Born: December 28, 1925 in Ulm, Germany
Died: February 1, 2002 in Berlin, Germany
Genre: Vocal Pop/Rock International
Styles: Cabaret, Vocal Pop, Central European Traditions, German
Although Hildegard Knef (aka Hildegard Neff, or simply "Die Knef") was best known in her native Germany as one of the most important actresses to emerge after WWII, she was also an accomplished musician in her own right. Working primarily with the German chanson (a type of vocal pop popular in that country in the mid-20th century), she released over 20 albums and recorded over 300 songs (writing or co-writing almost half of them). Her music career officially began in 1951 with the release of the split 7" Ein Herz Ist Zu Verschenken/Jeden Abend Stehe Ich am Hafen (Jonny). Numerous singles and EPs followed throughout the '50s and early '60s, but Knef didn't truly launch herself as a chansonette until the '60s with the release of hit songs like "Fur Mich Soll's Rote Rosen Regnen" (It Shall Rain Red Roses for Me) and "Ich Hab Noch Einen Koffer in Berlin" (I've Got a Suitcase Left in Berlin). The latter song was so popular in its day that the title became a common turn of phrase. Her popularity stretched well into the following decade, after which Knef devoted most of her energy to writing. She continued to record up until the very end, however, and even enjoyed a number one hit in 1994 with Extrabreit's remake of "Fur Mich Soll's Rote Rosen Regnen," which featured a vocal cameo by the legendary chansonette.
- Margaret Reges (All Music Guide)