Alphaville is a German synthpop/-rock music group which gained popularity in the 1980s. The founding members were Marian Gold (real name Hartwig Schierbaum, born May 26, 1954 in Herford), Bernhard Lloyd (real name Bernhard Gößling, born June 6, 1960 in Enger, Bielefeld), and Frank Mertens (real name Frank Sorgatz, born October 26, 1961 in Enger, Bielefeld). The band was at first named Forever Young before changing to Alphaville. They are best known for their two biggest hits, "Big in Japan" "Forever Young."
In 1984, the re-named Alphaville released their debut single "Big in Japan", quickly followed by the album Forever Young. Despite its success Frank Mertens left the band that year and was replaced by Ricky Echolette (born Wolfgang Neuhaus, in Cologne, August 6, 1960) in January 1985 - already credited in the "Forever Young" album.
"Big In Japan" was Alphaville's biggest hit, topping the charts in Switzerland, Sweden and the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart (the group's only success on any American chart), and reached the Top Five in Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Ireland and South Africa. It also became the group's only Top 20 single in the UK, peaking at #8.
The band's next two singles, "Sounds like a Melody" and "Forever Young", were also both European Top 10 successes, although the latter track failed to make an impression on the American charts.
Although there were reports that pop star Laura Branigan was featuring the song on her next album, Hold Me, Alphaville's "Forever Young" was re-released as a single in the US, but still proved unpopular. Branigan's version, though promoted on stickers adorning the album, subsequently remained an album cut in the US. She would go on to perform the song as an encore at nearly every concert she performed, until her death in 2004. The Alphaville version was released a third time in the US in 1988, to promote Alphaville: The Singles Collection, and peaked at #65, their highest charting (and also last) single on the Billboard Hot 100. International re-releases of Alphaville's "Forever Young" followed in 1989, 1996 and 2001. Several covers have been recorded and remixed, featuring male or female vocalists often erroneously attributed to be Alphaville's Marian Gold. "Forever Young" was performed by Kiki and Herb as part of their show Alive From Broadway.
Afternoons in Utopia
In 1986, their second album, Afternoons in Utopia, was successfully released and its first single "Dance with Me" was a big international hit, reaching the Top 10 in Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and South Africa. The LP was followed up in 1989 with The Breathtaking Blue, including the highly acclaimed singles (if not so successful chart hits) "Romeos" and "Mysteries of Love". The album was released as a CD+G, including black & white stills with original lyrics and German translation. As an alternative to individual music videos, the band enlisted nine producers, among them Godfrey Reggio (Koyaanisqatsi), to create a film entitled Songlines based on the album's tracks.
The next album, Prostitute, was not released until 1994. In 1996, Ricky Echolette left the band. Salvation, a back-to-the-root opus, followed in 1997. Stark Naked and Absolutely Live was released in 2000, followed by the remix album, Forever Pop the following year. A DVD - Little America - was released in 2001 documenting two concerts performed in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Bernhard Lloyd did not contribute to the CrazyShow album, and shortly after its release on March 18, 2003, he officially left the group. The current core stage members of Alphaville are Marian Gold (vocals), Martin Lister (keyboards), David Goodes (guitars) and Pierson Grange (drums).
Gold has released two solo albums (So Long Celeste, 1992 and United, 1996), alongside his work in the band, both mixing personal creations and covers.
Lloyd also worked on a project named Atlantic Popes with singer Max Holler, a 13-track CD. In 1996, Frank Mertens started a musical project called Maelstrom, which was a combination of ambient-style music, impressionistic and colorful art in the form of paintings and sculptures, and etheric poetry. This project seems now to have been abandoned, though, as Mertens has not been visibly active with it.
In the first part of 2006, Australian guitar band Youth Group took their remake of Forever Young to #1 in the Official Australian Charts, thanks in part to exposure the track had received from being on popular US TV series The O.C.'s fifth TV soundtrack CD.
At present the band are still touring and working on new material and have just re-signed with WEA. Song titles for the next release include "Gallery," "Around the Universe," "My Very Blood," and "Sweet Dreams."