He left school at sixteen in 1973 due to absenteeism. His mother then insisted he begin an apprenticeship with the Austrian employee pension insurance institute, but this only lasted a short time. At seventeen, he volunteered for eight months of military service with the Austrian army.
He entered the Vienna Music Conservatory in 1977, but left after one semester to “become a real musician”. For a short time, he lived in West Berlin while singing in a jazz-rock band and exploring the club scene.
When he returned to Vienna he was calling himself “Falco”, reportedly in tribute to the East German ski jumper Falko Weißpflog (he changed one letter to make the name more international), and playing in the Austrian bands Spinning Wheel and Hallucination Company.
En route to becoming an international rock star in his own right, he was bass player in the Austrian hard rock-punk rock band Drahdiwaberl (from 1978 until 1983). With Drahdiwaberl he wrote and performed the song “Ganz Wien” (“All of Vienna”), which he would also include on his debut solo album, Einzelhaft (Solitary Confinement ). He also played bass with the space disco band Ganymed in 1981.
“Rock Me Amadeus” has been frequently used as a comedic source in a number of parody versions, films, television shows, and commercials. In 1985 a parody version of “Rock Me Amadeus” entitled “Rock Me Jerry Lewis” was credited to Bud Latour and fellow Phoenix, Arizona disc jockey, Mike Elliott.
“Rock Me Jerry Lewis” climbed to Number 1 on The Dr. Demento’s Funny Five chart and grew to a notoriety that prompted mentions and airplay on Casey Kasem’s Top 40 Radio Show as well as a call from Jerry Lewis himself. Furthermore, Jerry Lewis would begin to use the song at his personal appearances and stage shows.
In 1986, “Weird Al” Yankovic included a portion of the song in the polka medley “Polka Party!”, from the album of the same name.
The song and clips from the video were portrayed in the animated series The Brothers Grunt. In The Simpsons episode “A Fish Called Selma” (1996), an offbeat variation is featured in a musical presentation of Planet of the Apes with the repeated tag of “Amadeus, Amadeus” transferred to “Dr. Zaius, Dr. Zaius”.
A similar usage appears in another satirical US cartoon series, Family Guy (season 4 episode 6, 2005). The Daily Show with Jon Stewart featured a parody, “Iraq Me Dave Petraeus”, as a musical intro to a briefly recurring segment involving the US General’s doctrine regarding the war in 2007/2008.
The 1986 comedy The Whoopee Boys featured one of the main characters singing Rock Me Amadeus, in a scene involving a buffet dinner. In 2012, Boston Red Sox Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia used the song as his at-bat song.
A later episode of The Simpsons, “Behind the Laughter”, features Willie Nelson saying, “Thank you, Taco, for that loving tribute to Falco,” within another fictional tribute. Falco has been referenced in the US satirical cartoon series American Dad! and The Tick.
The 2009 film Adventureland features “Rock Me Amadeus” multiple times as part of an amusement park’s background music, to the eventual disdain of its denizens. In 2014, German metal band Edguy included a cover version of “Rock Me Amadeus” in their album Space Police: Defenders of the Crown.
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