In the music industry, there are few really big global Hungarian stars. The Hungarian music industry is a small market. The Hungarian language is nowhere near as widely spoken as Spanish or English. However, there are many popular festivals and foreigners often come to Hungary to perform. In fact, there is Hungarian music that has become world famous.
We present Hungarian music that has become known worldwide. Even if it is not the original song that became famous, but a foreign song.
Kanye West: New Slaves — Omega: Gyöngyhajú lány (Pearl Hair Girl)
Kanye West’s 2013 album Yeezus featured the track New Slaves. It was nominated for Best Rap Song of the Year at the Grammys. At 2 minutes 52 seconds into the song, you can hear the melody of Omega’s song “Gyöngyhajú lány” (“Pearl Hair Girl”). The case caused a big stir in the Hungarian press. Kanye allegedly did not ask for permission to use the song. The author of the song, Gábor Presser, sued the American rapper. West initially offered ten thousand dollars, but Presser demanded two and a half million dollars. The parties reportedly settled for $100,000.
Not only Kanye West, but also Wiz Khalifa used this base back in 2007. It can be heard on his track Buss Down. The song also appears in the trailer for Jonah Hill’s first film, which he directed. As for Kanye, 44 years passed between the two songs.
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Boney M.: Future World — Omega: Tízezer lépés (Ten thousand steps)
“I don’t want to say how many Omega songs were put on Boney M. records in a slightly different form than the original because Frank Farian was paying out of pocket, because according to the laws of the time, most of that money would have gone into the pockets of the Hungarian state if we had admitted that at the time,” said János Kóbor, frontman of Omega.
On Boney M.’s 1984 album Ten Thousand Lightyears, there are several songs that draw from Omega. Perhaps the most striking one is Future World. It is largely based on the song Tízezer lépés (Ten Thousand Steps). Boney M., like West, often used other bases. In Omega’s song, a choral sound pattern is heard at 39 seconds in Future World.
Christina Aguilera: Woohoo — Kovács Kati: Add már, Uram az esőt! (Give me, Lord the rain!)
Next to Gábor Presser, Kati Kovács’s songs are the second most frequently performed in foreign productions. Kati Kovács first sang this song at the 1972 Dance Dal Festival. You should listen carefully, the vocal motif in question appears in Christina Aguilera’s Wohoo at 28 seconds, while in Kovács’ song at 1 minute 20 seconds. Some people think that this is nitpicking or that it is only Hungarians who can spot the similarities. However, both Kati Kovács and songwriter Tibor Koncz confirmed that their names appeared on Aguilera’s album.
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