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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Music of Germany
Old opera house of Frankfurt
Timeline • Samples
Electronic • Rock (Krautrock) • Hip hop • Alpine New Wave • Highlife • Cabaret • Volkstümliche Musik • Schlager • Klezmer • Heavy metal • Opera
Specific Forms
Chorale • Baroque • Classical • Romantic • Lied • Volksmusik • Schuhplattler • Yodelling
Media and Performance
Music awards German Music Instrument Prize • German Music Awards
Music charts Media Control
Music festivals Rock am Ring and Rock im ParkDonaueschinger MusiktageWacken Open Air
Music media Keys
National anthem Das Lied der Deutschen
Regional Music
Local forms Bavaria • Danish-German • Swabia • Sorbia • Northern Germany
Related areas Austria • Belgium • Czech Republic • Denmark • France • Luxembourg • Netherlands • Poland • Switzerland

Although German rock music (Deutschrock) didn't come into its own until the late 1960s, it spawned many innovative and influential bands spanning genres such as krautrock, New Wave, heavy metal, punk, and industrial.

Rock and roll itself arose in the United States in the 1940s, and spread across the world beginning in about 1956. Though American rock was popular in (West) Germany at the time, especially rockabilly stars like Bill Haley & His Comets, there were few German performers. A reason for this was the war – while Germany was a center of nearly all kinds of modern music before World War II, it had a difficult time in developing its own music culture after its occupation.


1960s and 70s: Krautrock

Mostly instrumental, the signature sound of krautrock mixed rock music and "rock band" instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums) with electronic instrumentation and textures, often with what would now be described as an ambient music sensibility.

By the end of the 1960s, the American and British counterculture and hippie movement had moved rock towards psychedelic rock, heavy metal, progressive rock and other styles (from which Scorpions rose to prominence), incorporating, for the first time in popular music, socially and politically incisive lyrics. The 1968 student riots in Germany, France and Italy had created a class of young, intellectual continental listeners, while nuclear weapons, pollution and war inspired protests and activism. Music had taken a turn towards electronic avant-garde in the mid-1950s.

These factors all laid the scene for the explosion in what came to be termed krautrock, which arose at the first major German rock festival in 1968 at Essen. Like their American and British counterparts, German rock musicians played a kind of psychedelia. In contrast, however, there was no attempt to reproduce the effects of drugs, but rather an innovative fusion of psychedelia and the electronic avant-garde. That same year, 1968, saw the foundation of the Zodiak Free Arts Lab in Berlin by Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Conrad Schnitzler, which further popularized the psychedelic-rock sound in the German mainstream.

Originally Krautrock was a form of Free art which meant you could receive Krautrock bands' records for free at Free Art Fairs.

The next few years saw a wave of pioneering groups. In 1968, Can formed, adding jazz to the mix, while the following year saw Kluster (later Cluster) begin recording keyboard-based instrumental music with an emphasis on static drones. In 1971, the bands Tangerine Dream and Faust used electronic synthesizers and advanced production techniques to make what they called Kosmische Musik.

In 1972, two albums incorporated European rock and electronic psychedelia with Asian sounds: Popol Vuh's In Den Gärten Pharaos and Deuter's Aum. Meanwhile, kosmische musik saw the release of two double albums, Klaus Schulze's Cyborg and Tangerine Dream's Zeit, while a band called Neu! began to play highly rhythmic music. By the middle of the decade, one of the most well-known German bands, Kraftwerk, had released albums like Autobahn and Radio-Activity, which laid the foundation for electro, techno and other genres later in the century.

Neue Deutsche Welle

Neue Deutsche Welle (New German Wave) is an outgrowth of British punk rock and New Wave which appeared in the mid-to late 1970s. The field did not last long, however, done in by over-commercialization in the early 1980s. Since ca. 2003, it seems that a new "Neue Deutsche Welle" has arrived. Many German singing young pop and rock groups become successful in Germany (Tokio Hotel, Wir sind Helden, Silbermond, Juli and Revolverheld for example), although the international breakthrough is not yet in sight, if not counting Tokio Hotel who are gaining success in Europe, The U.S., Israel and Latin America.


Ostrock refers to rock music scene from socialist East Germany (also known as the German Democratic Republic), which began roughly at the same time as in the West. Its most well-known groups are The Puhdys and Karat.

German Heavy metal

Heavy metal scene arose in Germany in late 70's and early 80's. Hard rock band Scorpions is credited for seeding the genre in their country. Among the most notable acts of this time were Accept, led by Udo Dirkschneider, and female-fronted Warlock led by Doro Pesch. Speed metal subgenre was popular with bands like Rage, Grave Digger and Running Wild producing this kind of music. Notable innovative thrash metal bands, such as Kreator, Sodom and Destruction spread their influences over the seas in the late 80's. German bands Helloween and Blind Guardian are credited for invention of Power metal subgenre, that gradually grew up from Speed metal and gained mainstream popularity in 90's.

Hamburger Schule

Hamburger Schule (School of Hamburg) is an underground music-movement that started at the late 1980s and was still active until around the mid 1990s. It has similar traditions as Neue Deutsche Welle and mixed all that with punk, grunge and experimental pop music. Hamburger Schule is (and was) an important part of Germany's youth and gave pop a new definition, as now it was "ok" (or "cool") to sing in German language. Hamburger Schule is also about intellectual lyrics with postmodern theories and social criticism.

Neue Deutsche Härte

(New German Hardness)

Since the early 90s bands like Rammstein, Eisbrecher, KMFDM, Oomph!, Tanzwut, and Megaherz developed this kind of Rock music as a mixture of industrial rock, heavy metal and electronic music.



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