Johann Holzel was born in February of 1957, in Vienna, Austria. He was raised by his mother, after his parents divorced.
Johann departed from school at the age of sixteen and occupied himself by doing odd jobs, until he was called up to compulsorily serve in the military. It was there that he learned how to play the bass guitar.
The explosion of punk, imported to Europe from England, in the late 1970s, enticed anyone with a guitar to become a member of a band. As ‘Falco’, the band Johann joined was the Austrian group, Drahdiwaberl. He wrote the song, “Ganz Wien” (“All Vienna”), which the group performed. Falco’s music was also influenced by German bands such as Kraftwerk, as well as the first rap tunes of the American Kurtis Blow, and Grandmaster Flash, an American hip-hop group.
Falco’s first successful single, “Der Kommissar” (“The Inspector”), sold seven million copies; even entering charts in countries where few people spoke German. His first album, ‘Einzelhaft’, from whence this single came, also sold extremely well.
Falco collaborated with the Dutch producers, Rob Bolland and Ferdi Bolland, and it was this triumvirate that was responsible for the release of the single, “Rock Me Amadeus”, which immediately began to make its presence felt on the charts locally. The album, ‘Falco 3’, was released, in 1985, and spawned the highly successful singles, “Vienna Calling” and Jeanny”.
Just when Falco’s career appeared to have reached its zenith, “Rock Me Amadeus”, burst on to the global scene, due to the popularity generated by the Oscar-winning film, ‘Amadeus’. Falco became the only singer whose principal language was German to have a No.1 single in America. Riding on its success, ‘Falco 3’ reached No.3 there, this in spite of nearly every track being sung in German.
Although Falco continued to release albums, his personal life had become tumultuous. His marriage was an unhappy one and to make matters worse he learned that his ‘daughter’ was not his.
Eventually, he moved to live in the Dominican Republic. It was there that a car accident would claim his life, in February of 1998.