The Cold War division of Germany wasn’t just the stuff of spy novels and Stasi files. The 1960s beat boom marked a challenge for German stars, with singers trapped on one side or the other of a musical Berlin Wall. Some managed to adopt the emerging styles of the era, while others were left trapped in a world of cheesy listening.
Girl singers in particular found it hard to pass through the German music industry’s Checkpoint Charlie. Very few achieved credibility. For the rest, Schlager – a homegrown sound based on camp lyrics and jingle-like tunes – was their domain, whether they liked it or not.
In particular, foreign men and, by extension, love and adventure in hot climes, became popular themes for female singers over the decade. Germans’ musical wanderlust reflected the post-war economic miracle that allowed the country’s newly wealthy residents to enjoy international travel on an unprecedented scale.
This also helped establish a host of international singers in Germany. In a country that was coming to terms with its past, foreign was fab.
Here we celebrate the dolls of Deutschland and the foreign Fräuleins who found fame and fortune in the Fatherland, plus those who fell flat on their faces.
Germany's most successful girl singers of the 1960s
Germany's lesser-known girl singers of the 1960s
Other girl singers who sang in German
Other girl singers whose pops we’ve picked
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Highlights of the coming months include:
CD and LP
Beat Fräuleins – Female pop in Germany 1964-1968
Hit Bilanz: Deutsche Chart Singles 1956-1980
CD and LP
Ameriker und Briten singen deutsch 1955-1975
Schlager-Geschichte(n) des Ostens 2 (1965-1970)
Zur Sache Schätzchen