German Rock Music

German Rock Music

German rock music, collective name for various styles of popular music that originated in Germany initially based on the model of Anglo-American rock and pop music from around the rock ‘n’ roll and beat era of the 1950s and 60s; she uses partly English texts, German rock music in the narrower sense exclusively German-language texts. The development of German rock music between 1950 and 1989 in the Federal Republic of Germany and the GDR was similar in parts, but also with considerable differences.

The German language as a disadvantage

If you wanted to find out what is specific about German rock music, you would hardly be able to do this on the basis of the music alone. B. at the Rolling Stones and B. Dylan. Electronic rock is a specifically German phenomenon, represented by Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze (* 1947) on the one hand, and Kraftwerk and the group Neu on the other. This music is also respected on an international level. The primacy that for a time was jazz rock held in Germany, points to a special characteristic: The main criterion of German rock music is also its greatest shortcoming – the German language. Only Lindenberg showed a way to integrate the German language adequately in rock songs, even if it failed consistently and not forthcoming international success generally. Since German rock music lacks its own traditions – such as blues and country music in the USA – only the Anglo-American models remain. German folk music was completely pushed back, although there are quite successful examples of taking this as a basis, for example in the so-called dialect rock, which has appeared again and again since the 1970s (BAP, Haindling, Sparifankal, De Bläck Fööss, Achim Reichel [* 1944], the Austrian Hubert von Goisern [* 1952] and others). The alleged unsangibility of the German language led to the predominance of instrumental music such as progressive rock, electronic rock and later techno music. The ability of the listener to be able to understand the texts without further ado places increased demands on the content and quality of German texts. The sometimes brute joke of words from bands like Die Ärzte or Die Toten Hosen offered a way out here, as these bands found v. a. a large, loyal and constantly renewing audience because of their lyrics.

German rock music and politics

Although rock music is generally remote from the state and politicians, there have been phases of rapprochement and rejection by rock musicians and listeners towards state institutions (and vice versa), especially in the two German states. While rock music was sometimes massively suppressed by young people as a temporary cultural aberration in the 1950s and even in the 1960s, sometimes dismissed patronizingly, if not completely ignored, the picture changed in the course of the 1970s: rock music became one Recognized the possibility of not only influencing young people, but actually reaching them in the first place. State-organized rock competitions (such as the Senate rock competition in Berlin in the 1980s) or the appointment of “rock representatives” who take care of the interests of musicians Examples of attempts to promote national rock music. This also includes demands to increase, if not to quote, the German-language share of the music presented by public broadcasters. The musicians themselves, however, behave ambiguously towards politics and the state and make themselves the mouthpiece of their listeners rather than allowing themselves to be instrumentalized for state or party political goals. Political rock bands such as Floh de Cologne were a phenomenon of the 1960s and 70s and hardly generated any response from listeners. On the other hand, the more or less clearly formulated demands for a change in political and social conditions, as they were repeatedly presented by musicians (e.g. Lindenberg, for example, with “Girls from East Berlin”, Ton Steine ​​Scherben with “Break what breaks you down”), mostly of greater interest among the rock audience.

Since the beginning of the 1990s at the latest, bands and individual musicians who want to spread right-wing extremist ideas with their music have become a phenomenon that has to be taken seriously. In fact, these musicians are not looking for success in the hit parades, but have long been able to fall back on structures outside the established concert stages and sound carrier distribution channels for distribution, such as B. the Internet. The music itself, which mostly follows common hard rock patterns, is used as a pretext.

German Rock Music

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