Straight outta Austria, Falco (aka Johann “Hans” HÃ¶lzel) is best known on these shores for “Rock Me Amadeus”, one of the more deranged hits in a decade filled with strange pop smashes. But certainly Lost in the 80s readers are knowledgeable enough to know Falco actually broke thru a few years prior with “Der Kommissar”, a rap/new wave blend that eventually found Stateside success when remade in English by After the Fire.
After “Amadeus” and its follow-up “Vienna Calling” scored in America, Falco jumped labels over to Sire Records, who put some promotional muscle behind Falco’s next album, Emotional, and its lead-off, “The Sound of Musik”. Not messing with a winning formula, the single mines the same German/English rap/new wave vibe…unfortunately, lightning did not strike twice, although the extended version of the single got some club play. The video is fantastic, a campy romp with just about every musical genre represented by an appropriate stereotype:
After Emotional failed to generate any heat, Sire tried again with one more album, Wiener Blut, in 1988, to even less success. From that point, Falco became a singularly European flavor only, recording a few more singles (including a duet with Brigitte Nielsen!) and albums until his abrupt death at the age of 40, when he was involved in an auto collision while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. It may sound like a grand and goofy statement, but Falco was a bit of a musical pioneer, fusing rap, rock and pop early on, leaving his mark on pop music history, as strange and left-field as it may have been.
“The Sound of Musik” peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot Dance Music/Club Play Chart in 1986.