Falco’s 60th Birthday
Austria – The most successful Austrian musician of the modern age would have turned 60 this year. For this reason, Austrian Post is dedicating a commemorative stamp to the exceptional artist, Falco.
Falco was born Johann Hölzel on 19th February 1957 in Vienna. Throughout his life he had a very close relationship with his mother, Maria. The young Hans demonstrated a talent for music at an early age. At the age of four he learned to play the piano and played pieces by ear. At 17 he became the bass guitarist in the band “Urspannwerk” and studied briefly at Vienna?s Jazz Conservatoire. One of his idols was David Bowie, and it was because of him that Hans moved to Berlin for a year, where he performed with various bands. He was finally discovered in Vienna by Wickerl Adam, the founder of the “Hallucination Company”. and engaged as a bass guitarist. During this time he adopted the stage name Falco, referencing a very successful ski jumper of that time, Falko Weißpflog, and he also changed his style of dress: he began performing in a suit with gelled hair and sunglasses and always
came across as somewhat arrogant and eccentric. Falco subsequently joined the legendary anarcho band “Drahdiwaberl”, and began singing for the first time, already developing what would later become his characteristic style. In 1980 he wrote his first song “Ganz Wien” – which was quickly banned from the radio.
In 1981 he finally got his break as a solo artist with “Kommissar”, which was also extremely successful in the charts and in clubs beyond Austria. The mixture of High German, Viennese dialect and English and his unique singing style made him the “Godfather of white rap”. His first LP, ?Einzelhaft?, was a huge hit, but this simpl increased the pressure to succeed. After “Junge Römer” Falco changed producers, and in 1985 he finally made it as an international superstar with “Rock me Amadeus”. He was the first German-speaking pop musician to make it to the top of the US charts. Further hits such as “Jeanny” and “Emotional” followed, but Falco returned to his homeland. “I would have had many opportunities to go to America, but I did not
do it, because the best thing about the American flag is the red-white-red stripes.”
Following this major success, both his physical and mental health suffered. Setbacks in his private life hit him hard, and his new records did not sell well. In 1992, however, he made a comeback, delighting more than 100,000 fans with the legendary “Regenkonzert” at the Danube Island festival in 1993. Falco constantly changed his style, as with “Mutter, der Mann mit dem Koks ist da” (Mother, the man with the cocaine is there) in 1995, for example, which he described as “non-conformist provocation”.
On 6th February 1998, Falco died in a car crash in his chosen home, the Dominican Republic. Self-doubt, his tendency towards perfectionism and his melancholy had resulted in repeated problems with alcohol and drugs, yet for many he remains one of the great “heroes of our time”.
Issue Date: 16.03.2017
Designer: Philipp Neuhaus / Bernhard Kronberger
Printer: Joh. Enschedé