No other German singer rocks the national pop charts quite like Herbert Grönemeyer. His new album and upcoming tour have generated huge excitement in German-speaking countries and little interest anywhere else.
Herbert Grönemeyer has star power
Grönemeyer's new album "12" is already muscling its way onto the German music charts.
At 50, Grönemeyer is one of Germany's biggest celebrities while remaining virtually unknown in Europe or the United States. One of the reasons might be that his playful, poetic German lyrics don't translate that well.
Yet the language barrier hasn't stopped the singer from selling millions of albums and becoming one of the best-known and well-loved of Germany's pop rock stars. A new Grönemeyer release usually generates glowing reviews and sold-out concerts.
So it's no surprise that German critics have heaped praise on Grönemeyer's latest release, which was released Friday.
The album's energetic single "Ein Stück von Himmel," or "A Piece of Heaven," has already topped the charts and gone into rotation on German MTV. BerlinOnline calls it "intoxicating and simply grandiose."
The German Bono
Critics love Grönemeyer's new album "12"
Many of Grönemeyer's lyrics deal with political issues. He has been outspoken opponent of nuclear power and racism and makes frequent calls for tolerance and peace. He continues to be involved with efforts to end poverty in Africa.
Grönemeyer began his singing career in the early 1980s in his hometown of Bochum. His breakthrough was the cult-song "Männer" or "Men." The album of the same name stayed on the charts for 79 weeks.
He also did some acting, playing a war correspondent in the German film "Das Boot." His performance in the successful film made Grönemeyer one of Germany's most well-known stars.
In 1998, Grönemeyer suffered a double tragedy: he lost both his wife and brother to cancer. In the wake of those deaths, he almost entirely disappeared from public. But four years later, he returned with the album "Mensch," or "Human," which sold more than three million copies. A spring tour supporting his has already sold 800,000 tickets, making Grönemeyer one of the few pop music artists who can claim to sell out a venue without selling out.