Hannes Wader

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Hannes Wader (2005)

Hans Eckard "Hannes" Wader (born June 23, 1942 in Gadderbaum ) is a German musician and songwriter .

First known as a socially critical chansonnier who exerted influence on the student movement, he later turned to traditional German and Low German songs. Since the late 1970s, he became increasingly involved as a DKP member and appeared at numerous political events. Workers' songs and socialist hymns made up an important part of his repertoire at the time. Since the 1990s, Wader has increasingly interpreted works by poets from earlier epochs such as Joseph von Eichendorff and the Swedish poet and composer Carl Michael Bellman .

Wader was originally influenced by French chansonnier Georges Brassens and Bob Dylan . His lyrical texts are usually underlaid with his own compositions and are often autobiographical. Some settings by Wader were folk songs and can be found in relevant publications such as the mouth organ . His most famous piece is here today, there tomorrow .

life and work

Childhood and youth

In 1942 Hannes Wader was born in the Bethel district of what was then Gadderbaum - now part of Bielefeld - the son of a farm worker and a cleaning lady. He grew up in Hoberge-Uerentrup in simple circumstances with two sisters 8 and 9 years older.

After graduating from school, Wader began a three-year apprenticeship as a decorator in a shoe store and then worked in this profession for another three years. During this time he learned the mandolin and guitar . In 1957 his father died at the age of 55. According to his own statements, Wader never enjoyed his job. He became more and more negligent over time and in 1962 his boss finally fired him because of "inability to quarrel and make music during working hours". Wader had thrown "a pair of shoes in front of his paunch" in the argument.

Beginning of the songwriting career

During his apprenticeship, Hannes Wader took his first steps as a musician. He was interested in jazz, played the clarinet and saxophone. After his resignation in 1962, Hannes Wader played in various jazz bands and appeared as a clarinetist and saxophonist in bars and pubs. In the same year he met a fashion graphics student who motivated him to start studying graphics at the Werkkunstschule in Bielefeld. Wader began drawing again, applied to study, and was accepted.

He studied for three semesters, got into trouble with lecturers and decided to leave Bielefeld. With a folder under his arm, he hitchhiked to West Berlin to register at the Academy for Graphics, Printing and Advertising , which is now the University of the Arts , where he was accepted. During this time (1962/63) Wader heard Georges Brassens for the first time and was “immensely fascinated”. In his first steps as a singer-songwriter, Hannes Wader orientated himself on the spectrum from cynicism to tenderness - musically only sparingly underlaid, but sophisticated. He began to sing himself, play the guitar and write his own songs. The hole under the roof was his first composition.

For the time being, Wader continued his studies with the aim of becoming a graphic artist. He heard about the Chanson Folklore International festival at Waldeck Castle for the first time . Where Reinhard Mey , Schobert and Black and Ingo Insterburg , who were active in the West Berlin folk scene , began their careers, he himself had his first major appearance at Whitsun 1966, which made Wader known.

At the beginning of 1967 he broke off his graphic studies and was hired by Hans A. Nikel , the then publisher of the satire magazine Pardon , as a layouter for nine months.

Wader quickly began to gain a foothold in the already lively songwriting scene in West Berlin. He got up to five stages every evening. In the following years, Wader toured with Reinhard Mey through bars and clubs. Since their repertoire was still quite small, they translated some songs into French and performed them twice in order to fill the evening.

First album

In 1968, at the age of 26, Hannes Wader was an integral part of the developing folk scene in West Berlin, but his attempts to get a record deal failed. Through Reinhard Mey's mediation, Wader came into contact with the hit producer Walter Richter, also without result.

During a radio appearance on Südwestfunk in Baden-Baden , Wader met the musician Knut Kiesewetter , who liked his songs and wanted to record a record with him. In 1969 the production Hannes Wader singt ... in the Windrose studio in Hamburg . This record contains only my own compositions. With this recording, Wader showed a bite and a social criticism that recurred regularly on the following records, but also on later texts and probably defined a large part of his musical identity and popularity. At first Kiesewetter did not manage to get a publication. Eventually he got into production at Philips, where he had previously made a successful joke record. The threat that there would be no second joke record if Wader wasn't taken ultimately led to success. Tens of thousands of copies were sold within a few months, unusual for a record newcomer. Wader then received a long-term contract.

The 1970s: Wader and Politics

Hannes Wader did not initially see himself as a political songwriter. Politics had a negative connotation for him because of his politically active father, who had little time for the family. Only after the end of the 1968 movement did he turn to political issues. “The question that journalists were the first to ask back in the 1960s was always the same: Do you think that your songs can change the world? My answer was always no, but the demand was in the room. ”In the 1970s, Hannes Wader became one of the stars of the left-wing alternative scene thanks to his provocative texts.

Wader came to Hamburg in the early 1970s. In October 1971, he left his apartment in the Poppenbüttel district to Hella Utesch, a supposed NDR reporter, for a few months . During this time, Wader hitchhiked through Europe for the last time and then went on tour with his recently completed and promising LP 7 Lieder . On his return, however, he found his home completely devastated. "Hella Utesch" was the code name of Gudrun Ensslin , a member of the RAF , which had set up Wader's home as its headquarters and carried out experiments with explosives there. Wader was arrested at a concert. The public prosecutor's office started a preliminary investigation against him for supporting a criminal organization. He and his friends were subsequently observed and wiretapped. The media responded with prejudice or extensive boycotts . Nevertheless, his fellow singers, such as Reinhard Mey, were characterized by a solidarity during this time, without which Wader's career as a singer-songwriter would have ended: When they planned to appear on the radio, it was said: “Mr. Wader, you don't!” His colleagues threatened the To burst the performance, and so Wader came to his performance. The proceedings were only discontinued after years. With a 17-year delay, he processed the impressions of this time in the song Alptraum , which was published on the Nach-Hamburg- LP in 1989.

At a performance in 1975 at the Swiss Folk Festival Lenzburg

Wader considered the plan to stay in Hamburg to have failed. In 1973 he moved to Struckum in the district of North Friesland in a windmill that he had renovated , where some of the later albums were created and recorded, including the two productions Folk Friends in 1978 and 1980 with performers from England , Ireland , Scotland and the USA .

In 1974 Wader married the actress Susanne Tremper from West Berlin. Shortly afterwards, she accepted an engagement at the Basel City Theater. The couple barely saw each other and the marriage ended in divorce six years later.

In 1977 he joined the German Communist Party . In the media, his songs were played even less often due to joining the party. The effect was that the name of the songwriter was no longer associated with the younger generation. Nevertheless, Wader appeared at political events in factories on strike and became active in the peace movement . In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in 2010, Wader said about this time that his entry into the DKP was life-saving for him: “I was the boy from the country and suddenly a star. I became famous and rich and totally overwhelmed by it. ”Because of the criticism of his entry into the party, he found it liberating a long time later because of the criticism of his entry into the party:“ I wanted to get back to earth, to be connected, to represent something. So I went to the DKP and sang strike songs in front of the factory gates at seven in the morning. I liked that very much for a while. "

1980 until today

Hannes Wader 2010 in Augsburg

From 1980 onwards, Wader toured with Lydie Auvray ( accordion ), Hans Hartmann (bass) and Reinhard Bärenz (guitar), with whom he also worked in the studio, for about five years . He married the psychologist Cordula Finck in 1986 . His son was born the following year.

With the appearance of Mikhail Gorbachev in politics, Wader's political convictions crumbled, which, according to his own information, had been "rock solid" until then. The end of the Soviet Union hit the songwriter hard. His strong passion for political activity decreased noticeably. But his basic socialist conviction was retained because he is of the opinion that the situation has not changed significantly since the fall of the Wall. He threw himself into work for his Hamburg song cycle, which was finally published in 1989 on the album Nach Hamburg . In 1991 he finally resigned from the DKP.

1995 Wader's daughter was born. In 1998 he left the windmill in Struckum and moved with his family to a rest farm in the Steinburg district . In 2000, 2001 and 2010 there were summer tours with Konstantin Wecker . At the end of these tours, the live album Was für eine Nacht , which documents the concerts together, was released. He appeared several times on songs on a summer evening , for example in 2006, 2011 and 2014 . For Wader’s 60th birthday, there was a concert in his hometown of Bielefeld together with Reinhard Mey and Konstantin Wecker, the recording of which was published on the double CD Mey, Wader, Wecker - the concert . In 2007 he recorded the CD New Friends . As the title suggests, it features 20 well-known songs such as Mit Eva auf dem Eis , Wilde Schwäne and Die Moorsoldaten in a new arrangement.

Hannes Wader 2015 in the Parktheater Göggingen

Wader has lived in Kassel since August 2008 . In the summer of 2010 a German tour with Konstantin Wecker, Jo Barnikel , Nils Tuxen and Hakim Ludin took place under the title No End in Sight . The tour continued in the summer of 2011. In May 2011, Wader went on tour with his English friend and colleague Allan Taylor for the first time . Under the title Old friends in concert , both played a total of seven concerts, at which they also interpreted each other's songs. In December 2011, Wader announced his return to Universal Music's Mercury label and released his first studio album in six years, Nah dran , in August 2012 . The album reached number 18 in the German album charts. Previously, Wader had been honored for his life's work at the TFF Rudolstadt World Music Festival in July . In March 2013 Wader was honored with the Echo for his life's work. The laudation was given by his friend Reinhard Mey.

Wader began every one of his concerts with the title Today Here, Tomorrow There from 1972 - with the exception of the two years in which he played Gut zu sein back first.

In January 2017, Wader announced on his homepage that, after 50 years of “On The Road”, in autumn 2017 and in April 2018 he would start the stage program Macht's gut! wanting to say goodbye to touring life. In March 2017, Wader again announced on his homepage that he would not be able to continue the planned farewell tour until April 2018 because he felt the aging "more clearly than before" and he would have to take his stage farewell at the end of 2017. His last concert took place on November 30, 2017 in the Berlin Tempodrom . A recording was made in 2018 under the name Macht's gut! released as his last live album.


Hannes Wader at the UZ press festival 2003 in Dortmund

→ see also article List of songs by Hannes Wader

The rebel

Hannes Wader acquired the reputation of a rebel in the 1970s, when he was very active politically. Even on his first album, Hannes Wader sings… socially critical titles such as Frau Klotzke , Die gute Tat and Strenge Gesellen appeared.

On his second album I had planned so many titles like Charley , Get up, you poor dog and I had planned so many more things to find who deal with outsiders, analyze their position in society, but also themselves critically examine the behavior of these people. Wader argues that the social system is the way it is because people behave accordingly and not that people are victims of the system. This is also evident in many of the songwriter's other songs, for example the ballad "Arschkriecher" , which can also be found on I had planned so much .

His talking blues titles such as boredom on 7 songs (1972) and the talking bad dream blues on the album Der Rattenfänger (1974) are considered legendary . The most famous song in this category is Der Tankerkönig , which can also be found on 7 songs . It was continued in Der Putsch on the album Kleines Testament . These titles are also to be regarded as political and socially critical. Wader concluded the talking blues tradition with Der Putsch . Later he tied into the talking blues tradition on Not Only Me Alone (1983) with the titles Fulfilled Life and Der Büffel , on the album 10 Lieder (1995) with The Invisible and most recently with "Where I come from".

But Wader not only sees black, but also relies on hope, as is clear, for example, in the titles Already so long and in Talking Bad Dream Blues .

In the title We will see , which can be found on Embers on the Horizon (1985), Wader deals with the expulsion and extermination of the Indians and bases the text on an adaptation of the speech attributed to Chief Seattle .

Other important titles in this category are The Pied Piper , which is on the 1974 album of the same name, and his song It's Time , which has become the anthem of the peace movement and is sung by millions of people at demonstrations.

Poetic and political

In addition to German songs and socio-political songs, Hannes Wader also masters the “delicate tones”.

The songwriter already stands out on his debut album Hannes Wader sings… with such titles. Particularly strong in this tradition are the songs Flowers of the Poor , I had already saved for a long time and Das Loch unterm Dach (which is his first self-written title - which he said was created in 1962). Other lyrical songs are Wieder ein Nacht from the 1974 album Der Rattenfänger and the pictorial, poetic Already Tomorrow from the 1976 album Kleines Testament (Little Testament) . The song Schlaf, Liebste , which can be found on the 1979 album Wieder on the road and 1986 love songs , is also in this tradition. The title Am Fluß , which can be found on the albums Glut am Horizont from 1985 and Until now from 1986, appeared in a French version in 1998 as Au bord de la rivière on the album Auftritt: Hannes Wader . It also became known in the 1980s through numerous television appearances that Wader completed on the occasion of his 20th stage anniversary.

Folk singer

At least since the album Hannes Wader: Volkssänger from 1975, the songwriter has also made himself known in this field. His most popular song as a folk singer is the title Here today, there tomorrow . He is considered to be one of the musicians who made the singing of folk songs popular again. In the 1970s it was almost frowned upon to sing folk songs, as these were associated with a pronounced right-wing political attitude, especially because of their strong ideological instrumentalization by the National Socialist regime .

A French version of the song "Today here, tomorrow there" was commissioned by the German-Belgian chanson singer Didier Caesar from Konstanz with the title "Je suis ci, je suis là". It was found to be good by Hannes Wader, who also speaks French. The version is used for meetings between town twinning societies and for trips to France as part of school exchanges.

Despite all the criticism that the left-wing Hannes Wader was now also singing folk songs, he was not deterred. There was also positive feedback and in the songwriting scene and folk movement there were more and more groups and performers who had the courage to cultivate the culture of folk song.

As early as 1974 he dealt with Low German folk songs in the album Plattdeutsche Lieder . In addition to traditional items such as Dat du min Leevsten büst and De Groffschmitt , he sings several poetry settings by Klaus Groth , such as Lütt Matten de Has , He sä mi so vel and Min Jehann .

He used traditional songs, for example, in the album Hannes Wader singt Arbeiterlieder from 1976, where, in addition to titles such as Bella ciao , Solidarity song , Die Internationale and Die Moorsoldaten, there is also an updated version with his own lyrics from Despite all this . Mainly in Low German Hannes Wader sets with shanties apart and took 1978 album Wader sings shanties on. Hannes Wader sings folk songs based on his work as a folk singer, to which he mainly devoted himself in the 1970s.

This category also includes his interpretations of international folk songs , including by Colin Wilkie and Bob Dylan . He sang songs by Colin Wilkie like Manche Stadt , which can be found on three albums. In the garden , which can be found on the album Wiederwegs (1979) , also comes from Wilkie . From Bob Dylan, one of his great idols, he sings the title Nachtfahrt in his own translation , which is included on the album 10 songs (1995).

Wader also contributed to the popularization of the little-known Swedish Rococo composer Carl Michael Bellman . In some cases he resorted to translations by Carl Zuckmayer and worked with Reinhard Mey and Klaus Hoffmann . (See, among others, the CD Liebe, Schnaps, Tod - Wader sings Bellman .)

Franz Schubert interpretations

In 1997 Hannes Wader published interpretations of Schubert songs ( I thought of you - Wader sings Schubert ) . For this he took singing lessons again, whereby the aim was not to achieve a classical vocal sound. For the accompaniment of these musically very demanding songs, he won Ralf Illenberger , who also arranged them. Another musician was Eberhard Weber, who played bass.

Autobiographical titles

Hannes Wader has always incorporated personal experiences into his songs, for example in the title Memory , which deals with his earliest childhood memories during and shortly after World War II, or in the ballad vom Fisch , which is on the album Es ist time is to be found. On the go again is the song So Was there still , which satirically describes his apprenticeship as a shop window designer . On Nie mehr zurück (1991) the songs Schön ist die Jugend and Erste Liebe can be found, which deal with experiences in their youth. If you hear my songs , in which he deals with the criticism of his music and his songs, are also worth mentioning .

In the song Vaters Land , Wader takes a very critical look at his relationship with his home country Germany. On his album Malhaben, released in 2006, there is the song Familienerbe , which is about his family and their political difficulties from the German Empire to the time of National Socialism.


Hannes Wader (concert with Konstantin Wecker "No end in sight" in Hamburg in July 2010)

→ see article List of songs by Hannes Wader

Chart positions
Explanation of the data
7 songs
  DE 39 January 15, 1973 (16 weeks)
The Pied Piper
  DE 31 04/15/1974 (8 weeks)
Folk singer
  DE 44 07/15/1975 (4 weeks)
The concert ( Mey , Wecker , Wader)
  DE 22nd 02/10/2003 (7 weeks)
No end in sight (alarm clock & wader)
  DE 26th 07/30/2010 (6 weeks)
  AT 50 07/30/2010 (1 week)
  DE 18th 07.09.2012 (5 weeks)
Old Friends in Concert (with Allan Taylor )
  DE 97 02/15/2013 (1 week)
  DE 45 02/20/2015 (1 week)
Take care!
  DE 47 03/23/2018 (4 weeks)

Studio albums

Live albums

Samplers / compilations

  • 1978: Hannes WADER ( Amiga )
  • 1988: Songbook (compilation) (Polydor)
  • 1988: Songwriter (Compilation) (Mercury)
  • 1992: Already so long "'62 - '92" (compilation) (Mercury)
  • 1992: Looking back - The best of the 80s (compilation) (Plans-ARIS)
  • 1999: The Poet (Compilation / 2 CD) (Mercury)
  • 1999: The Rebel (compilation / 2 CD) (Mercury)
  • 1999: Der Volkssänger (Compilation / 2 CD) (Mercury)
  • 2005: year after year (plans ARIS)
  • 2013: In spite of all this - songs from 50 years 1962–2012 (Universal Music)


  • 2004: Wine for life - Hannes Wader reads Kurt Kusenberg (audio book) (Plans-ARIS)

Songs published on albums by other musicians and compilations

  • 1977 - Fuchs-Lied , song of friendship (in: Little Red Riding Hood from Floh de Cologne - A musical fairy tale for big and small children )
  • 1978 - Dat you bust Leefste , Do you want to give your heart to me , Who will sing for me? , Brothers see the red flag , New National Seven , Pay day at coal creek , When the Fiddler has played his last tune for the night (in: Folk Friends 1 )
  • 1979 - I don't feel like it (in: Krawumm or: Once Upon a Time by Henning Venske )
  • 1981 - A snow fell (in: Folk Friends 2 )
  • 1982 - Text collaboration only for one day (in: I want to live by Peter Maffay )
  • 1996 - Manche Stadt (in: I Wish I'd Written That Song. A Tribute to Colin Wilkie. )
  • 1996 - Participation in: Professor Jecks Tierlieder-ABC
  • 1996 - Participation in: Professor Jeck's Numbers Circus
  • 1996 - Participation in: Professor Jecks Tongue Twisters & Co
  • 2002 - Come pour my glass again (in: Homage to Reinhard Mey )
  • 2004 - Here today, there tomorrow (in: Hanns Dieter Hüsch's social evening - The 2nd , recording from March 30, 1985)
  • 2004 - The moon is high in the sky , listen, the shepherd's flute is calling , In dark night (in: Singt der Nachtvogel Lieder )
  • 2004 - A Christmas present (in: Christmas blues - stories - poems - bluenotes )
  • 2005 - here today, there tomorrow , statement , good to be here again , goodbye to good night (in: life is poetry - that it is still possible ... )
  • 2006 - Father's Land (in: Songs on a Summer Evening - The Anniversary Concert - live )
  • 2007 - It is already getting dark in the heather (with Erich Schmeckenbecher and Lothar "Black" Lechleiter, in: Erich Schmeckenbecher 2007 )
  • 2010 - You (old pictures) (in: Maurenbrecher für alle - A homage in 62 songs )
  • 2020 - To an old organ grinder melody (in: Kaléko by Dota Kehr )




  • Wolfgang Bittner : The songwriter Hannes Wader . In: pardon 1976, issue 8.
  • Beate Dapper (Ed.): Hannes Wader - song book . Bund, Frankfurt 1999, ISBN 3-7663-1159-X ; 3rd edition, song book Hannes Wader . Kunterbundedition published by Schott Musik International, Mainz 2004, ISBN 3-7957-5691-X
  • Matthias Henke : The great chansonniers and songwriters. Important interpreters - important poet singers . Econ, Düsseldorf 1987, ISBN 3-612-10052-1 . (Hermes Hand Lexicon).
  • Nico Kroon: Hannes Wader, his political development represented in the songs. University thesis, Nijmegen, Netherlands 1983.
  • Ulrich Maske: That nothing stays as it was - Hannes Wader and his songs . Plans, Dortmund 1984, ISBN 3-88569-015-2 .
  • Thomas Rothschild : songwriter. 23 portraits . Fischer Taschenbuch 2959, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-596-22959-6 .
  • Reginald Rudorf : Chess of the show: about laughers and songwriters in Germany . Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden 1974, ISBN 3-7651-0083-8 .
  • Marc Sygalski: The “political song” in the Federal Republic of Germany between 1964 and 1989 using the example of Franz Josef Degenhardt, Hannes Wader and Reinhard Mey. Master's thesis at the University of Göttingen , Seminar for German Philology 2011, DNB 1013004485 The “political song”, free download (PDF; 1.0 MB).
  • Hannes Wader: Songs . Two thousand and one, Frankfurt 1977.
  • Hannes Wader: Songs 2000-2005. Notes and texts . Plans, Dortmund, 2006, ISBN 3-88569-027-6 .
  • Hannes Wader: Booklet for I thought of you - Wader sings Schubert , 1997.
  • Hannes Wader: Booklet for Hannes Wader sings , new edition 2000.


The documentary Wader Wecker Vater Land by Rudi Gaul about Hannes Wader and Konstantin Wecker, who went on tour together in 2010, won the Audience Award as the most popular film at the Munich Film Festival in 2011.

Web links

Commons : Hannes Wader  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual references / footnotes

  1. songwriter - singing with conviction ; Time online, April 24, 2008
  2. In a double interview with Konstantin Wecker in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on August 8, 2010, Wader described his beginnings as a songwriter as follows: “I wanted to sing and get hold of girls with it. My father was a very dedicated farm worker. I always had the feeling that he was neglecting his own family because of his political commitment. ”From: What is it worth fighting for? - The songwriters and protest veterans Konstantin Wecker and Hannes Wader on the disagreement, interview by Nahuel Lopez , Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung , August 8, 2010.
  3. "It was only after everything was over in Berlin, the student movement of 1968, that I started to be interested in politics." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of August 8, 2010
  4. a b taz: "I was forced to do the political songs" , February 1, 2014
  5. http://www.dradio.de/dkultur/sendung/fazit/1792584/ Deutschlandradio Kultur (June 23, 2012) Interview with Hannes Wader: “Basically, I am an aggressive person”. Songwriter on his 70th birthday: Singing still gives me strength
  6. What is it worth fighting for? - The songwriters Konstantin Wecker and Hannes Wader on disagreement, interview by Nahuel Lopez, Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung , August 8, 2010.
  7. Hannes Wader in an interview with Thomas Winkler , published in the taz on February 2, 2014 Hannes Wader on political songs - "I was forced to do it"
  8. Eberbach: Hannes Wader speaks about his life, the echo and getting older. rnz.de, accessed on April 13, 2018
  9. Interview by Jan Kühnemund , © ZEIT online, March 2007, accessed on January 3, 2010.
  10. Hannes Wader Homepage - Appearances ( Memento of the original from February 18, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed on February 17, 2017) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.scala-kuenstler.de
  11. ^ Hannes Wader: Farewell concert in Berlin on November 30th, 2017. (No longer available online.) Scala-kuenstler.de, archived from the original on April 21, 2017 ; Retrieved April 20, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.scala-kuenstler.de
  12. Chart sources: DE AT
  13. Contains u. a .: Much too good for me. Mrs. Klotzke. Monika. Today here tomorrow there. Pipe in the wind. Another night. Hotel for the long twilight. The Buffalo. Memory. The mine. Dream of peace. Sleep, dearest. Lisa. The Landsknecht. With Eva on the ice. Anke's health food store. Without consequences. Take care boys and girls. The youth are beautiful. Age is good. First love. The carpenter. You can now confidently.
  14. The darling is called "Wader / Wecker Vaterland"