Early life and career
Manço was born in Istanbul, Turkey on January 2, 1943. His mother Rikkat Uyanık was a famous singer in early 1940s. His older brother, who was born during World War II, was named Savaş ("war" in Turkish) while he was named Barış ("peace" in Turkish) by his parents to celebrate the end of the war. Allegedly he was the very first person to have this first name, which is now fairly popular in Turkey.
During his primary school days, his head was shaven to prevent head lice, a serious threat back then. He mentioned that it was one of the reasons of his later signature long hair.
During his highschool days in Galatasaray Lisesi (and later in Şişli Terakki High School) he formed his first band Kafadarlar ("The Buddies"), allegedly upon seeing Erkin Koray and his band performing which were all students of a nearby highschool. Asaf Savaş Akad, a famous economist in Turkey was the saxophone player of the band and Ender Enön the guitarist of the band made their own guitar, because it was difficult to find a real one on the market in those years .
In 1962 and 1963, with his next band Harmoniler ("The Harmonies"), he recorded cover versions of some of the then popular American twist songs, but also rearrangements of Turkish folk songs in rock and roll form, marking the beginning of Anatolian rock movement, a synthesis of Turkish folk music and rock. In this period, his key visual and musical influence was Elvis Presley.
After graduating from high school in 1963, he moved to Europe, travelling around Paris and Liège, where he formed bands with local musicians and recorded some singles mainly in English and in French but also in Turkish. He toured with his band Les Mistigris (not related with Mistigris) in Germany, Belgium, France and Turkey until 1967.
In 1967, he suffered from a serious car accident after which he started to grow his signature mustache to disguise his scar.
Frustrated by the difficulties of working with musicians from different nationalities, he formed Kaygısızlar (The Carefrees) featuring Mazhar Alanson and Fuat Güner, future members of the very popular Turkish band MFÖ. He recorded several singles and toured with the band, both in Turkey and abroad, until the band members revealed that they did not want to live abroad.
In 1970, he formed Barış Manço Ve ... ("Barış Manço and ...") again with foreign musicians, to record his first hit single, both in Turkey and in Belgium, "Dağlar Dağlar", selling over 700,000 copies. Today, the song remains one of his most popular works.