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Trail: Sunday


Quoth SongBook

Gloomy Sunday

Gloomy Sunday - the notorious ‘Hungarian Suicide Song’ - was written in 1933. Its melody and original lyrics were the creation of Rezsô Seress, a self-taught pianist and composer born in Hungary in 1899.

The crushing hopelessness and bitter despair which characterised the two stanza penned by Seress were superseded by the more mournful, melancholic verses of Hungarian poet László Jávor.

When the song came to public attention it quickly earned its reputation as a ‘suicide song’. Reports from Hungary alleged individuals had taken their lives after listening to the haunting melody, or that the lyrics had been left with their last letters.

The lyricists Sam M. Lewis and Desmond Carter each penned an English translatation of the song. It was Lewis’s version, first recorded by Hal Kemp and his Orchestra, with Bob Allen on vocals (1936), that was to become the most widely covered.

The popularity of Gloomy Sunday increased greatly through its interpretation by Billie Holiday (1941). In an attempt to alleviate the pessemistic tone a third stanza was added to this version, giving the song a dreamy twist, yet still the suicide reputation remained. Gloomy Sunday was banned from the playlists of major radio broadcasters around the world. The B.B.C. deemed it too depressing for the airwaves.

Despite all such bans, Gloomy Sunday continued to be recorded and sold.
People continued to buy the recordings; some committed suicide.
Rezsô Seress jumped to his death from his flat in 1968.

 Ôsz van és peregnek a sárgult levelek         It is autumn and the leaves are falling
 Meghalt a földön az emberi szeretet           All love has died on earth
 Bánatos könnyekkel zokog az öszi szél         The wind is weeping with sorrowful tears
 Szívem már új tavaszt nem vár és nem remél    My heart will never hope for a new spring again
 Hiába sírok és hiába szenvedek                My tears and my sorrows are all in vain
 Szívtelen rosszak és kapzsik az emberek...    People are heartless, greedy and wicked...
 Meghalt a szeretet!                           Love has died!
 Vége a világnak, vége a reménynek             The world has come to its end, hope has ceased to have a meaning
 Városok pusztulnak, srapnelek zenélnek        Cities are being wiped out, shrapnel is making music
 Emberek vérétôl piros a tarka rét             Meadows are coloured red with human blood
 Halottak fekszenek az úton szerteszét         There are dead people on the streets everywhere
 Még egyszer elmondom csendben az imámat:      I will say another quiet prayer:
 Uram, az emberek gyarlók és hibáznak...       People are sinners, Lord, they make mistakes...
 Vége a világnak!                              The world has ended!

--r e z s ô   s e r e s s

Sadly one Sunday I waited and waited
With flowers in my arms for the dream I’d created
I waited ‘til dreams, like my heart, were all broken
The flowers were all dead and the words were unspoken
The grief that I knew was beyond all consoling
The beat of my heart was a bell that was tolling

Saddest of Sundays

Then came a Sunday when you came to find me
They bore me to church and I left you behind me
My eyes could not see one I wanted to love me
The earth and the flowers are forever above me
The bell tolled for me and the wind whispered, “Never!”
But you I have loved and I bless you forever

Last of all Sundays

--desmond carter

Sunday’s Slave

Sunday’s got a slave
Monday’s got one too
Sunday’s got a slave
Monday’s got one too
Our sufferings are countless
Our pleasures are motley few
Spend all day digging my grave
Now go get Sunday’s slave

Tuesday sleeps in a stable
Wednesday’s in a chains
Tuesday gathers up the crumbs under the table
Wednesday dare not complain
My heart has collapsed on the tracks of a run-a-way train
Just whisper his name
And here comes Sunday’s slave

The hands in the stable are willing and able to pay
If you feel at a loss, man, just who is the boss-man
Ask the blood of one of its bad days
For his nerve is to serve but the sevice is a mockery
He insists that he piss in your fist
But he still takes the money anyway
The master’s a bastard
But don’t tell Sunday’s slave

Thursday’s angered the master
O.K. so Friday’s gonna pay
Thursday’s angered the master
Yeah, so Friday’s gonna pay
One night on the rack and he’s back saddling up Saturday
You can only whisper his name
But not on Sundays
Never on Sundays
O Not on Sunday’s slave
--Nick Cave