44 Berlin extra airberlin magazin 4 / 2015 A Berlin soundtrack Berlin certainly boasts a multi-faceted music scene these days – but even before the fall of the Wall, the city on the River Spree attracted famous singers and bands aplenty. We take a look at some of the legendary locations and stories associated with Depeche Mode, U2, David Bowie and Iggy Pop. he four members of Depeche Mode once posed on the grand staircase of the stately Hansa Studios. They worked on four albums there between 1983 and 1986, immersing themselves in the eccentric West Berlin night-life. The electro-pop hits of that era “People Are People” and “Master And Servant” are widely considered to be some of the band’s best recordings. Depeche Mode achieved legendary status when they were permitted to play in East Berlin in 1988. Ex-keyboarder Alan Wilder still raves about the special sound of Studio 2 in particular – the “big hall by the Wall”, Depeche Mode ließen sich vom exzentrischen Westberliner Nachtleben inspirieren und nutzten die Hansa Studios für ihre Aufnahmen. Depeche Mode were inspired by the eccentric night-life of West Berlin and recorded albums at Hansa Studios. Top tip: Vito Paradiso’s Italian as the Meistersaal opposite restaurant “Osteria Caruso” the Berlin Wall was known. in the basement of the Now expensively refurbished Meistersaal building is and used as a recording where many rock stars ate, studio by artists including drank and partied. the US band R.E.M. in 2010, Köthenerstrasse 38, the Meistersaal undoubtedly Tel. 030 23 00 45 74, boasts fascinating acoustics. www.osteria-caruso.de David Bowie, Udo Jürgens, Zarah Leander and Peter Maffay also were or still are fans of the excellent sound and recording facilities in the neo-classical Kreuzberg building. Constructed from 1910 to 1913, it is now a hive of musical creativity in the city. In the mid-1970s the Meisel brothers set about refurbishing the property on the strip of no man’s land by the Wall. Studio 1, much loved by professional musicians on account of its SSL 4000E mixing desk which has survived to this day, dates back to the early 1980s. On his 2013 album “The Next Day”, David Bowie recalls the formative years he spent in West Berlin from 1976 to 1978. The melancholy video for his song “Where Are We Now?” zooms in on the divided city. Bowie rented a sprawling old apartment in the district of Schöneberg. “Nobody took any notice of me at the start. I was anonymous; it was great,” he later explained. His favourite haunts were the “Cabaret Chez Romy Haag” (Fuggerstrasse 33, now home to the Connection Club) and the eccentric “Dschungel” dance club, then still located on Winterfeldtplatz but subsequently situated around the corner from the KaDeWe in what is now the Hotel Ellington. Punk rock singer Iggy Pop, a friend and creative colleague of Bowie’s, moved in for a while, but was soon turfed out to another flat. Although he experimented with drugs himself, Bowie became exasperated with Iggy’s extreme drug usage. “The city was very therapeutic for me. I led an ordinary life searching for a new musical language,” said Bowie later. And the direction he found is reflected on “The Idiot” and “Lust For Life”, Top tip: albums which Bowie The café and bar “Neues produced for Iggy Pop. Ufer” at Hauptstrasse 157 in In 1976 and 1977 Bowie, Schöneberg is two houses open as ever to all forms further on from Bowie’s and of artistic expression, Iggy Pop’s former abode. Back recorded the first two then a favourite haunt of the albums of his “Berlin two flamboyant characters, it Trilogy” at Hansa Studios, namely “Low” and bar, and an iconic symbol of is now a cosy café and cocktail “Heroes”. The latter’s title Berlin’s gay movement. Open track describes a couple daily from 2 pm to 2 am, sharing a kiss by the Tel. 030 78 95 79 00, Wall. It was inspired by www.neuesufer.de Photos: Getty Images/Sean Gallup/Hulton Archive/Evening Standard, picture-alliance/ADN, Berlin Musictours
airberlin magazin 4 / 2015 45 an affair conducted by co-producer Tony Visconti and by a work by expressionist painter Otto Mueller at Charlottenburg’s Brücke-Museum, where Bowie was a frequent visitor. In 1979 Bowie returned to Hansa Studios to record his own version of Brecht’s “Baal”, and in 1987 he performed a concert in front of the Reichstag. On the other side of the Wall in the GDR, there were tumultuous scenes as Bowie fans clashed with police. In the early 1980s U2, the biggest rock band of all time, would thrash it out at the legendary “Metropol Theater” on Schöneberg’s Nollendorfplatz (today it is the “Goya Event Location”). But things really took off for the Irish foursome from October 1990, after Wall had collapsed, when U2 headed for Hansa Studios to record “Achtung Baby”, an album celebrated for its change in musical direction. The euphoric opening song “Zoo Station” was inspired by Berlin’s famous Zoological Gardens transport hub. For singer Bono, it is a symbol of reunification, a place of hope in which to find the love of one’s life. By contrast, the song “One” tells of dashed hopes and thwarted love. Some of the scenes for the accompanying icy-cold video produced by U2’s photographer Anton Corbijn were filmed on the former GDR’s showcase avenue Karl-Marx-Allee (formerly Stalinallee), as well as at Frankfurter Tor with its characteristic twin towers. Anyone wishing to immerse themselves in U2’s Berlin period should watch the excellent documentary “From The Sky Down”, produced to mark the re-release of “Achtung Baby” in 2011. • Top tip: Teatime in the plush foyer of the Adlon – Bono and the boys’ favourite hotel and a great place to relax when they’re not paying Angela Merkel a visit ... Unter den Linden 77, Tel. 030 2 26 10, www.kempinski.com/Adlon Music expert Thilo Schmied from Berlin Musictours organises entertaining tours of the former Berlin haunts of Depeche Mode, U2 and David Bowie, including a visit to Hansa Studios. Details at: Tel. 030 30 87 56 33, www.musictoursberlin.de. Find your proper Berlin info with the official tourism portal VisitBerlin (www.visitberlin.de). NEU IM SORTIMENT
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