Tommy Seebach

About Tommy Seebach

Although little known outside of Western Europe, singer Tommy Seebach looms large on the Danish pop landscape, enjoying massive chart success for over a quarter century. Born Thomas Seebach Mortensen in Copehagen on September 14, 1949, he studied piano as a child and at 14 formed his first band, "the Colours." Sometimes performing as "Boogie-Woogie Tommy," he appeared with a series of pop and beat groups before signing on with Sir Henry & His Butlers in 1965. In its fledgling years, the band relied primarily on covers of early rock & roll hits, but as Seebach evolved as a songwriter he assumed creative control, penning a series of Danish pop chart smashes including "Mr. Joyful," "Pretty Style," and "Like a Rose." After more than a decade with Sir Henry & His Butlers, Seebach mounted a solo career in 1976 and a year later, he issued the best-selling Tommygun. He also served as a producer for his label, EMI, helming sessions for Lecia & Lucienne along with other top acts. In 1979 Seebach won the Danish Melodi Grand Prix with "Disco Tango," co-authored with Keld Heick. The song was a blockbuster throughout much of Western Europe, later placing sixth in the Eurovision Song Contest. Seebach and Heick again won the Danish Melodi Grand Prix in both 1980 and 1981 (for "Bye-Bye" and "Krøller Eller Ej," respectively) and remained a fixture in the contest through the decade, albeit never again capturing top honors; in 1989, Seebach also teamed with Heick's daughter Annette for the hit duet "Du Skaelder Mig Hele Tiden Ud." With 1993's "Under Stjernerne På Himlen" he reclaimed victory at the Danish Melodi Grand Prix, but at the Eurovision Song Contest the song ranked 22nd out of 25 entries, eliminating Denmark from competition the following year. Many Danes blamed Seebach for this embarrassment, and his career went into freefall as a result. He eventually was forced to accept the position of musical entertainment director with the Bakken amusement park, but in 1999 mounted a comeback with a club-oriented remake of "Krøller Eller Ej." After a long struggle with alcoholism, Seebach died of a heart attack on March 31, 2003. ~ Jason Ankeny

14 September 1949