October 18th, 2012

Nation Bids Goodbye to the King of Hungarian Elvi

Probably every country in the world has a singer who ends up with the honor of being widely considered that nation’s Elvis Presley. Hungary has the honor of having had at least two.

Anyone who has lived here for at least a decade will remember Zámbó Jimmy (a.k.a. Jimmy Zámbó) whose four octave range earned him the sobriquet “The King” – and who, like his more famous American nick-namesake, died at age 42 in sad and slightly seedy circumstances (he shot himself in the head sort of mistakenly, while trying to shut up a neighbor’s noisy rooster).

But there was another Hungarian Elvis, who drew his inspiration more directly from the original Elvis: László Komár.

Komár got his start just when the most senior of the three Elvi in question was beginning his long slide into bloated oblivion, and he didn’t stop until a few years ago. While one of his 18 LPs was devoted to Hungarian-language Elvis covers, we will instead pay tribute to him with a video, from 1981 or so, of his most famous tune, táncoló fekete lakkcipők, which can be best, but still awkwardly, translated as “dancing black patent leather shoes.” It’s well worth a listen. Or 20.

László Komár died in his wife’s arms yesterday, from an undisclosed, incurable illness. He was 67. Rock on, dude.

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