Breaking the news

I’ve mulled over for quite some time how to say this. I’ve deleted some pretty cute entries because they failed to capture the serious side of this strange quirk the Germans have. So instead of being clever, I’m going to come out and say it.

Roger Whittaker isn’t dead.

I really thought he was. But he isn’t. It amazing, but also so horrible you can’t call it a miracle. I can remember my mom playing a tape of his (or was it even a record, it was so long ago!) up at our cabin in the Sierras. That deep, resonant voice, singing about sailing away somewhere… when I hear his voice it still makes me think of mountains and rushing rivers, even now when I hear it singing in German.

That’s right.

David Hasselhof wasn’t the first one to do it, someone else forged the trail. Roger Whittaker is not only alive, his career is still going. Roger is over here singing in German and has been for decades. I first stumbled across him during my first visit to Munich. I was here for six weeks and when Oliver was at work I would often hang around the apartment and watch TV. I channel surfed across him in mid-song, mouth open, arms spread, belting out some song I couldn’t understand.

I stared at this white-bearded familiar face for about 20 seconds before it dawned on me why he was so familiar and the name Whittaker floated up from the depths of my memory and popped to the surface.

I know I said “Holy Shit you’re still alive!” to a totally empty room and stared in stunned fascination for quite some time until I was able to tear myself away.

Checking on reveals quite a playlist. He’s pretty prolific for not being able to speak a word of German. Yep, not one word, he has no idea what he’s saying when he says it. He learns the text phonetically and just parrots it back.

Just last month I saw him singing about his birthday and being with his “Freunde” in some special on TV, like an hour-long music video. And he’s huge over here with the over-50 set, they just gobble him up and ask for more. Oliver’s dad thinks he tops.

I may live here for the rest of my life, but Germans will never cease to amaze me.



Comments are closed.