German singer Heidi Bachert’s little black book of pop was crammed full of boys. She is remembered for her only chart hit, a cover of Millie’s My boy lollipop, but is best loved for her later 45 Super Boy.
She was born on 4 March 1944 in Hamburg. After leaving school she worked in a record shop by day and sang at amateur nights in local clubs of an evening.
In 1964 she was offered a contract with the Polydor label.
Manuela had enjoyed the biggest-selling hit of the previous year with Schuld war nur der Bossa Nova, and label chiefs were keen to cash in on this success by having their new signing record something in a similar vein. As a result, Beim Bossa Nova küßt man nicht became Heidi’s debut release. The tactic almost worked – the disc spent four weeks in the chart in May 1964, but narrowly missed the top 40. Meanwhile, the B-side provided Heidi’s first recorded brush with a boy – in the form of Jackie ist ein Sonny-Boy, a cover of Brenda Lee’s My whole world is falling down.
The search then began for a sure-hit hit. Jamaican-born London-based singer Millie was enjoying worldwide success with My Boy Lollipop (originally a small hit in 1956 for America’s Barbie Gaye), and the decision was made to cover the song for the German market.
Heidi’s version was issued in the summer of 1964 in competition with Millie’s own German re-recording of the song – but it was the home-grown singer who won out, reaching number 32 in the German charts in July that year.
Reckoning – probably quite rightly – that Heidi was unlikely to be able to pull off a soundalike follow up convincingly, it was decided that she should drop the bluebeat style for subsequent releases.
The boy theme remained, however. In fact, two boys were felt to be better than one. So, Joey my Boy was duly released as Heidi’s first single of 1965 – with the über-catchy beat-Schlager fusion Boy, du hast mein Herz gestohlen, a reworking of the nursery rhyme Fuchs, du hast die Ganz gestohlen, on the B-side.
But even the double boy ploy failed to help sales.
When Das liegt alles nur an dir also missed the mark later that year, Polydor called in the big guns of pop. Günter Loose – the man behind countless hits for the likes of Marion, Manuela and Suzanne Doucet – was teamed with new Polydor writer Werner Last (who had discovered Renate Kern) for Heidi’s first release of 1966.
The result was the mature Der Anfang ist immer schwer, while the flip, Das ist ein Fehler von mir, a cover of The Ikettes’ I’m so thankful, was an inspired choice that continues to delight fans.
But it is Heidi’s final release for Polydor that remains her most in-demand work. Unsurprisingly, it put her back in boy territory too. After British singer Graham Bonney scored a top ten hit in Germany in the summer of 1966 with Super Girl, the decision was taken that Heidi should record the song too. Sadly, her Super-Boy flopped, and she left the label shortly afterwards.
She went on to be signed by the Metronome label for one further release, 1967’s Fische wollen schwimmen, a version of Brit girl Toni Daly’s B-side You can’t get no water, backed with Ich möchte mit dir tanzen. When it too failed, she quit the business.
With thanks to Arnold Niederl and Jens Keller for additional information and sound files.
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