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Omega originated in September, 1962 as the merger of two smaller bands, by László Benkő on organ and János Kóbor as a singer and rhythm guitarist. They initially performed covers of British and American rock songs, frequently changing the lineup of members. In 1963 they performed at a beat festival at the National Sports Hall together with Elijah, Metro, Kati Kovács and Sarolta Zalatnay. In 1967 Tamás Mihály came on bass, Gábor Presser joined on keyboards and began writing original music for the band. Like other bands in Hungary their break came with the documentary…. Featuring an insight in Hungary’s beat scene. With the addition of György Molnár on guitar the band was invited for a small tour of the UK in 1968. Local authorities allowed this if the band changed its name into Omega Red Star band. In the hope of selling album abroad they compiled the first singles of the band into a debut album. Back home they dropped the Red Star and started recording on their first full album ‘10 000 lépés’ (1969), an album filled with psychedelic influences picked up in the West. In 1970 the band started recording their third album but the first cracks were already visible with Presser Gabor and drummer József Laux leaving to form Locomotiv GT in spring 1971. Due to this only half the band turned up for a tour of Japan with Ferenc Debreceni (later as Debreczeni) from Neoton behind the drums. Benkő and Kóbor were set on showing the band could survive assembled a new band and gave a big show in Prague. During the following tour the live-album ‘200 évvel az utolsó háború után’ (200 years after the last war) was recorded but due to suggestive lyrics and intermissions by Kóbor the album did not make it through censorship. The band was forced to record a studio-live album ‘Élő Omega’ instead. The original album was released on CD in 1998.

Meanwhile Benkő got hold of the first synthesizers available in Hungary and they formed a style change from hard rock to a more progressive sound. Album 5 (also known as ‘Szvit’) and 6 (also known as ‘Tűzvihar’) show this style change. The public loved it pushing the band towards stadium status. This triggered the band to pick up their old ambition to break in Western Europe. Album 7, 8 and 9 were also translated in English without much success. These three albums are also connected as a trilogy concerning a Science Fiction tale about time-robbers and Blade Runner storytelling resulting in the grand final ‘Gammapolis’ of 1979. The trilogy saw a live performance at the Kissstadium (which was recorded for a live-album). In 1980 Omega did a joined liveshow with LGT combining two generations of Omega together. Their 1981 album was the last one that would also appear in English. Failing to break that market the band let that ambition slip. In 1982 they celebrated their 20th anniversary as a band. The subsequent years were spent mainly on touring with the regular studio album as support. Benkő and Kóbor also established a joint venture at that time securing the legal rights for their songs. In 1987, after a final show at the Kisstadium, the band announced a sabbatical that would turn out to last for seven years. Benkő released a solo album but failed to impress.

Following a few years of inactivity, the band reunited in 1994, with former member Gábor Presser joining them at concerts and contributing several tracks to 1995's ‘Trans And Dance’, later released in the Hungarian version as ‘Transendent’. Another album followed in 1998 but the band did not support it with a tour and sales were disappointing. This led that all band activities were set on hold and band members paid their attention to subsequent solo material or touring as Omega-spin offs. Increased demand from the fans gave enough reason for 2006’s Égi jel: Omega ("Divine Sign: Omega"), and an extensive tour "EurOmega 2006", including concerts in Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Berlin and Basel. As the first part of a new trilogy the band released a symphonic album in autumn 2010 ‘Omega Rhapsody’. The live show was done early 2011.

On the web:

- Omega's website: http://www.omega.hu

If you like this, you probably like... / european counterparts:

Time (Croatia)

Erkin Koray (Turkey)

What do we think:

DB: Maybe unknown in Western Europe but Omega was huge in the former Eastern Bloc. Their fame surpassed the Hungarian borders and they gave mega concerts with impressive light and sound all around Central Europe. They did try to reach the Anglo-American market with translated material. However, the contents of the English albums often differed from their Hungarian counterparts, sometimes assembling tracks from several different albums and nearly always changing the song order. The wanted success in the West never happened but in fellow countries behind the Iron Curtain Omega reached legendary status. Just like their western counterparts (think Yes, Genesis or Deep Purple) the punk-period was unkind for the symphonic rockshow they staged. The Eighties almost meant the end of them but they revived themselves in the new age as classic rock-act..


- Trombitás Frédi és a rettenetes emberek - 1968

♪♪♪♪ - 10 000 lépés - 1969

- Éjszakai országút - 1970

- Élő Omega – 1972 (aka ‘200 évvel az utolsó háború után’ (1998))

- Omega 5: Szvit - 1973

- Omega 6: Nem tudom a neved - 1975

♪♪♪ - Omega 7: Időrabló - 1977 (aka Time Robber)

- Omega 8: Csillagok útján - 1978 (aka Skyrover)

♪♪♪♪ - Gammapolisz - 1979

♪♪ - Omega X: Az arc - 1981

- Omega XI - 1982

- Omega 12: A föld árnyékos oldalán - 1986

- Omega XIII: Babylon - 1987

- Trans And Dance - 1995 (aka Transcendent)

- Omega XV: Egy életre szól - 1998

- Omega XVI: Égi jel: Omega - 2006

- Omega Rhapsody - 2010

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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  EUROPOPMUSIC - Central Europe