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MFÖ is one of the main attractions in Turkish music. The name is actually the first letters of the names of the main members, Mazhar Alanson (vocals), Fuat Güner (guitar), and Ozkan Ugur (bass). MFÖ takes its power from the combination of three creative minds. Aside from being good musicians, all three were also great songwriters and, above it, all three could sing as well. Utilizing the combined vocal harmonies, MFÖ was distinctive, but on the other hand, with easily memorized and still deeply touching lyrics, they were the ultimate crowd favorites.
The history of MFÖ dates back to the mid-'60s. In 1966, Fuat Güner and Mazhar Alanson met because of a Beatles LP, and after some listens to it together, they realized that they could form a band. They first played together in Kaygisizlar, in which a great number of talented musicians took part for short periods of time. Güner and Alanson met the likes of Baris Manco and Fikret Kizilok in that band. "Kol Dugmeleri" was one of the Baris Manco hits he recorded with Kaygisizlar. After Manco left, Kaygisizlar kept going and recording singles. As the lineup changes became more frequent than acceptable, Güner and Alanson decided to go solo. The album Turkuz Turku Cagiririz was released in 1974 under the name Mazhar-Fuat. It was and is still one of the most respected albums of the Turkish psychedelic era, and it also included the early versions of MFÖ hits like "Gullerin Icinden."
In the meantime, Ozkan Ugur (bass) played with Baris Manco's band Kurtalan Ekspres and also with Erkin Koray for a short time with his band Ter. He also joined Anatolian pop master Ersen's band Ersen ve Dadaslar. The three musicians decided to play together in 1976. Taking Ayhan Sicimoglu (drums) and Galip Boransu (keyboards) on their side, they formed Ipucu Beslisi. Although the lineup seemed promising, they could only release one single, "Heyecanli." The first-ever Turkish video clip for a song was shot for this single.
In 1984, when their first album under the name MFÖ was released, they were actually playing together for more than a decade. Their experience showed as their debut, Ele Gune Karsi, was an instant success. Mostly composed of downtempo ballads except the title track and a few funky pieces, the album received numerous awards including Best Album and Best Songwriter (for "Alanson"). Ele Gune Karsi is a milestone in Turkish music history.
The period between 1984 and 1995 was the most creatively efficient period of the band. After a failed attempt for the Eurovision Song Contest ("Diday Diday Day" could only score 14th place), the second album, Peki Peki Anladik, was also a failure to follow their debut. The second half of the album was completely in English, with a hope to be accepted in Europe, which also didn't happen. A year later, in 1986, Vak the Rock was released. Putting in more guitars this time, they regained their fame with songs like "Gozyaslarimizi Bitti Mi Sandin?" and "Bazen."
1987 saw them release No Problem. The more uptempo and gig-friendly album secured their place; however, in 1988, when they gave a second shot for the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Sufi," they were again disappointed with the 15th place.
After their first compilation, The Best of MFÖ, the fifth album, Geldiler, followed in 1990. Preferring talking over singing most of the time, Geldiler was a socially disturbed album. Painting fake moustaches on the cover, the album is a representation of the problems occurring from heavy migration to Istanbul and the competitive working conditions of the industrialized modern world. 1992's Agannaga Rusvet was the follow-up to its predecessor. The album criticized mostly the economic system and the use of violent acts in order to solve social problems in a very straightforward way.
While the same year's Donmem Yolundan returned to the style of their debut, it was M.V.A.B., released in 1995, which could match the quality of Ele Gune Karsi. As the title track offers ("Mazeretim Var Asabiyim Ben" meaning "I have an excuse, I'm pissed of") the band was furious and the shiny pop sound of their earlier productions were missing. Being a great album, it was also the end of MFÖ's highly creative years.
Even though they stopped writing for the band, they kept playing live. Later, members of MFÖ worked on their solo projects. While they wrote music for films and plays, Ozkan Ugur took part in television and Mazhar Alanson filmed with the well-known Turkish comedian Cem Yilmaz. The band also had a TV show named MFÖ Show.
In 2003, MFÖ Collection, a compilation of re-recorded and reformated version of MFÖ songs, was released. A highly anticipated album comprised of original material was released in 2006. AGU resembles the solo work of Mazhar Alanson. ~ Vefik Karaege
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