It is about time to share with you guys a band from my local region that has been the most popular band ever to exist in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (middle 70s - late 80s). This is a band from Sarajevo that blew everybody’s mind in its prime, considered as one of the biggest and most important acts on the Yugoslav rock scene. Bijelo Dugme were really important for the progress of the Music Industry in Yugoslavia. Their music is generally rock n roll; Hard, progressive, folk rock; blues also new wave and pop rock.
First I will start with their name. Actually the first name of the band was Jutro (Morning in English) but after their performance of their song called Kad bi bio Bijelo Dugme (If I were a White Button) on a new Year’s Eve concert, everybody started recognizing them as Bijelo Dugme, not as Jutro. They changed their name on the 1st of January 1974.
Why Yugoslav Beatles? Let me answer this question with a longer description:
Fact number one: In 1981 Iron Maiden were an opening band for their concert in Belgrade.
Fact number two: They had over 300 gigs and concerts per year!
Fact number three: They had the biggest concerts that were made in the history of Yugoslavia with audience of 80 000 to over 100 000 people.
Fact number four: their 3rd album Eto! Baš hoću! (There! I Will!) is actually recorded in AIR Studios, Oxford Circus, London where The Beatles recorded some of their greatest albums.
To sum up:What the Beatles succeeded to elicit in the UK, can also be ascribed to Bijelo Dugme in Yugoslavia. They appeared on right place in a right time!
However they also had some hard times. In 1977, Bijelo Dugme organized a huge Tour but unfortunately because of lack of audience on their concerts in the middle of the tour, the tour was canceled, so they decided to take some action. Bijelo Dugme organized a massive concert free of charge in Belgrade which nearly 100 000 people attended to, thereby helping them regain their previous popularity.
The front man and the composer of most of the songs who is also the main solo guitarist is Goran Bregovic. He stayed in the band from the very beginning (1974) to the final end (1989).
They practically inserted folk elements typical for these expanses in a rock, rock n roll and blues packages with contraversial lyrics and cover photos on the albums that attracted more attention from the people. This was the first time a sub-culture became mainstream in Yugoslavia.