Fools Garden

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Fools Garden
Fools Garden blacksheep 2016 2000.jpg
At Blacksheep Festival 2016
Background information
Also known asFool's Garden (until 2003)
OriginPforzheim, Germany
GenresPop rock, alternative rock, indie pop, baroque pop
Years active1991–present
Sony BMG
Lemonade Music
MembersPeter Freudenthaler
Volker Hinkel
Dirk Blümlein
Gabriel Holz
Thorsten Kiefer
Jan Hees
Past membersThomas Mangold
Roland Röhl
Ralf Wochele
Claus Müller

Fools Garden (until 2003 known as Fool's Garden) is a German musical group formed in 1991, initially named after Fool's Garden, an album recorded by Freudenthaler and Hinkel. Thomas Mangold, Roland Röhl and Ralf Wochele joined the band shortly afterwards and Once in a Blue Moon was released by the complete band in 1993.

In 1995, the band released Dish of the Day which gained popularity in Europe and Asia as it included "Lemon Tree", the band's most successful single to date, reaching #1 in Germany and other countries. Following the success of Dish of the Day, the band released three more albums, Go And Ask Peggy For The Principal Thing (1997), For Sale (2000) and 25 Miles to Kissimmee (2003) in their original line-up with little commercial success.

Following 25 Miles to Kissimmee, original members Mangold, Röhl and Wochele left the band and were replaced by Dirk Blümlein (bassist), Claus Müller (drummer) and Gabriel Holz (second guitarist and backing vocals). To signify the change, the band decided to remove the apostrophe from the band name on their next album, Ready for the Real Life. Despite some critical acclaim, the band's next albums, Who Is Jo King? (2012) and Flashback (2015) also were commercial failures. After Flashback, Müller left the band and was replaced by Jan Hees with Thorsten Kiefer joining as a keyboarder. The band's latest album, Rise and Fall, was released 20 April 2018.

The band's musical style ranges from britpop and pop rock, inspired by bands such as The Beatles and The Who, to baroque pop and electronic pop.


Formation and Once in a Blue Moon (1991-1993)[edit]

In 1991, Peter Freudenthaler and his childhood friend Volker Hinkel founded the band in Pforzheim and recorded their first eponymous promo-album, Fool's Garden, with Freudenthaler and Hinkel sharing vocals and songwriting and Hinkel playing guitar.[1] Fool's Garden was self-produced with only five copies ever produced.[2] Shortly afterwards, bassist Thomas Mangold , keyboarder Roland Röhl and drummer Ralf Wochele joined the band and they recorded Once in a Blue Moon. Released with 1000 copies in 1993, Once in a Blue Moon mostly consists of re-recordings of songs from Fool's Garden. These albums would remain the only ones featuring Hinkel on vocals. Not signed to a label yet, the album was mainly sold at concerts and sent out to radio stations.[2]

Dish of the Day and success (1994-1996)[edit]

In 1994, the German branch of fashion retailer C&A used "Wild Days", the first single from the band's upcoming studio album, Dish of the Day, for a TV commercial.[1] The second single from Dish of the Day, entitled "Lemon Tree", achieved platinum status in Germany, New Zealand and Norway and gold status in Austria, Switzerland, France and Sweden. Buoyed by the success of the single, the album's sales skyrocketed, achieving platinum status in Germany and Switzerland and gold status in Austria. "Lemon Tree" was #1 in the German Single charts for four weeks (23 February to 21 March 1995), the album for the week of 8 to 14 March 1995. Following the success of "Lemon Tree", Fools Garden re-released "Wild Days" in 1996 but the single only reached #59 in the German and #37 in the Austrian charts.

Despite the fact that the band was already five years old and had released multiple albums, the band received multiple newcomer awards in 1996, such as the Bambi, the Goldene Europa, the Goldene Stimmgabel and the Echo.

Post-success (1997-2003)[edit]

Of 5 September 1997, the band released Go and Ask Peggy for the Principal Thing, which underperformed in the charts, only reaching #44 in Germany and #50 in Switzerland. The two singles from this album, "Why Did She Go?" and "Probably" also failed to reach high positions in the charts. Disillusioned by their brief success, the band titled their next album For Sale, which was released on 14 April 2000. For Sale entered the German charts only briefly at #84 for one week while the two singles, "Suzy" and "It Can Happen", also made no real impression. The third post-"Lemon Tree" album, 25 Miles to Kissimmee, did not even chart.

Line-up changes and success in Eastern Europe (2003-2011)[edit]

Following the commercial failures of their last albums, Mangold, Röhl and Wochele left the band in 2003, citing "creative differences".[3] When Freudenthaler and Hinkel pitched continuing as a duo, Polydor Records dropped the band after the release of 25 Miles to Kissimmee. The two remaining band members tour 2004 as a duo but continue working on a new album with bassist Dirk Blümlein, guitarist Gabriel Holz and drummer Claus Müller who join the band after the album is complete. The band released Ready for the Real Life as Fools Garden in 2005 on their own label, Lemonade Music (distributed by BMG).

While not a success in Germany and Western Europe, the band became a success in Eastern Europe, playing in front of 100,000 people at Kaliningrad's 750 year celebrations.[1][4] "Man of Devotion", a single from Ready for the Real Life, was used as a song in the intro of German documentary soap Schwiegertochter gesucht.[3]

In 2009, the band released High Times – The Best of Fools Garden, a greatest hits album.[4]

New releases and further line-up changes (2012-present)[edit]

Seven years after their last album, the 2012 release Who Is Jo King? was both stylistically and graphically a tribute to The Beatles, the band Freudenthaler most often credits as the band's inspiration. The album's cover was designed by Klaus Voormann who also designed the album cover for The Beatles' Revolver.[5]

On 27 November 2015, 20 years after their success with "Lemon Tree", Fools Garden released Flashback, a compilation of cover versions of 1990s hit songs by various artists such as Depeche Mode, Annie Lennox, the Backstreet Boys, Bruce Springsteen, No Doubt and Madonna.[6] Flashback also includes a number of previous songs by the band, including "Lemon Tree (2.0)", a re-recording of their most successful song.[7]

The band's latest album, Rise and Fall, was released 20 April 2018. It's the band's first album since 2000's For Sale to enter the German charts, reaching #97 between 7 May and 13 May 2018.[8]

Awards and Nominations[edit]

Year Awards Work Category Result
1997 ECHO Awards Themselves Best National Dance Act Won


Peter Freudenthaler
Volker Hinkel

Peter Freudenthaler (b. 19 February 1963) and Volker Hinkel (b. 21 June 1965) are the founding members and the only members of the original lineup still active. A piano tuner by trade, Freudenthaler is the band's lead vocalist. While in the beginning also a lead vocalist, Hinkel is now the band's guitarist. Both share songwriting duties.

From 1991 to 2003, bassist Thomas Mangold (b. 25 September 1965), keyboarder Roland Röhl (b. 6. April 1971) and drummer Ralf Wochele (b. 23 February 1968) were members of the band before leaving the band before the release of 25 Miles to Kissimmee in 2003. For the 2005 album Ready for the Real Life, Hinkel and Freundenthaler were joined by bassist Dirk Blümlein, guitarist Gabriel Holz and drummer Claus Müller.

In 2016, Müller left the band and was replaced by current drummer Jan Hees. Additionally, Thorsten Kiefer joined the band as a keyboarder the same year.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications(sales thresholds)














1991 Fool's Garden
  • Released: 1991
  • Label: Self-published
1993 Once in a Blue Moon
1995 Dish of the Day 1 4 21 17 30 19 22 3
1997 Go and Ask Peggy for the Principal Thing 44 50
2000 For Sale
  • Released: 28 November 2000
  • Label: BMG
2003 25 Miles to Kissimmee
2005 Ready for the Real Life
  • Released: 2005
  • Label: BMG / Lemonade Music
2012 Who Is Jo King?
  • Released: 12 October 2012
  • Label: Seven Days / Sony Music
2015 Flashback
2018 Rise and Fall
  • Released: 20 April 2018
  • Label: Jazzhaus Records

Compilation albums[edit]




  1. ^ a b c Jaeger, Mona (2014-03-18). "One-Hit-Wonder: Mensch, dieses Lied!". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  2. ^ a b Püschel, Simon (2016-09-23). "Fools Garden feiert 25. Jubiläum". Pforzheimer Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  3. ^ a b "Fool's Garden". (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  4. ^ a b Schweizer, Ramona (2012-09-06). "Was macht eigentlich... - ...die Band Fools Garden?". Schweizer Illustrierte (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  5. ^ "Klaus Voormann: Cover-Art für Fools Garden". Neue Presse (in German). 2012-09-03. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  6. ^ "One-Hit-Wonder Fools Garden bringt Cover-Album raus". FOCUS Online (in German). 2015-10-20. Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  7. ^ Brandstetter, Markus. "Zweitaufguss im modernen Soundkleid mit Softrock-Pathos". (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-28.
  8. ^ a b "Fools Garden Chartverfolgung". (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  9. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Fool's Garden / Longplay" (in German). Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  10. ^ "Austrian Chart". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  11. ^ "French Chart". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  12. ^ "Dutch Chart". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  13. ^ "Norwegian Chart". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  14. ^ "Swedish Chart". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  15. ^ "Swiss Chart". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  16. ^ Chart Stats — Fool's Garden

External links[edit]