Peter Maffay Bookmark and Share


30 August 1949

Peter Alexander Makkay was born in the Hungarian town of Braşov as the son of a German mother and a Hungarian father. In 1963, Maffay and his parents were part of the migration of Transylvanian Saxons from the Siebenbürgen Transylvania to Germany. In the same year, he started his first band, The Dukes. After completing his education and working for Chemigraphics, an art manufacturer, Maffay worked in clubs, where he distributed his music. But Maffay's career really began in 1970 with his first solo single, ‘Du’. It was a huge hit in German speaking countries reaching number one in his home country. Although not a true schlagerartist it was this market segment his star quickly grew. Throughout the seventies he had some reasonable single hits (of which ‘Und es war sommer’ was the biggest reaching number 5 in the charts) but his albums failed to chart. This called for a style change in 1979 when Maffay adapted a more rocksound and image with the album ‘Steppenwolf’. And with success. Suddenly Maffay was the major music star in Germany. The album sold 1.6 million copies, making it the best selling LP at that time with the single ‘So bist du’ firmly at number one. In 1980, the album Revanche (Revenge) broke his previous record, selling 2.1 million copies. The big hit on the album was a cover from East German rockband Karat called ‘Über sieben Brücken musst du gehn’. The song was based in a screenplay by Helmut Richter about an impossible lovestory between a Pole and a German in Dresden. In the new millennium Maffay’s version would be covered by artists like Xavier Naidoo, Dravi Deutscher and Scooter.

Maffay continued his rocksound with his 1982 album ‘Ich will leben’. Expecting to have shrugged his Schlager image he went on tour as a support for the Rolling Stones. This turned out to be a mistake. Not only was he regularly publicly mocked by Peter Wolf, singer of the other support act J Geils Band, as that Schlager artist, in Hannover the public also threw eggs and tomato’s at him. However in album sales the eighties showed a different picture with every album soaring to number one. Over the years Maffay holds the German record for the most number one ranked singles in the single and album sales charts, including 12 albums. In 1983 Maffay also showed a completely other side with the Tabaluga project. A fairy tale about a little green dragon named Tabaluga, which eventually was spread out onto four albums. The piece was also turned into a musical. Maffay went on tour individually with Tabaluga & Lilli in Germany; he later released a live album, DVD and live TV broadcast. The tour included Peter Maffay, Alexis, Nino de Angelo, Rufus Beck, and Carl Carlton among others. In 1985 he joined Herbert Grönemeyer and Wolfgang Niedecken (BAP) in studio for the German Band Aid project Band für Afrika recording ’Nackt im wind’. In 1988 he works together with Italian singer Milva for her album ’Unterwegs nach morgen’ playing guitar and contributing two songs.

In 1998, Maffay collaborated to create an album with artists from all corners of the world, including Aboriginal singers and musicians from Israel, called ‘Begegnungen’. Julia Neigel worte for this album the singles ‘Freiheit die ich meine’ and ‘Siehst Du die Sonne’, a cover from Michel Polnareff ‘Le Poupeé qui fait non’. Being a peace activist he performed in 2005 concert for German ISAF troops in Afghanistan. Maffay also donates to projects for traumatised and abused children. On the Spanish island of Majorca, he established a ranch where traumatised children from all over the world can have a free two-week holiday to help them cope with their problems. His work for children in need even gets him an audience with the Pope in 1999. In 2009 his autobiography ‘Auf dem Weg zu mir’ was released and Maffay started to work on a new album planned for 2010.

On the web:

- Peter's official website: http://www.maffay.de

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

Rob de Nijs (Netherlands)

What do we think:

DB: One wonders what is so typically German about Maffay. He usually plays in standard four quarter beat and if he wouldn’t sing in German he could have come from anywhere on the European contingent. Still, somewhere deep down, all his music has that ‘Schlager’ feel. Not that it is schlager because since ‘Steppenwolf’ it’s much to rock ‘n roll for that but it gives off that vibe. And it doesn’t matter how many studded jackets, cowboy boots and leathers pants you wear. Maffay discovered a mixture of traditional music, liedermacher and rock and mastered it to the max. His signature is so strong that his compositions can be easily traced when other artists sing them (like the Milva album). He wrote some absolute German MOR classics and is rightly covered by national and international artists. .


- Für das Mädchen, das ich liebe – 1970

- Steppenwolf - 1979

- Revanche - 1980

- Ich will Leben - 1982;

Further listening: Du bist wie ein Lied - 1971; Omen - 1972; Samstagabend in unserer Straße - 1974; Meine Freiheit - 1975; Und es war Sommer - 1976; Dein Gesicht - 1977; Live - 1978; Live '82 - 1982; Carambolage - 1984; Sonne in der Nacht - 1985; Lange Schatten - 1988; Kein Weg zu Weit - 1989; Leipzig - 1990; 38317 - 1991; Freunde und Propheten -1992; Sechsundneunzig - 1996; Begegnungen -1998
Begegnungen Live - 1999; X - 2000; Laut und Leise - 2005; Ewig - 2008


♪♪♪♪♪ = 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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