Conny Vandenbos Bookmark and Share


16 January 1937 - 7 April 2002

Conny Vandenbos was born as Jacoba Adriana Hollestelle in The Hague. She made her solo debut in the KRO-Springboard radio, in which she sang French chansons. After her performance in the Belgian Knokkefestival of 1961 towed them a record contract on hold. Her first single is released later that year Ninotchka  with on the B-side a translation of the Piaf song Mon Dieu named Adieu. In 1962 the record com pany tries another single Mijn hart bemint teveel (My heart loves too much) but this also fails to hit. In desperation Phonogram tries to link Conny to German Schlager writer Gerhard Wendland. The single Kijk me eens diep in mijn ogen (Look deep into my eyes) is so off that Conny stays ashamed she ever did the song the rest of her live. She turns to Dutch writer Annie MG Schmidt who translates Pete Seeger's Where have all the flowers gone into Waar zijn al de bloemen toch. The song is her first hit. The follow up Raak me niet aan!(Don’t touch me!) falls in the middle of the second wave of feminism. A social cultural stream in which Conny finds a dedicated listening public. Her 64 TV show ‘Zeg maar Conny’ therefore sees strong feminist elements in it.
In 1965 she represented Netherlands at the Eurovision Song Contest with another feminist the song 't Is genoeg (this is enough), she was eleventh. In the same year she also participates in the Polish Sopot festival. A year later there she had a huge hit with Ik ben gelukkig zonder jou (I’m happy without you) and the Koelewijn composition Paleis met Gouden muren (Gold plated palace). Conny grew tired however of constantly being put in the feminist corner.

To push an international the name van den Bos is chanced into Vandenbos and she records an English EP in 1969 after being the support act for Cliff Richard. The adventure is a deception and Conny departs the idea of an international career. Unsatisfied with Phonogram she leaves the record company at the start of the seventies with no new contract. In 1973 small record company Basart shows an interest in Conny and she records Een vrouw van deze tijd (a woman of this time). The singles of the album Roosje m'n roosje and Sjakie van de hoek are instant hits. The album is followed in 1976 by Zo wil ik leven (This is how I want to live) for which she receives an Edison and a Golden Harp. Her succespath falters in 1978 when Basart goes bankrupt and she is forced to go back to Phonogram to get the album Over Liefde (About love) released.

During the seventies Conny got acquainted with American singer songwriter Janis Ian. In 1980 she decides to record an entire album with Ian’s work. For the album they record the duet Don't leave tonight. The eighties aren’t kind for Conny. She ends the contract with Phonogram (again) and goes to EMI. Her albums fail to sell however. She turns to musicals midway the decade where she takes up parts in Boefje and Heimwee. In 1992 she finally remerges with a new album called NU (now) but the magic is gone. In 1998 her husband Ger dies after thirty years of marriage which is a big blow for Conny. In 2001 she is honoured in the Kurhaus in Scheveningen for forty years as a singer. She has plans for a complete tour with an overview from her career but her health decides otherwise. On sunday, April 7, 2002, Conny dies two weeks after it was announced that she suffered from lung cancer.

On the web:

- Conny's website: http://www.connyvandenbos.com

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What do we think:

DB: This is a prime example of an artists who should never ever been introduced to synthesizers, or to producers that use them. After delivering beautifull orchestrated albums in the seventies she would spend the eighties ruining her cataloque and career with albums recorded with a drumcomputer and a badly played synthesizer. It was probably cheap to make and cheap is how it sounds. Avoid those albums and stick to her old repetoire because Conny had one of the best voices Holland ever had. And the lyrics (written or translated by songwriters like Peter Koelewijn or Herman Pieter de Boer) are the best Dutch kitchen sink drama's put to music.



♪♪♪ - Conny van den Bos - 1966

♪♪ - Vrouwen zijn vrouwen zijn vrouwen… - 1968

♪♪♪- Een vrouw van deze tijd - 1974

♪♪♪♪♪ - Van dichtbij - 1975

♪♪♪♪ - Zo wil ik leven - 1976

♪♪ - Licht en schaduw - 1977

♪♪♪ - Nu - 1992

Further listening: Conny van den Bos (1967); Over Liefde (1978); Zingt Janis Ian (1980); Vogelvrij (1981); Net als iedereen (1983); De mooiste dag (1987); Wie weet wat liefde is (1989)
♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands