Time (Yugoslav band)

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Yugoslav band Time.jpg
The members of the original Time lineup, from left to right: Tihomir "Pop" Asanović, Vedran Božić, Dado Topić, Ratomir "Ratko" Divjak and Mario Mavrin
Background information
Origin Zagreb, SR Croatia, SFR Yugoslavia
Years active19711977
(Reunions: 1987, 1998, 2001)
Labels Jugoton, PGP-RTB
Past members Dado Topić
Vedran Božić
Tihomir Asanović
Mario Mavrin
Ratko Divjak
Branislav Živković
Nenad Zubak
Karel Novak
Petar Petej
Ivan Stančić
Mladen Baraković
Chris Nicholls

Time was a Yugoslav rock band formed in Zagreb in 1971. They were one of the most prominent acts of the 1970s Yugoslav rock scene.


The band was formed by former Dinamiti and Korni Grupa vocalist Adolf "Dado" Topić. The first lineup featured, beside Topić, Vedran Božić (guitar), Tihomir "Pop" Asanović (keyboards), Mario Mavrin (bass guitar), Ratomir "Ratko" Divjak (drums) and Branislav "Labmert" Živković (piano and flute). The band gained large popularity and media attention with the release of their self-titled debut album in 1972—today considered one of the most important albums in the history of Yugoslav rock music—presenting themselves with jazz-influenced progressive rock sound. Despite the success of their debut release, the band did not manage to maintain a steady lineup, with Topić remaining the only permanent members during the following years. Despite numerous line up changes and hiatuses, the band released two more studio albums to moderate success, officially ending their activity in 1977.


The beginnings

Vocalist Adolf "Dado" Topić started his career in the second half of the 1960s, as the bass guitarist for the high school band Đavolji Eliksiri ( The Devil's Elixirs , named after the novel by E. T. A. Hoffmann), featuring guitarist Josip Boček. [1] For a period of time, Đavolji Eliksiri featured Zoran Knežević on second guitar. Knežević would later go on to become a renowned astronomer and the president of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts. [2] Topić and Boček later moved to the band Lavine (The Avalanches), and in 1967 joined the band Dinamiti, Topić switching to rhythm guitar and, at the same time, becoming the band's vocalist. [1] Topić and Božić were members of the best known Dinamiti lineup, alongside bass guitarist Alberto Krasnići and drummer Ratomir "Ratko" Divjak. [1] This lineup of the band moved from Dinamiti's initial sound towards progressive rock with Topić's compositions, jazz-influenced improvisations and covers of songs by foreign progressive rock acts. [3] [4] Topić's compositions like "Novine" ("Newspapers") and "Život moj" ("My Life") were in accordance with the emerging trends on the Yugoslav rock scene and were well received by the audience. [3] [4] The band's work and Topić's blues- and soul- influenced vocal style were also widely praised by the press. [1] In 1969, Topić was invited to join Korni Grupa as the replacement for vocalist Dalibor Brun. He accepted, Dimaniti thus ending their activity. [5] Soon after, Korni Grupa was joined by Boček, who replaced guitarist Borko Kacl. [5] Topić stayed with Korni Krupa for three years, recording a number of successful pop singles with the band and writing several progressive-oriented songs, like "Remember", "Žena je luka a čovek brod" ("Woman Is a Harbor and Man Is A Ship") and "Prvo svetlo u kući broj 4" ("The First Light in the House Number 4"), the latter co-written by Topić and the band's leader Kornelije Kovač. [5]


In September 1971, Topić left Korni Grupa to form his own band. [5] With the help of manager Vladimir Mihaljek, he formed the first lineup of Time, featuring Topić on vocals, Vedran Božić on guitar Tihomir "Pop" Asanović on keyboards, Mario Mavrin on bass guitar, Ratko Divjak on drums and Branislav "Lambert" Živković on piano and flute. [5] All of the forming members were experienced musicians: Asanović previously played with the band Generals, Mavrin was previuosly a member of BP Convention, Topić's former bandmate from Dinamiti Divjak also played with BP Convention, and Živković was previuosly a member of Grupa 220. [5] The most experienced was Božić: during the late 1960s, he performed with Zagreb bands Grešnici and Roboti, [5] and later formed the band Wheels of Fire, which performed in West German music clubs. [5] On one occasion, in a Frankfurt club, Wheels of Fire were joined on stage by Jimi Hendrix, who performed several songs with the band. [5] [6] After Wheels of Fire disbanded, Božić played with the bands Mi, Nautilus, Super Session Band and BP Convention. [5]

In mid-1972, Time released their self-titled debut album through Jugoton record label. [5] Most of the songs on the album were written by Topić during the time he spent with Korni Grupa. [5] The album featured five tracks: "Istina mašina" ("Truth Machine"), which would go on to become a large hit, the ballad "Pjesma No. 3" ("Song No. 3"), "Hegedupa upa", which featured Topić's scat singing, the jazz oriented "Kralj alkohol" ("King Alcohol") and the rock epic "Za koji život treba da se rodim" ("For Which Life Should I Be Born"). [5] Initially, Jugoton executives, doubting the album's commercial potential, decided to issue only 500 copies of the record. [5] However, after the surprising success the album had with the audience, it was reissued in a larger number of copies and would continue to be reissued on several occasions during the following two decades. [5]

Following the album release, Time played a number of well-received concerts across Yugoslavia. [5] The band performed on the 1972 edition of BOOM Festival, held in Tivoli Hall in Ljubljana, a live version of "Za koji život treba da se rodim" appearing on the double live album Pop Festival Ljubljana 72 recorded on the festival. [5] However, despite the success of the album and the live performances, at the beginning of 1973, Mavrin and Živković left the band. [5] Their departure would mark the beginning of frequent lineup changes and the unsteady lineup. During the following period, Nenad Zubak (formerly of Grupa 220), Karel "Čarli" Novak (formerly of Generals, Srce and September) and Topić himself took turns on bass guitar. [5] Soon after Mavrin's and Živković's departure, Divjak also left the band. His spot was filled in by Petar "Peco" Petej, a graduate from the Graz University of Music and Performing Arts, formerly of Delfini and Indexi. [5] During the following years, Petej would remain one of the rare permanent members of Time, but was on live performances occasionally replaced by Ivan "Piko" Stančić. [5] The unsteady lineup resulted in unusual live performances: on one occasion, the band performed live in Osijek featuring only Topić on vocals and bass guitar and Petej on drums, and on another occasion they performed in Split without Topić, featuring Asanović, Petej and Mladen Baraković (bas guitar). [5]

During 1973, Topić and Božić spent several months performing in West Germany, and Asanović joined Novi Fosili on their tour across the Soviet Union. [5] After Asanović returned to Yugoslavia, he formed the band Jugoslovenska Pop Selekcija (Yugoslav Pop Selection). [5] Topić returned to Yugoslavia soon after, joining Asanović's band, continuing simultaneously to lead Time. [5] Both Time and Jugoslovenska Pop Selekcija represented Yugoslavia on the 10th World Festival of Youth and Students in East Berlin, where Asanović was awarded for his composition "Berlin". [5] During 1973, Time also performed as the opening band for the British group East of Eden on their Austrian tour [5] and performed on the third edition of BOOM Festival, the live version of the song "Reci mi Ciganko, što u mome dlanu piše" ("Tell Me, Gypsy Woman, What Do You Read from My Palm"), originally released on a 7-inch single, appearing on the double live album Boom Pop Fest '73. [5]

At the beginning of 1974, Topić took part in the recording of Asanović's solo album Majko zemljo (Mother Earth). [5] Later during the year, he was arrested for avoiding to report to serve his mandatory stint in the Yugoslav People's Army and was sentenced to several months in prison. [5] While serving his sentence, he wrote the songs for Time's second studio album. [5] The album was recorded after Topić was released for prison. The recording featured Topić, Asanović, Divjak and guitarist Dragi Jelić of YU Grupa. [5] Jelić was at the time serving his army stint in Ljubljana, and used his army leaves to take part in the album recording. [5] The album marked Time's shift towards less complex sound with the songs "Alfa Romeo GTA", "Dok ja i moj miš sviramo jazz" ("While Me and My Mouse Are Playing Jazz"), and "Živjeti slobodno" ("To Leave Freely"), the latter inspired by the prison life. The album also featured the ballads "Divlje guske" ("Wild Geese"), which was written on the lyrics of poet Desanka Maksimović, "Balada o 2000." ("Ballad of the Year 2000"), composed by Topić's former bandmate from Dinamiti Alberto Krasnići, and "Da li znaš da te volim" ("Did You Know That I Love You"), which would go on to become a nationwide hit. [5] After the album was recorded, Topić went to serve his army stint in Celje. [5]

The album, entitled Time II was released while Topić was still serving the army. [5] Upon returning from the army in October 1975, Topić gathered a group of musicians in order to promote the album. [5] After a small number of promotional concerts, he moved to London and was soon followed by Petej. [5] The two joined one of the incarnations of The Foundations, playing 43 concerts across England with the group. [5] In January 1976, The Foundations went on a Yugoslav tour, after which Topić and Petej decided to remain in Yugoslavia and reform Time. [5] They were soon joined by another former Foundations member, English keyboardist Christopher "Chris" Nicholls. [5] Nicholls initially planned to stay in Yugoslavia for only several months, but ended up spending three years in the country. [5] The new lineup of Time performed on the 1976 edition of BOOM Festival, held in Pionir Hall in Belgrade, the live version of the song "Da li znaš da te volim" appearing on the live album BOOM '76. [5]

In 1976, Topić recorded the third Time album in Munich with Vedran Božić on guitar, Karel Novak on bass guitar, Chris Nicholls on keyboards, Ratko Divjak and Piko Stančić on drums and Zdenka Kovačiček on backing vocals. [5] The record, released under the title Život u čizmama sa visokom petom (Life in the High-Heeled Boots), was a concept album describing the rise and fall of a rock star. [5] The songs "Rock 'n' roll u Beogradu" ("Rock 'n' roll in Belgrade") and "Superstar" became radio hits. [5]

During the following two years, Topić held a number of concerts, often advertised as Time's farewell performances. [5] On 7 May 1976 the band performed on a concert in Studio M in Novi Sad alongside September, Korni Grupa, Drago Mlinarec and Tomaž Domicelj. The concert was a part of the celebration of the Radio Novi Sad show Randevu s muzikom (Rendezvous with Music) twentieth anniversary, and the recordings from the concert were published on the double live album Randevu s muzikom, released in 1977. Time appeared on the album with the songs "Život u čizmama sa visokom petom" and "Divlje guske". [7] The band had one of their last performances on a festival held in Belgrade's Pinki Hall in 1977. [5] The live album Pop parada 1 (Pop Parade 1) was recorded on the concert, featurimg Time's songs "Rock 'n' roll u Beogradu", "Dok ja i moj miš sviramo džez" and "Da li znaš da te volim". [7] At the end of 1977, Topić planned to form a supergroup called K2, which should have featured, beside him, Novak, Divjak, Josip Boček, Sloba Marković and Kornelije Kovač, but this idea failed. [7] Soon after, Petej and Božić started working as studio musicians, and Time officially ended their activity. [7]

Post breakup

Topić and Nicholls joined the Belgrade band Mama Co Co, which regularly performed in Belgrade Youth Center and performed as the backing band for Zdravko Čolić on his Putujući zemljotres (Travelling Earthquake) tour, much to dislike of a great number of Time fans which did not approve Topić performing with a pop star. [7] In 1979, Topić recorded the hit song "Floyd", released on the soundtrack album for Goran Marković's film National Class Category Up to 785 ccm . [7] Later that year, he released his first solo album, a concept album entitled Neosedlani (The Unsaddled), the recording of which featured Boček, Divjak, Novak and Nicholls. [7] In 1980, he released his second studio album, Šaputanja na jastuku (Pillow Talks), the recording of which featured Nicholls on keyboards. [7] After the release of the mini-album Vodilja (Guiding Star) in 1983, he turned to performing on Yugoslav pop festivals. [7]

1987 renunion

In 1987, Time reunited to perform on the Legende YU rocka (Legends of YU Rock) festival, held in Zagreb's House of Sports on 22 May. [7] The reunited Time featured Dado Topić (vocals, bass guitar), Tihomir Asanović (keyboards), Branislav Živković (keyboards) and Ratko Divjak (drums) with a guest performance by Dragi Jelić on guitar. [8] On the festvial, Time performed alongside YU Grupa, Indexi, Drago Mlinarec, Radomir Mihajlović Točak Band and Korni Grupa, the latter also reuniting for this occasion. [7] The live versions of the songs "Rock 'n' roll u Beogradu", with altered title, "Rock 'n' roll u Zagrebu" ("Rock 'n' roll in Zagreb"), "Pjesma No. 3", "Da li znaš da te volim" and "Majko zemljo" appeared on the various artists double live album Legende YU rocka, released during the same year. [7]

Post 1987 reunion, 1998 and 2001 reunions

After the 1987 reunion, Topić continued his solo career. [7] In 1993, he released the EP Call It Love, [7] followed by albums Otok u moru tišine (Island in the Sea of Silence, 2002) and Apsolutno sve (Absolutely Everything, 2004). [7] His song "Echoes Of Love" was recorded in 2000 by American singer Tommi Mischell. [7]

In 1998 and 2001, Topić, Božić and Divjak reunited for a limited number of live performances. [7] In 1999, Divjak released his first solo album, entitled Caravan, featuring covers of jazz standards. [7]

Živković, who, during the late 1970s led the bands BP Convention and Jazz Set, wrote music for a number of Yugoslav films, including Whichever Way the Ball Bounces , Crazy Days , The Rat Savior , Bravo maestro , You Love Only Once and In the Jaws of Life , and worked as a professor of film music at the New York University. [7]

Nicholls currently resides in Germany. For a period of time he worked as a teacher in a jazz music school in Düsseldorf. [7]

In the summer of 2016, it was announced that Time would reunite in the lineup featuring Topić, Asanović, Božić, Mavrin and Divjak for a concert in Belgrade. However, the planned concert was soon cancelled due to the disagreements between band members. [9] In 2020, following Croatia Records reissue of Time's debut album, Dado Topić announced the band's comeback tour, [10] but the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to the planned reunion.


In 1998, Time's debut self-titled album was polled as the 3rd and the album Time II was polled 52nd on the list of 100 Greatest Yugoslav Popular Music Albums in the book YU 100: najbolji albumi jugoslovenske rok i pop muzike (YU 100: The Best albums of Yugoslav pop and rock music). [11] In 2015, the band's debut album was polled No.21 on the list of 100 Greatest Yugoslav Albums published by the Croatian edition of Rolling Stone . [12]

In 2000, "Za koji život treba da se rodim" was polled No.4, "Da li znaš da te volim" was polled No.29, "Rock 'n' roll u Beogradu" was polled No.46, "Makedonija" was polled No.61 and "Istina mašina" was polled No.83 on the Rock Express Top 100 Yugoslav Rock Songs of All Times list. [13] In 2006, "Da li znaš da te volim" was polled No.30 and "Rock 'n' roll u Beogradu" was polled No.62 on the B92 Top 100 Yugoslav songs list. [14]

The song "Istina mašina" was covered by Yugoslav and Serbian rock band Ekatarina Velika on their 1993 album Neko nas posmatra (Somebody Is Watching Us). [7] The same song was covered by Yugoslav and Serbian hard rock band Generacija 5 on their 2002 live album Unplugged & Live. [15] The song "Tin i Tina" ("Tin and Tina") was covered by Yugoslav girl group Aska on their 1982 album Disco Rock. [16] The song "Superstar" was covered by Serbian musician Lee Man on his 1996 album Panonski ljubavnik ( Pannonian Lover). [17]


Studio albums

Compilation albums


Other appearances

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