Old pop festivals: Split '75

With 1975 pop music festival in Split finally arrived in its classic, golden period. Nothing was essentially wrong during the previous decade but it seems that with this particular year everything fell in place - the idea of foreign guest stars was discarded, local composers like Zdenko Runjić, Đelo Jusić and Nenad Vilović were at the peak of their powers and the best of all, music became genuinely lighthearted and good-natured, reflecting certain endearing optimism and vitality.

"Nježne strune mandoline", "Cvrčak cvrči Ane", "Šumi more" and "Ja ne mogu drugo nego da je ljubim" were amongst the most popular hits of the summer but we can't forget singles not assembled on this official LP album, such as irresistibly uplifting, galloping "Barbara" by Zvonko Špišić or "Vratija se barba iz Amerike" by Pro Arte. Worth mentioning were young Ksenija Erker with song by her husband Hrvoje Hegedušić and excellent, sonorous Beti Đorđević who must have been one of the best female voices of 1970s. Band Libertas with their heroic tenor leader Milo Hrnić had contagious hit "Moja Ane broji dane" that to this day functions as kind of Pavlov reflex for me personally and immediately brings me to childhood (I could just visualize little me in plastic sandals, prancing around the beach and reading "Popeye the Sailor" comics). The crown, however, goes to Oliver Dragojević who performed on both pop and newly organized chanson evenings - by all accounts hardly noticed at the time, hypnotic ballad "Moj galebe" eventually grew into such anthemic classic that nowadays people simply assumed that it was a winner - it was placed almost at the bottom. The whole collection bursts with energy and fun, it must have been one of the best years of this festival.

Worth searching for is the single "Jedra bijela" by Elvira Voća, not because its exceptional but because someone in Jugoton decided to have some fun and release the most unflattering photo of singer. Some forty years after the fact, I still giggle with delight upon seeing that unfortunate, utterly subversive cover.

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