Falco – from commissioner to superstar


What was Falco’s real name? When did his career begin and how did it end? Where is he buried? With which No. 1 hit did he make it to the US charts? What remains of one of Austria’s greatest musicians?

On February 19, 1957 , a certain Johann “Hans” Hölzl was born in Vienna. He lived from 1974- 1982 at Ziegelofengasse 37, where a plaque commemorates his former residence . At this address is also the restaurant “Altes Fassl”, where Falco was often a guest. His first world hit “Der Kommissar” was thus created in Ziegelofengasse.

He grew up as an only child in simple circumstances in the working-class district of Margarethen . Actually he was a triplet, unfortunately the other two fetuses lived only until the third month of pregnancy. The musical talent and his good ear were evident early.

The separation of his parents resulted in an intimate relationship with his mother, Maria Hölzl . Falco attended the Piarist Gymnasium and transferred to the Rainergymnasium in Margarethen, but left school early. He also dropped out of the apprenticeship as an office clerk that his mother had wanted. Interestingly, studying music at the music conservatory was not for him either. He certainly didn’t fit the mold of the “conformist” student and had had enough after one semester. His motto in life was to become a “real musician” .

At the age of 17, he voluntarily completed his military service in the army and began to play bass in the rock band “Dradhiwaberl”, whose founder was Stefan Weber . He changed his stage name to Falco from 1978 . He was inspired by the German GDR ski jumper Falko Weißpflog . At the same time he founded his own band “Spinning Wheel”. His song “Ganz Wien” was boycotted by the radio because it was too much about the drug scene in Vienna .

However, this song still helped him to get his first own record deal . The breakthrough came with the catchy song “Der Kommissar” in the Fall 1981. Suddenly Falco was known throughout Europe and even as far as Canada and the USA. And that with a German-language lyric, the first rap song by a white man!

It began a productive period with music videos for his Singles. A fruitful cooperation originated with DoRo Production (Hannes Rossacher and Rudi Dolezal. The first album solitary confinement reached the top of the Austrian charts and became a hit worldwide.

In 1984 the second album “Junge Römer” followed, which was less successful . He switched to the Dutch producer brothers Bolland and produced album No. 3 with the biggest hit known worldwide -. Rock me Amadeus . Now his success was unstoppable, the international breakthrough was achieved by 1985-87. The song was a No. 1 hit on the U.S. charts for three weeks in March 1986. Until now, no German-language song had managed to do this. Falco became an international superstar, which at the same time put a lot of pressure on him to succeed.

Song from this album were “
Vienna Calling”
and the controversial song
The video for Jeanny was assumed to glorify an act of violence, yet the song became successful.


After the fourth album “Emotional” Falco went on World tour. Homesick plagued him more than the attraction of going to America altogether . In an interview he once said “I would have had many opportunities to go to America. I didn’t because the most beautiful thing about the American flag is the red and white stripes.

In 1988 he produced the album “Wiener Blut” (Viennese Blood ), which, however, could not follow the earlier successes. The album “Data de Groove” in 1990 also achieved only moderate fame. A comeback was in the offing from 1992 to 1994. With the album
“Night Flight”
and the single “Titanic” he was successful again in Austria. In 1993 he played at the legendary rainy Donauinselfest in front of 150,000 fans.

A new unexpected hit followed in 1995 with the song “
Mother the man with the coke is here”,
which, adapted to the times, took him in the direction of techno . Drugs, especially cocaine were a big topic in the course of his life. Alcohol as well as private problems were always present. He was married only once briefly, after his girlfriend gave birth to his daughter. Later, due to a paternity test, it turned out that he was not the real father at all.

“Out of the Dark”
was one of his last songs. The refrain

Must I die to become

possibly already foreshadows bad things . On February 6, 1998, Falco died under mysterious circumstances in a car accident near Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic . The Caribbean island had become his adopted home. Large amounts of alcohol and drugs could be detected in the blood.

He was transferred to Austria and given an honorary dedicated grave at the Vienna Central Cemetery . His mother Maria was later buried next to him. The tomb has become a pilgrimage site of international rank.

A few weeks after his death the
Album “Out oft he Dark (Into the Light”
) was released and became a huge success within a very short time. More albums were released posthumously, such as “
Damn, we’re still alive”.

His life was made into a film – 2008 saw the release of the
Film “Falco – Damn we are still alive”.
with the Austrian musician Manuel Rubey in the leading role. There is also a Falco musical of its own. With the so-called “Wiener Schmäh” (Viennese humor) he conquered the whole world like no other before him.

The Falcostiege and Falcogasse in Vienna were named after the pop star. At

Lower Austrian spa town of Gars am Kamp , a statue of Falco was erected.

Time Travel Tip: The restaurant “Altes Fassl” in Ziegelofengasse, where Falco once lived, is an excellent place to dine.
The old Viennese baked meat
or the classic

Viennese Schnitzel of veal
are delicious there. At the same time you can commemorate Falco there!


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