LIFE SOUNDTRACK: Spliff – 85555



LIFE SOUNDTRACK: Spliff – 85555

In true PRE-web spirit, there’s unfortunately no website for Spliff, one of the most famous and influential bands of the Neue Deutsche Welle (German New Wave) era, active from 1980 until 1984. Before Spliff, they were performing as Nina Hagen Band.

In their formation as Spliff, Herwig Mitteregger (vocals, drums), Reinhold Heil (vocals, synths), Manfred Praeker (vocals, bass) and Bernhard Potschka (guitar, vocals) released 4 studio albums, with 58888 (released 1982) being their 2nd and maybe also commercially most successful album.

While I personally never possessed the album 58888, I had only borrowed it from my physics tutor and put it on a cassette tape, I did listen to this cassette tape until it started to stutter! I loved, loved, LOVED every single song on this 9 track album. From Carbonara, which everybody chanted in the Summer of 1982, to Déja-Vu, Heut Nacht (some sort of love song) and of course Computer Sind Doof (Computer are stupid), with its special appeal for high school teenagers.

Luckily, the man I married (also a physics buff), had the foresight to buy 85555 and many more cool Neue Deutsche Welle albums, all on vinyl of course. That’s why I could search for it today, and take the photo of the original 1982 album. Sadly though not the first pressing cover with the embossed metallic letters. 

Even now, a solid 30 years later, I love the album and it doesn’t sound dated to me. But… check out the videos, listen to the songs and see for yourself. And don’t get side-tracked by all the gear they had. I mean, the look back is great but let’s also listen with our ears and senses to the music. This was a time when exciting music was made in Germany. This is what Kraftwerk has paved the way for (see Oliver’s Life Soundtrack: Kraftwerk) and what some truly creative and inspirational bands in Germany did with it.

With this look back, I am missing more than just those carefree young adult years. I am also missing the spirit of New Deutsche Welle which hasn’t happened again since…

As a singing drummer, Herwig Mitteregger (born in Austria) wrote and sung many of Spliff’s songs, here Déja Vu:

Sharing the song writing and singing duties. Heut Nacht (Tonight’s Night) written and sung by bassist by Manfred Praeker (German wiki). On an album with nine favorite songs, maybe my favorite. Might also have to do with the lyrics “Kuess mich nochmal bevor du gehst” – Kiss me once again before leave…

And this time, the keyboarder alias Reinhold Heil is taking on vocal duties, he’s also the one who wrote the mega-hit Carbonara (Spaghetti).