Gloomy Sunday – The Suicide Song

Remember the movie “The Ring,” and/or the Japanese original “Ringu?”  For those who are not familiar with either of those movies the gist of it is this:  people watch a creepy video, then receive a phone call from a creepy girl, who then delivers the creepy message that the person who just watched the video will die in seven days.  Essentially the video causes people to die.

Good thing it is only a movie huh?

Now, what if I told you though that there was a song written in 1933 that drove several people to commit suicide?  The song was recorded in C-minor and is dripping with melancholy; so much so that several press reports from that time attribute 19 suicides to the song, which led to authorities and radio stations banning the song from being played.  The music was written by Hungarian pianist Rezso Seress, with the lyrics written by his partner Laszlo Javor in their native Hungarian.  The song was translated in several other languages, including English, and the most popular version was recorded by the late great Billie Holiday.

Below are both the original Hungarian version and Billie Holiday’s version.  I’m not sure which one is most responsible for causing suicides is, so listen at your own risk…

2 Responses to Gloomy Sunday – The Suicide Song
  1. Alan

    Not as depressing as: “I’d like to give the world a Coke.”

  2. Zequi

    This is totally amazing… I was just,just listening to a song by Venetian Snares (called Öngyilkos Vasárnap) and listening to the first link I kinda recognized the melody and I thought… wait, this sounds familiar…
    clicked the second link and it turned out to be the source for the sample of billie holiday used by Venetian Snares. I wasn’t even listening to the whole album, picked that song at random to test a web based audio visualization site.
    Thanks for the shivers!