Ünlü were a short-lived but influential Turkish-German band, formed and dissolved in the late '90s. Led by brothers Tayfun (guitar/vocal) and Metmet Ünlü (keyboards), who were living in Germany, they were considered one of the best Turkish rock bands of all time. Their use of the Turkish language and top-notch production qualities raised the bar for other Turkish bands. Although the name Ünlü became famous in the late '90s, the roots of the band dated back to 1981, to the formation of the punk band Fahrstuhl in Germany. Between 1986 and 1992 they were called the Lift -- which was actually the English translation of their previous name. Under that name, the band released an album called Under the Moon, which failed to garner attention.
Later, the Ünlü brothers decided to showcase their early influences: the Turkish Anadolu pop and rock musicians of the '70s. With a new name and talented German studio musicians -- Achim Gschwend (drums), Sven Stichter (guitars), and Rom Heck (bass guitar) -- the debut album of Ünlü was recorded in Germany and England. Released both in Germany and Turkey and supported by an aggressive promotion schedule, Son Defa became well known in both countries as well as the rest of Europe, where listeners were hungry for a standard rock sound combined with Turkish themes. Son Defa kicked off with a high-octane version of Erkin Koray's classic "Estarabim," which is still regarded as a highly original and well-made cover song. With the wind of "Estarabim" beneath their wings, Ünlü played some dates in Turkey and then toured Germany. During a later Turkish tour (called On the Rocks), the band traveled along the coasts of the country with AF and then-newcomer Ozlem Tekin.
Ünlü continued residing in Germany, but as their main market was in Turkey, expenses were too high and their income fell short, although the Son Defa album was well received by musicians, critics, and listeners. After a disagreement with Achim Gschwend, the band parted ways with the drummer who was a crucial part of the Ünlü sound. A new session drummer, Ralf Gutske, was hired for the recording of the next album. Following the "Kafam" single, the second and last Ünlü album, O Ve Z Hikayesi, was released in 1998. Darker, slower, and mellower for the most part, O Ve Z Hikayesi was a disappointment upon first listen. Although some of the tracks aged rather well and continued the brilliance of the debut, the album was somewhat unnoticed, due in large part to problems with a Turkish record company. As the album was an economic failure, the band called it a day. Some rumors were heard around 2007 that Ünlü were recording new songs, but to date none of the material has seen the light of day.