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Gloomy Sunday

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Szomorú Vasárnap, or Gloomy Sunday in English, is a hit song written in 1933 by Hungarian composer Rezső Seress. It’s more commonly known as the Hungarian Suicide song because of hundreds (if not thousands) of suicides that had been inspired by listening to it. The song itself has been has been covered several times, most famously by Billie Holiday, and for the most part is considered an urban legend and a brilliant marketing campaign.

The version that reached radio waves, however, is not the version that was originally written. Rezső Seress originally wrote the song in order to woo his girlfriend, who had recently left him. The song succeeded in bringing them back together for a short time, before she jumped from his apartment window. Rezső had been out at the time. His girlfriend left a note for him—”Szomorú Vasárnap.” The song was changed before release. Rezső Seress himself committed suicide in 1969, jumping out of his window in very much the same manner his girlfriend did.

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58 thoughts on “Gloomy Sunday”

  1. ThisIsANameForAComment

    UGH! I HATE Sunday. I can’t place my finger on why, but there is a distinct feeling of dreariness I get from that day.

  2. that’s really interesting. I’m going to look it up right now. I’ll try not to kill myself. there’s nothing my husband hates more than having to clean up my messes!

  3. Wasn’t there a black and white short film/episode about a song that, if heard in entirety, would cause listeners to kill themselves? In it they have a man memorize the song— in parts so he won’t die— then they rupture his eardrums so he can’t hear, and he plays it on a piano to a group of people in chairs and they start killing themselves right there. I don’t remember where I saw it but it was set up like a documentary. Any ideas? Only 1 person I know remembers seeing it but they can’t remember the name either.

    1. yeah, it’s a cover. the original (or yknow, supposedly RE-DONE) original is on youtube as well… not really that hard to find, and not a bad song regardless. there IS something kind of… OFF about it though, if you listen.

  4. You have to realize- the reason so many people died because of this song was because, during the time it was written, Hungary was suffering from a terrible economic collapse. Most people were poor and suffering. What is a bad mental state to begin with is aggravated by such a depressing song. Even more to the point is that the song proclaims the joys of dying, so that the man can meet his girl in the afterlife. This probably spoke to the people, causing them to seek ‘peace’.

  5. It’s not so much people are killing themselves over this song, but rather the population who is drawn to listen to this song. The subject matter of this song is death of a love one and the singer’s/writer’s desire of joining the person who passed. So, really, who do you think is listening to this song over and over?

    Billie Holiday’s version of this song is particularly haunting due to the poor quality of recording from that time which gives the song that scratchy, slightly static, and incredibly old school feel to it – like you dug up this vinyl from grandma’s attic, covered with dust and cobweb, the label’s faded so you don’t know what it is, and when you play it, this is what comes out. Creepy, no?

  6. Meh, suicidal people tend to listen to the same music. It’s more correlation than causation. I think if we did a cross-sample with suicides and Morrissey we’d find a similar pattern.

  7. Imagine if this were true. The amount of power this song would have would be astonishing if it could inspire people to commit suicide just by listening to it. It would be the next weapon that could be used. Instead of carrying guns, biochemical, or even nuclear, we would just have to carry a song player system and some earplugs (for self protection, of course).

  8. dunno if this might be your work. i saw a movie (kovaks box, or trap or something like that) where this dude implanted all the peopple on the plain with little hcips that made them suicidal when they hear gloomy sunay song.

  9. i find this hard to believe. i mean, he and his girlfriend did both commit suicide, as did many others. but if you think about it this song was written in the depression and people were killing themselves for other reasons. people lost their jobs and it was damn near impossible to get another one, their families might not have had food. i don’t think i need to explain what the depression was. it makes sense someone would listen to a sad song during sad times, whether they realize it or not.

    try harder next time, annon.

  10. hey i’ve read in another article that his girl commited suicide by poison not jumpin out of a window……. and i’ve heard the song n i didnt die

  11. I have this song on my i-pod. Really.

    I’ve never felt like committing suicide over it, but I still like the myths behind the song!

  12. It was alright, but I find it hard to believe that a song could drive thousands to suicide.

    The one thing that bugs me is the last sentence. How many different ways can you jump from a window?

    1. TheIntimateAvenger

      The author meant to say that he died in the same exact way as his girlfriend, which was jumping out a window.

  13. The song makes me sad.. But not suicidal.
    Oh lookie here! The lyrics are translated to English! :
    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

    Sunday is gloomy
    With shadows I spend it all
    My heart and I have decided
    To end it all
    Soon there’ll be flowers and prayers
    That are said I know
    But 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

    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
    Gloomy Sunday
    Gloomy Sunday

  14. I think it was all just because of the depression during that time, not the song. The song only provoked it.
    Sunday, Gloomy Sunday.

    1. TheIntimateAvenger

      This is a very famous story. Gloomy sunday is a real song and many people have died after hearing it. However, during the time period in which this song was at its height of popularity, there were many socioeconomic problems that would account for the suicides. Because of that, no one can agree on whether or not the song is really cursed.

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