"Live Is Life" is a popular song originally recorded in 1984 by Austrianpop rockgroupOpus. It was a European number one hit in the summer of 1985; in the Americas, the single also reached the top position in Canada and was a top 40 hit in the US in 1986. It was covered by many artists throughout the years.
"Live Is Life" is their second single, released in 1985, and achieved huge success, topping the charts of many countries, including Austria (eight weeks), Germany, France (seven weeks) and Sweden (four weeks). In France, the song is the 149th best-selling single of all time with about 857,000 units sold.
The song was created during a concert in Oberwart, on 2 September 1984, while the group celebrated its eleven years of existence. Recorded in a live version, the audience also sings the verses. In the lyrics, the song expresses "the enthusiastic attachment of the group to the stage". The song was performed during the 1985 charity campaign Austria für Afrika.
In 1994, Opus published another version of their hit "Live Is Life", which made it into the top ten by Austria and to honor the 1994 FIFA World Cup has been released. The song was re-recorded by the group in 2008 in a solo version and featuring Jerry.
On 19 April 1989, during the warming up in Munich before the UEFA Cup semi-final return between FC Bayern Munich and SSC Napoli, Diego Maradona did a keepie uppie exhibition while the song was heard on the loudspeakers. This has become a classic among football fans.Jürgen Klinsmann, who played for Bayern at the time, named Maradona as the greatest footballer of his time and commented on the exhibition:
There were 70,000 people in the stadium and Maradona went on the field. We’re on the other side of the field, warming up like Germans: seriously, focused.
There’s music playing, the song "Live is Life", and to the rhythm of the song Maradona started juggling the ball. So we stopped our warm-up. What's this guy doing? He's juggling off his shoulders. And we couldn't warm up anymore because we had to watch this guy.
By 2013, the Maradona video had almost two million views. The 25th anniversary of Maradona's warming up was noted internationally, with newspapers commenting on his skills and on the transformative effect he had on Napoli and southern Italy.
Slovenian avant-garde band Laibach recorded two martial-style covers of the song in their 1987 album Opus Dei. The first version, "Leben Heißt Leben" was sung in German. The second version, "Opus Dei", was promoted as a single, and its promotional video (which used the title "Life is Life") was played extensively on American cable channel MTV. Opus Dei retained some of the original song's English lyrics, but was delivered in a musical style that left the meaning of the lyrics open to further interpretation. Laibach's subversive interpretation turned the feel-good anthem into a triumphant, rolling military march. With the exception of the promotional video, the refrain is at one instance translated into German, giving an example of the sensitivity of its lyrics to context.
The Hermes House Band and DJ Ötzi released a version of the song in 2002. The single had his highest peak position in France, where it reached number two for five weeks. The song was used as a soundtrack for the German youth film Das Jahr der ersten Küsse. As of August 2014, the song was the 23th best-selling single of the 21st century in France, with 537,000 units sold.
The song was covered by many other artists, including Stargo (number 10 in France in 1985), Starkoo and Quebec singer René Simard covered the song in French, "La vie chante". A modified version with the chorus changed from "Life is life" to "Geiz ist geil" ("Miserliness is cool") is used in radio ads for the German electronics store chain Saturn.