Herbert Grönemeyer, it’s probably safe to say, is the biggest selling artist you’ve never heard of. In his native Germany, he has outsold Michael Jackson, beating Thriller to the number one spot upon its release. 2002 album Menschis certified gold 21 times over in Germany, making it the biggest selling LP in that region of all time.
Through his humanitarian work he’s made good friends with Bono, and in 2005, TIME magazine awarded him the title of European Hero to recognise these impressive efforts.
Film buffs might also recognise him from his role in Wolfgang Petersen’s epic Das Boot or his cameo in the Ian Curtis biopic Control directed by Anton Corbijn, whom Grönemeyer later teamed up with to score the George Clooney film The American - but it’s his four-decade spanning, chart-topping career that has made him the most loved performer in the German-speaking world.
New single ‘Will I Ever Learn’, released on his own Grönland label marks Grönemeyer’s first foray into the UK market and features Antony and the Johnsons’ frontman sharing vocal duties on an appropriately Hegarty-esque track.
Though the song’s constitution is little more than soft piano, cello and delicately picked acoustic guitar, the powerful vocal pairing of Grönemeyer and Hegarty counteracts the sparse instrumentation in this stunning UK debut.
Grönemeyer’s forthcoming album, ‘I Walk’ (due for release on Monday 24th September 2012) held the working title of ‘Das English Album’ – for it is a tribute to the country that Herbert sought refuge and comfort in, following the deaths of both his wife and his brother within three days of each other.
Prepare to welcome Herbert Grönemeyer into your heart as so many Germans, young and old, have done.
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