1986 Falco – Vienna Calling
Johann Hölzel was born in 1957 in Vienna and grew up in Austria. In the early seventies, he began playing bass guitar and singing in local bands. He used several stage names, finally settling on Falco. He soon began recording his own songs.
Falco’s first charting single was Der Kommissar. Falco and Robert Ponger co-wrote the song and Robert produced his single. The lyrics were in German, which helped the record reach the top of the German chart in 1982, but it failed to chart in the UK or on the Billboard Hot 100.
The single -did- reach #22 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. Perhaps that led the British band After the Fire to record and release the song with English lyrics in the second half of 1982. The single failed to catch at first, and the band announced their break-up in December. The following year, a video for the song began to get heavy airplay on MTV. Their single raced up the charts, reaching #5 on the US Hot 100 but stalling at #47 in the UK.
Falco had another hit or two in Austria and/or Germany and released a second album in 1984.
In 1985, he released Rock Me Amadeus, a song he co-wrote with Rob and Ferdi Bolland (who also produced the record). Thanks to 21 additional versions produced by Rob (including a few with English lyrics), the single reached the top of the charts in the UK, the US, and at least ten more countries.
A funny thing happened when Falco was on his way to pick up his trophy for becoming a one-hit-wonder: he had a second hit.
The same crew wrote and produced his next single, Vienna Calling. They released it in late 1985. The single peaked at #18 on the US Hot 100 in May 1986. The record fared better in the UK, where it reached the top ten.
He even appeared on American Bandstand, where he performed both songs.
After that, the hits kept coming, but only in Austria and Germany.
Shortly after finishing his last album, and before he could stage a comeback, Falco died when his car crashed into a bus in 1998. He had several posthumous hits from that album (but only in the two countries where his career started).
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