Katja Ebstein

Mary Roos

Heidi Brühl

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Taking the name of the street where she lived, Ebsteinstraße, and swapping Karin for Katja, the young beauty became a familiar face on the local music scene. She scored most of her hits in the early '70s with her manager/producer-husband Christian Bruhn and represented Germany at Eurovision again in 1971 and 1980. While continuing to entertain in both film and music, Katja is also an outspoken youth activist, and was recently rewarded with the Katja Ebstein stamp.

More popular in France than in her native Germany, Mary Roos nevertheless saw a number of triumphs in the German charts. She was born Rosemarie Schwab in 1949, and grew up entertaining guests at her parents' hotel before landing a recording contract at the tender age of nine. As Mary Roos (culled from the inversion of her birthname "Rosemarie"), she pursued the European talent contests with a vengeance. She took home second prize at the Knokke contest in Belgium, and came in sixth at the infamous Schlagerfestspielen in Baden-Baden with "Wie der Wind," but it would take near ten years on the contest circuit for Mary's efforts to pay off. When it seemed that her "Bei jedem Kuss" (With Each Kiss) would be selected by Germany for Eurovision 1970, Katja Ebstein's "Wunder gibt es immer wieder" won instead. But just a few months later, she topped the charts with "Arizona Man," her collaboration with synth aficionado Giorgio Moroder. It was the first ever Schlager song to include a synthesizer and it remained in the charts for 22 weeks. By 1972, Mary was given her own TV show, sold out three weeks of gigs at the Paris Olympia, and landed a spot in French musical Un Enfant Dans La Ville (wearing hot pants, no less). She would remain an active star in France and Germany during the '80s and '90s, topping the charts once again in 1998 with her German rendition of Cher's "Believe" and scoring several German-made hits well into the 21st century.

The '50s trad-pop of legendary actress and singer Heidi Brühl is less than thrilling, but it would be a crime to leave out "Berlin," the brilliant psych 45 she cut in London in 1969 for Brit label, Philips.

London swings Germany

The arrival of the British beat boom meant career meltdown for many German singers. '50s and '60s stars like Heidi Brühl and Conny Froboess made only rare appearances in the German charts after 1963, despite eager attempts at covering international hits. It seemed Germany had turned their attention away from domestic acts and onto foreign femmes who made cute, if not awkward efforts to sing in German. But the Germans didn't care that many of these singers had learned their lyrics phonetically and gave what can most charitably be described as a relaxed interpretation of the phonetic subtleties of the language of Goethe. If anything, it only added to their charm.

This might help explain why Sandie Shaw, the erstwhile Ford car factory worker turned Brit girl star, became a firm favorite in the fatherland. Her second UK number one, "Long Live Love," gave Sandie her first German hit, both in English and in its translated version, "Du weißt nichts von deinem Glück." But the mildly received German composition, "Wir sehen uns ja wieder" in late 1966 reflected a fall from favor both in Germany and at home. However, 1967's Eurovision winner "Puppet On A String" thrust Sandie back into the spotlight. It was the top-selling single of the year in Germany, and even the curiously titled German version "Wiedehopf im Mai" (Wiedehopf in May) landed on the charts. Sadly, second-rate material prevented her from capitalizing on her win. "Du bist wunderbar" (You Are Marvelous), a version of "You've Not Changed," marked her last German charting.

Compatriots' Dusty Springfield, Lulu, and Mary Hopkin were also lavished with German love for their English-language hits, but not so with their German cover versions. Oddly, it was the MOR-leaning ladies like Petula Clark and Alma Cogan who received the higher grades.

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