Renate Kern

Suzanne Doucet

Marika Kilius and skating partner, Hans-Jürgen Bäumler

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She detested subsequent single "Sehnsucht" (Longing For) and only agreed to sing it at the insistence of her manager and producer, but it became her biggest hit—narrowly missing the Top Ten, but spending over six months in the charts. "Auf dem Wege nach Odessa" (On The Way To Odessa) and "Erstes Morgenrot" (First Morning Light) also fared quite nicely with the German public, but "Erstest Morgenrot" would be Alexandra's final hit. In July 1969, at the age of 27, Alexandra died in a car accident.

Tragedy also lay in store for Renate Poggensee, who renamed herself Renate Kern upon being discovered by easy listening producer, Kai Warner. Commonly referred to as "Queen of the Provinces" (a label she hated, yet could never escape), Renate's first single in 1965, "Kiss and Shake" just barely scraped the charts and her subsequent six singles were not much of an improvement. But her luck changed in the summer of 1968 when she broke into the Top Ten with "Lieber mal weinen im Glück." Its Teutonic marching-band chorus set the tone for the rest of her '60s outings, which included the similarly styled "Du mußt mit den Wimpern klimpern" (which she co-wrote), "Laß doch den Sonnenschein," and "Lieber heute geküßt." Her last brush with the charts came in 1970. By the end of the '70s, she restyled herself as blonde country and western singer Nancy Wood in hopes of making it in America. Sadly, she had no greater luck in this incarnation. And even more tragically, in 1991 she committed suicide by hanging herself.

Nothing quite so dramatic for the short-haired Suzanne Doucet, who first landed on the charts at age 18 with her second single, "Das geht doch keinen etwas an" (which included a very cute German adaptation of "Be My Baby" on the B-side). It peaked at number ten and spent 16 weeks on the German charts in the early summer of 1964. Follow-ups "Okay, ich geh," the bright and breezy "So long, so long," and "Glück und Liebe" kept Suzanne in the public eye, but each successive release fared worse than its predecessor. Swapping record labels in 1968 presented Suzanne with the opportunity to record in London with Tom Jones' producer Les Reed, and the same year she issued her first US single—the Bee Gees' "Swan Song"—along with an album recorded in seven languages. Following a style makeover in the '70s and a move to the US in the '80s, Suzanne re-emerged as one of the leading authorities on new age music.

Rumors circulating that the voice on Marika Kilius' records actually belonged to a session singer did little to hurt the adored Olympic medal ice-skating champion-turned-pop singer. Her debut single, "Wenn die Cowboys träumen" enjoyed four months in the Top Ten, and cheesy duet "Honeymoon in St. Tropez" (with her skating partner Hans-Jürgen Bäumler) garnered equally impressive praise and sales. But more of the same lightweight pop failed to maintain the momentum, and even a stab at a more contemporary sound—the 1965 beat-inspired single "Erst kam ein verliebter Blick"—could not counter the perception that she offered little more than novelty value to the music industry.

With her politics as red as her hair, singer/songwriter Katja Ebstein used her popularity to make change—during her youth as a volunteer for political radio station, Transmitter Free Berlin, and later campaigning for UN refugee assistance and joining the Dalai Lama to battle world hunger. She earned her first recording contract in 1968 and shot to fame two years later with "Wunder gibt es immer wieder," Germany's Eurovision selection for 1970. Born Karin Witkiewicz in 1945 near what was then the German town of Breslau (currently Wroclaw, Poland), she and her mother fled the approaching Red Army and ended up in Berlin.

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