25 March 2012

Ted Herold

German singer and film actor Ted Herold (1942) was billed as 'The German Elvis' in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. With his Rock ‘n Roll covers he appeared in several Schlagerfilms between 1959 and 1963. In 1977 he made a surprise come-back.

Ted Herold
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 156.

Rock'n Roll Sensation
Ted Herold was born as Harald Walter Bernhard Schubring in Berlin-Schöneberg in 1942. He was the son of a plasterer. In 1951 his family moved to Bad Homburg. As a boy he already had a passion for music, especially for American Rock 'n Roll songs by Bill Haley, Buddy Holly and most of all Elvis Presley. At the age of 14 he had gotten his first guitar as a Christmas present, and at school he started to play these songs. In 1958 a girl friend from school mediated a contract for him with the record company Polydor. That same year followed his first single with two cover versions of Elvis hits, Ich brauch' keinen Ring (Want you wear my ring around your neck) and Lover Doll. His producer Bert Kaempfert came up with the pseudonym Ted Herold. After his first success he moved on to top producer Gerhard Mendelson, who already managed the career of teen idol Peter Kraus. While Kraus got more success with milder songs, Herold was build up as the new ‘German Elvis’. Till 1960 Herold sang mainly German covers of Presley hits. With a line from his song Ich bin ein Mann (I am a Man) the then 17 year-old singer caused a sensation in prudish postwar-Germany. The German radio refused to play the song.

Ted Herold
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/85. Photo: Polydor/Tele/Constantin/Filipp. Publicity photo for Schlagerparade 1960.

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley. German postcard by Kunst und Bild (KB), Berlin-Charlottenburg, no. 1 296. Photo: MGM. Publicity photo for Jailhouse Rock (1957, Richard Thorpe).

Rebel Rocker in Schlagerfilms
Ted Herold broadened his song repertoire in 1960 with more mellow titles, just like his role model Elvis had done before him. Among his hits were covers like Ich bin ein Wanderer (The Wanderer) and Da Doo Ron Ron. The ballad Moonlight became with 500,000 sold singles his biggest hit and climbed to #1 in the hitparade. Herold, who still had the image of a rebel rocker, did not get any engagements from the conservative German television till the mid-1960’s. But between 1959 and 1963 he was often seen in Schlagerfilms. He made his film debut in the musical comedy La Paloma (1959, Paul Martin) with Bibi Johns and Karlheinz Böhm. He sang the song Texas Baby. That same year followed Immer die Mädchen/Always the Girls (1959, Fritz Remond) in which he sang Hula-Rock, and Mein Schatz, komm mit ans blaue Meer/My Darling, Come to the Blue Sea (1959, Rudolf Schündler) with fellow rocker Gus Backus, in which Ted sang Küss mich (Kiss Me). The success of Schlagerparade (1960, Franz Marischka) with Herold, Vivi Bach, Rex Gildo, and many other Schlager stars led to sequels as Schlagerparade 1961 (1961, Franz Marischka) and Schlagerrevue 1962 (1961, Thomas Engel). Other films of the same genre include Davon träumen alle Mädchen/That’s What All the Girls Dream About (1961, Thomas Engel) with Marion Michael, Drei Liebesbriefe aus Tirol/Three Love Letters from Tyrol (1962, Werner Jacobs) with Ann Smyrner, and Sing, aber spiel nicht mit mir/Sing, But Don’t Play With Me (1963, Kurt Nachmann). In 1963 military service interrupted his career. His following singles had less success than before, also because of the upcoming beat wave. He started a study to become a radio and TV technician and married in 1965 Karin Höhler. In 1966 he recorded his last single with Polydor, and then retired to run a radio and television repair service.

Ted Herold
German postcard by Universum-Film Aktiengesellschaft (Ufa), Berlin-Tempelhof, no. CK 429, the price was 30 Pfg. Photo: Erwin Schneider/Ufa.

Ted Herold
German postcard by Ted Herold-Büro.

In 1977 Ted Herold got a surprising offer from the German rock singer Udo Lindenberg to cooperate on a title of his LP Panische Nächte (Panic nights), and to join him on a tour through Germany. Ted got a record deal with Teldec and started to produce new titles, including Rockabilly-Willi, Bill Haley, Die Besten sterben jung (The Best Die Young) and Rock 'n Roll For President. He sang them with his old classics during many gigs at the height of the Rock 'n Roll-Revival of the 1980's and 1990's. He was the guest of several TV shows, and appeared as a rock singer in the German-American coproduction Judgment in Berlin (1988, Leo Penn) starring Martin Sheen. Ted married in 2002 his longtime companion Manuela. In 2005 he had a new hit with 1958 - wir waren dabei (1958 – we were there). He made guest appearances in the TV series Die Kommissarin/Lady Cop (2000) and Lindenstraße (2007). In 2008 his 26th and most recent album was presented, Jukebox Jeans Rock 'n Roll. Fifty years earlier, when Elvis Presley was posted in Germany by the U.S. Army, the German Elvis had met the American original once in the streets of Bad Homburg. Ted Herold later remembered that he had talked to his idol for a while and then had given him some of his own records.

Ted Herold sings Tausend Illusionen/Thousand Illusions in 1961. Source: Fritz51203 (YouTube).

Ted Herold sings Corina, Corina on German TV. Source: TownCats (YouTube).

Sources: Wikipedia (German), Dieter Moll (IMDb), Ted Herold-Die Legende des Rock’n Roll and IMDb.

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