First formed at the end of 1984, they unexpectedly became immensely popular with their synthpop hit single "You're My Heart, You're My Soul" with which they occupied top-10 positions in 35 countries including their homeland where the single perched at the top for six consecutive weeks, the single eventually went on to sell eight million copies world-wide. The track was then followed by another number one hit "You Can Win If You Want" which was released in the middle of 1985 from the debut album The 1st Album. The album went on being certified platinum in Germany for selling over 500,000 units.
Soon after the second hit, Modern Talking released the single "Cheri, Cheri Lady" which also quickly climbed to the top of the charts in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Norway meanwhile entering the top-10 in Sweden and The Netherlands.The single, being the only track released from their second album Let's Talk About Love, managed to push the album to a platinum status in Germany for sales of over 500,000. The success continued with two other number one singles such as "Brother Louie" and "Atlantis Is Calling (S.O.S. for Love)" both from the third album Ready for Romance. The duo also charted high with their sixth single "Geronimo's Cadillac" from the fourth album In the Middle of Nowhere and "Jet Airliner" from their fifth album Romantic Warriors.
During this era Modern Talking were successful in Europe, Asia, South America, Middle East, particularly in Iran, where all Western pop music was banned after the 1979 Islamic revolution. In the United Kingdom they entered the top-5 only once with the song "Brother Louie". They were almost unknown in North America, never appearing in the US charts, although they did become one hit wonders in Canada when "Brother Louie" peaked at number 34 in 1987. They released two albums a year between 1985 and 1987 while also promoting their singles on television all over Europe eventually selling 65 million records within three years.
Between 1987 and 1998
Immediately after the duo split in the mid 1987, Bohlen formed his own project called Blue System and enjoyed several high chart positions with tracks like "Sorry Little Sarah", "My Bed Is Too Big", "Under My Skin", "Love Suite" and "Déjà vu" as well as many others. Meanwhile, Anders went solo touring under the name of Modern Talking on several continents such as: Europe, Africa, Asia, South America,and Australia until the beginning of 1989 when he started to record some of his new pop-like material in LA and London, and also in his native country. Anders recorded five solo albums in English Different, Whispers, Down on Sunset, When Will I See You Again and Souled and one of his album was also recorded in Spanish Barcos de Cristal. He was more successful in foreign countries than his own country, yet he also reached several hits in Germany. Despite all the quarrels and disagreements that Bohlen and Anders experienced between themselves in the past, they began keeping in touch again after Anders moved back to Koblenz, Germany in 1994.
The Reunion: 1998–2003
In the beginning of 1998 the duo reunited, and had their first performance together in March on Germany's biggest TV show Wetten, dass..?. The duo re-started things off with the re-packaged version of their '84 single "You're My Heart, You're My Soul '98". The single, however, no longer sounded like a mellow Europop track, instead it was a typical up-tempo Eurodance number featuring rapper Eric Singleton on the rap vocals. Their first comeback album Back for Good which included four new tracks as well as all of the previous hits redone with modern techniques stayed at number one position in Germany for five consecutive weeks and managed to top the charts in 15 countries, eventually selling three million copies in Europe alone. The duo won the award at World Music Awards for being the Best Selling German Band that year. The follow-up album Alone which also went straight to number one in Germany was very successful elsewhere as well, the album managed to sell well over one million units in Europe alone.
Bohlen and Anders followed the 1980s Modern Talking pattern as they chose to release two singles from each album as in the past. A series of singles and four more albums followed such as Year of the Dragon, America, Victory and Universe. After reaching the point where they had already collected over 400 gold and platinum awards worldwide, Bohlen and Anders decided to split up again in 2003 just before the release of another of their album compiled of best-songs. The second break-up seemed to have been triggered mainly from the negative portrayal of Anders by Bohlen written in his autobiographical book published on October 4, 2003. In the course of all the disputes which eventually drove the duo to its break-up, Bohlen was involved in Deutschland sucht den Superstar, the German edition of the UK's Pop Idol. The compilation album was released in 2003 entitled The Final Album which contained all of the duo's singles. Thomas Anders started another solo career immediately after the end of Modern Talking, while Bohlen had by now begun devoting most of his time to new talents, especially those he discovered on DSDS.
Production and sales figures
In 1984, Bohlen quoted the hit single "Precious Little Diamond" by Fox the Fox as his inspiration for using falsetto choruses. The studio vocal line up of Rolf Köhler, Michael Scholz, Detlef Wiedeke and (on early albums) Birger Corleis, in addition to Bohlen and Anders, produced the high choruses characteristic of Modern Talking. Köhler, Scholz and Wiedeke later went on to work with Bohlen in Blue System, before joining with songwriter Thomas Widrat to form Systems in Blue. Köhler, Scholz and Wiedeke were never credited on the Modern Talking albums, and eventually went to law over the matter. They received an out of court settlement and Bohlen published a sleeve note for his next release (Obsession, by Blue System), acknowledging the trio's contribution.
Further influences include German-language Schlager music, disco pop (Bee Gees) and romantic English-language songs of Italian and French origin, like Gazebo's I Like Chopin. After the 1998 reunion Bohlen produced eurodance, as well as American-style MOR ballads.
Global sales of Modern Talking, after the duo's second and final break-up in 2003, had reached 120 million singles and albums combined, making them the biggest-selling German music act in history, so far outselling even Frank Farian's projectsBoney M. and Milli Vanilli, Michael Cretu's Enigma, Sandra as well as Scorpions and Rammstein.
Dieter Bohlen also composed for other artists even while Modern Talking existed, among others were Chris Norman of Smokie fame whose song "Midnight Lady" (1986) remains Bohlen's most popular composition. He also composed a large number of disco tracks for C. C. Catch using an accelerated, less romantic sound. Some English Bohlen songs such as "You're My Heart, You're My Soul" were also recorded with German lyrics by Mary Roos using the same playback tracks. When Modern Talking split up in 1987, a number of tracks written for the last album were re-arranged than transferred onto Dieter Bohlen's first solo album by Blue System. Modern Talking's 6th album was released about the same time as the 1st single from Blue System "Sorry Little Sarah", where Bohlen competed in charts against Modern Talking's "In 100 Years" hit song.
In 2006, Bohlen included a secret message in his song "Bizarre Bizarre" which was played backwards: "There will never be an end to Modern Talking". However, Bohlen said: "He meant to say that the music of Modern Talking will live forever".Anders has kept the Modern Talking songs in his repertoire and produced songs in a similar vein for his solo records ("Independent Girl"). In 2006, he produced an album Songs Forever of swing and jazz versions of popular songs (including Modern Talking's first hit). Bohlen has written two autobiographical books, one of which also detailed Modern Talking's history from his perspective, and sold a million copies in Germany. The sequel was heavily criticised for his unfairness towards the people he worked with. As a result of that, he withdrew from the public for a year until 2006, when he said he regretted putting out the second book. Anders had not been the only one pressing charges against Bohlen and demanding that sections of the book be modified. Frank Farian was angered by Bohlen's literary output and released a book in which he tried to expose Bohlen as a fraud. Bohlen's first book was the basis of an animated comedy film called Dieter - Der Film. The soundtrack of this film contained one previously unreleased Modern Talking song "Shooting Star" which had been written for the Universe album.
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