Sixties Bookmark and Share

In 1961 German producer and orchestra leader Bert Kaempfert decides to make a record compilation of the Hamburg beat scene. Among the featured bands is a English band called the Beatles who record My Bonnie. One could say, and the rest is history. The record turns out to be an inspiration for many German (and European for that matter) youngsters who start their own band. Bands like The Lords and The Rattles come from this era.

But original Schlager also stays very popular with the German public. In the sixties the first Schlager stars got company from artists like Heino, Roy Black and Drafi Deutscher. As a reaction to the light themes of Schlager, the student revolts across europe in 1968 and the flower power spawns the scene of the Liedermacher. Their songs have sophisticated lyrics and are usually accompanied by only a few instruments, such as acoustic guitar. Some lyrics are very political in nature. The style is related to American folk/Americana and French chanson styles. Famous German Liedermacher include Wolf Biermann, Reinhard Mey, Franz Josef Degenhardt, Hannes Wader, Konstantin Wecker, Gerhard Schöne, Alexandra and Barbara Thalheim.

1968 was also the year the The Zodiak Free Arts Lab was formed. The Lab was basically a large backroom of the Schaubühne, a bar and theatre. The place allowed musicians to experiment with free jazz, psychedelic rock and avant-garde. In the Zodiak Hans Roedelius met Dieter Moebius, and formed Kluster. Various other artists and bands passed through the club in their early days, e.g. Can, Ash Ra Tempel, Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream. The club played an important role in the development of a style that would turn out to be krautrock. The basis of the music they played was a unique fusion of rock psychedelia and the electronic avant-garde.


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