Drafi Deutscher

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Drafi Deutscher
Drafi Deutscher.jpg
Drafi Deutscher in 1989
Background information
Birth nameDrafi Franz Richard Deutscher
Born(1946-05-09)9 May 1946
Charlottenburg, Germany
Died9 June 2006(2006-06-09) (aged 60)
Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany
GenresSchlager music
Years active1964–1989

Drafi Franz Richard Deutscher (known professionally as Drafi Deutscher; 9 May 1946 – 9 June 2006)[1] was a German singer and songwriter of Sinti origin.


Early life and career[edit]

Deutscher was born in Charlottenburg, in the western zone of Berlin (Germany). Between 1964 and 1966, Deutscher had a string of hits in Germany, for example Shake Hands (1964 #1), Keep Smiling (1964 #7), Cinderella Baby (1965 #3), Heute male ich dein Bild, Cindy-Lou (1965 # 1).[2]

1965-1967: Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht and career peak[edit]

His best known song was the 1965 Schlager "Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht" (lit. "Marble, Stone and Iron Break") which sold over one million copies, and was awarded a golden record.[3] Nineteen-year-old Deutscher had ad-libbed the tune during an October 1965 audition at Musikverlag Edition Intro Gebrüder Meisel GmbH by humming the melody and only singing the characteristic chorus line of "Dum-Dum, Dum-dum"; asked by present songwriter Christian Bruhn what he intended to do with it to turn it into a complete song, he replied, "Det machst du! ("I want you guys to take care of it for me!"), so songwriter Günter Loose subsequently wrote the German lyrics to the melody.[4]

In the US, the song was released in 1966 under the title Marble breaks and iron bends with English lyrics sung by Deutscher.[5] This English version entered the Billboard Hot 100 in May 1966, peaking at # 80,[6][7] and sparking a number of English cover versions by contemporary acts such as The Deejays (under the title Dum Dum (Marble Breaks and Iron Bends)),[8] as well as by the two Australian acts Peter Fenton[9] and Toni & Royce (aka Toni McCann and Royce Nicholas),[10] none of which seem to have charted. The song later featured in the 2006 film Beerfest, during the Oktoberfest scene.

1967 to early 1980s: Trial, obscurity, and working under pseudonyms[edit]

After his 1965 hit Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht, his career in Germany was in full swing when it was shaken by a 1967 conviction for public indecency (Erregung öffentlichen Ärgernisses) after he had urinated from a balcony while drunk, in plain view of a group of schoolchildren watching him from street level. After his 1967 conviction for public indecency, he virtually disappeared from the public eye as a singer for more than a decade, writing and producing several worldwide hits for Boney M, Nino de Angelo and Tony Christie throughout the 1970s under a number of pen names.

It took until the early 1980s for him to make media appearances as a singer again, while still going by various pseudonyms such as Mr. Walkie-Talkie (an act which saw notable commercial success particularly in the Benelux countries) and Jack Goldbird. In 1982, a biopic loosely inspired by Deutscher's life was released to German theaters under the title of his greatest hit, 1965's Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht, in which he appeared in a small cameo role.

Mid-1980s and beyond: Comeback[edit]

Drafi Deutscher's grave in Parkfriedhof Lichterfelde (Berlin-Lichterfelde)

Deutscher worked with Christopher Evans Ironside, collaborating with him on a project named Masquerade, and on their co-written 1984 hit "Guardian Angel", which was popular in many countries.

In the Autumn of 1986, he achieved success with his duo, Mixed Emotions, together with Oliver Simon, and their single You Want Love (Maria, Maria ...), a collaboration which sparked three more follow-up hit singles in a row by 1987, a TV theme hit in 1988 (Running Wild, used for an episode of the crime series Eurocops), and by its success finally inspired him to release his first new album under his real name in two decades, 1989's Über Grenzen geh'n (lit. "Crossing frontiers"). Deutscher's Das 11. Gebot got some airplay in 1989 on German radio.

Declining health and death[edit]

In November 1998, Deutscher suffered two strokes, followed by a breakdown in 1999 due to increasing diabetes. He nevertheless continued touring, celebrating his 40-year stage anniversary in 2003. Deutscher died from heart failure in 2006 in Frankfurt am Main, at the age of 60.[1]

Album discography[edit]

  • Shake Hands! Keep Smiling!, 1964
  • Drafi!, 1966
  • Weil ich Dich liebe, 1971
  • Die Welt von heut (Group "Wir"), 1972
  • Gute Tage & schlechte Tage, 1973
  • Happy Rummel Music (as "Mr. Walkie Talkie"), 1977
  • Lost in New York City, 1981
  • Drafi, 1982 (extended re-release of 1966 album)
  • The Sound of Masquerade (as "Masquerade"), 1984
  • Krieg der Herzen, 1985
  • Gemischte Gefühle, 1986
  • Deep From the Heart (Mixed Emotions), 1987
  • Diesmal für immer, 1987
  • Just For You (Mixed Emotions), 1988
  • Steinzart – Die besten Jahre, 1988
  • Lost in New York City (remix), 1989
  • Über Grenzen geh'n, 1989
  • Side by Side (with Andreas Martin as New Mixed Emotions), 1991
  • Wie Ebbe und Flut, 1992
  • So viele Fragen, 1996
  • Zukunft, 1998
  • We Belong Together (Mixed Emotions), 1999
  • Wer war Schuld daran, 2002
  • Diesseits von Eden – Die große Drafi Deutscher Hit-Collection, 2006
  • The Last Mile, 2007
  • Drafi (Re-release of the 1982 album with six bonus tracks), 2008


  1. ^ a b Thedeadrockstarsclub.com Accessed March 2010
  2. ^ Günter Ehnert (ed.): Hit Bilanz. Deutsche Chart Singles 1956-1980. Hamburg: Taurus Press, 1990, p. 60
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 188–189. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  4. ^ Christian Bruhn (2005). Marmor, Stein und Liebeskummer ("Marble, stone, and heartaches"), 2005, p. 130
  5. ^ Entry for Drafi Deutscher's US single Marble Breaks and Iron Bends on discogs.com
  6. ^ Entry for US single Marble Breaks and Iron Bends on billboard.com (limited access due to requiring subscription)
  7. ^ German entry for international success of US single Marble Breaks and Iron Bends on chartsurfer.de (Höchstposition = "peak position", Chartwochen = "no. of charting weeks", Erste Notierung = "first listing", Letzte Notierung = "last listing") In German, but doesn't require subscription to view as does billboard.com entry.
  8. ^ Entry for single Dum Dum (Marble Breaks and Iron Breaks) by The Deejays on rateyourmusic.com
  9. ^ Entry for single Marble Breaks and Iron Bends by Peter Fenton
  10. ^ Marble Breaks and Iron Bends, performed by Toni & Royce on 11 July 1966 on the Go!! Show (YouTube)

External links[edit]