German-language pop superstar Udo Juergens has died at 80 - InfoNews

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German-language pop superstar Udo Juergens has died at 80

FILE - In this Friday, Nov. 15, 2013 file photo, Udo Juergens holds the Bambi trophy during the Bambi 2013 media awards in Berlin, Germany. Udo Juergens, an Austrian-born star who dominated pop music in the German-speaking world and sold more than 100 million records in a career spanning five decades, died on Sunday. He was 80 years old. Juergens collapsed in Gottlieben, a town on Lake Constance north of Zurich, Switzerland, and was taken to a hospital where he died 4:25 p.m., his management told the German news agency dpa. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer, file)
December 21, 2014 - 11:07 AM

BERLIN - Udo Juergens, an Austrian-born star who dominated pop music in the German-speaking world and sold more than 100 million records in a career spanning five decades, died on Sunday. He was 80 years old.

Juergens collapsed in Gottlieben, a town on Lake Constance north of Zurich, Switzerland, and was taken to a hospital where he died 4:25 p.m., his management told the German news agency dpa.

He was recognized for bringing piano artistry and clever, introspective lyrics to German "Schlager" (hit) songs. He burst onto the scene in the 1960s with a number of catchy tunes and later infusing his music with a growing social consciousness.

His early career took off after a series of impressive performances in the annual Eurovision Song Contest during the mid-1960s, culminating in his 1966 victory for Austria with "Merci, Cherie" ("Thanks, Darling").

"Warum nur, warum" became a No. 1 hit in France. "Walk Away," an English-language version sung by Matt Monroe, went to No. 1 in Britain and No. 2 in the United States, selling 1.5 million records.

Monroe then bought the English rights to "Sag' ihr...," producing the worldwide hit "Without You." In the same year, Sarah Vaughan found a hit with Juergens' "Right or Wrong."

Juergens continued to churn out the hits in Germany, recording more than 800 songs and becoming one of the country's most iconic figures. A 1969 poll showed Juergens as one of three most beloved figures for German young people, placing him alongside John F. Kennedy and Mao Zedong.

His 1970 mammoth tour of Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Soviet bloc lands of Eastern Europe set a European record by bringing out more than 500,000 people for more than 200 concerts.

In the 1970s, his talent blossomed as he incorporated more social criticism into his music at the same time that singer/songwriters began to dominate airwaves in British and across the Atlantic.

News from © The Associated Press, 2014
The Associated Press

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