Helmut Köllen

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Helmut Köllen
Helmut Köllen

(1950-03-02)2 March 1950
Cologne, Germany
Died3 May 1977(1977-05-03) (aged 27)
Cologne, Germany
Known forMusic
Notable work
You Won't See Me
MovementRock music

Helmut Köllen (2 March 1950 – 3 May 1977) was a German bass and guitar player as well as a singer for the band Triumvirat.


Early years[edit]

Early in his musical career, Helmut Köllen gained experience in various local bands in Cologne, Germany.[n 1] In the seventies, he became the bassist and vocalist for the progressive rock band Triumvirat, after replacing Hans-Georg Pape (who had just got married) the band's previous bass player, who left the group before the completion of one of their most successful albums, Illusions on a Double Dimple. After the release of that album in 1974, Triumvirat with Helmut Köllen then embarked on a tour around the United States supporting Fleetwood Mac. In 1975, Köllen got back to the studio along with his fellow musicians to record the concept album Spartacus, and soon after the album, a tour in the United States. During that year, Triumvirat also did a tour of Europe supporting Grand Funk Railroad. At the end of 1975, Köllen left Triumvirat to pursue a solo career, once his own musical inclinations began to drift away from that of the rest of the band.[1]

In 1976, the German group Jail released their only album You Can Help Me, which featured Helmut Köllen as a guest musician on some of the songs (vocals and guitar), including the A-side of the band's single, "Julie".[2] Köllen briefly returned to Triumvirat, but nothing really came out from that reunion.[1]

Solo album[edit]

In late 1976, Köllen began recording what would be his only solo album You Won't See Me, named after one of The Beatles' songs that he liked the most.[1] The album featured Helmut Köllen on vocals and guitar (bass, acoustic and electric),[3] and also fellow Triumvirat musician and cousin Jürgen Fritz,[1][n 2] who played keyboards, and helped to engineer and produce the album along with then famous German engineer and record producer Conny Plank at "Conny's Studio", Wolperath, West Germany.[1] Other musicians included Dieter Petereit of Passport on bass guitar,[n 3] Mathias Holtmann playing drums, and among various backing vocalists like Brigitte Witt and The Horn and String Section,[4] Köllen's sister Elke Köllen.[n 4] Helmut Köllen continued to record music until his death on 3 May 1977.[1]


In January 1975, Helmut Köllen appeared with Triumvirat on In Concert, a television show broadcast by ABC, playing music from the Illusions on a Double Dimple album. The host of the show, Don E. Branker, stated that the video from that performance no longer exists.[5]

Other important interests[edit]

Köllen was also an experienced auto mechanic and race driver,[n 5] and had plans to continue in this area in the future as well.[n 6]


On 3 May 1977, Köllen died from carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 27 while listening to some of the studio tracks in his car's cassette player while running the engine in his garage.[6] A little while after his death, German group Birth Control wrote and recorded a song as a tribute to Helmut Köllen entitled "We All Thought We Knew You", which was featured on their 1977 album Increase.[n 7][7] His debut solo album You Won't See Me was issued posthumously by Harvest in Germany in October 1977.[n 8] It is dedicated to Köllen's parents.[1]


Studio Albums Year Chart Position
Illusions on a Double Dimple by Triumvirat 1974 U.S. No. 55[8]
Spartacus – by Triumvirat 1975 U.S. No. 27[8]
You Can Help Me – Jail album 1976 NA
You Won't See Me – Solo album 1977 NA
Triumvirat Singles Year Chart Position
"Dancer's Delight" & "Timothy" (7", Single) 1973 NA
"Dimplicity" & "Million Dollars" (7" Single) *2 versions 1974 NA
"The Capitol of Power" B-side (7" Single) Live, LA, USA August 1975[3] NA
Unauthorized "Bootleg" Recordings Year Chart Position
Triumvirat Live Tour 1974–1975 (songs from shows in the U.S.) 1974–75 NA
Triumvirat – Illusions on a Double Dimple Live – Palace Theatre, Providence, RI, USA October 1974 NA
Triumvirat – Illusions on a Double Dimple Live – St. Bernard Cultural Center, Chalmette, LA, USA[5] November 1974 NA

Additional information[edit]


  1. ^ "Helmut...played part-time in various Cologne bands." – H. Bathelt. → Schenewerk, Russ. "The Triumvirat Biography". Triumvirat.net. Retrieved 18 August 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Helmut was Jurgen's cousin." – H. Bathelt.
  3. ^ Passport is a German jazz ensemble led by saxophonist Klaus Doldinger
  4. ^ Today Elke Schlimbach, born Köllen, is an accomplished singer, librettist, and actress
  5. ^ "He was a mechanic." – H. Bathelt.Mineur, Matthias. "Triumvirat". Old Loves Die Hard Liner Notes. J'rat – Triumvirat Japanese Page. Retrieved 18 August 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Helmut...would have returned to motor racing, which is what he did before he joined Triumvirat." → Jürgen Fritz
  7. ^ "Birth Control's Guestbook" – 2 March 2010
  8. ^ "The Musicians – Helmut Köllen."


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Russ, Schenewerk (2001), The Triumvirat Biography at The Triumvirat Homepage
  2. ^ Shaw, R. "Jail CD Release". Tales Across The Waters, Issue 018, 28 January 2000. Triumvirat.net. Retrieved 18 August 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b Helmut Köllen discography at Discogs
  4. ^ "Triumvirat – Grupo de Rock Progressivo He also had a little help from drummer-lyricist for the lyrics on one song, The story of life. HansAlemão". Tv Sinopse.kinghost.net. Retrieved 18 August 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ a b Doug, Doug (2008), "German prog – Helmut Kollen" Archived 18 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine at The 27s.com
  6. ^ Simmonds, Jeremy (2008), The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars: Heroin, Handguns, and Ham Sandwiches, pg. 92, Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-754-3
  7. ^ "Birth Control – The legend lives on". Retrieved 18 August 2011. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b Billboard, AllMusic. Retrieved 18 August 2011