My Top-10 Favorite Germans

So, I was planning on making a list of the Greatest Finns of all time, but that would have struck anyone coming across this blog as rather egotistical, so I decided to highlight another great nation: Germany. Germany has given the world a lot of scheisse: Hitler,Nietzsche, Milli Vanilli … But no-one can deny that some of the most awesome people in History were German and those are the people I’m going to highlight on this list.

10. Nena

Although they weren’t Red specifically the 99 Luftballons floating in the Summer sky is one of the most memorable songs from the 1980s.

What’s notable is that it became succesful well before the English language version was even made, which Nena didn’t pull off so well themselves but has remained as an excellent launch-pad for other English covers, my favorite particularly being Gold Finger’s.

However, this one hit is admittedly the only notable achievement by the band so putting it higher in the list would be a little unfair.

9. F. W. Murnau

If you have no idea who F. W. Murnau is, that’s okay. No-one outside Germany knew who the hell he for 50 years after he made his most famous film.

Why? Because it was ordered destroyed and the few surviving copies of it were only later found in England. So what movie could possibly be so important it would warrant a mention on this list? Only the first film adaptation of Bram Stoker’s famous vampire opus, Dracula: Nosferatu – Eine Symphonie des Grauens.

Starring famous silent film actor Max Schreck  (real name Fredrich)  in the lesser-known but equally spooky rat-faced interpretation of Dracula, Nosferatu is now an icon of lost horror films reclaimed. Murnau deserves the cred and is undoubtedly one of the coolest directors of early German cinema.

8. Boney M

What? You didn’t know they were German? Regardless of anyone’s opinion on 70s music on the whole, I have and always will love Boney M. Their cheesy lyrics and devilishly catchy melodies make their long list of disco/funk/dance hits one of the most pleasing to the ear.

It’s only a shame that their hits have been raped in the form of oh so many “ha-ha” funny CGI character sung parodies – which aren’t nearly as interesting to listen to as the original songs themselves. I’m not saying that sampling is a sin. Super Freak, only a mildly amusing song by Rick James was sampled into the timeless and entertaining Can’t Touch This by one MC Hammer.

But the money-grabbing ring-tone companies aren’t MC Hammer which is my point.

7. Jürgen Prochnow

I don’t care if you can’t spell his name. If more importantly you don’t know who he is, run to a DVD store and buy yourself a copy of Das Boot. Like right now. If you’re wondering which version to get, here’s an answer: IT DOESN’T MATTER! It’s hands down the best German-made movie ever and the most epic submarine film ever made.

Though Proschnow was once the proud captain of the submarine U-96, his later career in Hollywood has gotten him stuck in supporting roles in such movies as Judge Dredd, Wing Commander and Uwe Boll’s video-game movie debut, House of the Dead.

However, you may also catch a climpse of him in The DaVinci Code, the Sting cult-hit Dune and the early-90s Robin Hood flick (the Uma Thurman version).

6. Scorpions

If you’re ever about to get into a knife-fight over who was the King of commercial heavy metal in the 1980s, Europe or Scorpions – just agree on the fact that Europe was Hair Metal and Scorpions was Hard Rock and go your separate ways.

Scorpions of course etched themselves into living memory with their controversial album covers in the late 70s (particularly Virgin Killer and its consequent Wikipedia vs. Internet Watch-dog Groups controversy), who doesn’t remember Rock You Like a Hurricane, Wind of Change or I’ll Be There.

Also personally I love me some Send Me an Angel.

5. The Brothers Grimm

What do Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and The Frog Prince have in common? All of them have been made popular by the Walt Disney Corporation. But that’s in the 20th century. Back in the mid 1800s a pair of brothers named Wilhelm and Jacob decided to gather a shitload of creepy folktales together and these four were among those stories, along with such timeless classics as Hanzel and Gretle and Rumpelstiltskin (the guy whose name no-one could guess).

But Wilhelm and Jacob weren’t just bros who sat around writing creepy stories, they were actually legit scholars and linguists and to their name wrote a German Dictionary among other things. We’ve heard at least some Grimm stories as kids. The Terry Gillian movie The Brothers Grimm is also worth a watch though it is highly historically and factually incorrect.

4. Albert Einstein

E equals MC squared… yeah, that’s all I know.

Joking, of course one of the greatest minds of the 20th century needs to be on this list. Einstein is notable not just as a brilliant physicist but also as the first “rock start scientist”. His name and image have perhaps far exceeded his scientific achievements. The guy is of personal significance to me as his likeness helped create the arch-enemy of one of my favorite video-game characters.

Also, Einstein said one of my favorite quotes in relation to the creation of the Atom bomb: “I don’t know what weapons will be used in World War III – but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Deep, man, deep.

3. Ludwig von Beethoven

If this list has shown anything from me it’s that the Germans can make some awesome music. Look at Beethoven, one of the most renowned composers in history. The man was practically deaf in his old age and was still making awesome music. There are very few musicians today that can make the same claim.

Of course his Fifth Symphony is an all-time favorite, as is Für Elise, but really – I love anything by Beethoven and he is my second favorite classic composer next to Mozart (who, for anyone clueless enough not to know, is Austrian).

2. Sebastian Vettel

When the word’s “Formula One Legend” are said out loud, one automatically thinks of Michael Schumacher, but for obvious reasons he was never my favorite driver. Sebastian Vettel is well on his way to eclipsing Schumacher in this area. The guy rose to fame from a back-lot team, switched to a middle-to-upper tier team immediately the following year, was in the running for the championship the next and won it last year. Now, he’s well on his way to winning his second consecutive championship and by a margin that makes Schumi seem like small fry by comparison.

Okay, so it’s perhaps a little early for me to say some of these things and truth be told, Vettel himself doesn’t want to be the “next Schumacher”. The man is already a legend and renowned for his skill at such an early age. At any rate Vettel has a great career ahead of him.

But enough praising already. Who could beat Vettel on the list after all that.

1. Kai Hansen

The fucking man! Founder of Helloween and Gamma Ray, this guy also found his way on to my Top-10 list of favorite singers. The man is the very definition of awesome. His dramatic and often tongue-in-cheek lyrics, his excellent guitar playing and of course his absolutely awesome singing voice.

Warrior, Victim of Fate, How Many Tears, Razorblade Sigh, Watcher in the Sky, Fight, How Long … listen to any one of these songs and you will instantly see why admire him. Wether it’s his singing or his playing, he just let’s it rip.

No questions asked.

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