempt at selling the song failed, rejected by the publisher, but on his second attempt, it was sold, Seress was about to become a published writer with a promise that his song would be available worldwide.

Within months of the song being printed, strange happenings began that were said to be linked with the song. In Berlin, a young man requested the song be played by a band in the hotel, the young man went home, complaining to his family he could not get the sad melody out of his head. He took a revolver and shot himself in the head.

In the same city, a week later, a young woman was found hung in her apartment, near her body the police found a copy of the sheet music for “Gloomy Sunday”.

In New York City, two days later a young secretary gassed herself, in her suicide note she asked for “Gloomy Sunday” to be played at her funeral. Within weeks an 82-year-old man jumped to his death from a seventh-floor window after playing the song on his piano.
The same week a young man jumped off a bridge in Rome to his death after hearing the song.

It didn’t take long for a journalist to put the stories together and start reporting in the media of the alleged links between the song and suicides. Streams of bizarre stories associated with the song were reported in Europe, the BBC banned the song from being played on their radio network.

Seress, now happy he was published tried to contact his ex-fiancee, only to learn from the police that she had committed suicide by poison, next to her they found a copy of the sheet music for “Gloomy Sunday”.

Billie Holiday, the soulful jazz singer recorded a version of the song in 1941, although she didn’t commit suicide there is much speculation that after her recording of “Gloomy Sunday” her carer decline was directly related to her recording of the song, it wasn’t too long after that she died from a drug overdose.

Allen Tiller

first published 8 Jan 2013

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