The compilation CD I’d bought, it turns out, wasn’t really a great introduction to Falco’s work. It was a slightly odd selection of songs. A mix of singles and album tracks, taken only from the first three albums. A CD compiled not through any appreciation of Falco’s music, but apparently as a product of licensing agreements and contractual loopholes. The cheap looking sleeve should have been a warning, but at this point I was too ignorant to notice details like that.
Around this time (I think it must have been about five years ago), my taste in music had been gradually moving away from the Hi-NRG disco I’d been listening to for a few years and I was becoming more interested in the music of Europe. An idea was slowly forming in my head. I realised that I’d been short changed by the version of pop history I’d been taught at school. The version of history which goes from the birth of rock and roll through the British Invasion to the experimentation of the last years of the Beatles into hippy, then follows Marc Bolan into glam where it gets made self-aware by Bowie and Roxy, eventually becoming bloated and over-elaborate, being energised by punk, stylised by the New Romantics, before growing too big, stadium-sized, irrelevant, only to rescued by the dance scene etc. It’s a well rehearsed history, which forms a simple narrative, but excludes anything which doesn’t fit.
Unfortunately, everything outside of Britain or the US fails to make the cut in this version of history. It’s a shame, because interesting things were happening everywhere, in countries less chauvinistic than our own. As I soon discovered, the fact is that punk happened everywhere. Disco happened everywhere. There were New Romantics everywhere. The eighties happened everywhere, it just didn’t happen at the same time.
Stumbling across this huge hidden history of pop, it seemed a shame not to let other people know about it. So, Now We’ve Got Europe was launched (the club is currently dormant).
The great thing about launching the club was discovering so much new (and old) music. The trouble was that discovering so much new (and old) music at the same time, meant I couldn’t really listen to anything in great depth, so Falco struggled for my attention, alongside Fancy, Amanda Lear, Elli et Jacno, Matia Bazar, Lio, Ivan Cattaneo, Alaska y los Pegamoides and dozens of others.
Last February marked the tenth anniversary of the death of Falco. The club fell on a night just a few days from the anniversary date, so we decided to dedicate the night to his memory. It was then, preparing for that night, that I really listened to Falco for the first time.