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Monday, 23 March 2015

Lale Andersen born 23 March 1905

Lale Andersen (23 March 1905 – 29 August 1972) was a German chanson  singer-songwriter born in Bremerhaven, Germany. She is best known for her interpretation of the song "Lili Marleen" in 1939, which became tremendously popular on both sides during the Second World War.

She was born in Lehe and baptized Liese-Lotte Helene Berta Bunnenberg.In 1922, at the age of 17, she married Paul Ernst Wilke (1894 – 1971), a local
painter. They had three children together: Björn, Carmen-Litta, and Michael. Shortly after the birth of the third child, the marriage broke up. Leaving the children in the care of her relatives (sister Thekla and brother Helmut), Lale went in October 1929 to Berlin, where she reportedly studied acting at the Schauspielschule at the Deutsches Theater.

 In 1931, her marriage was ended by divorce. About the same year, she began appearing on stage in various cabarets  in Berlin. From 1933 to 1937, she performed at the Schauspielhaus in Zürich, where she also met Rolf Liebermann, who would remain a close friend for the rest of her life. In 1938, Lale was in Munich  at the cabaret Simpl, and soon afterwards joined the prestigious Kabarett der Komiker in Berlin.

While at the Kabarett der Komiker, she met Norbert Schultze, who had just written the music for "Lili Marleen". Lale recorded the song in 1939, but it would only become a hit when the Soldatensender Belgrad (Belgrade Soldier's Radio), the radio station of the German armed forces in occupied Yugoslavia began broadcasting it in 1941. "Lili Marleen" quickly became immensely popular with German soldiers at the front. The transmitter of the radio station at Belgrade, was powerful enough to be received all over Europe and the Mediterranean, and the song soon became popular with the Allied troops as well.

Nevertheless, Nazi officials did not like the sad song about parted lovers, and Joseph Goebbels prohibited its being played on the radio. Andersen was not allowed to perform publicly for nine months, not just because of the song but also because of her friendship with Rolf Liebermann, who was Jewish, and other Jewish artists she had met in Zurich. Goebbels had ordered her back to base her career in Germany, putting her under Gestapo surveillance. However Lale planned a later escape back to Switzerland following a 1942 troop concert in Italy but her letters to her new husband were intercepted and she was seized on Milan railway station. Condemned to the concentration camps, she was allowed home to finalise her affairs but attempted suicide.

Fortunately the attempt failed, but Goebbels in setting her punishment had made a terrible blunder for Lale-aka-Lili Marleen had, by then, become an international and much-loved figure and, fearing a propaganda disaster, spared her life. Ordered instead to attend her local police station once a week.When she was allowed to perform again, it was only subject to several conditions, one of which was she would not sing "Lili Marleen". Goebbels did order her to make new "military" version of the song (with a significant drum) which was recorded in June 1942. In the remaining war years, Andersen had one minor appearance in a propaganda movie and was made to sing several propaganda songs in English.

By 1944 the authorities and become tired of her and Goebbels banished her to her grandparents home on the Friesian island of Langeoog,a small island off the North Sea coast of Germany.  from where she quietly saw out the remaing year or so of the war.

After the war, Lale Andersen all but disappeared as a singer. In 1949, she married Swiss composer Artur Beul. In 1952 she made a comeback with the song "Die blaue Nacht am Hafen", which she had written the lyrics for herself. In 1959 she had another hit "Ein Schiff wird kommen...", a cover version of "Never on Sunday", the title song from the movie of the same name, originally sung in English by Melina Mercouri.Both songs won her a gold album each in Germany.

In 1961, she participated as the representative of Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Einmal sehen wir uns wieder", which only reached 13th place with three points. Throughout the 1960s, she toured extensively through Europe and also performed in the United States and Canada ,until her farewell tour Goodbye memories in 1967. In 1972, shortly before her death, her autobiography Der Himmel hat viele Farben (The Sky has many Colours) appeared and topped the bestselling list of the German magazine Der Spiegel.

(info edited from various sources mainly Wikipedia)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

I have an album of Lale Andersen via Reci's Oldies from way back. Will link if interested.