Happy birthday, Rio Reiser

If he were still alive, Rio Reiser would turn 60 today. Vocalist and main songwriter of 1970s Berlin band Ton Steine Scherben, he led a rock group unlike any other in the world.

Influenced by the Rolling Stones and Marlene Dietrich alike, Ton Steine Scherben played raw, authentic rock with a revolutionary left-wing agenda from 1970 onwards – and unlike bands such as the MC5, they didn’t use politics as a marketing ploy. Though their self-released albums and Reiser’s later solo work became increasingly introspective as time moved on, Reiser never sold out his politics.

The greatest, most credible German language rock singer of them all, Rio Reiser made an invaluable contribution to the country’s popular culture.

Happy birthday, Rio. Der Kampf geht weiter.



2 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Rio Reiser

  1. I understand that MC5 is chronologically correct in this case, but Clash is always a better example for using politics as a marketing ploy. after their split the bastards from mc5 were as poor as hell, as they were in the beginning.
    Interesting blog post anyway.

  2. I can see what you’re saying about The Clash, but in fact their story was rather strange. Their manager recommended they don a political image, which they did without thinking about it. But then they came to it like a fish to the water and began getting interested.

    Joe Strummer remained politically active and was involved in various left-wing campaigns until his death. Same goes for Paul Simonon and Mick Jones, who play at left-wing benefits to this day.

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