Neoton Família

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The band was founded in 1965 by László Pásztor and Lajos Galácz, studying Economy in Budapest, on the occasion of entering the school's annual Christmas music contest. Out of the two bands entering, Neoton, named by their Cheslovakian guitar finished second. Three years passes until their first major success, winning of the country-wide Who Knows What? contest in 1968 with the song ‘Nekem eddig Bach volt a mindenem’ (I have had everything to Bach). The same year marked the release of their first hit song ‘Kell hogy várj’ (I need to wait). In 1971 they released their first album ‘Bolond város’ featuring Lajos Som and Ferenc Debreceni, future drummer of the band Omega. While sales did not go well, it helped them to arrange a tour in Africa. After arriving home, some members quit, and the fate of Neoton became uncertain.

In 1973 what was left of Neoton started to coöperate with a girl band named Kócbabák (with singers Éva Fábián, Éva Csepregi and Éva Pál) who first appeared at 1972's Who Knows What? (note that Pál replaced founding member Marcellina Babits would have solo success in the 80’s) Under advice of record owner Péter Erdös the two bands merged in 1977 as Neoton Família and delivered their first album ‘Csak a zene’ which was in fact a compilation of the tracks that worked best during the numerous liveshows they’ve done till then. Erdos also included the band on the album "Köszönjük Mr Edison" celebrating the 100th anniversary of the discovery of the phonograph.  During an extensive tour throughout the socialist countries the band layed the foundations for their follow up ‘Neoton Disco’. Meanwhile Galácz (bass) left the band to be replaced by János Baracs.

The album proved to be a turning point for Neoton Família, as they got the chance to accompany the Hungarian entrants on the Midem festival in Cannes in 1979, and also play a few tracks of their own - gaining the interest of some foreign music industry officials. From the three girls Fábián then split leaving Csepregi (the blond one) and Pál (with the glasses) as lead singers. The família released the album ‘Napraforgó’, which finally secured their fame in Hungary. The Midem gig also persueded them to record an English-sung version of the album called ‘Sunflower’ (a thing they would continue for many years releasing English copies of the Hungarian original under the name Newton Family). Especially in Japan they reached a certain fanbase.

For the next four years the band released an album in each year, with more and more composers working on the team, a condition that not only provided hits, but also a lot of tension. Due to this main singer Éva Csepregi left the band in 1985 to pursue a solo career (with Scottish husband Bob Heatlie). This slowly led to the split of the band in 1990. One half continued to perform under the old name Neoton (with György Jakab and Pásztor) while Eva Csepregi (with Baracs) continued under the name Éva-Neoton. In 1995 György Jakab was diagnosed with a terminal illness, passing away in 1996. A few days later, the deceased former vocalist is Mária Juhász (who replaced Éva Csepregi in the NF incarnation of 1983-1990) also dies. György’s dream, a last concert with all Família members was organised in his memory in 1998 at the Budapest Sports Hall. Answering the pressure of the fans, another concert was held seven years later, in 2005, following several more in the oncoming years under the name Neoton Família Sztárjai. The children of the Neoton Família also have former a band under the name Neo Tones and recorded versions of their parent’s hits assembled on the album ‘Holnap’.

On the web:

- The band's website links to their wiki-page.
- There is however a nice Russian fan-site: http://www.neo-fam.ru

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What do we think:

DB: Disco-fun band Magyar style. This is the Hungarian band no-one dares to admit they actually boogie down too after some drinks. The Central European answer to the disco craze from the seventies they do not differ that much from acts like Supermax and Boney M. But then with a great singing duo (sometimes trio) and good instrumentalists. OK, the songs did not have very intellegent lyrics and the costumes were maybe a bit too much with the outrageous spectacles of Eva Pal as Elton John's wet dream. A camp act before the term was even invented. Due to the endless line-up changes the albums can sometimes be somewhat confusing. If you wanna be safe check their late seventies work or their early eighties when Eva & Eva were on a role as front-ladies. Not all songs are great but there is always some good stuff going on.

(If an album has an English-languaged edition you'll find the English title added to the original Hungarian title)

♪♪♪♪ - Csak a zene - 1977

♪♪♪ - Neoton Disco - 1978

♪♪♪ - Napraforgó (Sunflower) - 1979

♪♪♪ - Marathon (Marathon) - 1980

♪♪♪ - A familia (Dandelion) - 1981

♪♪ - Karnevál (Adam & Eve) - 1984

♪♪♪ - Magánügyek (Newton Monotony) - 1985

Further listening: Bolond város - 1971; Menedékház - 1976; Szerencsejáték (Gamble) - 1982; Jumping Tour - 1982; Neoton Família VII. (Jumpy dance) - 1983; Minek ez a cirkusz? (I love you) - 1986; Védőháló nélkül - 1987; Vonalra várva - 1988; Santa Maria és a többiek - 1988; Abrakadabra - 1989; Búcsú - 1996; Búcsúzni csak szépen - 1998

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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