Alphaville – Big In Japan
Alphaville is a German group which gained popularity in the 1980s. The founding members were lead singer Marian Gold (real name: Hartwig Schierbaum, born 26 May 1954 in Herford, North Rhine-Westphalia), Bernhard Lloyd (real name: Bernhard Gößling, born 2 June 1960 in Enger, North Rhine-Westphalia) and Frank Mertens (real name: Frank Sorgatz, born 26 October 1961 in Enger, North Rhine-Westphalia).
The band was at first named “Forever Young” before being changed to “Alphaville”. They achieved chart success with the singles “Big in Japan”, “Jet Set”, “Dance With Me” and “Forever Young”.
Alphaville formed in early 1982, when Marian Gold and Bernhard Lloyd met at the music project Nelson Community. Many months later, Frank Mertens joined the project.
Together the three wrote Forever Young and recorded their first demo of the same name. In 1984, the newly renamed Alphaville released their debut single, “Big in Japan”, which Gold wrote in 1979 after hearing the music of Holly Johnson’s band Big in Japan.
In autumn 1984, they released their debut album, Forever Young, produced by Colin Pearson, Wolfgang Loos and Andreas Budde.
Despite its success, Frank Mertens left the band that year and was replaced in January 1985 by Ricky Echolette (born Wolfgang Neuhaus, in Cologne on 7 August 1960), who was credited on the Afternoons in Utopia album.
“Big in Japan” was Alphaville’s biggest hit, topping the charts in Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Venezuela, and the US Billboard Dance Chart (the group’s only Top 10 on any Billboard chart).
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