André Heller was born in 1947 in Vienna. As a poet songwriter, his work spans across a period of more than 15 years selecting diverse topics and writing for a German-speaking audience. He has worked with not only international names such as Ástor Piazzolla, Dino Saluzzi, and Freddie Hubbard, but also with Austrian artists such as Toni Stricker, Wolfgang Ambros, and Helmut Qualtinger. Heller's own poetry has been set to music. He has also sung texts by other authors. For instance, "Catherine", from 1970, was set to one of the first hits of Heller. The text came from the then still largely unknown Reinhard Mey, and the music from the Austro-Canadian Jack Grunsky.
With Werner Schneyder, he created Viennese German songs that are translated from Jacques Brel, such as "Franz" (after the Brel title "Jef"). In 1976, he published a fairy tale called, Märchen für ein Wiener Kind (English version as "A Fairy Tale for a Viennese Child"), which is part of the children's book Update on Rumpelstiltskin and other Fairy Tales by 43 Authors, which is compiled by Hans-Joachim Gelberg, illustrated by Willi Glasauer, and published by Beltz & Gelberg. Using intimate memories of traumatic childhood experiences, and insights into his life, as well as his Catholic-Jewish origin, he created songs with the title "Angstlied" (Verwunschen, 1980).
Titles like "Miruna, die Riesin von Göteborg" (Verwunschen, 1980) are, in turn, influenced by the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. "Das Lied vom idealen Park" (Narrenlieder 1985), or, as a duet with Wolfgang Ambros, he also introduced the Bob Dylan cover, "Für immer jung" (Stimmenhören, 1983), are now titles that are part of the Austro-pop cannon. In 1983, he appeared on Stimmenhören with the song "Erhebet euch Geliebte", a song at the time of the peace movement in the early 1980s. Since the early 1980s, he turned increasingly to large public productions, installations and performances, until 1982, where his concert career came to close.
In 1985, the album, Narrenlieder, was released. Between 1967 and 1985, he published a total of fourteen LPs, twelve of those were gold records, and earned him seven times platinum. In 1991, he wrote, looking back on this period:
"I started in 1967, to put my poems together using my voice on record and in recitals before millions of people. This was following the example of Bob Dylan's first meaningful and self-published poetry [...] 1982 was certainly the zenith of that career, where I had to stop my concerts. I realized at this point, it was spoiled for me, because at 8pm, I had to act gifted in front of a few thousand listeners, just because they had paid for admission." – Heller in the liner notes of Kritische Gesamtausgabe published in 1991.
However, on his 60th birthday, Heller gave a concert in April 2007 at the Viennese Radiokulturhaus, after twenty-five years of absence from the stage in a recital entitled, Konzert für mich (Concert for me).
In 2006, thanks to the initiative of Chris Gelbmann, he released his last album called, Ruf und Echo. The 3-CD compendium is the first release in the past 20 years, containing new songs, and interpretations of old hits by artists like Brian Eno, Xavier Naidoo, Thomas D, and The Walkabouts.
|Wie mei Herzschlag||3:25|
|Für immer jung||3:54|
|Der erste Reif in Rimini||4:17|
|Erhebt euch Geliebte||4:16|
André Heller - Stimmenhören (1983)
(ca. 180 kbps, cover art included)