Book look: Peter Lanz

Falco is often lauded as Austria’s only pop star. The musician – who started out as bassist of Viennese band Drahdiwaberl – invented German rap and topped the US Billboard charts with “Rock Me Amadeus” in 1986.

Growing up under financially difficult conditions, Falco always acted rebellious – in school and on stage. It was only his love and admiration for his mother which kept him from coming off track early. However, things out of control completely when he rose to become one of Europe’s hottest pop acts. The man born as Hans Hölzel failed to handle the situation, truest the wrong people and eventually died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic in 1998.

At that time, few really cared about him. The majority of music enthusiasts and culture critics considered him as a faded memory of a glitzy past. Nevertheless, renowned writers try to falsify the situation of that period by claiming that he was still on top of the game back then. “Out of the Dark”, a song released shortly after his death, dominated the charts in several countries for weeks.

In his lifetime, Falco succeeded with several remarkable songs like “Der Kommissar”, “Jeanny” and “Vienna Calling”. The new biography by Peter Lanz – now out by Ueberreuter – features a CD 1containing these and 10 other songs, as well a previously unreleased interview conducted by Norbert Ivanek in 1993.

The gripping story of Falco’s rise and fall is illustrated with images showing the eccentric pop star as a child and with Formula One legend Niki Lauda at the Vienna Opera Ball. Other photos were taken during concerts in his home country and while touring Japan.

Falco is still, and will probably always be, a household name in Austria. A small street in Vienna-Donaustadt was named after him in 2008, and Manuel Rubey did a superb job in “Falco – Verdammt, wir leben noch!”, considering the pressure heaved upon him when it emerged that he will play Falco in the film by Thomas Roth.

Falco. Die Biografie
By Peter Lanz
Published by Ueberreuter (

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