Heino is a German singer of popular music and traditional Volksmusik. Having sold a total of over 50 million records, he is one of the most successful German musicians of all time. Heino was born on 13 December 1938 in Düsseldorf-Oberbilk, Germany to Heinrich and Franziska Kramm. His father was a Roman Catholic dentist, his mother a Protestant.
His grandfather was the organist at the Cathedral of Cologne. He also had two cousins who were Catholic priests. Heino’s father was drafted into the German army during World War II, and was killed on 2 August 1941 during the invasion of the Soviet Union. Heino lived with his mother and his older sister Hannelore in Pomerania until 1945 . In 1945 he began school in Großenhain (Saxony). After 1952 he went to Düsseldorf where he initially trained as a baker and confectioner.
His stage name comes from his sister Hannelore’s difficulty pronouncing his given name “Heinz Georg”. He first appeared in the trio OK Singers ,in 1961 . Most of his recordings were pop versions of traditional folk songs; for example, “Blue Blooms the Gentian” (“Blau blüht der Enzian”), an adaptation of the folk song “The Swiss Maiden” (“Das Schweizermaedel”). Heino released a new album, called “Mit freundlichen Grüßen” (Yours sincerely), in February 2013, which topped the German album charts. The record is a collection of cover versions of popular German songs from Die Ärzte, Peter Fox, Rammstein and others. It is as such a Pop-Rock/Metal-record instead of Heino’s typical Schlager and Volksmusik style. The album earned Gold for being sold over 100,000 times.
Heino in December 2014, released a new album, “Schwarz blüht der Enzian” (Gentian blooms black), referring to one of his greatest hits “Blau blüht der Enzian” (Gentian blooms blue) and to the Rock-/Metal style of the record in which some of his own songs and traditional German Volksmusik are covered. In November 2016, Heino announced the release of his new Christmas album, “Mit weihnachtlichen Grüßen” (With Christmas greetings), which includes a duet with fellow singer Sarah Jane Scott.
He married 18-year-old Henriette Heppner in June 1959. They had one son, Uwe, born in 1962, and subsequently divorced. He married his second wife, Lilo Kramm, in 1965; their marriage ended in divorce in 1978. Lilo died of cancer on 28 January 2010. In 1968, he became the father of an illegitimate daughter, Petra. The mother died in 1988 and the daughter in November 2003, both by suicide.
Heino met his third wife, Hannelore Auersperg, in 1972 at the Miss Austria contest in Kitzbühel. They were married in April 1979, and she became his manager. The couple lives in Bad Münstereifel. In 2004, Hannelore suffered a heart attack, which was one reason Heino curtailed his career.
Heino has noticeable exophthalmos due to Graves’ disease. For this reason, he always wears very dark glasses in public, which have become part of his trademark appearance. In a 2014 German newspaper story Heino was quoted as saying that he feels “naked” without them and that he had put in his will that he was to be buried with them on. Due to his light hair and skin, some initially believed he wore the glasses due to albinism.
- “Jenseits des Tales” (1966)
- “Wenn die bunten Fahnen wehen” (1967)
- “Wir lieben die Stürme” (1968)
- “Zu der Ponderosa reiten wir” (1968)
- “Bergvagabunden” (1969)
- “Bier her, oder ich fall um” (1969)
- “Wenn die Kraniche zieh’n” (1969)
- “Karamba, Karacho, ein Whisky” (1969)
- “In einer Bar in Mexico” (1970)
- “Hey Capello” (1970)
- “Mohikana Shalali” (1971)
- “Blau blüht der Enzian” (1972)
- “Carneval in Rio” (1972)
- “Tampico” (1973)
- “La Montanara” (1973)
- “Edelweiß” (1973)
- “Schwarzbraun ist die Haselnuss”
- “Das Polenmädchen” (1974)
- “Die schwarze Barbara” (1975)
- “Komm in meinen Wigwam” (1976)
- “Bier, Bier, Bier” (1980)
- “Junge” (Die Ärzte cover, 2013)
- “Sonne” (Rammstein cover, 2013)
- “Schwarz Blüht der Enzian” (2014)
- Mit freundlichen Grüssen
- Liebe Mutter
- Die schönsten Volkslieder der Welt
- Uns geht die Sonne nicht unter
- Mein Vaterland
- Festliche Choräle und Weihnachtslieder
- Halli, Hallo, wir fahren
- A Festive German Christmas
- 20 Super-Hits
- Weihnachten mit Heino
- Deutsche Weihnacht … und festliche Lieder
- Seemannsfreud – Seemannsleid
- Heino’s Hit-Mix
- Edelweiss – La Montanara
- Seine großen Erfolge 5
- Heino und die lustigen Musikanten
- Wenn abends die Heide träumt
- Einer von uns
- Das Suedwester Lied
The Nazi-era song scandal involving German crooner Heino
Updated On: 24 Mar 2018
Heino is one of Germany’s most famous crooners, whose bleached hair and sunglasses became his trademark. But he seems to have gone a little off key. He recently gave Nazi-era songs to a homeland minister, of all people.
Anyone who grew up in Germany knows who Heino is. The 79-year-old crooner, known for his popular, folk-tinged easy listening hits, was a permanent guest in German living rooms in the 1970s and 80s. There was hardly a Saturday evening television show in which Heino did not belt out his popular hits, with his powerful baritone voice.
Now, after a long break, he’s making the headlines again — this time, however, not by choice. At a recent meeting with the State Minister of Home Affairs, Ina Scharrenbach, in the western German town of Münster, he brought a special present: four CDs and two records.
It was a nice gesture, from someone who was to be chosen as one of 47 homeland ambassadors at the first homeland congress for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. But as it soon turned out, the present contained something a bit unexpected.
Sandwiched between the albums that Heino presented, was a highly controversial LP, with the seemingly unsuspicious title “The most beautiful songs from the Fatherland.”
But the double album contains songs from darkest period of German history. In particular, there are songs that were in the songbook belonging to the SS, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s special military task force, because of their nationalistic German and, in part, warlike lyrics — which German daily, Westdeutsche Zeitung had found out.
Song of allegiance glorified by the SS
Tabloid Bild published some of the lyrics from Heino’s album that was released in 1981, saying they make one “shudder.” In the song, “The God who made iron grow,” the lyrics are written in antiquated German: “Today, man by man, we want to redden the iron with blood, with the blood of executioners and servants, Oh sweet day of revenge! That sounds good to all Germans, this is the big thing.”
And in the 1814 song, glorified by the SS as a “song of allegiance,” called “Wenn alle untreu werden” (When all become unfaithful), the lyrics rave about the “holy German empire.”
This has not only provoked indignation against Heino, but has also had political repercussions. The Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is in opposition in North Rhine-Westphalia, is using the scandal to put Home Affairs Minister Scharrenbach, from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), under pressure.
After the change of government last summer, the SPD had taken a critical view of the new homeland ministry. The Social Democrats pointed out, with some smugness, that the LP’s cover also included a note that children could use the record in school lessons to “familiarize themselves with traditional German songs.” In addition, the SPD has questioned in state parliament, why Heino, “with his history, can become one of 47 homeland ambassadors at all.”
Controversial performance in South Africa
In fact, Heino has been a controversial figure for years. While he may be a hit legend for conservative and mostly older Germans, for liberal or younger Germans he is an object of scorn. Such rejection is based on the younger generation generally distancing itself from Germany’s Nazi past and with it, from German folk songs and hits.
But it is not the only reason. Heino has repeatedly attracted attention in the past decades because of his undiscriminating approach to folk songs. During the apartheid era he performed in South Africa, singing his hit “Schwarzbraun ist die Haselnuss” (The hazelnut is black-brown).
The task now is to try to sweep up the broken fragments of this scandal. Heino’s gifts had “not been checked for political correctness when they were presented,” said Scharrenbach’s ministry. The minister strongly objected to being “in any way associated with National Socialist ideology.”
‘A rare find in the basement’
Heino himself is surprised by all the fuss. The alleged right-wing musician told Bild: “The songs can’t help it if they have been instrumentalized.” His wife, Hannelore, also can’t understand the furore surrounding the double album that was originally released in 1981.
She said she had taken the record from the basement especially for the meeting with the minister. “I was downstairs looking for something special to give to the minister.” But however this story pans out, the mood among all involved is at rock bottom — or as you would say in German “in the cellar.”
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