Benny Neyman Bookmark and Share


9 June 1951 - 7 February 2008

Wilhelmus Albertus ('Benny') Neyman was born in Maastricht, Limburg (the most southern city in the Netherlands). In the beginning of the 1970s, he took a course at Kleinkunst Academy in Amsterdam. Neyman is the only student of his year to actually finish the education. His exam-performance in the 'Nieuwe de la Mar'-theatre are a half hour performance under direction of Nico Knapper. He is discovered by singer Conny Vandenbos and asked to record his first album 'Ik wilde als Orpheus zingen' ('I wanted to sing just like Orpheus') in 1974. Due to this album he is asked to represent the Netherlands at the Ostend Songfestival in Belgium. He wins first price. In 1978 Benny signs with record company CNR and releases the album 'Samen zijn we rijk' ('Together we are rich'). The single 15 jaar is a minor success. The real succes has to wait untill 1980 with his breakthrough hit 'Ik weet niet hoe' ('I don’t know how'). The single reaches number 5 in the charts. The album 'Vlinders van de nacht' ('Night creatures') doesn’t succeed to hold on to this succes. It would take untill 1985 for Newman to score his biggest hit with 'Waarom fluister ik je naam nog?' ('Why do I still whisper your name?'), that reached the number 1 position in the Dutch charts. The album 'Zwart goud' ('Black gold') is partially made with the help of Henny Vrienten of Doe Maar. Benny’s trademark is to seek out music from Germany, Greece and France and at self written texts to the arrangement. He will keep this routine up his entire career. From the second half of the 1980s Neyman had no major hits. However he still a large number of albums and had a number of successful musical tours. Neyman received a Golden Harp in 1996.

In 1999 Neyman celebrates his 25 year jubilee with an extensive Dutch tour. The jubilee is accompanied with his 32th album 'Puur' ('Pure'). The album features duets with Toni Willé (from Pussycat) and Conny Vandenbos. In 2002 Conny dies which is reason for Benny to undertake a tribute tour in memory of his friend. He records a duet with Conny singing from left over tapes. The profits from the single 'Zolang je bij me bent' ('As long as you are with me') are donated to the fund against cancer. In 2004 the long lasting relationship with CNR records comes to an end. Without a contract he releases the album 'Bitter & zoet' ('Bitter & sweet') on his own label. In 2004 he also releases an album in Limburg dialect called 'Trök nao Blouwdörrep' ('Back to Blue village').

In 2006 his health suddenly begins to decline. After his previous manager quit, his partner Hans van Barneveld in 2006 became his new manager. In October 2007 his last album 'Onverwacht' came out and his last performance, a tribute to the deceased Conny Vandenbos, took place on December 2, 2007. Neyman announced on December 21, 2007 that he suffered from an advanced form of cancer and that his prognosis was not clear. On February 7, 2008 Benny Neyman died at 56 years of age.

On the web:

- Benny´s website: http://www.bennyneyman.nl

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What do we think:

DB: Benny is a good example off how the Dutch music scene is divided in the English singing 'serious' pop scene and the artists that sing in Dutch and are therefore are not to be taken seriously. How hard you try the gap is almost impossible to bridge. Having grown up in Holland Benny was automatically put in the last category. Incorrectly if we listen with the ears as how we listen to other European countries. He had a great voice, was a master of melancholy and a good taste of shopping around the more serious composers around Europe. And musically he was more pop then 'levenslied'. Ok, also Benny fell into the trap of cheap synthesizer productions but he did leave the world some typical Dutch pop albums.

PR: Benny sang Dutch pop songs in an era where this was not considerd 'bon ton'. Dutch songs were only sung by schlager of levenslied artists. Benny hold on to his vision and musical path and kept on singing his songs, often European songs with translations or new texts from Benny himself. Thanks to a a great voice, a lot of hard work, extensive touring and a very charming and charismatic stagepersonlaity, he grew a loyal fan base. Although he did not score many hit records since the second half of the eighties, his records kept on selling reasonably well and his annually theatre tours were always very succesful. For non-Dutch speaking people, Benny Neyman might actually be a good introduction to Dutch pop music.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪♪ - Vlinders van de nacht - 1981

♪♪♪ - Leven van liefde - 1982

♪♪♪ - Het zwarte goud - 1984

♪♪ - Genesis - 1987

♪♪♪ - Tussen rood en smaragd - 1989

♪♪♪ - Grenzeloos - 1990

♪♪♪ - Puur - 1999      

♪♪♪♪ - Onverwacht - 2008

♪♪♪♪ - Adieu (box 5cd + 2dvd) - 2008

Further listening:

Ik wilde als Orpheus zingen - 1974; Samen zijn we rijk - 1978; Gouden regen - 1979; In mijn fantasie - 1980; Leven van liefde - 1982; Skizzen (in German) - 1983; Silhouet - 1986; Voor als je ooit weer bij me weggaat - 1986; Lass' mich träumen (in German) - 1987; Later is te laat - 1992; Dichter bij jou - 1993; Gouden regen (20 jaar) - 1994; Scherven van je leven - 1995; Bloemen op ijs - 1996; Je dromen achterna - 1997; Crème de la crème - 1999; American duets (with Toni Willé from Pussycat) - 2001; Bitter en zoet - 2004; Trök nao Blouwdörrep - 2004

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


  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands