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Pál Éva

Pál Éva
born 04.07.1952

1972-1973 - Kócbabák
1973-1976 - Neoton & Kócbabák
1977-1983, 1987 - Neoton Família
1990 - Új Neoton
Éva Pál inherited her talent from her parents. Her mother was a theater actress for a long time, and her father József Pál was a famous inventor awarded with the Kossuth Prize. Éva was all about music since childhood: she took up singing at 5, from 1958 to 1966 sang in the Hungarian Radio Children's choir. In 1966 she took second place in "Liberation Memorial" youth contest. After her time in high school won admission to music conservatory, graduating piano class at composition faculty. Éva was also passionate about gymnastics, showing a lot of promise. However, due to an accident during training she broke her wrist and could not engage in gymnastics or playing piano anymore. Éva overcame the shock though, not giving up music by taking up singing. In 1972 she participated in "Ki mit tud?" talent show but at a critical moment her song was taken off the contest. Once again Éva did not give up and continued singing, and her time has come soon.

In 1973 she joined a female vocal trio "Kócbabák" as a singer, which became a turning point in her career. Pali was the oldest of trio's members: 2 years older than Vicu and 4 years older than Csepi. The same year the trio became performing together with a rock band called "Neoton", soon forming a single band called "Neoton & Kócbabák". Quite quickly Pali pressed Vicu as lead vocalist, and shared with her the leading female vocals in most of the songs "Kócbabák" in 1975-1976. Also, Éva Pál was responsible in the women's trio for piano accompaniment, choreography and costume design for performances. On "Menedékház" (1976), the band's first album, great lead vocals in such songs as "Szeretem azt", "Egy vidám dal" and "Maradj még egy percet" belong to Pali, and in the first disco-song "Ha zene szól" (1977) too. In 1977 the band successfully applied for a state support and was renamed into "Neoton Família". Éva Pál sang "Szeress úgy!" and "A riporter" from "Csak a zene" album (1977), then "Kotta-fej" and the most of the songs on English lyrics 1978 album. 

Éva's powerful voice, cheery demeanor and professional behavior finally bore fruit: she got noticed, and in 1978 Hungarian music review Pop-Meccs ranked her third in "singer of the year" chart. One year later "Neoton Família" took Grand Prix at MIDEM event in Cannes. On the following album titled "Napraforgó" ("Sunflower", 1979) Éva also sung solo in most of the songs; fans adored hit songs like "Ha szombat este táncol" ("If There's Dancing on Saturday") and groovy "Szia!" ("Hi!") and "Megőrülök a szerelemért" ("Crazy in Love"). During this period her colorful stage persona of a dance music singer who's a sensual woman inside was born. Her seductive, immodest and plainly "pro-Western" look defied Eastern bloc ideological dogmas of that age; during one concert in USSR she dared to walk the stage almost naked, in a torn dress. Éva was also famous for her collection of eyewear which she put on display during shows, in videos and advertisements.

After "Neoton Família"'s success in Cannes everyone in Hungary was sure that the band's frontwoman Éva Pál is on her way to superstardom. This wasn't bound to happen though: Péter Erdős, who was managing the band on behalf of the record label, suddenly opposed Éva Pál's lead singer status, axing her parts on the following records. It's easy to notice that on 1981-1982 albums lead vocals become Éva Csepregi's domain. Later Éva Pál told that after "Neoton Família" returned from MIDEM Péter Erdős called her into his office, proposing her to shack up with him. She shockedly refused and this became the cause of all her hardships that followed. "Péter Erdős knew very well that he can not remove me from the team, because there will be a huge scandal," - Pali said later. - "Instead, I got fewer and fewer vocal parts." Due to constant nagging and restrictions Éva Pál was thinking of leaving the band as early as 1981, but she stayed for a year since "Neoton Família" were going on Japanese tour. After the tour her life as a member of "Neoton Família" became totally unbearable so Éva had to make the hardest decision of her entire life: after ten years of participating in the band's work, performances and tours she left it on 7 January 1983. Because of nervous overstrain, she was forced to go to a hospital in Canada.

The last "Neoton Família" album to feature her voice was 1983 "Aerobic" LP, and the last such single was "Aerobic/Pogót táncolj!". Then in 1984 Éva gave birth to a son and withdrew for four years from the music world. Péter Erdős wouldn't allow her music career to advance in any way, so she had to sing part-time in restaurants and sell tablecloths at the market stall. According to Éva, she didn't try to join any other Hungarian pop band as a singer even once, because doing that without a blessing from Péter Erdős equaled suicide at the time. Yet she kept a watchful eye on a band that was once her own while arranging her life, never quite giving up on the possibility of her return. Many things have changed in Hungary and other Eastern bloc countries in the late 1980s, so in 1987 Éva once again went into Péter Erdős's office and pleaded him, literally crying on her knees, to allow her to participate in "Neoton Família"'s activities. Since she admitted Éva Csepregi's leading role, Erdős agreed, proposing her to work on a record aimed at children, so she along with Éva Csepregi and Ádám Végvári recorded an album titled "Lehet egy kiskutyával több?" ("What About Another Dog?"). After that she also participated in recording the last three "Neoton Família" albums during 1987-1989, but Péter Erdős never accepted her as a "family member" again, so album credits contained a line "Neoton Família featuring Pál Éva". 

Since 1987, Pali also recorded backing vocals for some of Éva Csepregi and Erika Zoltán's solo albums, as well as Ádám Végvári's "Éva Nélkül" (1988), and collaborated with other Hungarian artists, including the teenage band "Roller", and led her own children's music TV show. After "Neoton Família"'s 1990 breakup she was a singer in "Új Neoton" for a while, then, when Szulák Andrea became their singer, she recorded backing vocals for their "A Trónörökös" album alongside Mária Juhász. As for her own career, just after death of Péter Erdős she signed a contract with Magneoton label, recording a solo album titled "Mindenem a zene", but due to technical and financial issues is was released only in 1995, failing to find its audience.

By Mikhail Badanin
Translated into English by Andrey Sinelnikov