André Hazes Bookmark and Share


June 30, 1951 - September 23, 2004

André Hazes was born in 1951 in the Pijp, a neighbourhood in Amsterdam. At the age of eight, he was discovered at the Albert Cuyp day market by Johnny Kraaykamp, a Dutch TV personality and made his television debut at AVRO’s 'Weekendquiz' with the song 'Droomschip'. His career was not particularly successful however and he became known locally as the singing bartender. In these years he also saw Muddy Waters perform at the Congresgebouw and after this he decided that he wanted to make the Dutch version of the blues.

In 1976 he wrote 'Eenzame kerst' ('Lonely christmas') and Willy Alberti ensured its publication, earning Hazes his first hit single. In 1979 he signed a contract with EMI, and soon after that his career started to take off. 'Een vriend' ('A friend') and 'Een beetje verliefd' ('A little bit in love') were both top ten hits. He reached his high point with the 1977 hit song 'De vlieger' ('The kite'), which became a Dutch evergreen.

In 1981 Hazes was awarded the Zilveren Harp (Silver Harp) for his album 'Gewoon André' ('Simply André') which sold 500,000 copies. 1982 was the year of his great concert in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. In 1985 he performs at the manifestation for Human Rights ‘Een gebaar’ ('A gesture') together with rock ‘n roll artists Herman Brood and his band 'Wild Romance'. It’s the first hint of true rhythm and blues and the audience is surpised how well the music fits André’s voice. His Italian sung album in 1986, in memory of Willy Alberti, was followed by a blues album called 'Dit is wat ik wil' (‘This is what I want’). The album was recorded with Jan Akkerman, Herman Brood and Kaz Lux and featured Dutch covers of songs by Fats Domino, Elmore James, Rufus Thomas en BB King. The album was a gift from his record company for his ten year jubilee. A childhood dream had come true. In 1988 he sang the song 'Wij houden van Oranje' for the football championships.

Hazes was never considered a pop or rock phenomena but always was pushed in the schlager/levenslied genre. In 1999 saw the release of a hit documentary on Hazes 'Zij gelooft in mij', named after the song of the same title (a translation of the Kenny Rogers song 'She believes in me'). The film showed the singer as a tragic man of simple ways, a well-meaning but clueless father and husband tormented by stage fright and a propensity towards drinking. Hazes had mixed feelings about the film, but most viewers saw a man who had remained true to his humble background and whose raw emotional songs were genuinely felt. It earned him something of a cult status outside of his loyal fan base, with the cultural establishment taking him in a somewhat uncomfortable embrace.

André was known to live unhealthily, beer being his main vice. He himself once said: "If it wasn't for the fame, I'd be a full-blown alcoholic". In fact, he already was; he just managed to integrate this well into his life. On September 23, 2004, he died of a cardiac arrest. 48,000 people attended a memorial ceremony in his honour at the Amsterdam ArenA stadium. Over 6 million viewers followed the event, broadcast live on Dutch and Belgian television. Hazes was cremated the day after. After his death numerous tribute like projects were done in memory of André.

On the web:

- André's website: http://www.andrehazes.nl

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

Adriano Celentano (Italy)

Peter Maffay (Germany)

What do we think:

DB: This might be interesting to hear what non-Dutch speaking people think of this artist. To me it's so typical Dutch that I can hardly imagine people outside Holland like it. André sings in the good old Jordaan tradition (with has its roots in Italian music) with long dramatic vocals and vibrato. Ever since his movie André is considered something of national heritage, which got only increased after his sudden death. He recorded some classics in the Levenslied segment but always kept something of a blues feel around it. I have the recordings he did with 'The Wild Romance' for Amnesty and those are great. Maybe I should browse for his 1989 blues album. And as a starter on André skip the albums and just go for the compilation with his best hits.

PR: André is almost an antistar. He certrainly does not have the looks of, let´s say, Frank Sinatra, Gilbert Bécaud or... well, anyone for that matter. But with his authentic persona, his great reputation as live performer and just the right combination of dramatic pop-schlager songs (always with a smile and a tear), André grew out to be one of Hollands most famous singers of all time. If you are not accustomed to the dutch language, be careful and hear some of his material first, before buying it. If you want to add some Hazes-albums to your colleaction, try some of the ones listed below. Or just buy one of the many compilations with his best hits.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪♪ - Gewoon André - 1981

♪♪♪ - Live in concert - 1983

♪♪♪ - Liefde, leven, geven - 1988

♪♪♪ - Dit is wat ik wil - 1989

♪♪♪♪ - Want ik hou van jou - 1999

♪♪♪ - Strijdlustig - 2002

Further listening:

Zo is het leven - 1977; Een vriend - 1980; Eenzame kerst - 1981; Met liefde - 1982; Voor jou - 1983;Jij en ik - 1984; Alleen met jou - 1985; Innamorato - 1986; Jij bent alles - 1987; Dit is wat ik wil - 1989; Kleine jongen - 1990; Samen - 1991; Concertgebouw - 1991 (live); Voor mijn vrienden - 1995; Onder de mensen - 1995; Zonder zorgen - 1996; Mijn gevoel - 1997; Gewoon voor jou - 1998; Nu - 2001

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


  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands