Jun 112021

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Max Raabe und Das Palastorchester – Tainted Love (Gloria Jones/Soft Cell cover)

There is something real German in this – a glimpse into the roaring twenties, the time between the wars, when Germany was boosted into the 20th century. Classic big band tunes took over. Max Raabe really is an educated singer who sings along with a real “big” band. He is more into traditional songs, but also enjoys doing fun covers like “Tainted Love.”

Years after this, he did a more or less solo album with composers of the ’20s and ’30s. A quite nice listen, until you discover that nearly all the composers were Jewish. All of them left the country, or died, during the war. An epitaph, that album.

Rammstein – Stripped (Depeche Mode cover)

For sure, Germany’s band with the most international success – and one with huge debates concerning their outer appearance: the harsh the military looks seeming so… German. In this video, there is footage of Hitler’s favorite director, Leni Riefenstahl. You could see the argument coming… But Rammstein later stated that they are rather left-wing.

The ReBeatles – Rehab (Amy Winehouse cover)

A fun idea, once again: playing modern pop tunes in the style they would have done. You would not risk your marriage, your job and your wealth to catch them live or grab a CD by them, but the way they do this is quite nice.

Les Reines Prochaines – Opfer dieses Liedes [Wicked Game] (Chris Isaak cover)

Now this is what should be called outstanding – claiming a song, putting it in the blender, and delivering something else. Daredevils! (My favorite part is when the voice in the back is REALLY screaming the lyrics!).

Reinhard Mey, Konstantin Wecker, Hannes Wader – Es ist an der Zeit (Eric Bogle/The Dropkick Murphys cover)

For me, this is one of the most impressing and sad anti-war songs ever. The fiddle punks of the Dropkick Murphys do it quite apart from their usual style and perhaps this is the most common version. Here, three rather left-wing (especially Wader) German “songsmiths” unite to do it their way – and focus quite more on what this poor dead private might have felt and thought.

Rosenstolz – Paff, der Zauberdrachen (Peter, Paul & Mary cover)

A band that no longer exists, camp and flamboyant, very popular in the gay scene. Besides this, the singer, Anna, is an educated singer.

Santiano – 500 Meilen (traditional folk cover)

Somehow this band anticipated 2021’s sea-shanty revival – quite a while before the “Wellerman” rode the waves. Eventually, the song depicts the life of a railwayman – Santiano transfer it to the sea. They do shanties, international and classic German ones and are quite popular on stage.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Hungriges Herz (Mia cover)

Being of Belgian origin, it feels not completely right to have this band here – but since they aimed for the German marketplace, they covered a lot of German songs as a choir. From my point of view, they are of a certain level – and have nice cover versions. Mia (not M.I.A.!) are a German post-punk/new-wave band with catchy tunes and melodies.

Mathias Schaffhäuser – Hey Little Girl (Icehouse cover)

Almost twenty years ago, a workmate handed over a CD with this tune. I do not know anything about the artist, but love this electronic approach to the track. Quite nice

King Rocko Schamoni – Gegen den Staat (Wax cover)

Being a long-time punk, Rocko has influenced the scene in many ways: as a musician, novelist, movie director or club owner. For him, punk was never only noise and mohawks, but changing identities, doing the unexpected. What he delivers here is pure pop. But with an anarchist’s message!

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  2 Responses to “An Exhaustive History of German Cover Songs”

Comments (2)
  1. Looking forward to listening. By the way, the blog Any Major Dude With Half a Heart posted two lists of Schlager covers, at http://halfhearteddude.com/2017/10/any-major-schlager-covers-vol-1/ and http://halfhearteddude.com/2020/03/any-major-schlager-covers-vol-2/. The password is amdwhah. As always, thanks for all your hard work.

    • Dear Joe,
      that looks stunning – but all the links mentioned there (as well as two others, as well looking nice (Curious German and Stars sing German) are down…
      Is there any possibility of getting them elsewhere?
      Greetz, Karsten

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