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Gloomy Sunday

Updated on March 15, 2011

Gloomy Sunday Song

Gloomy Sunday, or the suicide song is a unusual song with an unusual story. Gloomy Sunday was originally written as a silent prayer to go mourning a lost lover and is a pledge to commit suicide to meet the lover again in the afterlife.

Gloomy Sunday was composed by a Hungarian pianist and composer, Rezso Seress and has been preformed by many singers including Billie Holiday who scored a hit version of the song in 1941.

There have been many stories of Gloomy Sunday being banned for causing people who listen to it to commit suicide. The composer of Gloomy Sunday, Rezsoe Seres ended his own life in suicide and it was reported that he committed suicide because of being blamed for touching off a wave of suicides during the nineteen thirties. The show I watched with this story claimed they could not play the song due to a still existing ban, and having searched for 'bbc ban on gloomy sunday' I have found a few sites that support the claim of a still existing ban on the suicide song 'Gloomy Sunday'.

The website Wikipedia claims that the stories around this song sparking off a wave of suicides are just urban legends, and it sure does sound like an urban legend, however this song has been banned in many areas because of the worry of it causing suicides. In the UK there was a ban on this song being played on the BBC, where I first heard this weird story.

Krizsán, Mihály - Gloomy sunday

Worth checking out! Very beautiful "Gloomy Sunday" painting.
Worth checking out! Very beautiful "Gloomy Sunday" painting. | Source

Gloomy Sunday Painting

The painting to the right is a lovely depiction of the emotion surrounding this song, Gloomy Sunday. When listening to the Billie Holiday version of the song the emotion evoked is embodied visually with this painting in my opinion.

I think that the emotion, at least for me, when I listen to this song or view this painting is a sense of beautiful loss and almost romantic suffering at the loss of love. I do love this sort of haunting art which makes pain very beautiful in it's own way.

Gloomy Sunday Movie

The strange story surrounding the song Gloomy Sunday is the inspiration for a movie the "Kovak Box"

The Kovak Box is a very weird and surreal movie based on this idea that a song could trigger someone to commit suicide. A science fiction author goes on holiday with his girlfriend where they get engaged to be wed. That night she jumps off the hotel balcony and commits suicide that very night in the hospital. The author then helps another survivor of jumping off a balcony, a Spanish girl.

The underlying theme that these people have been given some sort of trigger that made them commit suicide in whatever strange way possible at the playing of the song 'Gloomy Sunday'. The song with its strange urban legends lends a depth to this strange movie where the author is faced with his fictional story coming true in true mind control and the possibility of forced suicide as a government punishment and tool for control.

I did say it was a strange and surreal movie. I did enjoy it and would suggest it to those who have a taste for those movies that are allergic to the mainstream. I would include a you tube video but I do worry that it might not be completely responsible of me, you know, just in case......


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    • Darkmetaly profile image

      Daníel Guðmundsson 

      7 years ago from Iceland Höfn í Hornafirði.

      dam that's sad but interesting

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      7 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Nextstopjuoiter, I agree with you concerning Diamanda Galas. Her version of 'Gloomy Sunday' is superb, but it does not detract from Billie Holiday's version.

      Chouji-Von-Lycan, I also was drawn to te song by Stephen fry's QI, but I, unlike you, found it amazing, and not boring at all.

      Kirstenblog, I have heard many singers, but usually singing the sanitised "only dreaming" version.

      Try the Paul Robeson version... it is the other side of the coin, and splendid.

      Augustine, there is a movie 'Gloomy Sunday' but I can't find it to buy. It looks good. Let me know if you found yours.

      By the way, I was considering doing a blog on the song, and luckily found that you had done it already... and very capably.

      Marked up!

    • kirstenblog profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from London UK

      Chouji-Von-Lycan - Ah, good, it didn't effect you then! I can say I have heard other songs that had more of a depressing effect on me then this one (back during my depression days).

    • Chouji-Von-Lycan profile image


      7 years ago

      I first heard about this song from watching an episocde of QI, after much thought and many months passed I searched for it and listened to it, and I have to say, the version I heard was that slow and boring It nearly made me want to commit suicide just to get away from it, but I admit, there was not subtitles for me to read so I couldn't understand what the song was going on about, now that I know it's about a personal loss of the worst kind and a reuniting in the next life, it does sound like a very beautful love song, but nope, I have no want to kill myself

    • kirstenblog profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from London UK

      stratocarter - it is really beautiful :D

    • stratocarter profile image


      7 years ago

      Really great song!!!

    • kirstenblog profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from London UK

      nextstopjupiter - I guess you are not so easily influenced then :D

    • nextstopjupiter profile image


      7 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      I don't know how many times I listened to this song, but I am still alive!

    • kirstenblog profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from London UK

      I so please you guys enjoyed this hub! I hoped that folks might find this story as intriguing as I did.

      A.A. Zavala, I hope you enjoy weird movies! You are in for a treat if you do, if not then you are in for something else LOL.

      Eiddwen - Glad you enjoyed and so long as your alive you still got learning to do, so no, never to old to learn something new! :D

      nextstopjupiter - I will have to check out your version of this song. Let me just give a warning for anyone reading this, listen to the song at your own risk, if it makes you go jump out of a window, I did warn you! (I don't want to get this hub banned! LOL)

    • nextstopjupiter profile image


      7 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      Thank you for this hub! I would like to add another version of this song performed by Diamanda Galas who is in my opinion one of the greatest singers/performers of our time

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      Very .very interesting kirstenblog,

      I really enjoyed that read on a subject that I knew nothing about.

      We are never too old to learn are we ??

      thank you for sharing

      Take care


    • A.A. Zavala profile image

      Augustine A Zavala 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Fascinating hub, will check out the movie this weekend. THank you for sharing.


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