Alphaville Biography

Alphaville

Alphaville is a German syntypop group that was very popular in the mid-1980s. It was formed in 1982 , its founders are Marian Gold (real name Hartwig Shirbaum; born May 26, 1954 ), Bernhard Lloyd (real name Bernhard Gossling; born June 6, 1960 ) and Frank Mertens (real name Frank Sorgaz; born October 26 1961 ). The team was originally called Forever Young, but later changed its name to Alphaville. The group gained worldwide fame thanks to two hits – “ Big In Japan ” and “ Forever Young”.”, Released in 1984.

History

In the late 1970s, the Nelson Community project was coined. It was conceived as a commune of creative people engaged in music , art , literature , etc. In 1980, Marian met Lloyd, and he joined the project. In 1981, the first concert was held, where they performed songs of their own composition. The concert was held at the club, where Lloyd worked as a DJ. In 1982, Lloyd begins to collaborate with Frank Mertens, they offer to join them and Mariana. The participants come up with a new name – “Forever Young”, the group includes all three. Together they wrote Forever Young”And recorded her demo. The team gave the second and last concert for the next 10 years.

In 1983, the group took on a new name, Alphaville, in honor of the film of the same name by Jean-Luc Godard (the film was released in 1965 , in the lead roles: Eddie Constantine and Anna Karina ). In the film itself, Alphaville is the city of the future, controlled by a powerful computer. In the city, all humane human feelings, such as love , tenderness, compassion and mutual assistance , are outlawed , and poetry and romance are prohibited.

At the end of 1983, the group signed a contract with WEA Records. In January 1984, the band released their first single – “Big In Japan”. The song was written by Gold back in 1979. “Big In Japan” gained great fame in many countries of the world, including the UK (eighth in the chart) and the USA (first in the dance chart); in Germany , Greece , Sweden , Switzerland, the single reached the first place.

He was followed by two more singles – “Sounds Like a Melody” and “ Forever Young ”, which also had great success in Europe, but failed in the USA.

In the autumn of the same year, the debut album Forever Young was released. Despite success, Frank Mertens left the group, and in January 1985, Ricky Ecollett (real name Wolfgang Neuhaus; born August 7, 1960 ) came to his place.

Alphaville created the music for the film Der Bulle Und Das Mädchen (Policeman and Girl) and also participated in the Band Fuer Afrika charity project with the song Nackt im Wind (Naked in the Wind). In February 1985, the song came third in the German version of Billboard.

In June 1986, the band released their second album, “ Afternoons In Utopia, ” the first single from which, “Dance With Me,” reached the top twenty charts in many European countries. The group abandoned touring activities and concerts and engaged exclusively in studio work. Then the single “Universal Daddy” was released, and in December – the single “Jerusalem”. The album as a whole is a kind of nostalgia for the future, for a world in which there will be no place for social injustice, nuclear conflicts, prostitution and other vices.

1987–2000

The group begins the development of the Soundtraxx For Imaginary Movies project, which marked the beginning of the band’s future collaboration with Klaus Schulze , known for his work at Tangerine Dream.

In January 1988, a collection of songs by the group in the GDR was released , which was a rare occurrence for the West German group. For political reasons, the collection did not include two songs: “To Germany With Love” and “Summer in Berlin”. In the second half of the same year, the United States released the remix collection ” The Singles Collection “, containing remixes and original items from previously released singles.

The third album, The Breathtaking Blue , was only released three years after Afternoons In Utopia. The producer of the album was Klaus Schulze. The musicians realized the idea of combining music with the finished video sequence, which was a kind of short film. Nine directors, including Godri Reggio (“ Koyaaniskatsi ”), create films for songs from the album, under one common title “Songlines”. The video “For A Million” was shot by Alexander Kaydanovsky. Marian Gold said of him: “We were happy that we involved him in our project. We knew and admired him ever since, as we have seen it in a grand film Tarkovsky’s ” Stalker“. And his contribution to “Songlines” was one of the most beautiful and lyrical. I was absolutely shocked when I received the news of his death in 1995 ” [1]. Subsequently, the video for the song “Middle of the Riddle” (presented at the ceremony under a different name – “Balance”) was awarded the American Academy Award in the nomination “Best Short Animated Film” [2].

After that, the group takes a timeout. Marian took up the solo project So Long Celeste , which was released in August 1992 and included 6 original songs and 4 cover versions. Bernhard began remixing the famous Alphaville hits, which were featured in First Harvest 1984–92. The booklet to the disk, in addition to lyrics and photos, also contains musicians’ comments on the songs.

After this “respite” in the recording studio of the group, work begins on the new album “ Prostitute ”, the producers of which are the musicians themselves.

The year 1993 was marked by the release of the collection History, intended exclusively for members of the official fan club. In the same year, the group was invited to give a concert in Beirut , and the musicians spontaneously decide to accept the invitation after 10 years of exclusively studio work. This concert is considered to be the first, but even before it, on June 26, the group took to the stage at the Rocktops open-air festival in Finland.

The recording of the future album “Prostitute” is delayed, absorbing more and more time, as a result, the release of the disc is delayed by more than a year and a half.

The single “Fools” was released in 1994 , followed by the release of the fourth album, “ Prostitute ” , in October 1994. This disc is a real kaleidoscope of selected from all the huge amount of material that the group has recorded since the last album. The genre range of songs is also very extensive: pop , rock , reggae.

Soon work begins on Salvation along with producer Andy Richards, who has produced bands such as Art Of Noise and OMD. In 1996, Marian Gold, under the direction of Rupert Hein, released his second solo album, United, which is being released in South Africa. In the same year, the team leaves Ricky Ecollette. In London , the Alphaville tour group is going to (subsequently changing its composition several times). Then Alphaville launches its own official website http://www.alphaville.de.

As a result of collaboration with Richards, the single “Wishful Thinking” is released. In September, the band released the album «Salvation», which marked the return of the group to the synthpop -zvuchaniyu. By the time the disc was released, Ricky Ecollette had already officially left the group, although in the booklet for the album he was still listed as a co-author of some songs. After the release of this album, the band’s contract with WEA Records ends.

In 1998, the group continued to tour Germany and Eastern Europe , also performed in Russia , in Peru , and continued to record an anthology called “ Dreamscapes ”, which eventually became a collection of eight discs, with recordings covering the entire history of the group for almost twenty years, including concert performances, previously unreleased songs and remixes. All songs for the anthology were reworked, some were rewritten.

In September 1999 there was a collection of « Visions of Dreamscapes » with selected tracks from «Dreamscapes», he was released in support of the Brazilian Alphaville tour. In the same year, Bernhard Lloyd and his musician friend Max Holler announced the creation of a joint online musical project, Atlantic Popes. “Dreamscapes sold pretty well (the first run sold out in three months), and Alphaville decides on his own, without the participation of a major record company, to release the single” Flame “in the US. The single includes a remix of the title track,” unplugged “version of” Forever Young “and a concert “Big In Japan.”

In June 1999, Alphaville gave a concert in Kiel for more than 10 thousandth audience. In July, the group gives two big concerts in Salt Lake City. Tickets for both concerts were sold out two weeks before the show’s official publicity. At the end of the year, Alphaville performs in Portugal for a 17,000-strong audience.

2000 – present

In 2000, the Salvation album was released in the USA with a new cover and three new songs, as well as an amended list of participants in the recording. The distribution of the American version of the album in the United States is carried out by Metropolis Records.

The group continues to give performances around the world, and is also working on a new studio album, which is scheduled for release in 2002. On June 23, 2000, Alphaville performs a concert in Moscow , and in July of the same year the band released its first official “live” album – “Stark Naked And Absolutely Live”, which for three weeks held first place on the German chart. The group gives its largest concert in its history – in Poland for 300 thousand spectators.

In the continuation of the “Dreamscapes” project, the group begins to upload one song in its full version on its website every month (in low-bitrate MP3 format ). Subsequently, the songs are planned for release in higher quality on CD.

In 2001, Bernard Lloyd released the Atlantic Popes solo disc. Marian Gold (in addition to working on the new Alphaville album), along with Schulze, Effiot Krueger and others, begins work on the Sputnik Roadhouse project to participate in the film Klassentreffen (Alumni Meeting).

The first DVD of the group is getting ready to be released : fans of the group from the USA are preparing materials from the 1999 concerts in Salt Lake City for publication. The DVD comes out in a limited edition and contains in the form of a bonus a previously unreleased clip for the song “Soul Messiah”.

In July 2001, the Forever Young 2001 promotion single was released, followed by Dance With Me 2001. In November, the Dreamscapes # 9 project was successfully completed, and at the same time, a CD with remixes of the popular Alphaville songs “Forever Pop” was released. Such musicians as De Phazz , Mark Plati, FAF, Jose Alvarez Brill, Eiffel65 and others took part in the recording.

From October 2000 to October 2001, Alphaville posted one new song a month on their official website for free. All tracks were later included in the CrazyShow album in new arrangements. On the fourth disc of this CD 12 album – WebSiteStory, original versions of the tracks were collected, in the arrangements in which they were published on the site.

In April 2002, Alphaville began a tour called “Miracle Healing”, covering Switzerland, Hungary , the Czech Republic and Austria and all of Germany. After several performances at the summer festivals, the group concentrates on recording the new CrazyShow album. The album was the first in the recording of which Bernhard Lloyd did not take part. In December, Marian Gold goes on a tour of Germany.

On February 14, 2003, the CrazyShow album began to be distributed, consisting of 4 CDs (also entitled Dreamscapes 9-12). A special design has been developed for the album, including a double velvet box with gold-plated embossing and individual numbering, as well as a full-color large-format booklet. The album itself could be ordered through the group’s official website and the distributor’s website – “A Different Drum” label. Words for some songs are written by fans of the group. For the first 700 fans who pre-ordered the album back in 2002, they added the single “Elegy” to the CrazyShow album as an apology for delaying the release (originally the album was due to be released in December 2002).

March 18, Bernhard Lloyd officially announces his withdrawal from Alphaville. Of the original composition, only Marian Gold remains; keyboardist Rainer Bloss, who has been involved in recording and creating songs since the early 1990s, and Englishman Martin Lister , who wrote two songs for CrazyShow, Still Falls The Rain and Ways also work with him. The presentation of new songs from the CrazyShow album takes place at the Eurorock festival in Belgium on April 5th. Soon after, the recording of the opera L’invenzione Degli Angeli / The Invention Of Angels, written by Schulze and Hermann Schneider, begins. The libretto for the opera is written in Italian. Mariana in the opera embodies the role of the Messenger.

In April-May 2004, Marian Gold and Martin Lister are working in London on new songs. On August 29, the group celebrates its 20th anniversary; The festival takes place in Berlin. For the first time in its history, the group speaks to fans along with a string quartet. Since this performance was a success, the quartet accompanies the group during the anniversary tour, which began a few weeks after the party in Berlin. The group gave concerts in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.

After the tour, Gold, Lister and Bloss begin to closely engage in the musical, which was based on the tale of Lewis Carroll’s ” Alice in Wonderland. ” It was assumed that the musical will be released in 2006 , and the premiere will be held in Würzburg.

In May 2005, the group took part in the German Gospel Church Congress in Hanover.

In January-September 2005, a group in Berlin and London recorded a new album; in November, performs in Moscow and St. Petersburg at the International Disco 80s Autoradio Festival in front of more than 17 thousand fans. In December, the album “Dreamscapes Revisited” appeared on the network on paid music sites. The anthology of “Dreamscapes” was completely sold out, but, in the end, it became available again to fans of the group in electronic form.

In 2008, the group worked on a new album and engaged in touring activities.

2009 is the year of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Alphaville, and for all admirers of their work, the group is going to arrange a grand concert in Prague in honor of a significant event. In May of the same year, Alphaville appeared a new drummer, he becomes Jacob Kirsch (Jakob Kiersch). Marian Gold and Karel Gott are recording the Christmas song, Love Will Find A Way, for Gott’s new album, which was released in October.

On December 4, 2009, Alphaville celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Zofin Palace in Prague. The hit “Forever Young” was performed by Karel Gott in Czech [3]. After the presentation, a small reception was held, where those who bought tickets could get autographs and take pictures with team members.

October 22, 2010 the new single of the band “I Die for You Today” is released. On November 19, 2010, Alphaville released the new album, Catching Rays On Giant, the first commercial album in 13 years.

March 4, 2011 released the second and final single from the new album “Song For No One”.

November 27, 2012 on the official website of the group announced the date of the new album – “Strange Attractor” – 2014.

On May 21, keyboardist and arranger Martin Lister died.

In 2014, the group released the album album So 80s! that’s what the guys said on the official website

The album went on sale from October 2, both on CD and on the Internet.

In 2017, the new Strange Attractor album was released , it included 13 new tracks.

Alphaville Albums:

To see Alphaville full biography then click here.

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