Alphaville is a German synthpop group which gained popularity in the 80s. The founding members were lead singer Marian Gold, Bernhard Lloyd and Frank Mertens. The band was at first named “Forever Young” before changing to “Alphaville”. They achieved chart success with the singles, “Big in Japan”, “Jet Set”, “Dance With Me”, and “Forever Young”.
Alphaville formed in early 1982, when Marian Gold and Bernhard Lloyd met at the music project Nelson Community. Many months later, Frank Mertens joined the project. Together they wrote Forever Young and recorded their first demo. In 1984 Alphaville released their debut single, “Big in Japan”, which Gold wrote in 1979 after hearing the music of Holly Johnson’s band Big in Japan. In autumn 1984, they released their debut album, Forever Young.. Despite its success, Frank Mertens left the band that year and was replaced in January 1985 by Ricky Echolette), who was credited on the Afternoons in Utopia album.
“Big in Japan” was Alphaville’s biggest hit, topping the charts in Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Venezuela, and the US Billboard Dance Chart (the group’s only Top 10 on any Billboard chart). The single also reached the Top Five in Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Ireland and South Africa. It became the group’s only Top 20 single in the UK, peaking at No. 8. The band’s next two singles, “Sounds Like a Melody” and “Forever Young,” were also both European Top 5 successes, although the former track failed to make an impression on the American charts.
Amid reports that pop star Laura Branigan was featuring the song on her next album, Hold Me, Alphaville’s “Forever Young” was re-released as a single in the US, but it did not prove to be massively popular. Branigan’s version, though promoted on stickers adorning the album, subsequently remained an album cut in the US. The Alphaville version was released a third time in the US in 1988, to promote Alphaville: The Singles Collection, and peaked at No. 65, their highest charting (and also last) single on the Billboard Hot 100. International re-releases of Alphaville’s “Forever Young” followed in 1989, 1993, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2005 and 2009.
In 1986, their second album, Afternoons in Utopia, was released and its first single “Dance With Me” was a Top 20 hit in Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, South Africa and in remix form on the US Hot Maxi Singles chart, and reached the Top 30 in Austria, Italy and in the US Club Play chart. The album’s second single was “Universal Daddy”. For their third single, the band released “Jerusalem” in Germany only, while they went with “Sensations” for Austria, France, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The final single from Afternoons in Utopia was “Red Rose”, in 1987.
The LP was followed up in 1989 with The Breathtaking Blue, including singles “Romeos”, “Summer Rain” and “Mysteries of Love”. The album was released as a CD+G, including black & white stills with original lyrics and German translation. As an alternative to individual music videos, the band enlisted nine directors, among them Godfrey Reggio (Koyaanisqatsi), to create a film entitled Songlines based on the album’s tracks.
The next album Prostitute was released in 1994. The first single released was “Fools”, followed by “The Impossible Dream”. In 1996, Ricky Echolette left the band. Salvation, a back-to-the-roots opus, followed in 1997. In 2001, they released both their remix album Forever Pop and a DVD entitled Little America, which documented two concerts performed in Salt Lake City,. Bernhard Lloyd did not contribute to the 2003 limited-edition album CrazyShow, and shortly after its release on 18 March 2003, he officially left the group. The current core stage members of Alphaville are Marian Gold (vocals), Martin Lister (keyboards), David Goodes (guitars) and Jakob Kiersch (drums). Gold has released two solo albums (So Long Celeste, 1992, and United, 1996, both mixing personal creations and covers), alongside his work in the band.
The album Catching Rays on Giant, the first commercial studio album in 13 years, was released on 19 November 2010 and entered the official German album charts at number 9 in its first week of release. It is available in two formats, one as a 12-track CD and the other a deluxe edition with CD plus 4 bonus tracks and DVD. It is also available digitally from various download platforms. The DVD in the deluxe package includes the video to the first single and a documentary titled Audiovision, which is there in a normal version and also in a 3D version. The package contains 3D glasses to enable the viewer to enjoy this. The band held an album release party, where they played a short unplugged set, at the Quasimodo Club in Berlin on the evening of 18 November 2010 to which their closest fans and friends were invited.
Marian Gold has released two solo albums (So Long Celeste, 1992, and United, 1996), Bernhard Lloyd worked on a project named Atlantic Popes with singer Max Holler
Forever Young (1984)
Afternoons in Utopia (1986)
The Breathtaking Blue (1989)
Catching Rays on Giant (2010)
Strange Attractor (2016)
80s Singles Discography:
Big in Japan
Sounds Like a Melody
Dance with Me
Mysteries of Love
Marian Gold – vocals
David Goodes – guitars
Jakob Kiersch – drums
Maja Kim – bass
Carsten Brocker – keyboards
Bernhard Lloyd – keyboardsFrank Mertens – keyboards
Ricky Echolette – keyboards, guitar
Robbie France – drums
Martin Lister – keyboards