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Scorpions honour János Kóbor, legendary singer of Omega, who died aged 78

János “Mecky” Kóbor, the legendary singer of the Hungarian band Omega, has died after spending several weeks in hospital with a Covid-19 infection.

Report: Miriam Ritchie

Omega became a cult band in Germany during the late ’70s, having toured Germany and recorded songs in German. The Scorpions opened for Omega during the ’70s in West Germany. Omega’s 1969 song Gyöngyhajú lány, pearly hair lady in English, was released by the Scorpions as White Dove in 1994 and Kanye West sampled Gyöngyhajú lány in his song New Slaves in 2013. A successful lawsuit led West to pay $50,000 after an initial $10,000 offer was refused.

Kóbor was born in Budapest in 1943 and co-founded Omega in 1962. The band initially played covers of English rock songs but began their own compositions in 1967. They toured England the following year and recorded their debut album Omega: Red Star From Hungary with English lyrics for Decca Records.

During the ’70s, some of the band’s albums were restricted or banned in Hungary due to the Communist regime’s view that hard rock music was subversive. The band released their thirteenth album Babylon in 1987 before going on a break.

Omega regrouped in 1994 for a major concert at Népstadion in Budapest which also featured Rudolf Schenker and Klaus Meine of The Scorpions. Kóbor sang Wind Of Change together with Klaus Meine.

Following the collapse of Communism in Hungary, Omega’s previously suppressed albums were released on CD, and the band returned to performing, with the album Trans and Dance released in 1995. The final album was Testament, released in 2020.

Kóbor spent his entire career with Omega. He also worked as a music director, ran a record label, and founded a sound equipment rental company.

Cover Image: Fortepan adományozó URBÁN TAMÁS – FOTO:Fortepan — ID 88423: http://www.fortepan.hu/?

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Comments

  1. Sad to hear this news today. Janos Kobor was the voice of Omega, and they were perhaps the first Eastern European band to break internationally. From beat/psychedelia to hard rock/progressive/space rock. Omega’s vast music legacy will live on.
    Rest in Peace, Janos Kobor.

  2. Dear Miriam,

    Unfortunately you made an epic mistake right in the first sentence. HUNGARY is the country we are talking about, not Germany.

    “Omega became a cult band in Germany during the late ’70s” you wrote.

    Wrong. Hungary. Were are Hungarians, not German. Different nation, different language, different history. It just goes likes this in Europe. We are all proud on our origin, culture and presence.

    Otherwise your commemoration about Mecky and the globe’s second (!) oldest existing rock band after Rolling Stones, so it would be elegant – but this mistake ruins it somehow.

    It would be nice to correct.
    Thank you for your attention.

    Chris

  3. Hi Chris,
    Miriam makes reference to Hungary in the first paragraph. The second paragraph refers to Omega touring Germany and becoming a cult band in that country.

    Thanks for reading,
    Steve (Editor)

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