Oliver Mandić Bookmark and Share


13 july 1953

Oliver Mandić ( born in Titovo Užice, Serbia) was musically involved from a young age. He first started playing the accordion before taking up the piano. In his early youth, Mandić's family moved to the capital Belgrade where he pursued a career of a pianist after getting accepted at highly reputable Kornelije Stanković musical high school. However, despite a lot of promise, he left school in 1969 to try to branch out into pop music. Towards the end of 1971 he started playing in a jazz-rock band called Oliver with members of Pop mašina along with Dušan Prelević on vocal. The group performed only once - January 2, 1972 at Hala sportova. Around the same time, he took part in his first studio recording (made with Dušan Prelević): single 'Tajna'/'Prošlo je sve'.

Mandić's next notable outing came during the 1976 BOOM festival at Tašmajdan Stadium where he led the especially assembled group called Oliverova beogradska reprezentacija. It was also the first public display of his famous tantrums smashing his synthesizer on stage and walked out in the middle of performing unhappy with the level of commitment his fellow musicians were putting forth. Mandić's solo performing career began almost by chance in 1978 with 'Ljuljaj me nežno'/' Šuma'. In 1980 Mandić produced his first solo album 'Probaj me'. The record was promoted somewhat unconventionally - through TV show 'Beograd noću' ('Belgrade by night'). Mandić's  performance in in high heels and tight mini-skirt  caused a riot across Yugoslavia. In 1982, second album 'Zbog tebe bih tucao kamen' came out. Again a controversy was created with the disco track 'Sve su seke jebene' (using motives from Crven ban, book of erotic folk poetry collected by Vuk Stefanović Karadžić).

During the eighties he didn’t make himself popular with fellow artists being very outspoken about their musical abilities. He frequently called Goran Bregović an amateur for his complete lack of formal musical education and a practice of borrowing/stealing and re-arranging riffs & bars from foreign hits. On the other hand Mandić often praised the work of Korni grupa, Josipa Lisac and Indexi.

For his third album he started to work with more traditional folk music to incorporate with pop. His 1985 album Dođe mi da vrisnem tvoje ime contained many of such tracks. The same year also saw him take part in YU Rock Misija, Yugoslav contribution to Bob Geldof's Band Aid. After this his career actually end in the album-tour-album sense. He started to work behind the scenes as a producer and an executive. He did record an album of children's music, 'Deca bez adrese', with popular children's entertainer and TV personality Branko Kockica. But after this it is almost all compilations that he puts out.

Around a year later, towards the end of 1991, he took part as a extra member of rock band Riblja čorba. The idea was to include Mandić in the creative process of the band's planned farewell album 'Labudova pesma'. A row between Mandić and Bora Đorđević resulted in Mandić demanding all tracks to be removed. Raw studio versions of Mandić's unreleased tracks have since then became collecter's items. In the early 1990s, he also became involved politically with Serbian paramilitary Arkan whom he knew since childhood. Mandić was often seen wearing the Serbian Volunteer Guard uniform around Belgrade and even made a couple of trips to the frontlines in Slovenia.

In early 2008, Mandić made another partial comeback with a song 'Vreme za ljubav ističe' featuring Ceca. The song was already recorded during the 1995-1996 period for Mandić's eventually unreleased album Kad ljubav ubije.

On the web:

- Oliver doesn't seem to have a website which probably fits his excentric image

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What do we think:

DB: Again someone who doesn't score high on the political correctness scale. With Mandic you can wonder if it isn't all one big marketing tric to keep in the public eye whilst playing the mystical oddball. Whatever it is he made some nice and orginal synthipop at the start of the eighties where he mixes Serbian folk with pop. The albums hint to a great talent but a new album would be welcome by now. If someone thought Axl Rose took a long time to record his new album... think again.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪ - Probaj me - 1980

? - Zbog tebe bih tucao kamen - 1982

♪♪♪ - Dođe mi da vrisnem tvoje ime - 1985

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