Bono, Joe Cocker and … Herbert Grönemeyer

Singer, songwriter and actor Herbert Grönemeyer is huge in Germany. Will he conquer Britain, asks Neil McCormick .


‘There’s always more to Herbert’s songs than you first hear,’ says Bono, who duets with Herbert Grönemeyer on ‘I Walk’

By Neil McCormick

Herbert Grönemeyer is Germany’s biggest music star. No sniggering at the back. In our Anglo-American culture, Germany occupies its own niche in pop’s deepest circle of hell, where you will find such rare German exports as Boney M, Nena, Milli Vanilli and the cartoonish techno outfit Scooter.

But Grönemeyer is a singer-songwriter of the highest order, a deep lyricist and richly melodic composer with a gruff, grown-up voice and vigorous stage presence, whose thoughtful songs deal with the real stuff of life. At 56, he regularly sells out stadiums, commanding his devoted audience with a lot of energy and humour, and interspersing his own, often darkly intense songs with brash, soulful cover versions. He’s been making albums since 1979, outsold Michael Jackson’s Thriller in Germany in 1984, and made the biggest-selling German album of all time, Mensch, in 2002.

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