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Udo Jürgens (born 30 September 1934 as Udo Jürgen Bockelmann), is an Austrian composer and singer of popular music whose career spans over fifty years. He has written more than 900 songs and sold about 90 million units, making him one of the most successful composers and recording artists in the world.

He is credited with broadening German-language pop music beyond the traditional postwar schlager in the 1960s by infusing it with a modern pop appeal; his exceptionally tuneful compositions and sophisticated arrangements attract fans of all ages, and even in his 70s he continues to fill the largest concert venues in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.


Udo Jürgens was born in Klagenfurtmarker, Carinthiamarker, Austriamarker. In 1950, he won a composer contest organized by Austria's public broadcasting channel ORF with the song Je t'aime. He wrote the 1961 worldwide hit Reach for the Stars, sung by Shirley Bassey.

In 1964, he represented Austria for the first time at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Warum nur warum?, finishing sixth. The UK participant, Matt Monro, was impressed with the melody and covered the song (with English lyrics by his manager Don Black) as Walk Away, which reached number four in the UK charts and number 23 in the U.S.

Jürgens' song Sag ihr, ich lass sie grüßen came fourth in 1965's contest, and in 1966 he won the competition with Merci, Chérie, which became an English-language hit for Vince Hill, another cover by Monro, and one of Jürgens' most recognized compositions.

In the following years, he wrote some of his most famous songs, like Griechischer Wein, Aber bitte mit Sahne, Mit 66 Jahren, and –one of his biggest successes– Buenos Días, Argentina, which he performed together with the German football team in 1978.

In 1977, he invited The Supremes to appear as guests on his televised and recorded gala concert. The Supremes (Mary Wilson, Scherrie Payne, and Susaye Green), who were on a brief farewell tour of Europe at the time, performed two of their own current hits, You Are The Heart of Me and You're My Driving Wheel, as well as a duet with Jürgens, Walk Away in English.

Udo Jürgens, 1987
In 1979, he released a disco album entitled Udo '80. It produced a hit song by the name of Ich weiß was ich will. This song was also released as a 12 inch disco single in an extended mix for discos.

In 1992, his concert in Vienna was attended by 220,000 spectators; this is still one of the biggest concerts in Europe ever.

In 2000, Jürgens celebrated his 66th birthday, proving that the title of his 1977 song Mit 66 Jahren also holds true for himself. Jürgens still tours and regularly appears on television, both in shows and in made-for-TV films. He usually attracts large crowds covering all age groups. For many years now, the tabloid press have cast him as a womanizer, and several women have claimed that he is the father of their children. In September 2003, the tabloid newspaper Bild revealed that Jürgens had secretly married his long-term companion Corinna in New Yorkmarker on .

Because Jürgens, who enjoyed a thorough musical education, always accompanies himself on the piano, he is sometimes compared to Billy Joel, but unlike him is backed not by a rock band, but by a full 18-piece big band. His career continues with near-annual tours.


On , the musical Ich war noch niemals in New York (I've never been to New York) opened in Hamburgmarker's Operettenhaus. It weaves songs by Jürgens into a familial storyline, similar to the treatment of ABBA songs in Mamma Mia!, the musical it succeeded at the venue.

Cover versions

Matt Monro was the preeminent interpreter of Jürgens' music in the English-speaking world. "Illusionen" was adapted by Black for Monro in 1977 as "If I Never Sing Another Song," and it became a latter-day anthem among aging cabaret artists, including Bassey and Sammy Davis, Jr.. In addition to "Walk Away," other English-language adaptations for Monro by Black included "Without You," "Lovin' You Again" (released only in a Spanish-language version), and "The Music Played." Jürgens himself recorded some of these versions, and has occasionally incorporated Black's English lyrics into his concerts.

In 1971,Japanese pop group Pedro&Capricious released 'Wakare no asa',Japanese cover of Was ich Dir sagen will.It peaked at number-one in Japanese Singles Chart.

In the early 1990s, German thrash metal band Sodom released a 'metalized' cover of Aber Bitte mit Sahne, Jürgens's hit about unattractive girls making up for amorous delusions with dessert-eating binges.

In 2009 the german Band Sportfreunde Stiller covered the Song "Ich war noch niemals in New York" together with Udo Jürgens on their MTV Unplugged-concert in Munich.


  • His brother, Manfred Bockelmann (born 1943), is a painter.
  • His son by first marriage, John Jürgens (born 1964), is a singer, actor and DJ.
  • His daughter by his first marriage, Jenny Jürgens (born 1967), is an actress.
  • His uncle, Werner Bockelmann (1907–1968), was mayor of Frankfurt am Mainmarker 1957–1964.


  • Portrait in Musik 1. Folge (1965)
  • Siebzehn Jahr, blondes Haar (1965)
  • Francoise und Udo (1966)
  • Portrait in Musik 2. Folge (1967)
  • Was ich Dir sagen will (1967)
  • Udo (1968)
  • Mein Lied für Dich (1968)
  • Udo Live (1969)
  • Udo '70 (1969)
  • Udo '71 (1970)
  • Zeig mir den Platz an der Sonne (1971)
  • Helden, Helden (Musical) (1972)
  • Ich bin wieder da (1972)
  • Johnny und Jenny (Alle Kinder dieser Welt) (1973)
  • Udo heute (1974)
  • Meine Lieder (1975)
  • Udo '75 (Ein neuer Morgen) (1975)
  • Meine Lieder 2 (1976)
  • Meine Lieder '77 (1977)
  • Buenos Días Argentina (Football World-Championship) (1978)
  • Udo '80 (1979)
  • Udo 1957–60 (1980)
  • Nur ein Lächeln (1980)
  • Leave a little love (1981)
  • Willkommen in meinem Leben (1981)
  • Silberstreifen (1982)
  • Traumtänzer (1983)
  • Hautnah (1984)
  • Treibjagd (1985)
  • Deinetwegen (1986)
  • Das Live-Konzert '87 (1987)
  • Das blaue Album (1988)
  • Ohne Maske (1989)
  • Sempre Roma (Football World-Championship) (1990)
  • Das Traumschiff (Soundtrack) (1990)
  • Open air Symphony (1992)
  • Geradeaus (1992)
  • Cafe Größenwahn (1993)
  • 140 Tage Cafe Größenwahn Tour 94/95 (1994)
  • Zärtlicher Chaot (1995)
  • Gestern-Heute-Morgen (1996)
  • Ich werde da sein (1999)
  • Mit 66 Jahren (Was wichtig ist) (2000)
  • Es lebe das Laster (2002)
  • Es werde Licht (2003)
  • Jetzt oder nie (2005)
  • Einfach ich (2008)
  • Einfach ich Live (2009)


  • According to the German music news site, as well as ORF Kärnten, Udo Jürgens was arrested in January 2006 when he tried to enter the U.S. as he intended to visit his daughter Sonja, who lives in New Yorkmarker. The officials queried his age in the passport —after discovering that his visa had expired (although EU citizens visiting the US are not required to obtain one)— and Jürgens, who was 71 at the time, was detained as a terror suspect only to be released after two hours without further explanation. He was not allowed any contact or legal representation, simply being told by the guard "you don't speak until we ask you to" and threatened to be deported. Reports about him never wanting to visit the U.S. again are not true. In fact, he had to travel there a couple of times again, since he partly worked there on his musical "Ich war noch niemals in New York" which had its premiere in 2007.
  • In November 2009, Jürgens's live 1997 version of "Madonna in der Hölle" was embedded in one of the satirical indices that were posted online after the release of Sarah Palin's memoir Going Rogue, An American Life, which was published without an index. Jürgens received rare publicity on nationally-broadcast American television when the Web site was featured on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show; host Maddow played the music and referred both to Jürgens and the translated title, "Madonna in Hell," which the Web site states was "Sarah's original subtitle."

External links


  1. Udo Jürgens: Entertainer unter Terrorverdacht ,, July 31, 2006.

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