Why Germany loves David Hasselhoff | cultural | D.W.

In the 1980s and 1990s, David Hasselhoff reached his peak when he became the face of hit television series such as Knight Rider Yes Baywatch.

But when the actor was beamed into homes around the world as he solved crimes with his artificial intelligence car KITT, few people knew that Hasselhoff had a secret career as a rock musician.

His first album released in 1984, night rocker, had median sales in the United States. However, it topped the charts in Austria. Equally popular in Germany, the “Hoff”, as he is affectionately known, soon made regular tours of the German-speaking region.

find freedom and the fall of the wall

your album feelings of lovefrom 1987, reached the top 20 in Austria and Germany, but was their single the following year In search of freedom (Looking for Freedom), which spent weeks at number one and was a hit across Europe.

An English version of the 1978 hit, Auf der Straße nach Süden (On the Street to the South), the song was written by German footballer turned songwriter and producer Jack White.

White went on to produce Hasselhoff’s 1989 album of the same name.

Hasselhoff’s popularity in Germany was such that at his request a promotional event was held on New Year’s Eve 1989 at the Berlin Wall, which had fallen a few weeks before. Hoisted by a crane above the wall, he sang his hit in front of around 500,000 Berliners.

find freedom it became an anthem of German reunification and gave it the critical impetus that fuels “Hoff’s” musical career to this day.

The “Hoff” is activated

Recognized as the meme star of stage, screen and pop culture, the ‘Hoff’ made headlines for parodying Adolf Hitler on stage in London in 2012 and starred in a short film in 2017. titled self-referential David Hasselhoff on his AI-generated alter ego The HoffBot The HoffBot, which was written by artificial intelligence.

But he also uses his star power for political matters. For example, he joined protests against infrastructure development near the Berlin Wall.

After protesting plans to tear down part of the wall in 2013, Hasselhoff returned in 2019 to ask then-Berlin Mayor Michael Müller to halt construction of a high-rise building next to it. of the East Side Gallery, a 1.3 kilometer section of the wall. covered in political paintings and graffiti and preserved as a monument to freedom.

Singing for freedom at the Berlin Wall in 1989

“Don’t build any more buildings next to the Berlin Wall,” Hasselhoff told Müller. “They are trying to build a monstrous building on the death strip. Prevent the destruction of the Berlin Wall.”

On German Unity Day that year, Hasselhoff performed a concert to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. “Thirty years of freedom!” he shouted, “ich bin ein Berliner!”, he added.

The city that sparked the actor’s rise to musical fame is home to the only David Hasselhoff museum in the world, which is housed in the basement of the Circus Hostel.

Museum organizers are convinced Hasselhoff accelerated Germany’s reunification, while the crown jewel of the collection is the piano keyboard scarf he wore when he performed near the wall at the Brandenburg Gate in 1989.

Still celebrating at 70

Hasselhoff, who turned 70 this Sunday, July 17, is still going strong. his last album Celebrate your Hasselhoff It came out last September.

And inevitably it came with a strong German hook and became Hasselhoff’s highest charting album in Germany. “I selected a lot of songs just because they were hits in Germany,” the artist told German news agency DPA after their release. “The 80s and 90s were great years where we had a lot of fun,” he said.

The disc includes a version of The passenger from Iggy Pop, a song inspired by a train ride in Berlin, written while Iggy was living in the city with David Bowie in the mid-1970s.

The celebrations will continue. A big tour is planned for next year, allowing Hasselhoff to keep the party going.

(rr/ers)

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