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19 February 1957 – 6 February 1998

Born in Vienna Johann (Hans) Hölzel was the sole survivor of triplets. Interested in music from an early age (he got a baby grand piano for his fourth birthday) it was rock ’n roll with Elvis Presley and the Beatles that got his full attention. At age five, he auditioned for the Vienna Music Academy, where it was confirmed that he had perfect pitch. He attended school in Vienna and was raised solely my his mother after she divorced. In 1973 he dropped out of school and (after a short career for an Insurance company) joined the Austrian army.

He entered the Vienna Music Conservatory in 1977, but left after one semester to "become a real musician". For a short time, he lived in West Berlin while singing in a jazz-rock band. When he returned to Vienna he took up the stagename "Falco," reportedly in tribute to the East German ski jumper Falko Weißpflog. He started singing in bands Spinning Wheel, Hallucination Company and playing bass in the hard rock-punk rock band Drahdiwaberl (from 1978 until 1981). With Drahdiwaberl he wrote and performed the song "Ganz Wien" ("All Vienna"). After a short fling with space disco band Ganymed  he started on his solo-debut ‘Einzelhaft’ (Solitary Confinement ).

The first single ‘Der Kommissar’ turned out to be an immediate hit. The song about drug consumption was one of the first that combined rap verses with a sung chorus in the German language. The album ‘Einzelhaft’ was an album much inspired by the neighbouring NDW scene. With the second album, ‘Junge Roemer’ (Young Romans) Falco began to experiment with English lyrics in an effort to broaden his appeal. It failed to provide a repeat to his debut’s success but Falco’s ambitians were set on international succes. He kicked out producer Robert Pronger and teamed up with Dutch producers Bolland & Bolland. Inspired in part by the Oscar-winning film Amadeus, he recorded a song about Mozart as rock-icon. ‘Rock me Amadeus’ became a World wide hit even reaching the #1 spot in the U.S.. The album ‘Falco 3’ followed in the slipstream of the succesful single. After a failing single ‘Vienna Calling’ the third single "Jeanny" confirmed Falco’s European succes. The controversy around the song (it tells a kidnapping told from the point of view of a rapist and possible murderer) caused the song to be banned by certain radio stations and pushed sales. In Northen Europe the song was a top ten hit. Years later Falco himself would record two sequels to the song and it got covered by Polish band Ich Troje (1996), Stahlhammer (1999), Reamonn & Xavier Naidoo (2001) and Mandaryna (2004).

The 1986 album ‘Emotional’ is again produced by Bolland & Bolland but with songs like ‘Coming Home (Jeanny Part 2)’ and ‘Kamikaze Capa’ (about photojournalist Robert Capa) it fails to be another international success although it does bring Falco to tour Japan in 1987. In the same year he sang a duet with Brigitte Nielsen, ‘Body Next to Body’. From the non Falco remains a Austrian / German phenomena without further hits abroad. Planning an international comeback Falco suddenly died on 6 February 1998 of severe injuries received from a collision with a bus in his Mitsubishi Pajero near the city of Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic. He just turned 41. He was buried in the Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) in Vienna, Austria. His last album ‘Out of the dark’ was released posthumus. In memorium producers Bolland recorded the EP The Bolland Project feat. Alida. featuring samples of Falco’s music. In 2000 Falco was memorized with two musical projects. In Viennan the Multimediashow ‘F@lco – A Cyber Show’ premiered and in Berlin the musical ‘Falco meets Amadeus’ was performed. In 2008 the documentary ‘Falco - Verdammt, wir leben noch!’ was released.

On the web:

- Falco's official website: http://www.falco.at/

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Plastic Bertrand (Belgium)

What do we think:

DB: My bet is that of you ask someone to name an Austrian artist chance is that he names Falco (although a lot of people maybe assume he is German). That fame is largely based on a bunch of very strong Eighties synth-pop hits like ‘Der Kommisar’, ‘Jeanny’ and ‘Amadeus’. Songs that withstood the test of time and still sound great today. And that is not my sentimental opinion cause Falco’s hits get the regular re-run in dance and housemusic. His golden hand for hits changed after 1986 and diminished when housemusic reared it’s head. In fact, if you go for a Falco album, go for his debut for artistic reasons and album #3 for commercial succes or sustain with a Best of. It may be harsh to say but somehow his untimely death secured Falco’s legendary status more then his musical legacy.


♪♪♪♪ - Einzelhaft - 1982

♪♪ - Junge Roemer - 1984

♪♪♪♪ - Falco 3 - 1985

- Emotional - 1986

♪♪ - Wiener Blut - 1988

♪ - Data de Groove - 1990

- Nachtflug - 1992

- Out of the Dark (Into the Light) - 1998

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided





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