Erkin Koray (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈeɾcin ˈkoɾaɪ̯], born 24 June 1941) is a Turkish singer-songwriter, guitarist and one of the pioneers of Anatolian rock.
Koray has been in the Turkish rock music scene since the late 1950s or early 1960s. He is widely acclaimed as being the first person to ever play rock and roll in Turkey; in 1957, he and his band gained fame by playing covers of Elvis Presley and Fats Domino. He was also one of the first Turkish musicians to embrace the electric guitar and modern amplification.
By the late 1960s, he had become a major figure in Turkish psychedelic music and Anatolian Rock, beginning with his first psychedelic single Anma Arkadaş in 1967. Koray followed this with a number of singles, both by himself and in collaboration with others, that established him as a force to be reckoned with on the Turkish rock scene. Koray became a controversial figure in Turkey during the 1960s/70s; he was actually assaulted in Istanbul, and on one occasion stabbed, for having long hair.
In the early 1970s, he formed the group Ter with the former members of the band Bunalim ("Group Depression"). Although they only recorded one single before breaking up, Hor Görme Garibi (a cover of the major Arabesque music hit by Orhan Gencebay) was a smash hit, furthering Koray's career. Ter was influenced by fuzz rock and psychedelia, and featured extended guitar solos and progressive arrangements - something that the record company was not prepared to accept. In 1973, his first album, Erkin Koray, was released, consisting of a collection of singles from 1967-73. He left Istanbul Records after the release of the album. In 1974, he signed with Doglan Records and released Şaşkın (Dabke).
1974 also saw the release of his groundbreaking album, Elektronik Türküler ("Electronic Ballads"). Finally given the freedom to record an album instead of being limited to 45 rpm singles, Koray and his band created an album that reflected both his Turkish roots and his love of psychedelic and progressive rock. The album's popularity continues to the present day, with several legitimate and non-legitimate releases on both album and CD. Koray continues to record and perform in Turkey to this day, and in Turkish music circles is often referred to as Erkin Baba ("Erkin the Father") for his pioneering influence on Turkish popular music.
Other major hits by Koray are Fesuphanallah, Istemem, Sevince, Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman ki , Estarabim, Arap Saçı, Yalnızlar Rıhtımı, Akrebin Gözleri and Çöpçüler. In the late 1990s and early 2000s (decade), a flowering of interest in psychedelic music made outside of the UK and the US brought Koray to the attention of listeners in the West. Koray is also the inventor of the electric bağlama, a traditional Turkish musical instrument related to the lute, and its unique sound can be heard on many of his albums.