Peter Koelewijn

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Peter Koelewijn
Peter Koelewijn.png
Peter Koelewijn in 1977
Background information
Born (1940-12-29) 29 December 1940 (age 76)
Eindhoven, Netherlands
Genres pop, rock
Occupation(s) singer, songwriter, producer
Years active 1957-
Associated acts Peter And His Rockets
Curtie and the Boombox

Peter Koelewijn (born 29 December 1940 in Eindhoven) is a founding father of Dutch language rock and roll. Koelewijn is also a successful producer and songwriter for other Dutch artists. His most famous song is Kom van dat dak af (Dutch version of the 1989 remake with rap duo MC Miker G & DJ Sven; Get Down The Roof Kid).


1959-1967; the early years[edit]

Peter Koelewijn was born December 29 1940, the son of a fishmonger in the southern Dutch city of Eindhoven. At the age of thirteen he received his first guitar. In 1957 he started writing his first songs in English. He started his first band at secondary school with guitarists Karel Jansen and Roelof Egmond and singer Anneke Grönloh. Later, Harry van Hoof (who later became a famous conductor), and drummer Peter van der Voort, joined the band. Around the same time, Grönloh quit.

In 1959 the band, now called 'Peter and his Rockets', were joined by saxophone player Klaus Buchholz and bass guitarist Karel Janssen. In December the band recorded Kom Van Dat Dak Af for record company Bovema. The combination of American rock and roll and Dutch lyrics was unheard of at the time. In May 1960, Kom Van Dat Dak Af was a big success in both the Netherlands and Belgium. Koelewijn, who moved on to grammar school, was told by his parents that he had to finish his schooling. Peter and his Rockets signed to Philips.

Follow-up singles Laat Me Los ('Let Me Go') and Marijke charted lower. Eventually the hits dried up, and Koelewijn disbanded the Rockets in 1967 to concentrate on writing and producing for other artists.

1971-1975; the glamrock-years[edit]

In 1971 he reformed the Rockets for what would become his glamrock-era; this period lasted four years.

His 1973-composition, Klap Maar in Je Handen (Clap your Hands and Stamp your Feet) was a no. 1 hit for South African singer Maria in South Africa [1] and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where it is still very popular at dances.

1977; going solo[edit]

In 1977 Koelewijn released his debut solo-album Het Beste In Mij Is Niet Goed Genoeg Voor Jou which spawned two singles; the Rockets-like Je Wordt Ouder Papa (You're Getting Older, Daddy; a phrase jokingly coined by Golden Earring-guitarist George Kooymans) and KL 204 (Als Ik God Was) - If I Were God - which was originally intended as the leading single and reissued in 1990.

The cd-reissue omits Je Wordt Ouder Papa for bonus-tracks recorded in the mid-1980s, including De Loop Van Het Geweer (Barrel Of A Gun) which was loosely based on The Commodores' Nightshift.

1981-2009; more reformations[edit]

In 1981 Koelewijn recruited musicians from the band Bunny for a new Rockets line-up that lasted till 1997; their first release was the live-album Peter Live of which Kom Van Dat Dak Af en Klap Maar In Je Handen hit the charts. In 1982 the band appeared in an insurance-commercial.

In 1995 Koelewijn fronted the novelty group Gompie; their version of Smokie's Livin' Next Door To Alice topped the charts.

In 2002 Peter and his Rockets reformed for seven shows.

In 2008 Koelewijn appeared at the 50th anniversary concert for Dutch pop; he kicked off by performing Kom Van Dat Dak Af as a duet with singer-songwriter Boudewijn de Groot.

In 2009, the year of his own 50th career-anniversary, Koelewijn released a new solo album.


  • New Country Love Songs. In collaboration with Grant & Forsyth. 2001
  • Out Of Africa. Koelewijn assists Belgian singer Helmut Lotti in making Lotti's album of South African songs. 1999
  • Het Album ('The Album'). An album of songs performed by the cast of a popular Dutch soap opera, among those involved was Koelewijn. 1995.
  • Diep Water ('Deep Water'). Unsuccessful. 1984.
  • Peter Live. Live album of Peter and his Rockets. 1981.
  • Het beste in mij is niet goed genoeg voor jou ('The Best In Me Is Not Good Enough For You'). 1977


  • 1960 Kom Van Dat Dak Af - Laat Me Los ('Let Me Go') - Marijke
  • 1968 Kom uit de bedstee, mijn liefste ('Come out of the box bed, my darling') together with Egbert Douwe
  • 1968 Waarom Zei Je Niets? ('Why Didn't You Say Anything?')
  • 1969 Loekie Loekie
  • 1970 The Bull And I
  • 1971 Kom Van Dat Dak Af (first re-release)
  • 1972 Angeline - Mij Oh Mij - Nassibal - Serafina - Veronica Sorry
  • 1974 240042
  • 1974 Veronica Sorry
  • 1977 Je Wordt Ouder Papa ('You're Getting Older Daddy')
  • 1979 Niet Geschoten Is Altijd Mis ('Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained')
  • 1981 Kom Van Dat Dak Af (live version; second re-release) - Klap Maar In Je Handen ('Clap Your Hands') (live version) - Van Washington Naar Moskou ('From Washington to Moscow')
  • 1982 Zolang De Motor Loopt ('As Long As The Motor Is Running')
  • 1983 De Tijger Is Los ('The Tiger Is Loose'), played by Peter and his Rockets - Een Hete Zomer ('A Hot Summer'), played by Peter and his Rockets
  • 1984 Sprong In Het Duister ('Leap In The Dark')
  • 1986 Big Ben (of Nôtre Dame) for Eurovision Songcontest in Brussels, Belgium - Buiten Jou ('Outside You') for Eurovision - Rechtop In De Wind ('Straight Up In The Wind') for Eurovision
  • 1989 Kom Van Dat Dak Af (third re-release) - My Roof Is Rainproof for the Dutch film Jan Rap en zijn Maat.
  • 1990 Allemaal Naar Voren! ('t Bestuur Ook!) ('Everybody Forward! (Including The Management)') in collaboration with Ferdi Lancee
  • 1994 I Love You Too in collaboration with Helmut Lotti
  • 1995 Een Minuut Nog Voor Een Leven Lang ('One Minute More For An Entire Life') - Utopia



External links[edit]