How rich was Falco?
An exceptional talent and the greatest pop star that Austria has produced to date – this is how Johann Hölzel, alias Falco, is often described. It still holds the record, the only German-language song Rock Me Amadeus to have topped the US Billboard charts. The great Viennese musician died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic in 1998. Falco left a fortune of 5 million euros.
Falco was one of the greatest musiciansJohann Hölzel grew up as an only child with his mother in Vienna, the father had left the family early. As a child he sang the hits on the radio and answered the teacher’s question about his career aspirations with “pop star”. After attending the Roman Catholic private school, he began an apprenticeship at the request of his mother. After a short time, he broke off his apprenticeship as an office clerk at the pension insurance company for the commercial sector. Then he enrolled at the conservatory. He had been playing bass and guitar for some time. But he soon finished this training too, in order, as Falco said, to become a “real musician”.
For some time Falco lived in West Berlin and played as a jazz bassist through various clubs. Back in Vienna, he joined the First Vienna Music Theater, with which he also achieved initial success. He later switched to the political anarcho-chaotic band Drahdiwaberl. His self-written title All of ViennaThe Viennese record entrepreneur Markus Spiegel was so enthusiastic that he immediately signed Falco.
Is everything fine, Officer?
The studio album was released in mid-1981 Psychological terror, on which also the piece All of Vienna is to be found. The English version, That scene, landed at number 11 on the Ö3 hit parade. Markus Spiegel brought Falco together with producer and sound mixer Robert Ponger. The hit was born from this collaboration The commissionerwho put Falco in the charts across Europe in 1982 and laid the foundation for his fortune.
The album Solitary confinement was sold around three quarters of a million times worldwide and stayed at the top of the Austrian charts. The second album Young Romans could not follow up on this commercial success. 1985 appeared with Falco 3 the album with his biggest hit Rock Me Amadeus. This song made it as the only German-language hit to take 1st place on the US Billboard charts. A still untouchable record, no other German song has been able to achieve that to this day. However, the international success put Falco under strong pressure and he wondered whether the peak of success had already been reached. With these hits there were also good merits. Falco made a huge fortune in his lifetime, but he also enjoyed his life and spent his money with both hands. Because of this, he left behind only a fraction of the fortune that he once had.
Austrians with body and soul
Falco went on his world tour to Japan in 1986, and concerts in the USA were also planned. But Falco was plagued by homesickness and no longer wanted to spend longer periods abroad. The following period was full of setbacks, little successful albums as well Alcohol and drug use embossed.
1992 he experienced with the album Night flight a comeback and went on a European tour again. In 1995 he gave his music a sharp change in style towards techno and dance. His music was only well received in Austria, but internationally he was unable to build on previous successes, so that he discarded further ideas for the new album.
Do I have to die to live?Despite his love for Austria, he moved to Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic) to work on his new album. The musician’s private life, as well as his drug problems, were repeatedly discussed in the media. On February 6, 1998, Falco died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. On exiting a parking lot, a bus rammed into his SUV. Falco was dead on the spot, the autopsy report showed a large amount of alcohol, THC, and cocaine in the blood. A tragic accident that tore Austria’s greatest pop star from life.
The album was released a few weeks after Falco’s death Out of the Dark (Into the Light) published and went straight to number 1 in the charts in Austria. It also hit waves of great success in Germany. In the song Out of the dark is the line of text sung by Falco Do I have to die to live?. After his tragic death, this question took on a much deeper meaning. A lot was released posthumously, such as the album Damn we are still alive with previously unreleased titles. The great biography came out in 2008 Falco – Damn it, we’re still alive! in Austrian cinemas. The Viennese actor Manuel Rubey acted as Falco actor.
Falco’s bequeathed fortune initially went to his mother as his heiress after his death. After her death in 2014, three million euros flowed into the Falco Foundation. Around 300,000 euros in royalties are added each year. The main purpose of the foundation is to promote young Austrian artists and finance prizes and awards.
Cover picture: Crowfly Vienna / Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Axl Jansen [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Bwag [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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