Translated as “White Button”, Bijelo Dugme was perhaps the most important band in Yugoslav rock. Since Yugoslavia was a non-aligned state equally open towards the Eastern bloc and the West, it was able to absorb musical influences like rock ‘n’ roll. The band would appear in local festivals in the region including the Italian San Remo festival which aired on television.
Although interest in rock waned in Yugoslavia by the 1980s, there was a real resurgence with Bijelo Dugme, a group from Bosnia led by international music star Goran Bregović. As was the case with many of their contemporaries, they had to publish four successful singles before they were given the opportunity to record an album. Their appeal most likely came in combining Bosnian traditional music with prog-rock. Unusually, their LPs were as popular as their singles and record companies started to understand that rock albums were a viable commercial product. This likely opened the doors for the next generation of rockers to publish their own labels, culminating in the 1980s boom of Yugoslav rock. The album shown here was from a live performance on April 5, 1981 at a club called Kulušić in Zagreb. This was their last performance of a tour starting in 1980 called Doživjeti stotu (Live to Be a Hundred).
The album cover was designed by photographer Dragan S. Stefanović who held a photo session with the daughter of actor Mladen Jeličić. The girl was wearing a grownup’s robe and high heels but she started taking her clothes off when she needed to use the potty. Stefanović continued shooting and three of those ended up on the album cover. During that time in Yugoslav history, no one gave a second thought to such images. The later mix of US puritanical influence and reestablishment of the Catholic religion in Croatia, required that the CD version be released omitting the middle image.
Research for this post came from a devoted reader and was only edited down to the current length to cover only the most relevant aspects of the album. You can find more on this band and the album here, here and here. -Ron