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Friday, May 14, 2004

1997

Every time I listen to an old Tarkan song it brings back many memories.

Each song has its own history for the listener.

Once a musician releases a song, it does not belong to the artist anymore. It's adopted by the fans, who cherish the work and give it new depth by making it a part of their experience and memories.

A song will remind you of a good time or a bad time, of a loved one, of a place, of a friend.

Certain Tarkan songs hold precious memories for me. One in particular is of an old love remembered, a time at the beach, when we had escaped from the heat of the night by going to the sea. We sat by the sleeping shore all night and watched the sunrise from the horizon, with only a bottle of wine, whispered words and Tarkan's voice as witness to it. That was in 1997.

Whenever a new album is to be released, I get that old feeling of anticipation and remember back to the year 1997, and the few months before the release of his Ölürüm Sana album.

Life is like a roundabout sometimes, so many emotions repeated again and again...

The Tarkan Years
The years 1994-1997 were definitely the 'Tarkan years' for me. I will always remember those years with astonishment. It could be because I was younger then, and the young see the world with simple eyes. It is a time when you feel you can do anything. You are the world. And in those years, it was definitely Tarkan's world.

Fans who came across Tarkan after 1999 may not understand those years. But as a Turkish boy, the explosion in the Turkish pop scene was unbelievable.

I felt it, even though I lived in England and only came to Northern Cyprus in the summer. I can only imagine what it was like in Turkey at the time. But if it was anything like those days in Northern Cyprus, then explosion is an understatement.

Everyone who was anyone was talking about Tarkan. His songs were being played everywhere.

My group of friends were always using the slang lyrics that came out of his songs in conversation. His songs entered our consciousness, our diction, our hearts and our minds. We decided to abandon stereotypes. We would use Tarkan as an aid to flirt with girls. He was an addiction that was caught by everyone. Everyone was high.

When his picture appeared in a newspaper or magazine, it was sold out in the same day.

I remember one friend who flew to Istanbul just to find a magazine which had not arrived in Northern Cyprus. When news reached fans of a new music video they would sit glued to the TV until they saw it, and then comment about it. My friends started dressing like him. It was a crazy, crazy time.

The summer of 1997 was the climax. It seemed that the whole Turkish speaking world was waiting for Tarkan's Ölürüm Sana album. Pre-orders for the album had begun two years in advance.

We all talked about it. We all wondered what it would be like.

I measure the fame of someone by my mother. She only listens to Turkish classical music and isn't into any scene that she doesn't consider 'high art'. But if my mother has heard about them, then the whole world must know about them. Even she was asking me, "Hasn't that boy released the album, yet?"

The day it was released, there were huge queues outside the music shops. The stock in Northern Cyprus ran out the same day. It took two days for more albums to be shipped over from Istanbul. I was lucky in that I didn't have to queue. My friend's father owned a music store back then, and we had the album the night before.

I have never ever seen anything like it before or since.

1997 was a year to remember. For the better and forever, Tarkan changed our world.

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