Peter Cornelis Koelewijn

Antiwar songs by Peter Cornelis Koelewijn

Peter Koelewijn (born 29 December 1940 in Eindhoven, Netherlands) is a founding father of Dutch language rock and roll. Koelewijn is also a successful producer and songwriter for other Dutch artists. His most famous song is Kom van dat dak af (English version of the 1989 remake with rap duo MC Miker G & DJ Sven; Get Down The Roof Kid).

Peter Koelewijn was born on the 29 December, the son of a fishmonger in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven. At the age of thirteen he received his first guitar. In 1957 he started writing his first songs in English. He started his first band at secondary school with guitarists Karel Jansen and Roelof Egmond and singer Anneke Grönloh. Later, Harry van Hoof (who later became a famous conductor), and drummer Peter van der Voort, joined the band. Around the same time, Grönloh quit.

In 1959 the band, now called 'Peter and his Rockets', were joined by saxophone player Klaus Buchholz and bass guitarist Karel Janssen. In December the band recorded Kom Van Dat Dak Af for record company Bovema. The combination of American rock and roll and Dutch lyrics was unheard of at the time. In May 1960, Kom Van Dat Dak Af was a big success in both the Netherlands and Belgium. Koelewijn, who moved on to grammar school, was told by his parents that he had to finish his schooling. Peter and his Rockets signed to Philips.

Follow-up singles Laat Me Los ('Let Me Go') and Marijke charted lower. Eventually the hits dried up, and Koelewijn disbanded the Rockets in 1967 to concentrate on writing and producing for other artists.

In 1971 he reformed the Rockets for what would become his glamrock-era; this period lasted four years.

His 1973-composition, Klap Maar in Je Handen (Clap your Hands and Stamp your Feet) was a no. 1 hit for South African singer Maria in South Africa [1] and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where it is still very popular at dances.
1977; going solo

In 1977 Koelewijn released his debut solo-album Het Beste In Mij Is Niet Goed Genoeg Voor Jou. It was meant to explore previously uncharted territory, and Koelewijn wanted KL 204 (Als Ik God Was) - If I Were God - to be the leading single; the record-company disagreed and opted for the Rockets-like Je Wordt Ouder Papa (You're Getting Older, Daddy; a phrase jokingly coined by Golden Earring-guitarist George Kooymans). This led many, pro and con, to believe that Het Beste In Mij would be another hit-record album; instead it got a lukewarm response, and by the time KL204 finally appeared as a 45 (early 1978) it was too late to re-ignite interest.

The cd-reissue omits Je Wordt Ouder Papa for bonus-tracks recorded in the mid-1980s, including De Loop Van Het Geweer (Barrel Of A Gun) which was loosely based on The Commodores' Nightshift.

In 1981 Koelewijn recruited musicians from the band Bunny for a new Rockets line-up that lasted till 1997; their first release was the live-album Peter Live of which Kom Van Dat Dak Af en Klap Maar In Je Handen hit the charts. In 1982 the band appeared in an insurance-commercial.

In 1995 Koelewijn fronted the novelty group Gompie; their version of Smokie's Livin' Next Door To Alice topped the charts.

In 2002 Peter and his Rockets reformed for seven shows.

In 2008 Koelewijn appeared at the 50th anniversary concert for Dutch pop; he kicked off by performing Kom Van Dat Dak Af as a duet with singer-songwriter Boudewijn de Groot.

In 2009, the year of his own 50th career-anniversary, Koelewijn released a new solo album.