Alas, we have to start the new year on a somewhat somber note. Only a few days after this here show went on its Christmas break, Croatian art-rock and pop singer Massimo Savić departed this world and joined the choir invisible. Which, you know, kind of obliges us to dedicate this episode to him. Especially as he was on the Balkan Express to-do list for a while.
Massimo Savić, a native of Pula in Croatian peninsula of Istria, first gained national prominence in early eighties, as the front-man of art-rock band Dorian Gray. His demeanor, slender stature and distinctive voice drew more than a few comparisons with David Bowie. And when the band landed its first hit with its debutante album, there was no turning back.
Only that there most definitely was turning back. After Massimo and Dorian Gray landed a massive with with what amounted to a re-recording of the Walker Brothers’ The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore, the burden of fame became too much for the band to bear. Their second album Za Tvoje Oči / For Your Eyes ruined them financially, as the band spent almost three times the budget they had for a recording session in Sweden.
The record company only agreed to pick up the tab if Dorian Gray did a 42-stop concert tour all around Yugoslavia for free. As a result, the band member went broke and for each other’s throats. Socialism, huh? Well, anyway… The days of Dorian Gray may have been over, but Massimo was only just beginning.
His early solo career took him in many different directions, but for the purposes of this show we should especially note his English language album titled Elements. Released in in 1992 by a Slovenian record company Helidon, a foreign-language album was still a rarity back then. Massimo availed itself of it with flying colours. Doubly so as he did not hide away from the fact that the newly independent Croatia was in the middle of a bitter fight for independence,
Overall, Massimo Savić released twenty-two albums and an untold number of EPs and singles. He is an unrivaled ten-time recipient of a Porin, the highest award of Croatian music industry and has collaborated with a host of musicians all over the former Yugoslavia. He also starred in several TV series and performed as a voice actor. In short, he became a true pop star. His greatest hit came in 2011, on the album Dodirni me slučajno / Touch me by chance. To date, this tune amassed a staggering sixteen million plays on YouTube.
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of, you guessed it, the Balkans. Forget gusle and tamburice, this show is about rock, pop and a sense of humour. Well, at least there’s guitars. On air most Tuesdays in a new-and-improved time-slot at 1100 hrs. Usually. Your train conductor is Aljaž (aka @pengovsky) who once did the world a solid and decided never to sing again in public. Which is why he ended up doing radio.
TuesdaysWith : Aljaž Every Tuesday at 10.00
Balkan Express takes weekly trips into contemporary musical production of the Balkans.