Rainhard Mey * 21 December 1942 The songwriter made his debut as Rainer May on Polydor in 1965. Discovered by Polydor producer Jimmy Bowien, he takes WHEN? "Go catch the wind," a German cover of Donavan's "Catch the wind."
Success sitting between all stools
"Reinhard Mey could be a stroke of luck in the history of German underground music - he could. But apparently he doesn't, or (which is more likely) you don't let him." So in 1972 'Sing In' criticized the musician who had been praised by the magazine 'elan' as "one of our best songwriters". Mey was a divorced ghost at an early age. The cover of the 1968 LP 'Ankomme Freitag, den 13.' emphasizes as his main concern the "critical view of his time", "even when he treats the topics with laughter", as in his successful title Diplomatenjagd. A piece that belongs to Meys satirical observations of social conditions and the adversities of everyday life, such as his single Die heiße Schlacht am kalten Büffet (The hot battle at the cold buffet). The critics early accused the musician, who was born in Berlin in 1942, of developing in a direction "at the end of which there is a chanson editing that in Germany is best associated with the name Udo Jürgens". He "sells himself under value" his singing brother Hannes Wader was quoted at that time. In his book 'Liedermacher', Thomas Rothschild even accused him of "witch-hunting in chanson form" with his song Annabelle, a musical caricature of the student movement, which appeared in the mid-seventies.
Already in the early sixties Reinhard Mey sang English, French and Spanish folklore in the trio Les Trois Affamés (The Three Starved) with Schobert Schulz and a bassist in Berlin. In 1964, at the age of 22, he came to the Waldeck for the first time. At that time he confessed that he had only five songs of his own in his repertoire. The first was Ich wollte wie Orpheus singen (I wanted to sing like Orpheus), which was only released in 1967 as the title song of his first LP. In 1965 the singer and guitarist brought out his first single, a German version of Catch The Wind, with which the Scottish bard Donovan was successful. The following year two EPs followed. From the first - 'Fred Kasulzke protestazki' - comes the title Bauer, ich bitt' euch, with whose lyrics one could believe that Bertolt Brecht's thesis "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann kommt die Moral" was the inspiration. The title Mädchen in den Schänken was mistakenly first published as Die Ballade der guten Lehre on the singer-songwriter compilation 'Makaber macht lustig'. On a later book club LP this error was corrected.
Meys quick and big success brought him a record deal with Intercord, where they, as 'Sing In' wrote, mixed his "simple guitar sound with choir and sweet arrangements". However, the musician was given the benefit of one thing: "His songs, which are still well written, cannot be killed by the nasty arrangements". To this day - almost three dozen albums later - Reinhard Mey is still sitting between two stools with his songs, as the Munzinger Pop-Archiv International says: "As a pop singer he did not see himself as a singer at all, but as an author of thoughtful, serious lyrics, as a songwriter. But in their environment his songs often appear as unusually adapted, yes: trivializing. On the other hand, Mey seemed to address the needs of those listeners for whom the ideal singer-songwriter was too bourgeois, too far away from their lives, but who expected more reflection than the average hit could offer. This often silent majority enabled the Berlin singer to achieve an extraordinary success that lasted for decades." Mey hasn't lost the friendship and recognition of early companions like Hannes Wader or Konstantin Wecker anyway. In 2002 he was on stage with these two on Hannes Wader's 60th birthday and shortly afterwards again at the great peace demonstration in Berlin in the run-up to the Iraq war. www.reinhard-mey.de