Rainhard Fendrich Bookmark and Share


27 February 1955

Born in Vienna Rainhard went to school in a rather strict Catholic Boarding school. According to the artist he didn’t really fit and when he got a guitar at 15 he found a means to express his frustrations. After his school period he did the regular job as mailman or carpenter before he joined the Theater an der Wien in 1980. With the help of Dieter Frank he recorded his debut album ‘Ich wollte nie einer von denen sein’ with songs from his theatre program. Later that he made his first TV performance in a special TV-benificiary for children in need. In 1981 he scored his first hit with ‘Strade del sole’ from his second album. The single sold 99.000 copies in Austria alone. In 1982 he is back in the theatre with a part in Jesus Christ Superstar. Still he finds time to record his third album. By 1983 Fendrich takes a turn to a more rock/pop sound with ‘Auf un davon’. Not every fan is evenly pleased with this turn in style but eventually it gets picked up by a more diverse public then just the theatre-fans. In 1984 he records a duet single with Wolfgang Ambros (‘s’Naserln’) and does a duo-show with him at the Vienna Hanappi Stadium. In 1985 Rainhard picks up his album release with more electronic album ‘Wien by nacht’. In the same year he writes the song ‘Warum’ for the Live-aid efforts for Ethiopia. Famous in Austria Fendrich makes the step to Germany with producer Tato Gomez in 1988. The single ‘Macho Macho’ was his first German hit.  

He becomes a regular guest in TV shows and convidently release the follow up ‘Von Zeit zu Zeit’ in 1989. To his surprise the album and single ‘I am from Austria’ flop (although in later years it would become a novelty party song). In an effort to return to form Gomez and Fendrich create the more sophisticated album ‘Nix is fix’ which puts him back into the charts (He dominates the Austrian charts for 32 weeks). A year later Fendrich opens of the Vienna Festival with the Wiener Symphoniker on. This concert was released as an album and made it a surprise after some time in the first place. In 1993 starts a career as TV-personality in Austria (with the Nix = fix satirical show) and in Germany where he takes the place of Rudi Carell in the TV show ‘Herzblatt’.
In his home country Fendrich bumps into a lot of criticism. His satirical show is pulled after one season and his albums and singles less with much less commercial success. Some of the critique is that Fendrich turned away from Austrian culture in favour of a career in Germany. His 1997 album ‘Blond’ sold well in Germany but poorly in Austria. Later that year Fendrich returns to Austria to take the stage with Ambros and Georg Danzer in a benefit concert for homeless people.

The overwhelming success led to the trio-project called Austria 3 (A3 ). Meanwhile Fendrich also initiates a career as actor in movies ‘Fröhlich geschieden’ and ‘Geliebten Gegner’ and in the musical ‘Wake up’ (written by Fendrick and Harold Faltermeyer). In 2000 he presents the TV show ‘Alles ist möglich’ fulfilling viewers dreams. He is also back with a second A3 project. In 2003, whilst working on a new album with Faltermeyer in Mallorca, his wife Andrea Sator (which he married in 1984) files for divorce. The couple has two sons and a daughter who died as an infant to a viral illness. The album ‘AufLEBEN’ appears a year later. The first decade of the millennium holds more woe for Fendrich when he is arrested for possession of cocaine. Fendrich confesses to be on the drug for 15 years. He immediately goes into rehab and takes part in an anti - drug campaign. He is fined with 37.500 euros for illegal possession of drugs. Meanwhile plans of him and Danzer to open the Danube Island Festival in 2007 end because of the untimely death of Danzer in 21 June. Fendrich decides to do the show solo in memory of his friend. At the end of the year he records the single ‘Wir sind Europa’ with the Wiener sängerknaben for the EURO2008 project. 2008 mostly goes to him presenting the tv-show ‘Sing and win’. In 2009 Fendrich celebrates his 30th anniversary with a tour and a compilation album. In 2010 he releases a new album called ‘Meine Zeit VÖ: 24.9’.

On the web:

- Rainhard's official website: http://www.fendrich.at/

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

Herbert Grönemeyer (Germany)

Guus Meeuwis (Netherlands)

What do we think:

DB: Rainhard Fendrich’s debut period is mostly a mixture of Liedermacher and Austrian cabaret. Although good you hear that the songs were written for a theatreshow. This changes with ‘Auf und davon’ and until ‘Nix is fix’ Fendrich records some great Austropop albums. From 1991 on his career becomes so mixed with other art disciplines that it reflects on his music. My guess is that his cocaine addictions wasn’t helpful as well. His lyrics are mostly in Viennese dialect. Some are humorous (Zweierbeziehung; Strada del sole; Midlife crisis), some more thoughtful (Weusd' a Herz hast wia a Bergwerk) or downright critical (Brüder).

PR: Sympathetic singer from a country where pop music is dominated by either German or Anglo-American pop music. Reinhard is one of the Austrian super stars who defined "Austro-pop". Although his career has met some ups and lows, he is still very present on the scene, after 30 years! His music is contemporary and elegant, his singing casual and seemingly effortless. He released some fine albums, 'Wien by Nacht' provides a great introduction to his oeuvre.


♪♪♪ - Ich wollte nie einer von denen sein - 1980

♪♪♪ - Und alles is ganz anders word'n - 1981

♪♪♪♪ - Zwischen eins und vier - 1982

♪♪♪♪ - Auf und davon - 1983

♪♪♪♪ - Wien bei Nacht - 1985

Kein schöner Land - 1985

♪♪♪ - Voller Mond - 1988

Von Zeit zu Zeit - 1989

Nix is fix - 1991

Brüder - 1993

Blond - 1997

Männersache - 2001

Wake Up Cast Album - 2002

aufLeben - 2004

Hier+jetzt - 2006

Meine Zeit - 2010

♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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