On Saturday the Champions League final will be plate in London between two German clubs, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. All people of sound principles will hope for a Bayern defeat, even if they couldn’t care less about Dortmund. T...
On Saturday the Champions League final will be plate in London between two German clubs, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. All people of sound principles will hope for a Bayern defeat, even if they couldn’t care less about Dortmund. To mark the all-German final, here is a mix of German curiosities, some chosen because they are very good or interesting (or both), and a couple of football-themed songs at the end, selected because they are entertaining in their musical poverty.
Some tracks have featured here before, but he links are long dead. I’ve also cribbed a few notes from those instalments. For a whole mix of songs recorded by international stars in German go HERE (posted almost exactly a year ago).
As ever, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes hausgemachte covers.
1. Die Toten Hosen – Bayern (2000)
The title refer to Germany’s most dominant football club, whom non-fans regard, with no exaggeration, as a cancer in the body of German football. So the alternative rock band Die Toten Hosen (The Dead Trousers) composed a very catchy number explaining how, if they were “super-talented” young footballers, they would never sign a contract with that club because such an act would be thoroughly corrupting. At one point the singer demands to know: “What kind of parents must one have to be so stupid as to sign for that shit club?” Well, Mario Götze, just how verdommen are you, and what kind of parents do you have?
2. Alexander Wolfrum – Hey Büblein (2006)
When somebody records an acoustic version of “Hey Joe” and renders the title as, roughly translated, Hey Little Boy, it’s worth listening to. The lyrics have nothing to do with the original either: it deals with metaphors involving thin ice, drowning in a lake and a rescue. And in-between a female voice warns that Joe is going to catch a cold.
Wolfrum, known by everybody as Sandy, is a singer-songwriter who performs in the dialect of Franconia — the region around Nuremberg — and founded a Festival der Liedermacher (or Festival of Songwriters) in Bayreuth, the home town of Richard Wagner. Check out more by Alexander Wolfrum at http://www.gogoyoko.com/artist/Alexander_Wolfrum
3. David Bowie – Helden (1977)
In his Berlin period Bowie fused the cultures of the Weimar Republic cabarets, Krautrock and Kraftwerk, and the local junkie scene. It’s very nice that David Bowie sought to pay tribute to the city that served as his muse by recording in German, but since he lived and recorded there, one might quibble that he could have taken better care with his pronunciations. As it turns out, he put as much effort in enunciating German words correctly as English football commentators do in pronouncing the names of German (or any non-Latinate) football players.
4. Cindy & Bert – Der Hund von Baskerville (1970)
Husband-and-wife duo Cindy & Bert were a Schlager duo that epitomised square in the 1970s. My grandmother thought Cindy & Bert were delightful, so Oma would have been shocked to discover that Cindy & Bert’s catalogue included a cover version of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, with the lyrics taking a Sherlock Holmes theme. It need no pointing out that my grandmother probably wasn’t a hardcore Sabbath fan. Alas, Bert died last July—and was not even noted in the In Memoriam series!
5. Howard Carpendale – Du hast mich (1970)
In German Schlager history, Howard Carpendale wrote a particularly successful chapter. Unable to hack it in his home country South Africa as an Elvis impersonator, the former shotput champion moved to Germany, learned to speak the language with just enough of a touch of an accent (German audiences really got off on foreign accents; but only in entertainment and romance, not in shops, pubs or public transport), and became the leading romantic singer of the 1970s and ’80s Schlager scene, selling some 25 million records. None of those 25 million records soiled my collection, I am pleased to say. His first breakthrough came w