Sunday, October 9, 2011

Germany's Perplexing Love Affair With David Hasselhoff

To Germans the American B grade
actor is bigger than the Beatles

People say that the Germans have no sense of humor, but I say that is a bum rap.

For instance, Germans think that David Hasselhoff is one of the greatest pop singers of all time.

Now that is funny!

I first learned this several years back when a German friend told me that David Hasselhoff had become a big star in Germany.

My first reaction was: who? But upon reflection I recalled that he was the big, hunky grade B TV actor of 70s soap operas, 80s Knight Rider and 90s Baywatch fame.

And then my German friend apprised me that Hasselhoff was famous in Germany as a pop music singing sensation.

To which I replied: You've got to be kidding!

You see, among sentient Americans, the chisel-featured, barrel-chested, 59 year old German-American is barely considered an actor. And he decidedly is not considered a singer.

There is one basic reason for this and that is that David Hasselhoff cannot sing.
AOL Radio rated Hasselhoff's big German hit
among the top 100 worst pop songs of all time

Oh yes, he can passably carry a tune, just as any Chicago electrician might after downing several pitchers of beer while out with the boys at the local saloon on karaoke night.

And put him in a hi-tech recording studio with knob-turning, audio witch doctors and a large chorus of back up singers and he might turn out something with a vaguely discernible resemblance to music.

And yet for the past two decades, from '89 to the present (he has a 2011 album at #3 in Austria and high on the German charts), David Hasselhoff has been to German audiences and record buyers, bigger than the Beatles -- better than Elvis.

To Americans, this is befuddling and mind-numbing.

It ranks in incomprehensibility with the adulation that the French have accorded to the asinine 50's American comic actor, Jerry Lewis. The surrender monkeys actually think that Lewis is a comedic genius. YIKES!

In Germany, Hasselhoff cashed in with an output of genuinely banal, garage band-quality, soft rock, reminiscent of AM radio fare from his 80s and 90s TV heyday.
Baywatch buddies Hasselhoff and
Pamela Anderson now (l) and then (r)

Compounding the aural atrocity, Hasselhoff churned out some truly hideous covers of iconic American pop classics.

If you ever really want to ruin your day, just listen to Hasselhoff mangle the soft, vibrant Mamas and the Papas '67 classic, California Dreamin'. (You can hear it here, if you really feel you must.)

And if you live in a high-rise, please, stay away from the balcony if you should decide to listen to Hasselhoff butcher the Beachboys' classic ode to summer fun, California Girls -- you just might be tempted to jump off.

Hasselhoff's European anthem is a tediously droning song entitled, Looking For Freedom. AOL Radio ranked it as #98 on the list of the 100 worst pop songs ever recorded. No self respecting American record label would give it a second glance. No American FM pop station would give it the time of day. Yet this audio atrocity reached #1 on the German and Swiss charts in 1989.

There are 310 million Americans and I would hazard to say that about 200 million of them possess greater vocal talent than David Hasselhoff -- yet he is the one we exported to Europe.

Worse than that, the Germans not only bought his shtick, but they actually think that Hasselhoff is the greatest thing to hit Europe since the panzerfaust --- or the Stuka dive bomber.

Here is Hasselhoff's Looking for Freedom, rated among top 100 worst pop songs of all time by AOL radio, it reached #1 in Germany and Switzerland and #3 in Austria in '89:



Here he mangles Johnny Rivers' Secret Agent Man. (Warning, if you have dogs, please put them in the yard as Hasselhoff's off key screeching may induce them to howl in agony.) This is arguably the worst vocal effort you may ever hear in your lifetime:

5 comments:

  1. I'd heard that about Hasselhoff several years ago! I thought by now, surely his popularity would have waned. I mean, c'mon, David Hasselhoff? Seriously?

    I chalk it up to one of those "weird but true" mysteries of life, lol.

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  2. He is a fine singer and deserves all his success...There's much, much worse playing on U.S. radio these days, believe me.

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    1. Well I agree with the 2nd part of your statement.

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  3. Again while watching a tv show it was mentioned that germans love David Hasselhoff. So I googled it and found your post. (Even though it's three years old) I as a german citizens feel somehow the need to assure you that NO, germans do NOT love David Hasselhoff nor do we think he's the greatest actor/singer of all time. Yes, he was popular back in the 80s and early 90s with Baywatch and Knight Rider and he had his hight-in-the-chart-song "I've been looking for freedom" what might have had something to do with the situation in Germany back then (berlin wall) but apart from that he was not more popular than any other guy who was in the tv. Today no one cares for him. There may be some old women still liking him but I'm sure not more than in any other country. The last thing I even remember that had to do with him in the german media was when he was drunk eating a burger or something and his daughter sent the video to the press. That may have been even the time I heard something of him for the first time. I'm not sure.
    However I am a little sick of hearing this in every tv show I'm watching. Even though it's nothing bad and nothing to really care about. It's unnerving...

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    1. We're glad to hear that. And believe it or not, a lot of Americans really like good German pop music. Check out: www.chicagoschlager.blogspot.com

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Comments invited, however anonymous commentors had better deal directly with the issues raised and avoid ad hominem drivel. As for Teachers' Union seminar writers -- forget about it.