One of Austria’s greatest musical exports, singer-songwriter Falco is best remembered for his 1985 synth-pop smash “Rock Me Amadeus,” a quirky ode to 18th century composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
• Falco was born Johann “Hans” Hölzel in Vienna. His stage name is a nod to German skier Falko Weissflog.
• After studying for a short time at the Vienna Conservatoire, Falco played in various bands, including the shock-rock outfit Drahdiwaberl.
• He scored a global smash with his 1981 single “Der Kommissar.” While his version didn’t chart in America, the English band After The Fire took their cover to No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983.
• “Rock Me Amadeus” was inspired by Miloš Forman’s 1984 film Amadeus. The 1985 single topped the charts in countries around the world, including the US, where it became the first German-language song to reach No. 1.
• Three months after “Rock Me Amadeus,” “Vienna Calling” gave chase internationally. Falco's hometown anthem reached No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking his final US chart appearance.
• The 1985 album Falco 3, featuring “Rock Me Amadeus” and “Vienna Calling,” went gold in the US.
• Falco remained an Austrian chart presence throughout the first half of the ’90s. He died on February 6, 1998, in an auto accident in the Dominican Republic. He was 40 years old. The posthumous 1998 album Out of the Dark (Into the Light) hit No. 1 in Austria.
BORNFebruary 19, 1957