|Pick of the Month
His parents separated early, and he remained with his mum and grandmother. He left school at 16, and after trying a couple of jobs, he decided that music would be the right thing for him after all. He enrolled at the Music Conservatory in Vienna and started playing in different bands, in Vienna as well as in West Berlin. It was in 1977 that he decided to change his name to Falco, after an East German skier, Falko Weisspflog.
This was the beginning of an extraordinary career. He felt that playing in bands like Drahdiwaberl and Spinning Wheel or the Hallucination Company could not entirely satisfy him; even though his song "Ganz Wien" (about the local drug scene) was a huge hit at the Drahdiwaberl gigs, he was mainly acting in the background, playing the bass guitar. So when marcus Spiegel from GIG records offered him a solo contract, he accepted.
"Ganz Wien" was included on his first solo album, Einzelhaft (1982), and was his first song to be banned from the radio, because of its controversial lyrics. His first single, "Der Kommissar", became an international hit. Falco's music, which was inspired by the arising New Wave style and by the first rap artists from the States, combined with his funny and often sarcastic lyrics in a German-English-Italian mixture where something completely new in the German speaking countries (and anywhere else too). Der Kommissar sold over 7 million copies (including cover versions). The album Einzelhaft, produced by Robert Ponger, was a huge success too.
It would be hard to produce a worthy follow-up album, and Junge Römer (Young Romans), released in 1984, turned out to be quite a flop, though highly appreciated by most critics. It was too refined, too far ahead of its time, to be a hit with the masses.
It was in 1986 that Falco had his huge break-through. For the album Falco 3 (1985), he had chosen the brothers Bolland from the Netherlands as producers. The first single "Rock Me Amadeus" jumped to Number 1 in Austria, Germany, the US, England and many other countries. It remained at the top of the US-charts for 4 weeks. The other hit single from the album, "Jeanny", was also the source of a huge scandal, since many people interpreted rape and murder into the song. "Jeanny" was banned from numerous radio stations and shops, but still found many fans.
Falco was at the top. Although of course he had reason enough to be happy with his success (and the money he was making), he felt the huge pressure this worldwide hit had put on him. Although he was world famous and had lots of money, his private life was more or less troubled.
The next album, Emotional, was released in 1986, and singles like "The Sound of Musik", "Coming Home" (follow-up to "Jeanny") and "Emotional" were more or less successful. After that, Falco had to cope more and more with his private problems (marriage to Isabella Vitkovic, divorce, later finding out that his "daughter" Katharina was not actually his...) and with alcohol problems. The albums Wiener Blut (1988) and Data de Groove (1991), produced with Robert Ponger again, remained more or less unrecognized, though they're masterpieces (hehe).
In 1992, he made a mid sized comeback with Nachtflug, which went to Number 1 in Austria. The single "Titanic" remained in the charts for 18 weeks, the album for 17. For the first time in 6 years, Falco went on tour again. After that, he again concentrated more on his private life for a couple of years, until he had another hit with the Techno-style single "Mutter, der Mann mit dem Koks ist da" (1995), which was especially successful in Germany.
In 1996, Hans decided to leave his beloved Vienna behind and moved to the Dominican Republic, fleeing from the ever indiscreet media in Austria. After another single release in 1996 ("Naked"), he worked on his next (and, as it turned out, final) album. It was almost finished and supposed to be released under the title "Egoisten".
Sadly, Hans Hölzel died in a fatal car crash in the Dominican Republic on February 6th 1998. A coach ran into his Mitsubishi Pajero while he was coming out of a parking lot. The new album was released post-humously as Out Of The Dark. So far, two singles have been released: Out of the Dark" and "Egoist", both of them entered the charts.
In order to make the most of the temporary craze, there have been quite a few releases of Falco-related stuff: a couple of books, videos, a previously unreleased single in January 1999 (Push Push) and yet another Best Of album (The Final Curtain), as well as a collection of video clips (check the News page for details on that). A biographical film is planned for release in the near future, as a follow-up to a fictional-biographical book by the DoRo guys that caused a lot of controversy earlier this year. A musical seems to be in the making as well.
Falcos tombstone was finally inaugurated on the 2nd of September, and our idol may even find his way back into the charts with the 'new' album Verdammt wir leben noch. There is also talk about a live album.