He achieved international success in 1986 with “Rock Me Amadeus”
Austrian Pop Star Falco was born on this day in 1957
Falco was born Johann Hölzel on 19 February 1957 in Vienna, Austria. Falco began to show signs of unusual musical talent very early and knew he wanted to be a pop star from a very early age. At age 16, he attended the Vienna Conservatoire, but was frustrated and soon left.During the late 1970’s Vienna, he became part of the Viennese nightlife, which included not just music but also striptease, performance art and a general atmosphere of satirizing politics and celebrating chaos. It’s during that period that Falco begun his professional music activity by playing bass in a number of bands under various pseudonyms. Falco rose to fame in Europe during the early 1980’s with songs such as “Der Kommissar” in 1981 but worldwide success came later in 1986 with “Rock Me Amadeus”, his best-known song to date and also his best selling one. The song reached No. 1 in the US and UK, remaining in the top spot of the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and his album, “Falco 3” peaked at the number three position on the Billboard album charts. Unusually for a white act, especially one from mainland Europe, “Rock Me Amadeus” reached number six in the Billboard Top R&B Singles Chart, and “Falco 3” peaked at number 18 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts. Ultimately, “Rock Me Amadeus” went to the No. 1 spot in over a dozen countries including Japan. Follow-up single “Vienna Calling” was another international pop hit, peaking at No. 18 on the Billboard Charts. “Jeanny”, the third release from the album “Falco 3”, brought the performer back to the top of the charts across Europe. Highly controversial when it was released in Germany and the Netherlands, the story of “Jeanny” was told from the point of view of a possible rapist and murderer. Several DJs and radio stations refused to play the ballad, which was ignored in the US, though it became a huge hit in many European countries, and inspired a sequel on his next album. In 1987 he sang a duet with Brigitte Nielsen, “Body Next to Body”; the single was a Top 10 hit in Germanic countries and a moderate hit across Europe. Despite the 1980’s wave of success, Falco’s international career failed to continue on the same path as it was in 1986 and by 1990 he was rarely heard of except in Germanic countries. His 1992 comeback attempt, the album “Nachtflug” (Night Flight) including the song “Titanic”, was successful in Austria only. Falco died of severe injuries received on 6 February 1998, 13 days before his 41st birthday, when his Mitsubishi Pajero collided with a bus on the road linking the towns of Villa Montellano and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. It was determined that Falco had been under the influence of alcohol and cocaine. At the time of Falco’s death, he was planning a comeback.
Look back at the iconic 1986 music video “Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco
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