American-born singer Katja Holländer signed to the Polydor label in her family’s German homeland in 1966, where she cut a number of go-go-tastic tunes with some of the country’s top songwriters.
She was born Melody Hollaender on 20 March 1944 in Hollywood, California, in the United States. Her father was composer Friedrich Hollaender, who is best known for having penned Marlene Dietrich’s Falling in love again/Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuß auf Liebe eingestellt.
Melody came to Europe in the 1950s, and in 1966 she landed a contract with the Polydor label in Germany.
At that time, the country was smitten with Nancy Sinatra. Her These boots are made for walkin’ had just spent six weeks at the top of the charts, and a German version of the song, performed by fellow US singer Eileen, had also proved a hit.
Polydor bosses decided that their new signing – who had been renamed Katja Holländer – would be the perfect front for a Teutonic take on this sound.
Katja was teamed with top lyricist and producer Kurt Feltz and composer Werner Scharfenberger, the pair behind many big hits by the likes of Gitte, Mina and Connie Francis.
The first single to be released from this collaboration was the first-rate Er heißt Peter, with Wenn ich deinen Namen hör, a version of the Jackie De Shannon-penned Come and stay with me (a hit in the UK for Marianne Faithfull), on the reverse.
Perhaps surprisingly, the 45 failed to sell.
What is more unexpected is that the label pushed ahead with its plans for Katja to cut an album.
The resultant LP, Hallo, Katja, is remarkably good. Full of catchy tunes and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, it is now much sought after by fans of the genre. However, despite promotional appearances on German TV, it didn’t attract much attention from record buyers at the time.
The following year, Katja switched to the smaller Populär label for one final German release, Weine nicht um einen Boy, issued under the alternative spelling of Katja Hollaender. When it went the way of her previous releases, no further material was issued.
Katja now lives back in California, where she manages her father’s musical legacy.
With thanks to Bernd Matheja for additional information and Jens Keller for additional sound files.