Arts.21 - Udo Lindenberg: Godfather of German Rock | Arts.21 - The Culture Magazine | DW | 09.11.2019
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Arts.21

Arts.21 - Udo Lindenberg: Godfather of German Rock

"I was the official enemy of the East German state," says German rock legend Udo Lindenberg. Since the 1970s, he’d opposed the Berlin Wall through his work and actions. Arts.21 spoke to him about his commitment to East Germans and about his music.

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German rock legend Udo Lindenberg never accepted the Berlin Wall. "East Germany, that was unbearable. That damn wall had to go," Lindenberg told DW. Starting in the 1970s, Lindenberg recorded songs addressing the division of Germany - some tragically romantic, others wittily ironic. He longed to perform in East Germany, a wish that was finally granted in 1983, when he was allowed to play a concert in East Berlin before an audience hand-picked by the political leadership. His real East German fans were left outside. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, Lindenberg was finally able to go on tour in the former communist country, and one of those first concerts took him to Leipzig.

That was where the East German pro-democracy movement gained momentum in 1989, with the now-legendary Monday Demonstrations that ultimately spelled the end of the East German regime. A current exhibition at the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts, titled "Nuances," shows pictures painted by Udo Lindenberg during that time of upheaval. In addition, photos and videos document his commitment to opposing the division of Germany, his surveillance by the East German secret service, and his disrespectful attitude towards then-East German leader Erich Honecker. In an interview at that museum with Arts.21, Udo Lindenberg talks about the era of German division, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the situation now, thirty years later, in a unified Germany.