The timing of this month’s German music post is unfortunate. The artist I’m featuring this month is German Schlager/country singer Gunter Gabriel. It’s unfortunate because the 75-year old passed away in Hannover last month. But if nothing else, now is the time to pay tribute and get to know the legendary singer.
About Gunter Gabriel
Gunter Gabriel was born as Günter Caspelherr on June 11, 1942, in northwestern Germany in the town of Bünde. He had his first hit by 1973 with the song “Er ist ein Kerl (Der 30 Tonner Diesel).” And the following year he had an ever bigger hit on his hands with “Hey Boss – Ich brauch mehr Geld.” To this day, the track is one inextricably linked with Gabriel.
He never had a number one hit in Germany although he did reach the Top 10 on three occasions. “Hey Boss” did, however, reach #1 in neighboring Austria. Without question, the 1970s were Gabriel’s golden years. Following the release of his fourth full-length album, 1977’s Meine Helden und andere Pechvögel, he failed to make the album charts until 2009.
The German Johnny Cash
For many, Gabriel was the man who introduced country music to Germany. He was the German Johnny Cash, and not just because he covered the singer. In 2003 Gabriel released Gabriel singt Cash – Das Tennessee-Projekt. The album of German language covers was produced by Cash’s son, John Carter Cash. The Man In Black, who died later that year, makes a brief appearance on the album. The comparison to Johnny Cash isn’t just because of the music. Gabriel had a complicated and sometimes difficult life. He battled alcoholism and was accused of mistreating his wife.
Gabriel died in late June due to complications following a fall. He was married four times. In addition, he left behind four children and three grandchildren. He released sixteen studio albums in total.
Looking for another Ohrwurm to help you learn German? Check out previously featured musicians and bands!
Photo used courtesy Gunter Gabriel’s official Facebook page.