The Cold War division of Germany wasn’t just the stuff of spy novels and Stasi files. The 1960s beat boom marked a challenge for German stars, with singers trapped on one side or the other of a musical Berlin Wall. Some managed to adopt the emerging styles of the era, while others were left trapped in a world of cheesy listening.
Girl singers in particular found it hard to pass through the German music industry’s Checkpoint Charlie. Very few achieved credibility. For the rest, Schlager – a homegrown sound based on camp lyrics and jingle-like tunes – was their domain, whether they liked it or not.
In particular, foreign men and, by extension, love and adventure in hot climes, became popular themes for female singers over the decade. Germans’ musical wanderlust reflected the post-war economic miracle that allowed the country’s newly wealthy residents to enjoy international travel on an unprecedented scale.
This also helped establish a host of international singers in Germany. In a country that was coming to terms with its past, foreign was fab.
Here we celebrate the dolls of Deutschland and the foreign Fräuleins who found fame and fortune in the Fatherland, plus those who fell flat on their faces.