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What is a Schlager?

Schlager songs are generally easily catchy, instrumentally accompanied pieces of popular music with mostly German-language lyrics. The spectrum ranges from serious and sentimental to light-hearted and humorous texts. Some hits develop into so-called “Gassenhauern”. Based on popular operetta melodies, the influence of jazzy rhythms and harmonies became noticeable in pop music from the 1920s onwards.

Since the 1950s, Schlager has been described as a “difficult to define term in modern popular music” and as a “short form for easily catchy dance and light music”. Microsoft Encarta 2003 defines Schlager as “a commercially successful piece of music on the one hand and a genre of popular music on the other”. Characteristic are “the simplest musical structures and trivial lyrics that appeal to the listener’s need for harmony and happiness”. The boundaries to pop music and popular music are “fluid”.

Definition and origin of the term

In musicology, there is no clear definition for the term “Schlager”, which some authors describe as difficult and impossible. Systematic differentiation from other genres also proves difficult. The term was first used in 1870 for particularly successful operetta numbers and popular musical comedies.

The term “Schlager” comes from the Viennese language and, according to Duden, is used ‘probably after the resounding success that is compared to a lightning strike’. The DWDS adopts the year 1881 as the year of origin of the term “Reißer”, which was originally used as an expression of music criticism in the daily press and was later transferred to other areas, especially to current and effective phenomena such as books, plays or goods. Kluge/Götze suspected that the image came from the lightning strike. It was then transferred from newspaper criticism to politics and other areas.

From the end of the Middle Ages, there was evidence of joking or crude songs among the common people. Art music ignored or assimilated them. For example, they were used as church hymns with new lyrics or as a hidden musical basis for sacred figural music. In the 16th century, the invention of music printing with types enabled the mass distribution of music throughout Europe for the first time. As a result, melodies such as Pavane de Spaigne, La Spagnoletta (also known as Españoleta), La Follia and many others became well-known.

The term “Schlager” as we know it today originated in the second half of the 19th century. The Wiener Fremdenblatt of February 17, 1867 contains the first evidence of the word referring to a specific work and performance. It reports on the premiere of the waltz An der schönen blauen Donau: “The opening number of the second section was a definite hit.” Paul Lindau was one of the first journalists and theater critics in Germany to use the term “café-chantant”. He used it, for example, for singing performances in Parisian café chantants (in Berlin and Hamburg also known as Tingeltangel or Singspielhalle) or for Viennese songs.

The invention of the gramophone and the emerging film industry quickly contributed to the spread of the pop song. It is therefore a product of industrial society. Its ephemeral nature alone shows that it is more of a commodity than a work of art designed to last. The pop song seeks a mass audience by addressing pipe dreams in its lyrics, which it constantly repeats as “messages” in back rhymes. Musically, Schlager is usually oriented towards the prevailing dance form. Simple rhythms and melodic sequences, which are designed for quick recognition, determine its character.

In France and in the French-speaking part of Belgium, Schlager songs are not referred to as “chansons” (more a term for songs with “literary aspirations”) or “chansons à la mode” (this outdated term can only be found in old lexicons), but as “variétés”. Theodor W. Adorno said about the effect of the pop song and its social function: “Pop songs supply those caught between work and the reproduction of labor power with a substitute for feelings in general, which their contemporary revised ego ideal says they must have.”. The original, etymologically based definition of Schlager is difficult to pin down to individual genres today.

History of the pop song

The beginnings and development of Schlager

The first German-language hits can be found in the numerous operettas that were successful in Vienna before 1900. Johann Strauss father and son provided the entertainment-seeking upper classes with operetta melodies. Die Fledermaus (1874) is the pinnacle of classical Viennese operetta and contains many catchy melodies, such as Alfred’s song ‘Täubchen, das entflattert ist’, Prince Orlofsky’s couplet ‘s ist mal bei mir so Sitte’, Rosalinde’s Csárdás and Adele’s Ariette ‘Spiel ich die Unschuld vom Lande’, Alfred’s drinking song ‘Trinke, Liebchen, trinke schnell’ and the swansong ‘Glücklich ist, wer vergisst’. Johann Strauss Sohn created almost 500 works in the course of his life.

Berlin also had composers who wrote operettas. The best known was Paul Lincke, who had his greatest success in 1899 with Frau Luna. Some of Lincke’s songs were popular for decades: the song ‘Das macht die Berliner Luft, Luft, Luft’, ‘Glühwürmchen, Glühwürmchen glimmre’ and ‘Schlösser, die im Monde liegen’ from Lysistrata. Eduard Künneke’s ‘Der Vetter aus Dingsda’ premiered in Berlin in 1921.

After the First World War, the further spread of shellac records and, above all, the advent of regular radio broadcasting had a major influence on Schlager. This made a wide variety of hits accessible to a broader audience. One also spoke of Schlager as a popular hit. Around 1930, the commercial sound film came along. The songs often had rather simple lyrics. Examples of such rhymes are: Was macht der Maier am Himalaya?, Unter den Pinien von Argentinien and Mein Onkel Bumba aus Kalumba.

The lyrics are also somewhat frivolous. When a play says: Veronika, der Spargel wächst (Veronica, the asparagus is growing) or Ich hab das Fräulein Helen baden sehn (I saw Miss Helen bathing) and Warum soll eine Frau kein Verhältnis haben (Why shouldn’t a woman have an affair), then this testifies on the one hand to the so-called “Golden Twenties”, but on the other hand also to an emerging enlightenment and emancipation. The well-known hit ‘Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt’ is still very popular today. Foxtrot, Charleston and the ‘scandalous dance’ Shimmy were danced in the ballrooms.

List of pop singers from 1900 to 1929

  • Claire Waldoff
  • Comedian Harmonists
  • Eduard Künnekes
  • Erwin Hartung
  • Fritzi Massary
  • Lilian Harvey
  • Liane Haid
  • Lizzi Waldmüller
  • Mady Rahl
  • Marlene Dietrich
  • Max Pallenberg
  • Otto Reutter
  • Paul Lincke
  • Paul Preil
  • Rudi Godden
  • Trude Hesterberg

Schlager under National Socialism

During the National Socialist era, Schlager was used as a means of Gleichschaltung (forced integration of all social, economic, political and cultural forces into the uniform organization of a dictatorship) and served primarily propaganda purposes. The once frivolous texts of years gone by disappeared. The film and record industry was subject to state control. Jewish musicians in particular were banned from performing. Well-known personalities such as Fritz Löhner-Beda and Fritz Grünbaum fell victim to the atrocities of the Holocaust.

A number of talented Jewish musicians, including Alfred Grünwald, Fritz Rotter and Walter Jurmann, emigrated. As a result, the lewdness and frivolity in the lyrics also disappeared. Werner Richard Heymann and Friedrich Hollaender had to leave the country because of their Jewish origins. Robert Stolz left Germany because of his rejection of National Socialism. Artists such as Marika Rökk and Johannes Heesters were used for propaganda purposes during this time to motivate and support the German population.

Ilse Werner and Hans Albers were two artists who enjoyed success with their pop hits in the post-war period and left their mark on the German music scene. Another famous hit, “Lili Marleen”, first sung by Lale Andersen, continued to be broadcast by the German soldiers’ radio station in Belgrade despite the ban in the Greater German Reich. There were even versions in other languages. This period was a turning point in the history of German pop music. It was characterized by censorship and persecution. Attempts were made to use music as a means of propaganda.

List of pop singers from 1930 to 1945

  • Alfred Grünwald
  • Fritz Grünbaum
  • Fritz Löhner-Beda
  • Fritz Rotter
  • Franz Grothe
  • Frederick Hollaender
  • Hans Albers
  • Heinz Rühmann
  • Ilse Werner
  • Jim Cowler
  • Johannes Heesters
  • Lale Andersen
  • Lothar Brühne
  • Marika Rökk
  • Michael Jary
  • Peter Kreuder
  • Robert Stolz
  • Theo Mackeben
  • Walter Jurmann
  • Werner Richard Heymann
  • Zarah Leander

Schlager in the post-war period

When the first radio stations were licensed again after the war, the record industry also began to produce again. Some of the hits of this period were simply composed as carnival songs that lasted beyond the carnival period. These include the song Ich fahr mit meiner Lisa, zum schiefen Turm von Pisa, which was first sung by Jupp Schmitz in 1949, as well as “Wer soll das bezahlen?” (Jupp Schmitz, 1949) and the number one hit Am 30. Mai ist der Weltuntergang (Golgowski-Quartett, 1954).

In the post-war period, the musical tastes of the “Otto Normalverbraucher” (character from the film Berliner Ballade (1948), played by a slender Gert Fröbe) were mixed. The lyrics dealt with topics as diverse as the rather Austrian Mariandl (1947), Theodor im Fußballtor (first sung by Margot Hielscher in 1948, later made famous by Theo Lingen) and the cabaret-style couplet Wir sind die Eingeborenen von Trizonesien. The term “Trizonesia” referred to the western zones of Germany, which was divided into four occupation zones at the time.

In addition to Mariandl, the songs by Hans Lang and Erich Meder – mostly sung by Maria Andergast – such as Du bist die Rose vom Wörthersee, Aus Urfahr war mein Vorfahr, A Gitarr und a Jodler or A fesche Katz were typical Austrian hits of the time.

Also Caterina Valente (All Paris dreams of love, 1954),

Lys Assia

(Oh my Papa, 1954) and Vico Torriani (Seven Times a Week, 1957) also tried to spread a perfect world after the lost war. Konjunktur-Cha-Cha with the refrain “Geh’n Sie mit der Konjunktur!” was the name of a piece by the Hazy Osterwald Sextet that reflected the spirit of the times and took the economic miracle as its theme. René Carol celebrated his first successes with Maria from Bahia (1950), Rote Rosen, rote Lippen, roter Wein (1952), Bella Donna (1953) and Deinen Namen den hab ich vergessen (1954). He even received the first post-war gold record for Red Roses, Red Lips, Red Wine in 1952.

Another successful singer of the late 1940s and early 1950s was Evelyn Künneke, the daughter of the operetta composer Eduard Künneke and the opera singer Katarina Garden. She initially performed as a tap dancer, but this was banned by the Nazis in 1939. She then began a career as a singer and celebrated her first successes with Sing, Nachtigall, sing (1941) and Haben Sie schon mal im Dunkeln geküßt? (1942). After initially being deployed to look after the troops, she was arrested in 1944 for draft evasion and sent to Berlin-Tegel prison in January 1945, from where she was released shortly before the end of the war. In the early 1950s, she enjoyed further success with hits such as Allerdings, sprach die Sphinx (1949), Winke-winke (1950), Hab’n ‘se nicht ‘nen Mann für mich? (1951), Egon (1953) and Herr Kapellmeister, bitte einen Tango (1953).

List of pop singers from 1945 to 1955

  • Bruce Low
  • Bully Buhlan
  • Catarina Valente
  • Eduard Künneke
  • Erich Meder
  • Evelyn Künneke
  • Hans Lang
  • Jupp Schmitz
  • Kilima Hawaiians
  • Leila Negra
  • Lys Assia
  • Margott Hielscher
  • Maria Andergast
  • Peter Alexander
  • Renée Franke
  • René Carol
  • Rita Paul
  • Vico Torriani

From the economic miracle to a longing for Italy

At the end of the 1950s and beginning of the 1960s, many Germans began to spend their vacations in the south, preferably in Italy. This was partly due to the “economic miracle”, which brought more money into the wallets of workers and employees, and partly to the numerous pop songs that awakened a longing for Italy. Friedel Hensch and the Cyprys had already predicted this in 1953 in their hit song “Ja, für eine Fahrt ans Mittelmeer”. And so, in 1956, around 4.5 million Germans set off south in Heinkel scooters, VW Beetles and Goggomobiles in search of a “better world”. It is possible that Rudi Schuricke had already laid the foundations for the search for harmony, the south, the sea and happiness with the hit song Wenn bei Capri die rote Sonne im Meer versinkt (also known as Caprifischer), which was recorded in 1943 but only became a hit in 1950.

Arrivederci Roma and O mia bella Napoli, sung by Lys Assia, Rocco Granata with his hit Marina or the extremely popular Caterina Valente in Germany with Ciao, ciao Bambina are just a few examples. The mixture of a spirit of optimism and the economic miracle was exemplified in the song Es geht besser, besser, besser, which Caterina Valente sang with her brother Silvio Francesco in 1956. The siblings had already recorded the song “Steig in das Traumboot der Liebe” together in 1955 and sung “Komm ein bißchen mit nach Italien” together with Peter Alexander in 1956, which also catered to Germans’ wanderlust and became huge successes. There were also Italian hits in the GDR, such as A-mi-amore by Günter Hapke.

Sailor songs and sailor ballads were also very popular. Freddy Quinn deserves a special mention here, whose hits “Die Gitarre und das Meer”, “Junge, komm bald wieder” and “Unter fremden Sternen” topped the charts for weeks on end. He was the most successful pop singer of all time and got his start in 1956 with the song “Heimweh”. He quickly sold millions of records and also sang at the first Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson (now the

Eurovision Song Contest

) in 1956 with the song So geht das jede Nacht, which was based on Bill Haley’s Rock Around the Clock.

But also the Austrian Lolita with her hit Seemann (Deine Heimat ist das Meer), which made it into the Japanese and American charts, and Lale Andersen with Unter der roten Laterne von St. Pauli, Blaue Nacht am Hafen, Wenn du heimkommst, Ein Schiff wird kommen or Die kleine Bank im Alsterpark. Hawaii and the South Seas were also popular motifs in German pop songs of the time, with Jimmy Makulis and the Hula Hawaiian Quartet singing such songs. In the GDR, for example, Jenny Petra was popular at the time with Weiße Wolken, blaues Meer und Du.

The Belgian Angèle Durand also catered to the Germans’ wanderlust and sang numerous songs about the city of Paris with great success during this period. The song Heißer Sand (Hot Sand), sung by Mina in 1962 and written by Kurt Feltz, is representative of the hits of the early 1960s. Its lyrics are ambiguous and yet – or precisely because of this – appealed to young people at the time.

Also worth mentioning are the teenage role models of the time, Conny Froboess (Zwei kleine Italiener) and Peter Kraus (Sugar Sugar Baby), who enjoyed success both as a duet and solo with several films and hits. Ted Herold was no less successful with titles such as Ich bin ein Mann and Moonlight. The Jacob Sisters were the first girl group in German-language Schlager, who became famous with the Gartenzwerg-Marsch (Adelbert, Adelbert, schenk mir einen Gartenzwerg…, cover version of a Billy Sanders song).

This era ended with the Beatles’ first successes in Germany with Komm gib mir deine Hand and Sie liebt dich. Whereas previously only Elvis Presley had managed to break through the phalanx of German number 1 hits more frequently, this was now increasingly happening with English-language titles. The pop industry reacted. Heinz Gietz and Kurt Feltz were one of the most successful teams of writers of German pop songs in post-war history, celebrating success with numerous hits for various artists until the early 1980s. Heino Gaze was a successful composer and lyricist of the time, who had been enjoying success since the early 1950s.

List of pop singers from 1955 to 1960

  • Angèle Durand
  • Bibi Johns
  • Blue Diamonds
  • Bobbejaan
  • Bruce Low
  • Bully Buhlan
  • Camillo rims
  • Caterina Valente
  • Chris Howland
  • Christa Williams
  • Conny Froboess
  • Dalida
  • Dany Mann
  • Freddy Quinn
  • Frank Forster
  • Fred Bertelmann
  • Gerhard Wendland
  • Gitta Lind
  • Gus Backus
  • Gualdi
  • Hula Hawaiian Quartet
  • Ivo Robić
  • Illo Schieder
  • Jacqueline Boyer
  • Jan & Kjeld
  • Jimmy Makulis
  • Lonny Kellner
  • Lolita
  • Lou van Burg
  • Lys Assia
  • Margot Eskens
  • Margot Hielscher
  • Margret Fürer
  • Maria Mucke
  • Mona Baptiste
  • Nana
  • Nilsen Brothers
  • Paul Kuhn
  • Peter Alexander
  • Peter Kraus
  • Rainer Bertram
  • Ralf Bendix
  • Ralf Paulsen
  • Rocco Granata
  • Vico Torriani
  • Walter Sieben
  • Will Brandes
  • Will Höhne
  • Willy Hagara
  • Wyn Hoop

In the 1960s, pop and pop music separated

In the 1960s, popular music in German-speaking countries split into two camps. There was the classic Schlager and the German

pop music

. The biggest contrast to pop music, which tried new experimental paths in language and music, was that Schlager remained in the German language and perpetuated already established rhythms and melodies. The student movement contributed to a critical questioning of listening habits. Beat music, rock and pop conquered the German pop market. The previously celebrated performers led a niche existence. In 1962, almost all number 1 hits were still sung in German. However, the proportion fell to 50% as early as 1966 and by the end of the decade it was just five to ten percent.

Pop music appealed to the rebellious youth and also dealt with political and socially critical issues. In contrast, pop songs were largely apolitical and became increasingly unattractive to young people. In order not to lose its target group, Schlager attempted a cautious approach. In order to satisfy the public’s taste, English, French, Greek, Scandinavian and Italian artists who were already successful in their own countries were brought onto the music market with German lyrics. On the other hand, German Schlager was influenced by the beat wave, and there were numerous artists who released German-language beat hits. The most successful performers in this field were Drafi Deutscher and Manuela.

Christian Bruhn

was one of the most successful composers and producers of pop songs in the 1960s and 1970s. He has also composed numerous film and television scores.

Many athletes also tried their hand at singing pop songs. While hurdler Martin Lauer had already been successful in previous years with a certain musicality and songs such as ‘Taxi nach Texas’ and ‘Ich sitz’ so gern am Lagerfeuer’, figure skaters Marika Kilius, Hans-Jürgen Bäumler, Manfred Schnelldorfer, footballer Franz Beckenbauer and goalkeeper Petar Radenković probably only owe their successes to their sporting careers. In Austria, it was the skiers Karl Schranz and Toni Sailer with ‘Tiroler Hula Hup’.

List of pop singers from 1960 to 1969

  • Alma Cogan
  • Alexandra
  • Bernd Spier
  • Billy Mo
  • Carmela Corren
  • Cliff Richard
  • Connie Francis
  • Detlef Engel
  • Dorthe (Kollo)
  • Drafi Deutscher
  • Esther & Abi Ofarim
  • France Gall
  • Françoise Hardy
  • Gerd Böttcher
  • Gitte Hænning
  • Graham Bonney
  • Greetje Kauffeld
  • Hannelore Auer
  • Heidi Brühl
  • Jacob Sisters
  • Kirsti
  • Leo Leandros
  • Lill-Babs
  • Manuela
  • Marion Maerz
  • Martin Lauer
  • Medium tercet
  • Nana Mouskouri
  • Peggy March
  • Peter Alexander
  • Peter Beil
  • Peter Hinnen
  • Renate Kern
  • Rex Gildo
  • Rita Pavone
  • Roland W.
  • Ronny
  • Roy Black
  • Salvatore Adamo
  • Siw Malmkvist
  • Suzie
  • Sven Jenssen
  • Tahiti tamourés
  • Teddy Parker
  • Udo Jürgens
  • Umberto Marcato
  • Vittorio Casagrande
  • Vivi Bach
  • Wencke Myhre

Back to Schlager: the revival of a musical style from the 70s

The left-wing student and civil movements of 1968 led to a break. But in the 1970s, Schlager experienced a renaissance, which was also due to the increasing spread of television sets. In particular, relevant music programs such as the ZDF Hit Parade presented old and new artists and songs on a monthly basis. In the 1970s, Udo Jürgens enjoyed great success with hits such as ‘Zeig mir den Platz an der Sonne’, ‘Griechischer Wein’, ‘Ein ehrenwertes Haus’, ‘Aber bitte mit Sahne’ and ‘Mit 66 Jahren’.

There were also many other one-hit wonders during this time. Although the weekly list of best-selling songs in Germany compiled by Media Control is increasingly headed by English-language songs, Schlager still holds a secure position in the musical tastes of Germans. The show Disco, hosted by Ilja Richter, therefore initially used a mix of national and international singers from 1971 onwards. The emerging disco wave also changed musical tastes in Germany. Some pop singers adapted to the new, faster rhythms and tried to integrate them into the concept of pop music.

However, this neglected the effort that had previously been put into hit production. In the past, elaborate arrangements were written and recorded with a studio combo. Often there was also a background choir. This was the case with France Gall’s piano player, for example. Nowadays, however, a simple synthesizer is increasingly taking over the entire accompaniment of the performer. As a result, the individual titles lose their special distinctiveness in favor of fast and inexpensive production.

With the rise of the pop song, criticism under the pejorative term “Schnulze” also increased. As early as 1968, ORF General Director Gerd Bacher drastically reduced the quota of German-language music on Ö3 in the so-called “Schnulzenerlass”. Instead, the show Das Schnulzodrom was later created there with presenter Haymo Pockberger, who mockingly commented on new German hits with his own rhymes and regularly said goodbye with “Auf Wiederweinen!”. The last conventional hit film Zwei im siebten Himmel was released in 1974, but it was unsuccessful. In the same year, Jack White wrote the song Wir lassen uns das Singen nicht verbieten (We won’t allow ourselves to be banned from singing), which Tina York successfully interpreted, in response to increasing criticism from Dieter Thomas Heck.

Ralph Siegel and Jack White are two composers and producers who shaped the pop music business from the 1970s until well into the 2010s. They have enjoyed numerous successes with various artists over the decades. Ralph Siegel also took part in numerous Eurovision Song Contests with his compositions. Jack White was not only active in the field of pop music, but also celebrated numerous international successes in the field of English-language music.

List of pop singers from 1970 to 1979

  • Adam & Eve
  • Andrea Jürgens
  • Ann & Andy
  • Bata Illic
  • Benny
  • Bernd Clüver
  • Bernhard Brink
  • Chris Roberts
  • Christian Anders
  • Cindy & Bert
  • Costa Cordalis
  • Daliah Lavi
  • Danyel Gérard
  • Dennie Christian
  • Dunja Rajter
  • Erik Silvester
  • Freddy Breck
  • Frank Farian
  • Gaby Baginsky
  • Gitte Hænning
  • Gunter Gabriel
  • Hans Blum
  • Heino
  • Heintje
  • Howard Carpendale
  • Imca Marina
  • Ingrid Peters
  • Ireen Sheer
  • Johanna von Koczian
  • Jonny Hill
  • Joy Fleming
  • Juliane Werding
  • Julio Iglesias
  • Jürgen Drews
  • Jürgen Marcus
  • Karel Gott
  • Katja Ebstein
  • Lena Valaitis
  • Margot Werner
  • Mary Roos
  • Mel Jersey
  • Mireille Mathieu
  • Monica Morell
  • Nana Mouskouri
  • Nico Haak
  • Nina & Mike
  • Paola
  • Peter Alexander
  • Peter Maffay
  • Peter Orloff
  • Peter Petrel
  • Peter Rubin
  • Phil & John
  • Rainer Bernd Clüver
  • Ramona Wulf
  • Randolph Rose
  • Renate and Werner Leismann
  • Ricky Shayne
  • Rita Pavone
  • Roberto Blanco
  • Roger Whittaker
  • Rudi Carrell
  • Séverine
  • Siw Inger
  • Tanja Berg
  • Tina York
  • Tony Holiday
  • Tony Marshall
  • Udo Jürgens
  • Ulli Martin
  • Ulla Norden
  • Vicky Leandros
  • Volker Lechtenbrink
  • Wencke Myhre
  • Wolfgang Sauer

The rise of the New German Schlager in the 1980s

From the beginning of the 1980s, the so-called Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW) emerged, which initially had little in common with the Schlager genre. More and more pop songs were pushed out of the Media Control hit parade in favor of NDW songs and English-language titles, and fewer and fewer pop songs were played on the radio. In order to “save” him, both the performers concerned and the music industry tried to reposition him in the numerous folk music programs on television. The term “Neuer Deutscher Schlager” was coined in the course of the commercialization of Neue Deutsche Welle by artists such as Hubert Kah and Fräulein Menke.

But even in the 1980s, some pop artists continued to be successful. Howard Carpendale, who had already landed numerous hits in the 1970s, had a great success in 1984 with the title Hello Again. Roland Kaiser, who had already enjoyed great success in the 1970s with titles such as Sieben Fässer Wein (1977), Amore Mio (Amada Mia, Amore Mio) (1978) and Schach Matt (1979), was also able to place numerous other hits in the charts in the 1980s. These include Santa Maria (1980), Lieb’ mich ein letztes Mal (1981), Dich zu lieben (1981), Manchmal möchte ich schon mit dir gehen (1982), Wohin gehst du? (1982), Es kann der Frömmste nicht in Frieden leben (1984), Joana (1984), Flieg mit mir zu den Sternen (1985) and Ich glaub es geht schon wieder los (1988).


Roger Whittaker

the British singer and artificial whistler, also enjoyed success in Germany in the 1970s with titles such as ‘Du warst mein schönster Traum (The Last Farewell)’ (1975), ‘Das alte Schiff (River Lady)’ (1976) and ‘Indian Lady’ (1977). In the 1980s, he regularly appeared in the charts and frequently appeared on music programs. In the 1970s, he was successful in British-Irish folk music, which he first sang in English and then in German. Due to his great success in Germany, he switched more and more stylistically to the pop genre in the 1980s. His greatest successes of the 1980s include Albany (1981), Wenn es dich noch gibt (1983), Tanz heut Nacht mit mir (1983), Abschied ist ein scharfes Schwert (1984), Eloisa (1984), Leben mit dir (1985) and Ein bisschen Aroma (1986).

Ingrid Peters had several hits in the 1980s. For example, she was already in the charts in 1976 with the title ‘Komm doch mal rüber’. Other hits included ‘Afrika’ (1983) and ‘Über die Brücke geh’n’ (1986), with which she also took part in the 1986 Eurovision Song Contest. Nana Mouskouri had several number 1 hits in the 1960s and also enjoyed success in the 1970s. Well into the 1980s, she was represented in the charts with titles such as La Provence (you land in bloom) (1981) and Aber die Liebe bleibt (1985). Juliane Werding had her biggest hits in the 1970s. In the 1980s, however, she was still able to achieve some hit parade successes. Examples of this are Nacht voll Schatten (1983), Sonne auf der Haut (1984) and Stimmen im Wind (1986).

Hanne Haller had already released her first singles in the 1970s. However, she had her greatest successes in the 1980s with titles such as Samstag Abend (1981), Weil Du ein zärtlicher Mann bist (1981) and Mein lieber Mann (1989). As a composer, lyricist and producer, she also wrote and produced for other pop artists. Isabel Varell had her first successes. She has been regularly releasing new hits since the 1980s and has also been a successful actress and presenter of various TV shows since the 1990s.

Nicole was one of the most successful pop singers of the 1980s. She had hits such as Flieg nicht so hoch, mein kleiner Freund (1981), Der alte Mann und das Meer (1981), Ein bißchen Frieden (1982), Papillon (1982), Ich hab’ dich doch lieb (1983), Wenn die Blumen weinen könnten (1983), Laß mich nicht allein (1986), Ein leises Lied (1991), Mit dir vielleicht, vielleicht auch nicht (1992) and Wirst du mich lieben (1999).

Andy Borg was a successful pop singer in the 1980s. He later also enjoyed success as a presenter of various television programs. His hits include titles such as Adios Amor (1982), Arrivederci Claire (1982), Die berühmten drei Worte (1982), Ich will nicht wissen, wie Du heißt (1984) and Barcarole vom Abschied (1984). Other successful pop singers of the 1980s were Tommy Steiner and Ibo. Tommy Steiner had his greatest successes in 1983 and 1984 with the songs Die Fischer von San Juan, Das Märchen von Rhodos and Das ewige Feuer. Ibo enjoyed success with titles such as Ibiza (1985), Bungalow in Santa Nirgendwo (1987), Das schaffst du nicht (1987) and An deiner Stelle nähm’ ich mich (1989). Nino de Angelo is also one of the most successful pop singers of the 80s. His greatest successes include Jenseits von Eden (1983) and Flieger (1989). G. Anderson was not only active as a pop singer, but also as a composer and author for other pop artists.

Wind was a successful pop band of the 1980s. She had hits like ‘Für alle’ (1985) and ‘Laß die Sonne in dein Herz’ (1987). The Flippers initiated a stylistic change in Schlager by using electronically generated music, which was previously unknown and made this their unmistakable sound. They achieved their first successes back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Titles such as Weine nicht, kleine Eva (1969) and Sha La La, I Love You (1970) were particularly successful. After a quieter phase in the 1980s, the band celebrated many successes again with titles such as Die rote Sonne von Barbados (1986), Mexico (1987), St. Tropez (1988) and Lotosblume (1989).

List of pop singers from 1980 to 1989

  • Andy Borg
  • The Flippers
  • G. G. Anderson
  • Hanne Haller
  • Howard Carpendale
  • Ibo
  • Ingrid Peters
  • Isabel Varell
  • Juliane Werding
  • Nana Mouskouri
  • Nicole
  • Nino de Angelo
  • Roger Whittaker
  • Roland Kaiser
  • Tommy Steiner
  • Wind

The renaissance of the pop song in the 1990s

In the 1990s, Germany experienced a retro wave in which old fashion trends such as music, clothing and accessories from the 1970s became popular again. During this time, there was also a pop revival with artists such as Guildo Horn, Dieter Thomas Kuhn and Petra Perle. In addition, repositioned, more popular hits became more successful. German pop classics from the 1970s and 1980s are played at the Schlagermove in Hamburg. In 1997, a format hit parade for titles in this genre was introduced in Germany for the first time. The ‘Deutsche Schlager Charts’ first appeared in November 1997 and were supported by Uwe Hübner (then presenter of the ZDF hit parade). The Official German Schlager Charts were published by Media Control from 2001 to 2015 and by GfK Entertainment since 2015. They are pure sales charts.

Successful pop singers of the 1990s were Claudia Jung,



Kristina Bach

. Kristina Bach also enjoyed success as a producer, composer and lyricist, and all three are still successful in the pop music business today (as of 2022).Michael Morgan began his career in the 1990s and was able to establish himself in the pop music business in the long term. Wolfgang Petry already had his first successes in the mid-1970s and was at the height of his career in the 1990s. Peter Sebastian began his pop career back in the 1980s and was also successful in the 1990s. The pop band Fernando Express also had its breakthrough in the 1990s.

List of pop singers from 1990 to 1999

  • Claudia Jung
  • Dieter Thomas Kuhn
  • Fernando Express
  • Guildo Horn
  • Kristina Bach
  • Michael Morgan
  • Michelle
  • Patrick Lindner
  • Petra Perle
  • Peter Sebastian
  • Wolfgang Petry

The hit from 2000 to today

The ZDF hit parade was discontinued in December 2000 after 32 years. The presenters were Dieter Thomas Heck (1969-1984), Viktor Worms (1985-1989) and Uwe Hübner (1990-2000). Newer artists such as DJ Ötzi, who mixed different genres, were also successful in the charts in the new millennium. The albums of pop singers

Helene Fischer

Andrea Berg,

Vanessa Mai

Linda Feller, Ute Freudenberg and

Beatrice Egli

were successful. The pop duo Fantasy has also been successful since the 2010s.

Max Raabe

has enjoyed international success with hits from the 1920s and 1930s, which he performs primarily with his Palast Orchester.

As early as the end of the 1980s, the German pop song was also received in rock music by the punk band Die Toten Hosen under their pseudonym Die Roten Rosen with the album Never Mind The Hosen – Here’s Die Roten Rosen. Tom Angelripper, singer and bassist of the metal band Sodom, performed together with Roberto Blanco at the Wacken Open Air in 2011, where they performed a metal version of Blanco’s hit Ein bißchen Spaß muß sein. In 2013, Heino performed there together with Rammstein with the song Sonne. Since the 1990s, so-called party hits or party music (also known as Ballermann or après-ski music) has established itself, which combines hits with elements of (Euro) dance. The Ballermann Award has been presented for this since 2006, and since 2011 party hits have been recognized in categories of the Smago! Award Partyschlager.

Based on survey results within the target audience, ARD has reduced the proportion of pop music in its radio programs. However, some German-language Internet radio stations have specialized in broadcasting exclusively for Schlager fans. In the meantime, private radio has also brought Schlager back to the radio. Schlager Radio is a station that broadcasts its program both via FM and DAB+ terrestrially in Germany. A survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of dpa in 2014 revealed that 55% of the German-speaking population like pop songs. It is particularly popular with the over 55s (77%), while only 29% of 18 to 24-year-olds like it. There is also an education gap, as 65% of respondents have a lower secondary or primary school leaving certificate and 46% have a high school diploma. Nowadays, the term “Popschlager” is increasingly equated with modern Schlager and has many fans.

Based on survey results in the target group, the proportion of pop music in ARD’s radio programs was reduced. However, some German-language Internet radio stations have specialized in broadcasting exclusively for Schlager fans. In the meantime, private radio has brought Schlager back to the radio. There is a station called Schlager Radio, which broadcasts its program terrestrially in Germany via transmission towers on both FM and DAB+. A survey conducted by the opinion research institute YouGov on behalf of dpa in 2014 revealed that 55% of the German-speaking population like pop songs. This type of music is particularly popular with the over 55s (77%), while only 29% of 18 to 24-year-olds like it. There is also an educational divide: While 46% of high school graduates like pop songs, the figure is 65% for people with a lower secondary or primary school leaving certificate. Today, the term “Popschlager” is often used as a synonym for modern Schlager and enjoys great popularity.

List of pop singers from 2000 to today

Hit movies

The Schlager film is a German-language film genre that belongs to the music film genre. The heyday of the pop film was in the 1950s and 1960s. After that, until the mid-1970s, a few more hit films were produced, but then the genre was over. Several hits were sung in numerous pop films.

The plot often contains many comedic elements and early examples are based on operettas or revue films. Later, it is often dominated by young people in love and rather incomprehensible adults. The genre is characterized by the extensive use of pop songs. These often come to the fore and allow the actual movie plot to fade into the background. The plot is mostly dominated by love stories, curious mix-ups and comedic elements and usually culminates in a happy ending.

List of hit movies

  • 1952 Homesick for you
  • 1952 Dancing stars
  • 1953 Hit parade
  • 1953 The singing hotel
  • 1954 Big star parade
  • 1954 Guitars of love
  • 1954 Ten on each finger
  • 1954 On the Reeperbahn at half past twelve at night
  • 1955 Ball at the Savoy
  • 1955 Love, dance and 1000 hits
  • 1955 Let the sun shine again
  • 1955 A heart full of music
  • 1955 How do I become a movie star?
  • 1956 You are music
  • 1956 The weird Otto
  • 1956 Music parade
  • 1956 Bonjour Kathrin
  • 1956 The Lisbon Tourist Guide
  • 1956 Santa Lucia
  • 1956 Girl with a weak memory
  • 1957 And in the evening to La Scala
  • 1957 Dreams of the South Seas
  • 1957 Greetings and kisses from Tegernsee
  • 1957 High up on the mountain
  • 1957 White elderberry
  • 1957 The simple girl
  • 1957 When women fib
  • 1957 Seven times a week
  • 1957 Under palm trees by the blue sea
  • 1957 Love, jazz and exuberance
  • 1957 The bold swimmer
  • 1957 That works
  • 1957 The big chance
  • 1957 The heart of St. Pauli
  • 1958 Scala – totally crazy
  • 1958 The laughing vagabond
  • 1958 The Star of Santa Clara
  • 1958 My sweetheart is from Tyrol
  • 1958 A millionaire has it tough
  • 1958 Woe when they let go
  • 1958 When Conny and Peter
  • 1958 Always the cyclists
  • 1959 Guitars sound softly through the night
  • 1959 The blue sea and you
  • 1959 My darling, come with me to the blue sea
  • 1959 If only my big brother knew
  • 1959 Mandolins and moonlight
  • 1959 Melody and rhythm
  • 1959 Everyone loves Peter
  • 1959 Hula-Hopp, Conny
  • 1959 Yes, a girl like that at 16
  • 1959 Freddy, the guitar and the sea
  • 1959 Freddy under strange stars
  • 1959 Paradise of the sailors
  • 1959 Here I am – here I stay
  • 1959 You are wonderful
  • 1959 Salem Aleikum
  • 1959 No man to marry
  • 1960 Marina
  • 1960 O sole mio
  • 1960 Don’t send your wife to Italy
  • 1960 Schlager rockets – Festival of hearts
  • 1960 Hit parade 1960
  • 1960 Freddy and the melody of the night
  • 1960 We never want to part
  • 1960 I count my sorrows every day
  • 1960 What I learned in Paris
  • 1960 Conny and Peter make music
  • 1960 My niece doesn’t do that
  • 1960 Crooks’ Serenade
  • 1960 The mystery of the green spider
  • 1960 Love is beautiful at Königssee
  • 1961 Schlager Parade 1961
  • 1961 Three white birch trees
  • 1961 Im schwarzen Rößl
  • 1961 What is Dad doing in Italy?
  • 1961 Isola Bella
  • 1961 Today we’re going for a stroll
  • 1961 Young people need love
  • 1961 All girls dream of this
  • 1961 My sweetie wants to go sailing with me on Sunday
  • 1961 … and you, my darling, stay here
  • 1961 Ramona
  • 1961 The Adventures of Count Bobby
  • 1961 Our great aunts
  • 1961 Adieu, Farewell, Goodbye
  • 1961 This is how people love and kiss in Tyrol
  • 1961 Schlager Revue 1962
  • 1961 The Hazy Osterwald Story
  • 1961 Freddy and the millionaire
  • 1962 Freddy and the song of the South Seas
  • 1962 Café Oriental
  • 1962 Songs ring out on Lake Maggiore
  • 1962 Muß i denn zum Städtele hinaus
  • 1962 Dance with me into the morning
  • 1962 Mimi never goes to bed without a thriller
  • 1962 Crazy and sewn up
  • 1962 The Sweet Life of Count Bobby
  • 1962 Snow White and the seven jugglers
  • 1962 The post goes off
  • 1962 When the music plays on Lake Wörthersee
  • 1962 Three love letters from Tyrol
  • 1962 The sold grandfather
  • 1963 Our great nieces
  • 1963 Homesick for St. Pauli
  • 1963 … because music and love in Tyrol
  • 1963 Masked ball at Scotland Yard
  • 1963 Apartment magic
  • 1963 And when all the snow burns
  • 1963 The Merry Vagabonds
  • 1963 Sing, but don’t play with me
  • 1963 Exuberance in the Salzkammergut
  • 1963 Im singenden Rößl am Königssee
  • 1964 The whole world is sky blue
  • 1964 Our great aunts in the South Seas
  • 1964 Freddy and the song of the prairie
  • 1964 Freddy, animals, sensations
  • 1964 The great freestyle
  • 1964 Happy ending at Lake Wörthersee
  • 1964 The Merry Wives of Tyrol
  • 1964 Now the world revolves around you
  • 1964 Holiday in St. Tropez
  • 1964 When you go swimming in Tenerife
  • 1964 Love greetings from Tyrol
  • 1965 A thousand bars of exuberance
  • 1965 … and something like that has to go to bed at 8
  • 1965 A vacation bed with 100 hp
  • 1966 Seventeen years, blond hair
  • 1966 Come with me to the blue Adriatic
  • 1966 The haunted castle in the Salzkammergut
  • 1969 Help, I love twins!
  • 1969 Hurray, the school is on fire
  • 1969 Heintje – A heart goes on a journey
  • 1970 Heintje – One day the sun will shine again
  • 1970 Heintje – My best friend
  • 1970 When you are with me
  • 1970 Our timpanists take to the air
  • 1970 Music, music – the stables are shaking
  • 1970 When the great aunts come
  • 1971 That knocks out the strongest twin
  • 1971 Aunt Trude from Buxtehude
  • 1971 The great aunts strike
  • 1971 Rudi, behave yourself!
  • 1971 We’ll put the landlord in the frying pan
  • 1971 School is canceled tomorrow
  • 1971 When my sweetheart hits the drum
  • 1972 The heath is green
  • 1972 My daughter – your daughter
  • 1972 Pediatrician Dr. Fröhlich
  • 1972 Out of control at Lake Wolfgangsee
  • 1973 The gentian blooms blue
  • 1973 Old boat and young love
  • 1973 If every day were a Sunday
  • 1974 Black Forest trip out of lovesickness
  • 1974 Two in 7th heaven
  • 1983 Sunshine Reggae on Ibiza
  • 2008 The music hotel on Lake Wolfgangsee

Pop radio

Schlager: TV programs and events