Italo disco and its progeny, Euro Disco, bears the dubious distinction
of being either the greatest or the worst music in the world, depending on who you ask. The
infectious Eurobeat of German sensation Modern Talking evoked a predictably similar reaction.
While their skillfully crafted pop songs earned them more international success and
recognition than had been achieved by any German group before them, by the time the duo called it
quits in 1988 they were almost as widely hated as they were reveiled. Spearheaded by one of the
most prolific artists in German music history, Modern Talking inspired hoardes of
followers and sold over 120 millions albums throughout the course of three decades. Although the
band only lasted four years in its first incarnation, Modern Talking left behind a legacy that
deeply impacted the course of European pop music.
The brain behind Modern Talking was born February 7, 1954 in Oldenburg, Germany.
Dieter Bohlen's lifelong infatuation with pop music began at age 10 when he first heard the
songs of The Beatles. He promptly took up the guitar and would later learn to play
keyboards as well. Proving that his intelligence was not only limited to music, Bohlen
completed an economics degree at the University of Gotteingen before he attempted to pursue
his musical career. Having honed his skills playing in several local bands throughout university,
Bohlen recorded demo tapes and sent them out to various companies without much success.
By 1979 Bohlen had been picked up by Hamburg-based Intersong records, where he wrote
and produced material for other artists, in addition to releasing his own songs under a number of
pseudonyms. One of the arists that Bohlen wrote for was Thomas Anders, who was born Bernd
Weidung on March 1, 1963 in Munstermaifeld, Germany. His musical career had begun at age 7 with
his local church choir. Fortunately for Eurodisco fans everywhere, Anders' solo career did
not pan out as he had expected, and resulted in his partnership with Bohlen as Modern
Their imaginitively titled debut, The First Album, went to the top of the German charts
and yielded two hits singles in "You're My Heart, You're My Soul" and "You Can Win If You
Want". Their 1985 follow-up album, Let's Talk About Love contained another smash hit in "Cheri
Cheri Lady". The band reached their peak in 1986 with the album , penetrating
UK Charts for the first time. The album topped out at number 76, while the single "Brother
Louie" reached up to number 4 in the UK, while garnering their fourth number 1 single in
Germany. The second single from the album, "Atlantis Is Calling (SOS For Love)" became their
fifth German number 1.
Three more Modern Talking albums followed, although none improved on the success of
Ready for Romance, and in 1987 Bohlen announced the end of his collaboration with Anders amid
rumours of internal tension. Many claimed it was Anders' then wife, Nora Balling, who sparked
the separation by demanding that her husband refrain from performing at certain
Despite his involvement with Anders, Bohlen was nothing if not a man with his finger in
many different pies, and he mainatined a thriving solo career throughout the late 80s. Much of
his time had been taken up with his discovery of Dutch-born pop sensation C.C. Catch (real name
Caroline Catharina Mueller), although their association ended when Catch spurned Bohlen's
production because she was fed up with being regarded as nothing but a female version of Modern
Talking. Bohlen released his own material under the name Blue System, and notched quite a few
hits of his own. Meanwhile, Anders also fared well, releasing a number of albums including one in
Spanish. However, as the 80s gave way to the more hostile 90s, Anders and Bohlen both found
themselves faced with a dramatically shrunken audience.
Bohlen and Anders renewed their association in 1994, which culminated in their 1998
comeback album Back For Good. The rumour at the time was that the reunion had been engineered
by the television show Wetten, dass...? for its own financial gain, but whatever the origin,
Back For Good was a bona fide success. Shorn of their mullets, clad in black leather, and
accompanied by a generic rapper for bonus street cred, the pride of Germany found themselves
comfortably back at the top of the charts.
Modern Talking released an album in each subsequent year after that, ending with 2003's
Universe, which reached number 2 in German charts. That same year, the band released a
Greatest Hits compilation aptly entitled The Final Album. For their efforts, Modern Talking
were rewarded with over 120 million units sold over 20 years, making them the best-selling German
band in history, despite never getting past fourth spot in the UK and barely even making a dent
in North America.
sources include various entries on www.allmusic.com and www.de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hauptseite