German Melody Thieves

Every time I whip out my favorite collection of German mainstream pop music, Schlager für Millionen, I can’t help noticing that many of the songs have melodies which are directly copied, note for note, from American or British pop songs or traditional ballads. The brazen theft is never noted on the album info, and I’d imagine that the vast majority of German fans aren’t aware they’re listening to musical copies. Given that the German rights-enforcement agency is blocking thousands of Youtube videos in an attempt to ensure (what they consider) proper payment for artists, I’d also be interested to know whether the German Schlager stars at least licensed and paid for the music they used that was still under copyright when they stole the tune.

Just a few examples. First, Udo Lindenberg’s 1983 hit Sonderzug nach Pankow:

which is a copy of the Glenn Miller Orchestra’s Chattanooga Choo Choo. To be fair, Lindenberg never tried to conceal this fact, and his song itself is about trains. But still, he copied the music note-for-note from Glenn Miller.

And now the ‘hymn’ of the Cologne football team, FC Köln, being sung by thousands of fans.

How many know it’s a note-for-note copy of this traditional Scottish ballad?

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Christan Schorn, who reminded me of one of the most shameless thefts, Bert and Cindy’s transformation of Black Sabbath’s scorching ‘Paranoid’…

into this abomination:

Double derivativeness points for the German text drawing from Conan Doyle’s ‘Hound of the Baskervilles’.

Photos from the ‘Garden Axis’

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Düsseldorf Volksgarten (g) is one of the world's great parks. One of its many charms is a 600-meter long 'Garden Axis' combining 2 sections of the park. The axis contains 16 different themed gardens, including large plantations of irises and dahlias, and an artificial moor-landscape which you can explore on brick and wooden platforms. Here are some early fall views, including a parakeet feasting on an apple and shitloads of dahlias, which I consider one of the eerier flowers:

A Tale of Two Insect Attacks

Sorry for the blog hiatus. I was visiting folks in Texas for a few weeks, but now I'm back in Germany, enjoying the glorious weather.

Let me give you the idea of the shit people deal with in Texas, and why I'm glad to be back in Germany.

First, a German insect problem. A parcel deliveryman in Krefeld, Germany recently had to be hospitalized after he stepped in an underground wasps' nest and was stung fifteen (15) times. They actually cordoned off the area (!) and called the city 'pest control' team out: 


Before they could let the pest control guy into the Danger Zone™ to kill the beasts, they called up the Krefeld City Environmental Office to make sure the wasps weren't endangered (!). They weren't, so they died.

Now, a Texas insect problem:

A North Texas woman is recovering following an attack from a swarm of bees that killed her two horses….

Kristen Beauregard told NBC 5 she was working with Chip, her prize miniature horse, in the backyard when — unprovoked — thousands of bees swarmed her and the horse. The insects are suspected to be Africanized bees.

The pain from the stings was like being stabbed with hundreds of knives and torched with a flamethrower at the same time, she said. She still has some visible welts on her eyelids from the attack.

Chip quickly became covered with bees and began thrashing wildly around the yard in pain, she said.

She and the horse both jumped into the backyard swimming pool in an effort to escape the bees, but even that provided little relief. The bees hovered above the water and stung Beauregard's face when she would come up for air, she said…. Both horses died.

Beauregard, whom paramedics estimate was stung approximately 200 times, praised the efforts of the emergency crews who risked their lives in an effort to save her and her animals.

A beekeeper removed on Thursday the approximately 6-foot-tall beehive that was home to an estimated 30,000 bees. It was located in a shed about 30 yards from the scene of the initial attack.

It's a shame for the poor delivery guy, but the average Texan gets stung 15 times every trip to the outhouse.

My safe, pleasant, boring, beautiful Germany — thank you for taking me back into your passionless arms!