NewsUdo Lindenberg turns 75: casual, arrogant and politically committed

Udo Lindenberg turns 75: casual, arrogant and politically committed

Three quarters of a century of Udo Lindenberg need to be celebrated appropriately. The FR congratulates the “original” on its 75th birthday.

Tequila to honor you, no time to grow old. We just don’t stand still ”, sings Udo Lindenberg in his single“ Mittendrin ”released in April. A cancellation of larger celebrations for his 75th birthday on May 17th? Well, partying is not the order of the day again at the moment. Rather, in Corona times, Udo is concerned with saving club culture.

“If I had a birthday wish, it would be for the federal and state governments to realize what the colorful, criss-cross and flexible cultural landscape means for our cool Germany and that we need full support here.” That was 2020. The clubs are still starving and There are still no dates for Udo’s tour, which was once postponed to 2021. In spite of the pandemic, however, all that remains is to look ahead, “because even the darkest hour only has sixty minutes,” he sings in “Mittendrin”.

Udo Lindenberg: “Collective Megapower” and “Fuck the Virus”

In the meantime, Udo did not at all complain about the crisis. So he called for social cohesion in a flippant Udo tone: “We need collective mega-power, so: Mask on and through with panic,” he said last summer – and does not remain idle: his work of art “I stay at home – Fuck the virus ”will be auctioned for more than 35,000 euros. According to information on his website, the proceeds from his“ Fuck the virus ”protective masks will raise a total of 200,000 euros for the benefit of children in Moria and refugees in Greece. And Lindenberg also had a suitable rhyme for those who refuse to wear a mask: “If the brain-dead risk pilots hiss through the aerosols, it will hit a lot of people.”

Verleihung der International Music Awards in Berlin am 22. November 2019. dpa

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Presentation of the International Music Awards in Berlin on November 22, 2019. dpa

It all started in Gronau: A look back at 75 years of Udo Lindenberg

While the artist tends to look ahead, three quarters of a century still offers Udo Lindenberg reason enough to look back. On the life of Udo Lindenberg – the man with the hat, the man with the sunglasses and Germany’s only artist who mumbles almost more than Til Schweiger.

Born in 1946 in the Westphalian town of Gronau, little Udo grew up there with three siblings. The signs point to music early on, even as a child he drums on his first drum kit after allegedly misusing petrol barrels for it. This is followed by a visit to the Münster University of Music and stays in France and Libya.

After the first contact with jazz, Lindenberg gathered band experiences with the “City Preachers”, “Free Orbit” and the “Mustangs” at the end of the 1960s. In the 70s he drums for Klaus Doldinger’s “Passport” before Lindenberg exchanged the drums for the vocal microphone after the first few releases and in 1973 achieved his commercial breakthrough with “Andrea Doria”.

“Horizont” and “Sonderzug nach Pankow” – Udo Lindenberg had numerous hits in his career

What then follows is Udo Lindenberg’s great career, which in this country probably did not pass anyone by. The musicians of his panic orchestra are always at the side. “Horizon”, “What are wars for?”, “Special train to Pankow”, “Cello”, “Woddy Woddy Vodka”, “You can’t fix a heart” – the list of hits is long, as is the list of chart positions and gold – and platinum awards. “Your texts have long been a German cultural asset”, ennobled him in 2015 when the Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel presented him with the Golden Hen for his lifetime achievement.

„Rock gegen Rechts“ in Frankfurt, 16. Juni 1979.

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“Rock gegen Rechts” in Frankfurt, June 16, 1979.

From the 00s at the latest, publications will be significantly rarer, while the live shows have recently become more and more gigantic. Light shows, pyro, flying saucers, rockets – entertainment for the masses in the large arenas, also technically at the highest level. He regularly shares the stage with guest musicians such as Nena, Clueso, Peter Maffay, Eric Burdon and Nina Hagen. Surprisingly for some, Lindenberg achieved another great commercial success in 2008 with “Strong as Two”. It shouldn’t be the last, as two unplugged albums and “Stronger than Time” (2016) show.

Tatort drummers and painters: What icon Udo Lindenberg is still known for

By the way: fans of the ARD series “Tatort” – often ignorant – can still enjoy Udo Lindenberg’s early drumming skills today. At least when the crime novels were repeated until 1978. Udo was responsible for the wild drumming of the original title melody by Klaus Doldinger until the piece fell victim to a general overhaul.

For a long time, Lindenberg’s second passion – painting – was somewhat overshadowed by his music. Since the 1990s, he has increasingly presented his numerous works in exhibitions. Many of his paintings and drawings come across as idiosyncratic: colorful motifs in his lyrics, Udo himself in all conceivable places on the planet and his so-called liqueurs, which he puts on paper using alcoholic beverages containing dyes. Usually there are only a few lines, some color and the casual Udo tone such as “Reality is only for people who cannot cope with drugs.” Sometimes funny, sometimes weird, often obscene.

There is not enough space to honor all of Udo Lindenberg’s awards on two newspaper pages. Two orders of federal merit, various echoes, Bambis, radio prizes, golden tuning forks, golden hammers, Hamburger of the Year, Düsseldorfer of the Year, and, and, and. The Unicef Prize for Children’s Rights was recently added. In addition to the countless medals for the home showcase, Udo is also given fame and honor in public spaces.

The FR congratulates Udo Lindenberg on his 75th birthday

A look into Lindenberg’s native city of Gronau: The local “rock’n’pop museum” has been opening its doors since 2004 at Udo-Lindenberg-Platz. Not far away, the “Statue of Liberty of Gronau” has been greeting from a roundabout since 2015, a larger than life Udo monument, the history of which was also recorded in a film documentary. Almost astonishing that Udo has only been able to call himself an honorary citizen of his hometown since 2016.

The Baltic Sea community of Timmendorfer Strand was a little faster: Udo is not an honorary citizen there, but Germany’s first Lindenberg memorial was inaugurated on the beach there in 2012. On the portal “ostsee.de” you can find out not only why you should definitely book your vacation in the spa on the Baltic Sea, but also how it came about. Lindenberg is said to have written the cult hit “Horizont” in 1986 in the community. In addition, the work, which shows Udo in the usual casual pose, is intended to honor the faithful attitude of the “original”, which has therefore been a regular guest in the community for decades, which is known there as “a wonderful declaration of love”.

Debüt des „Hinterm Horizont“-Musicals in Hamburg, 11 November 2016. dpa

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Debut of the “Hinterm Horizont” musical in Hamburg, November 11, 2016. dpa

Postage stamps, monuments and a school – declarations of love to Udo Lindenberg

For several years now, Udo Lindenberg has also been shown as a wax figure in the Hamburg Panoptikum. Not far is Lindenberg’s former flatmate of the Villa Kunterbunt, Otto Waalkes, whose room was directly below Udos. According to the “Mopo”, Waalkes is said to have suffered from Lindenberg’s leaky water bed at the time. As a synergy of those party years, Susi Sorglos and Harry Hirsch on the one hand and Rudi perplexed on the other should have emerged.

Another honor that most artists only receive after their death, Lindenberg will experience twice in 2010. With the motifs “Andrea Doria” and “Special Train to Pankow”, the Federal Ministry of Finance is issuing two postage stamps with his paintings.

And while in many places Goethe, Schiller or Albert Schweitzer still have to serve as namesake, the middle school in Mellrichstadt 2017 chose a different path – the institution has since been called the “Udo Lindenberg School”. “Racist and right-wing extremist approaches shouldn’t have a chance with us and that’s why we need Udo! For more than 40 years, Lindenberg has been campaigning for the rights of minorities, for peace, humanity and respectful interaction in a colorful republic of Germany, ”said the reasoning on the school’s website. “Lindenberg, not a joke, but the attempt to link a school with a person who gives answers to current questions. Don’t panic, in Mellrichstadt we already know what we’re doing … “

An electric guitar for Erich Honecker: Udo Lindenberg and the GDR

The reason for the decision of the Mellrichstädter should have been mainly the person Udo Lindenberg. And occasionally the question arises whether Udo Lindenberg is really one of us. Spaceman “Astro-Alex” Gerst decided: “If there are extraterrestrials, then Udo is definitely one.” The flippant cult rocker cannot be pigeonholed.

There is an interesting remark in a well-read online encyclopedia: According to this, Lindenberg also achieved the breakthrough at the time because he was able to occupy a niche between the internationally oriented Krautrock and the hit of the time. German-speaking rock bands have so far only reached a niche audience because they – for example, Ton Steine Scherben – were predominantly political.

Udo’s efforts to make appearances in the GDR in the 1980s will remain unforgettable, not least in the “Special Train to Pankow”, but initially rejected. Today a museum piece is the black and red leather jacket that Lindenberg gave to Erich Honecker. Later he presented the SED boss with an electric guitar with the slogan “Guitars instead of creaking”. During Honecker’s tenure, however, there was only one brief appearance by Lindenberg in East Berlin, which was apparently monitored by the secret service; appearances with the album “Bunte Republik Deutschland” did not follow until 1990. Nevertheless, the casual Udo conquered the hearts of numerous GDR citizens with his always charming and provocative taunts against the regime. Uwe Neumann, who is planning a Lindenberg exhibition as director of the Kunsthalle Rostock, recently said in an NDR documentary about the time: “What we thought was great: that someone makes fun of our party bosses but takes us seriously.”

Udo Lindenberg’s political commitment: not with words, but with deeds

In fact, Lindenberg can’t point to too many political song lyrics. Besides his social commitment, Udo always demonstrates a clear political stance in many areas. Be it the clear edge against the right – “You don’t need a leader” (1984) and his initiative “Rock against Rights Violence (2001) – the support of Greenpeace and numerous animal welfare campaigns, the commitment to children’s rights, Live Aid appearances and much more more.

Konzertauftritt in Leipzig (DDR) am 7. Januar 1990. epd

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Concert in Leipzig (GDR) on January 7, 1990. epd

Lindenberg only discovered the issue of climate protection late: in 2019. He is discontinuing his previous annual cruise concerts on the “Rockliner” and instead supports Fridays for Future.

He wants to remain a musician until his last breath: Udo Lindenberg turns 75

Opposed to all of this is Udo Lindenberg as everyone knows him. The casual Udo, with the natural arrogance of a rock star, who has lived decadently in the luxury hotel Atlantic Kempinski on the Alster for a quarter of a century. But there is also a lot. In 2006 he founded the Udo Lindenberg Foundation. This promotes education and water projects in Africa as well as young musicians: inside and German-German historical awareness and officially pursues no less goal than a fairer world.

Udo wants to pursue this for a long time: He made it clear for a long time that he did not believe in retirement, also that old age has more of a problem with him than the other way around. So he wants to remain a musician until his last breath – as he once revealed to the “BZ”: “I’m an adventurer until it tears me away and I die on stage, in the arms of a beautiful woman or a beautiful man. I’m from flexible companies. “

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