“Rock Me Amadeus” is a song recorded by Austrian musician Falco (Johann Hoelzel), for his 3rd studio album Falco 3 (1985). The single was released for sale in German-speaking Europe in May 1985 (Der B-Side is Urban Tropical, a strange rendition of a synthpop style song). “Rock Me Amadeus” was written by Falco along with Dutch music producers, brothers Rob Bolland & Ferdi Bolland. To date, the single is the only German language song to peak at #1 of the Billboard Hot 100, which it did in 1986.
It was Falco’s only #1 hit in both the US and the UK, despite the artist’s popularity in his native Austria and much of Europe.
Aside from in the US, UK and his home country of Austria, “Rock Me Amadeus” allowed Falco to conquer the charts with #1 in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, West Germany. It also hit #2 in Belgium, Switzerland and Italy, #6 in Norway, #10 in Finland, #15 in Australia, #24 in Poland, #46 in the Netherlands, and #79 in France.
“Rock Me Amadeus” would later be ranked #87 in VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of the 80s and #44 in VH1’s 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders, despite having had significant success all over Europe, although less farther from his homeland and the German speaking nations, with the language of the lyrics a potential factor.
Originally recorded in German, the song is about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, from Salzburg, the brilliant classical music composer of the 1700s, his popularity, his debts, women and booze. The song was inspired by the movie Amadeus. The song describes him as the musical rebel of his time, with an uninhibited lifestyle, in love with his own hair and with elegant clothes. So extreme was his life, that they may be a strong contributing factor to his premature death at the age of 35 only. Coincidentally, Falco also died prematurely, albeit in an accident, at the age of 40.
For the US release, the song was remixed with an English background overlay. There was never a full English version.
Voiceover facts1756: Salzburg, January 27th, Wolfgang Amadeus is born.1761: At the age of five Amadeus begins composing.1773: He writes his first piano concerto.1782: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart marries Constanze Weber.1784: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart becomes a Freemason.1791: Mozart composes The Magic Flute.On December 5th of that same year, Mozart dies. (Requiem) 1985: Austrian rock singer Falco records… “Rock Me Amadeus”!
The song was released in Europe in 1985 in its original, German-language version. For the international markets (US, UK, Japan and so on), several different single and extended mixes were produced by Rob Bolland; none of them were solely an English-language version, but the international single versions reduced the German lyrics. However, the video, which featured the original European version, was used worldwide.
The song’s music video mixes elements of Mozart’s time with 1980s contemporary society. Falco is shown in a 20th-century-style dinner jacket, walking past people in 18th-century formal wear. Later, he is shown dressed as Mozart, with wild colored hair, being held on the shoulders of men dressed in modern motorcycle-riding attire. At the end, the two crowds mix.
At the time of writing, the official YouTube video has 67,654,028 views.
In the UK, where his elsewhere pretty successful “Der Kommissar” failed to make the charts, the song hit #1 in 1986, becoming the 1st single by an Austrian act to achieve this distinction. “Vienna Calling” hit #10 and 3 subsequent singles briefly charted.