60 years ago one of the sweetest German singers was born
Photo: Mikhail FROLOV
The fact that he would be a singer, Bernd Weidung realized around the age of six. By this age he was already taking piano lessons, studying singing, and acting on stage as St. Nicholas in a children’s religious play. At the age of ten, he entered and won a children’s singing contest, after which he began acting almost professionally. Growing up, he started singing in discos and clubs. He changed his name to Thomas Anders (because Bernd Weidung seemed unpronounceable even to Germans).
But real success was in no hurry to come. In the adult competition, where she went at the age of 16, she failed. The first solo compositions of his were unsuccessful. Thomas thought of becoming a music journalist and began studying musicology at the University of Mainz. But he studied there for only two and a half years. Because there was a meeting that changed everything.
She met Dieter Bohlen, a 29-year-old producer who, more than anything, wanted to become a star and a millionaire and dreamed of a villa in Beverly Hills, next to which there would be a pond, and in the pond… flamingos. But somehow He wasn’t very good with hits anyway, and had already come up with an inscription on his tombstone: “Here lies a man who wrote four million unrecognized songs.”
And then there was Tomas. Initially, the producers offered the young singer to record several German-language versions of English-language hits, and they recorded them with Dieter. Bohlen liked her voice (although he noted, “There’s so much sweet honey in it you could spread it on toast if you wanted”).
Dieter was sure that fame could only be achieved by singing songs in English, because compositions in German would never become a California villa, at best “a two-family house in Wuppertal.” And one day I decided to take a risk. In his memoirs, he recalled how the first and main hit of Modern Talking – “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul” was born: “I confess, I did not suspect then that we would have a world hit, so I scribbled the text for half minute. Wipe your ass, and then some more time. Thomas as a singer looked pontovo. He sang the whole thing in five minutes. The song has been recorded. True, there were problems with the sound recording equipment: “everything sounded as if the sound flew around the moon and back, somehow cosmic.” But they didn’t start writing again, and somehow “stitched the song together” with sin down the middle.
At the same time, Anders categorically did not want his face to appear on the cover of the single: “I don’t want to lose my reputation! It won’t work if I sing in English. Better give me five hundred marks. Then you can use my voice and my name won’t appear at all… I want to continue making my German music. I see more benefits in this.”
Photo: GLOBAL LOOK PRESS
But Dieter convinced him. So they began to think about how to call them a duet with Thomas. The head of the record company suggested the name “Turbo-Diesel”, but Bohlen objected: “This name made me associate with the rumble of a tractor on a construction site. And I didn’t want to go back to where my father came from.” And in the end, the secretary pointed to the poster representing the groups “Modern Romance” and “Talk Talk” and suggested calling the duet “Modern Talking”, that is, “modern conversation. Not the brightest name, and the cover of the first single was stupid: there was a white sneaker and a patent leather shoe leaning against each other, but nothing could stop the triumph of the song.
And then more and more new hits. “You Can Win If You Want”, “Brother Louie”, “Atlantis Is Calling (SOS for Love)”… Bohlen remembered about “Cheri, Cheri Lady” that after writing it he threw it away, it seemed so primitive to him. “But Thomas pulled it out of the trash and said, ‘This is great, let’s still record it! Because of this, I am now ready to kiss his shoes.
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But soon Bohlen did not want to kiss Anders’ shoes: three years later the group broke up. Why it is difficult to understand. Dieter blamed the whims and short temper of Thomas’s wife, Nora, whom he saw as a kind of Yoko Ono, ruining a tight-knit creative team. Anders said he was just tired of the hectic tour schedule, even if he brought a lot of money.
They performed separately, but could not achieve popularity everywhere. In the USSR, and then in Russia, they were always enthusiastically received, and Thomas also became famous in Argentina – his album in Spanish was a great success there… (In general, Latin America received it with no less passion than the Russian Federation: he still calls one of the highlights of his life the minute he performed a song with 85,000 people in a stadium in Santiago de Chile).
Modern Talking briefly reunited in the late 90s, and in Germany, as well as several “Disco 80s” in Moscow, they expected a triumph. And some songs, like Last Exit To Brooklyn, were not inferior to the old hits, all the same on Eurodisco … Anders said that at the age of five in the “second period” Modern Talking felt much more comfortable than in his youth: “I got older, had more experience and confidence. And in our first stint, the record company defined my whole life, and I felt like I was being controlled.
Now the glory of Thomas Anders is a bit in the past, there is no need to wait for a repeat of success. But those who grew up in the ’80s won’t be able to forget his honey voice. Anders does not hang his nose, sits on the jury of music competitions, participates in the German versions of popular TV shows such as “Mask” … In general, he behaves as expected here, that is, like an artist Russian folk.