The Foreign Correspondent – Stories About German Rock Music # 18

Let me take you back 20 years ago to German rock music. The Hamburg school is a loose music movement which originated in the end of the 1980s and reached her commercial high point middle him of 1990s. She went back to traditions of the new German wave and connected them with elements of Indie rock, punk, Grunge and pop. It was and is with it an important part of the German youth culture and brought a new self-image for the use of the German in the pop music with itself. In the beginning purely from Hamburg based bands like Cpt. Kirk &., Kolossale Jugend, Blumfeld , Die Goldenen Zitronen or Huah! carried, the Hamburg school is not simply a „storage tank of similarly sounding music“. It’s distinguishes herself above all by German-speaking lyrics to which often a high intellectual claim is portioned out and which are connected extensively with society criticism, left political setting and postal-modern theories. In the middle of the 1990s became in particular of three bands very successful: Blumfeld, Die Sterne and Tocotronic. By the success of the Hamburg school also attained a lot of German-speaking guitar bands a higher fame whose attempts were not necessarily to be compared in music and text to the Hamburg school. However, with the establishment of a national, German-speaking indie-pop scene and the concept „Hamburg school“ became less important bit by bit. But this will be a story to be told another time.

So let me introduce some band from the ‘Hamburg School’ that made German ears listen to some new sounds:

Huah – In einem 3000 Seelen Dorf (In a 3000 souls village)
Cpt. Kirk &. – Selber Schuld (It’s your own fault)
Kolossale Jugend (Colossal Youth) – Bessere Zeiten (Better times)
Die Goldenen Zitronen (The Golden Lemons) – Für immer Punk (Punk forever)
Die Goldenen Zitronen (The Golden Lemons) – Das bisschen Totschlag (This a little manslaughter)
Blumfeld – Ghettowelt
Blumfeld – Ich-Maschine

And if I talk about the so called ‘Hamburg School’ this story would not be complete without any word about Bernd Begemann from Bad Salzuflen who was still a member of the scene. He did a lot of good things all over the years and I was glad to see him live last year in a very very small bar in Stuttgart.


2 thoughts on “The Foreign Correspondent – Stories About German Rock Music # 18

  1. Interesting, Walter, that you add die Zitronen to Hamburger Schule … I think I wouldn't do this (but I am by no means an expert here). To me they were always different and thus not really comparable to Tocotronic and the others (btw: no Tocotronic – tune? How come? Their debut LP is a masterpiece!)

    Should you ever get your hands on it for a reasonable price (which isn't that difficult): I highly recommend the first L'Age D'Or label compilations: 'Bessere Zeiten Klingt Gut' and 'Musik Für Junge Leute': great stuff on both of them!

  2. Thank you for your comment Dirk. I listed Die Goldenen Zitronen in this connection because they should be named when I write about the Hamburg School. Of course they were more punk than the other bands but they prepared the way for bands like Tocotronic. And they had the same intelectual background. You're right when you miss Tocotronic in this post. In fact of their debut album it should be worth to feature them in a separate post in the next weeks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s