That strain again: Heino

The Knife has, I confess, a strange affinity for Andre Rieu, the bouffant Dutch smoothie and waltz maestro. Just as things are getting dull at one of his vast concerts (never off Sky Arts), along comes something fun. Like the German blonde, bug-eyed baritone, Heino, who specialises in cheesy schlager volksmusik.

I had no idea until I started writing this that the 74 year old Heino has a new album out – a German bestseller – that’s a set of covers of  German contemporary punk, pop etc. What makes this even better is that Heino is officially uncool and has pissed off all the bands whose songs he’s covered, even though he’s far more talented than them; he has had the Guardian – incredibly- foaming at the mouth because of the usual (yawn) “far right sympathies” they detect in his music*; and delightfully, as Heino himself points out, his  album Lieder der Berge (Songs of the Mountains) sold 1.2m copies in Germany while John Lennon, who was assassinated in December that year, sold just 200,000. That makes me laugh. Heino is waaaaay better than Lennon.

Here he is with Andre, with Rosamunde (which sounds like Roll Out the Barrel), and if you want more, try Sierra Madre, this is what they do for fun in Nordeuropa. Wunderbar!

* I might return to music which annoys the Guardian in a later post.


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