Famous musicians with Hungarian roots: Gene Simmons (Kiss), Suzi Quatro, Mariska Veres, Alanis Morissette and Joe Muranyi
World famous musicians with Hungarian roots which maybe you didn’t know:
The mother of the bass guitarist of American rock band Kiss, Flora Klein, was born in Bereg county, Hungary and fled to Palestine during the Second World War. Gene Simmons’ father, Ferenc Witz, a carpenter was of Hungarian origine.
Gene Simmons was born in Haifa, Israel, in 1949, as a Chaim Witz.
Kiss was founded in 1973 in New York; the band played hard rock right from the beginning, and although their first album was unsuccessful, their 1975 album became phenomenal success.
The band’s greatest hit, I Was Made For Lovin’ You, was written by Desmond Child, who by the way, has also Hungarian roots.
Gene Simmons besides English, German and Hebrew, also speaks fluently Hungarian.
The first true frontwoman of hard rock was born in Detroit in 1950 to a Hungarian mother and an Italian father. Suzi’s mother, Helen Szaniszlay was born in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg County, in Hungary.
Suzi learned playing on the guitar as a child from her Italian father who was jazz musician. She tried her luck in the US, but she became famous in England.
The skinny, but at the same time, very attractive girl found her own voice through the songs of one of the most famous composers of the seventies, Chinn and Chapman.
It’s a little weird that the duets “Stumblin'” recorded with Chris Norman has become her best-known hit.
Suzi Quatro is still very active; two months ago she was in Budapest. I’m doing the same for every concert, but this one is always special because of my mother. And of course, I’ve met again with relatives whom I have never met before, so I always come here with different feelings, she told Index.hu.
The daughter of Hungarian Gypsy Musician Lajos Veres who worked in Hague during the cold war era. In 1968, the “sad eyed” Mariska joined the Shocking Blue’s crew to become the lead singer of the rock band. Their biggest hit, “Venus” spent weeks at number one on the US rock chart.
In 1974, the band broke up, and though Mariska tried a solo career and even flirted with jazz, she never reached the fame she did as a member of Shocking Blue.
Mariska Veres died of gall bladder cancer on 2 December 2006, aged 59, just 3 weeks after the disease was discovered.
Alanis Morissette was born in Ottawa, Canada; her mother came to Canada as a refugee after the Soviet army put down the 1956 uprising.
Morissette’s first album, recorded at age seventeen, and was a big hit in Canada’
Soon after, she moved to Los Angeles where she recorded “Jagged Little Pill” which in 1995 received the best record of the year Grammy Award, and sold thirty-three million copies worldwide.
Since then, Morissette has recorded five more albums, and she acted in several films.
She did not forget about her Hungarian roots either: she named her son, born in 2010, Imre.
“I start up in the North
I grow from special seed
I sprinkle in with sensibility
From French and Hungarian snow
I linger in the sprouting until my engine’s full”
She sings in the hit “Citizen Of The Planet”
Joe Muranyi was the only white clarinet player in Louis Armstrong’s jazz band – he was called the Hungarian Joe. He was always proud of his “matyó” roots.
The Muranyi family moved to the United States from Mezőkövesd. He already born in Ohio, but it was the smoky clubs of Manhattan that attracted the young Muranyi.
He started his music career in Roy Eldridge’s big band, and from 1967 he was Louis Armstrong’s clarinet player.
He played to a Hungarian audience the first time in Salgótarján in 1989. She was sixty years old then.
After the regime change in 1990, he visited Hungary several times with various bands. He even wrote a book about Louis Armstrong, and he unveiled Louis Armstrong’s only statue in Hungary in the town of Bánk. Muranyi died in 2012, at the age of eighty-four.
Source: MNO.hu – hungarianambiancecom