Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

“This album fell like a meteorite.” 55 years since the debut of the group Breakout

‘On the other side of the rainbow’ team Breakout (check!) was a breakthrough. This album fell from the sky like a meteorite and shattered the current model of Polish pop music into pieces,” he told PAP. Mariusz Wilczyński. Music for his classic animated film “Kill it and leave this town” is authored by Tadeusz Nalepa.

“In the 1960s, the so-called popular music was largely banal and infantile. Young people pretended that they were children and that they had children’s problems, not young people’s. Cheerful but stupid songs about ladybugs with dots and butterflies were sung. It was Tadeusz Nalepa “he opposed this infantilism – he showed real problems of real young people – real feelings, breakups, love, longing,” he explained.

Tadeusz Nalepa was born on August 26, 1943 in Zgłobnie near Rzeszów. He graduated from the music school in Rzeszów in the violin, clarinet and double bass classes.

“At a young age, one has a terrible inclination to play music, and I was offered to play at the Parkowa café in Rzeszów. There wasn’t much work: five hours, six times a week. It suited me very well, and I earned decent money. My father was a bit jealous about the fact that he has worked for so many years and his salary is lower than mine,” the musician mentioned in one of the interviews.

In the summer of 1963, together with Mira Kubasińska from the Porfirion cabaret in Rzeszów received a distinction in the vocal groups category 2nd Festival of Young Talents in Szczecin. They sang “Let’s Twist Again” by Chubby Checker. In January 1964, Nalepa and Kubasińska got married. In August 1965, the musician founded the group Blackout. The debut concert took place on September 3 at the Łączościowiec club in Rzeszów.

“I think it was in early 1965 that I accidentally came across a concert Blue and Black. While listening to them, I thought that I could create such a band. Although I didn’t like the singing announcer, there were too many soloists. But I was impressed by Niemen, Buran and the band itself,” Nalepa recalled in the 1990s.

“What distinguished the songs of Blackout, and later Breakout, from many other groups were the extremely mature and thoughtful lyrics of the Rzeszów poet Bogdan Loebel. The cooperation lasted for many years. To this, Nalepa added sharp guitar riffs. Some heard guitar sounds in them Jimi Hendrix Whether Cream. Nalepa was labeled a white bluesman, but every musical group of that time was fascinated by Hendrix, and in Breakouts, next to the bars associated with ‘Hey, Joe’, you can mainly hear Slavic, Podkarpacie singing,” emphasizes Wilczyński, adding that Nalepa created his own, original style formed somewhere “between the Mississippi Delta, London and Subcarpathia”.

Blackout created Tadeusz Nalepa (vocals, guitar), Krzysztof Dłutowski (organs), Robert Świerszcz (bass guitar) i Józef Hajdasz (drums). By December 1967, they had recorded several singles and the album “Blackout”. He also sang in the group Stanisław Guzekbetter known as Stan Boris. “Na vocalo” replaced it Mira Kubasińska.

In February 1968, Nalepa formed a formation called Breakout. “The English word ‘Przełom’ was more appropriate than ‘blackout’. It well illustrated the groundbreaking nature of the group, breaking with the conventions prevailing in Polish youth music. Nalepa introduced his ambitious rock and then world-class blues into the world of Polish, somewhat parochial big beat,” Wilczyński emphasized .

“At the instigation Franciszek Walicki we started playing more modern music. That suited me. The music of the late 1960s in the West was very predatory. We had to leave our ambitious, but too nice songs from the Blackout period,” Nalepa recalled years later. Walicki, called the “father of Polish rock”, collaborated with the group as a lyricist writing under a pseudonym Jacek Grań.

Breakout debuted on February 21, 1968 in the Stodoła club in Warsaw – then located in a room rented from WP at ul. Nowowiejska (former Oka Cinema). Bass Janusz Zieliński replaced Robert Świerszcz, and shortly later – replaced him Michael Muzolf. The group went to the Netherlands, where they played several concerts in clubs. They invested the money they earned in equipment – guitars and a Marshall amplifier. Rock historians emphasize that Breakout had a specific, sharp sound, completely different from domestic rock groups. They were at the peak of popularity in Great Britain John Mayall and Cream – then just before the breakup. In London, rhythm’n’blues triumphed, in Warsaw – Breakout.

“The first time I heard ‘If you loved, hey!’ as a child in a sixteen-square-meter apartment. The sound from the black and white TV was terrible – something between a circular saw and a jackhammer, something completely different from what could be heard on the radio. Only a few years later I realized that it was wonderful music, as if from another world.” – recalled Wilczyński. “If You…” was the biggest Polish hit at the turn of 1968 and 1969.

“If you liked me just a little bit, hey/if you loved me like you don’t love me/if you weren’t what you are/wanted like you don’t want me/you would be the wind and I would be the field, hey, you would be the sky, I would be the poplar, hey/you would be the sun, and I’m a shadow/if only you would change! – Kubasińska sang.

At the turn of February and March 1969, Breakout released its first album – “On the other side of the rainbow”, consisting of ten songs. Apart from the above-mentioned hit “If You Love, Hej”, the album released by Pronit Polskie Nagrania includes, among others: cover “Do you still remember me” by Czesław Niemen. “I would follow you to the very heaven/But too high, but too high/But how can you not be afraid of it?/I would follow you to the very hell/But too hot, but too hot/But I would still burn!” – was the chorus of one of the most popular songs on the album – a hit “I would follow you” (check!).

Although Loebl was the author of most of Breakout’s lyrics, only three of his songs appeared on the debut album: “We’ve already told you everything”, “Where do you want to go” and “Po ten moon golden”. The author of the text “Crying across the Dunajec” was Marek Gaszyński. He played the saxophone Włodzimierz Nahornythe choir parts sang Alibabaki. The CD cost PLN 80.

“Breakout’s debut album conquered the market and the hearts of listeners. There were long queues of fans in front of the bookstores, there was not enough for everyone. It was a real musical event. Sharp music, close to rhythm’n’blues and poetic lyrics that young listeners identified with. There were still some echoes of big beat in the musical layer, but it was a real breakthrough in the history of Polish rock,” Wilczyński pointed out. “You never ask for anything/And yet you know what I want/To sail through the rainbow/To its unknown other shore,” the singer sang in the title track.

“Although privately I like the band’s other albums more, I believe that Breakout’s debut album holds up despite the passage of 55 years. It is full of energy, stylistically original – simply excellent. What is important, young people also listen to it. I found this out during meetings with the viewers of ‘Kill it and leave this city’. I was convinced that the Breakout vibe was people over 50. Meanwhile, after the Polish Film Institute’s research, it turned out that 70 percent of the viewers were people under thirty! When I asked them ‘what do you like? “They said ‘music, you can hear it’s the music of that generation!'” – emphasized Mariusz Wilczyński.

In August 1969, he became the group’s bassist Piotr Nowakreplaced him a few months later Józef Skrzek. At the turn of the decade, the PRL media criticized Breakout’s music, clothing and style of the musicians. From the early 1970s, the authorities banned the broadcast of the performances on television and radio. In 1971, the group released the album “Blues”, recorded with Dariusz Kozakiewicz (guitar), Jerzy Goleniewski (bass) i Tadeusz Trzciński (harmonica). A year later, Breakout recorded the album “Karate”. Włodzimierz Nahorny left the band. In the years 1973-75 the group gave concerts, among others: in the Netherlands, the GDR and the USSR. The fifth album “Kamienie” was recorded in 1974. By 1980 the albums “NOL”, “ZOL” and “Żagiel Ziemi” were released. The band ceased its activity in 1982.

Over the following years, the band was reactivated several times. Nalepa began a solo career and recorded nine studio albums and four live albums. He was often called the “father of Polish blues”. He died on March 4, 2007 in Warsaw. Two years earlier, Mira Kubasińska passed away, from whom he divorced in 1980. He later married Grażyna Dramowiczwho supported him on stage.

“Breakout music was and is more than just an aesthetic phenomenon – it united an entire generation,” Wilczyński concluded.

– I believe that Breakout played a big role in the history of music in Poland. It existed for 10 years, we released 10 albums, and besides, I am the creator of almost all the songs (except two) – said Tadeusz Nalepa in July 2005 in an interview with Interia.

The musician had long-term health problems, including kidney disease. In 1992, he had to undergo a transplant of one of them, and the cause of the legendary guitarist’s death was severe kidney disease.

In one of the interviews, Tadeusz Nalepa said: “I achieved what I wanted. I regret not having recorded more albums, and I could have had at least twice as many. I will stay with the blues. I feel good with myself and what I do.”

His work was recalled in 2008. Jan Borysewicz (guitarist Lady Pankplayed with Nalepa briefly in the early 1980s) and son – Piotr Nalepa, recording the album “In tribute to Tadeusz Nalepa”. They were accompanied by musicians who had the opportunity to cooperate with the Breakout leader: including: Paweł Kukiz (then vocalist Breasts), Maciej Balcar and Jerzy Styczyński (Dżem), Darek Kozakiewicz (guitarist Perfectu), Andrzej Nowak (guitarist TSA), Leszek Cichoński, Marek Raduli (former guitarist Suflera booths), Piotr Cugowski (Brothers) Whether Maciek Silski.

The musician was buried on March 12, 2007 at the Powązki Cemetery in Warsaw. They said goodbye to him, among others. Dariusz Kozakiewicz, Józef Skrzek, Grzegorz Markowski, Izabela Trojanowska, Janusz Panasewicz, Jerzy Styczyński and Sławek Wierzcholski.