Schlager? Schlager and me? Hadn’t I only ever heard and played “good” music! Active in classical music and first jazz attempts from early childhood, entering into and consuming everything that seemed to me to be worthy – from Gregorian chant and Figaro to funk and soul, from motets by Schütz and Sacre du Printemps to Deep Purple. And again and again swing. And now Schlager?
No, not only from NOW: havn’t they always been there? Didn’t I secretly listen to them on the old handed down radio under the blanket as a child? … Eine Nacht in Monte Carlo ... Bei dir war es immer so schön ... Das Fräulein Gerda ... Hadn’t the melodies from the old black and white films always fascinated me and stayed in my head? ... Liebling, mein Herz lässt dich grüßen ... Wir machen Musik ... And hadn’t I immediately acquired the song books by Peter Kreuder, Franz Grothe and Michael Jary that fell into my hands in the music store at the time? And of course played them. The earliest repertoire of my first real band basically consisted of this stuff! But why? (After all a child of the Beatles era – more than worthy! – and the Stones rolled over the listening habits of my generation.) It’s easy: the stuff is good! I could listen to these melodies in a hundred years time (something you can’t say about many Schlager of “my” time); the harmonies colourful and intelligent – and: the pieces have the potential to swing! By the way, charm hasn’t ever hurt anybody. It’s hypothetical to ask what would have happened if we hadn’t had such unutterable political conditions for so long. Nevertheless my deep conviction is that my favourites can definitely match up to the songs of other giants like Cole Porter. So put the straw hats away. Nothing to do with nostalgia, we’re talking about good music. And good Schlager fall into this category. Schlager and me? Absolutely! But they’ve got to be able to swing.