"Rock Me Amadeus" is a 1985 song by Austrian pop musicianFalco from his album Falco 3. It topped the singles charts on both sides of the Atlantic. It was Falco's only number one hit in both the United States and the United Kingdom, despite his popularity in Germany, his native Austria, and much of Europe. The song was written by Falco and Dutch music producers Bolland & Bolland.
With "Rock Me Amadeus", Falco became the first German-speaking artist to be credited with a number-one single in all mainstream US pop singles charts : the Billboard Hot 100 and Cash Box Top 100 Singles. (Prior to Falco, "99 Luftballons" by Nena got to #1 on Cashbox, but peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100) The single hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on 29 March 1986. Falco had already had a minor US hit in 1982 with "Der Kommissar" (a hit the following year there for After the Fire), "Sound of Musik" which reached number 13, and his follow-up single from Falco 3, "Vienna Calling", which reached number 18 on the Hot 100.
In the United Kingdom, where his "Der Kommissar" failed to make the charts, the song hit number one on 10 May 1986, becoming the first single by an Austrian act to achieve this distinction. "Vienna Calling" hit number 10 and three subsequent singles briefly charted.
In Canada, the song reached number one on 1 February 1986. (There, "Der Kommissar" had reached number 11 in January 1983, and "Vienna Calling" would hit number 8 in April 1986.)
Originally recorded in German, the song is about Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, his popularity and his debts. A longer version (eight minutes), named the "Salieri Mix", appeared on the initial US release of the album Falco 3. The song was inspired by the movie Amadeus. For the US release, the song was remixed with an English background overlay. There was never a full English version.
1756: Salzburg, January 27, Wolfgang Amadeus is born.
1985: Austrian rock singer Falco records "Rock Me Amadeus"
Official versions and remixes
The song was released in Europe in 1985 in its original, German-language version. For the international markets (USA, UK, Japan etc.), several different single and extended mixes were produced; none of them were solely an English-language version, but the international single versions reduced the German lyrics. However, the video, which featured the original European version, was used worldwide.
Original Version (a.k.a. The Gold Mix) (3:21)
Extended Version (7:07)
Salieri Version (8:21) (on the international versions of Falco 3 this mix is denoted wrongly as "Solieri Version")
Short Salieri Version (4:50)
Special Salieri Version (3:59)
American Edit (3:10)
Canadian Edit (4:02)
Canadian/American Edit (3:59)
Extended American Edit (6:10)
Club Mix 1991 (6:47)
Radio Remix 1991 (4:30)
Instrumental Remix 1991 (1:29)
Live Version 1986 from the album Live Forever (6:04)
Symphonic Remix 2008 from the album Symphonic (4:52)
Live Symphonic Version 1994 from the DVD Symphonic (4:12)
Falco Biography Mix 2010 from the 25th Anniversary Edition of Falco 3 (download only) (8:48)
The song's music video mixes elements of Mozart's time with 1980s contemporary society. Falco is shown in a 20th-century-style dinner jacket, walking past people in eighteenth-century formal wear. Later, he is shown dressed as Mozart, with wild colored hair, being held on the shoulders of men dressed in 1980s-style motorcycle-riding attire. At the end, the two crowds mix.
There is a minute longer, much more sexualized version, starting with the refrain 'sugar sweet', with extra footage spliced throughout, including a similar black carriage riding at night with the driver covered in lights, escorted by police motorcycles, scantily clad girls; in black pleather riding outside it, and bright neon fashions inside, resembling earlier-century formal wear. A different crowd in a more Mozart-era formal attire was excessively fraternizing at a party. This version also contains red line art of Falco, guitar riff clips, and a long car scene driving away at the end, to a saxophone solo over the added refrain.
Covers and samples
The song was covered in 1998 by German industrial metal rock band Megaherz. They released "Rock Me Amadeus" in 1998 from their album Kopfschuss. Megaherz infused the song with heavy metal riffs and industrial-trip rock beats in their version.
A Muppet Babies episode used a parody of the song called "Amadogus", based on one of the character's ancestors.
The WMMS "Buzzard Morning Zoo Crew" created a parody of the song called "Rock Me, Mr. Leonard", a reference to a frequent call-in character.
In 1986, an instrumental rendition of the song is heard in the 2nd act of the Ancient Rome stage of Konami's Rock 'N Rage released for arcades.
LaTour, under the name Bud Latour, along with fellow Phoenix, Arizona disc jockey Mike Elliot, did a parody version called "Rock Me Jerry Lewis" in 1986.
A parody version of this song titled "Amateur" was released in 2004 by Mexican band Molotov on their 2004 cover album, Con Todo Respeto. In their version the song starts with a melody of "Aber bitte mit Sahne" by Udo Jürgens, a famous Austrian singer.
Louisiana band Atchafalaya recorded a parody in 1986 called "Watch Out Armadillos".
The song is also featured in the movie Adventureland. The song is played frequently over the amusement park speakers, much to the annoyance of the characters.
In the Family Guy episode "Petarded", Brian asks Lois if Peter's stupidity bothers her, to which Lois responds that she just represses the thought. The camera then zooms into her brain and shows a tumor with the face of Peter singing, "I'm a tumor; I'm a tumor" to the tune of "Rock Me Amadeus".
Momus's 2001 album Folktronic contains a song entitled "Folk Me Amadeus".
Selina Griffiths performed a portion of the song in the comedy Benidorm at Neptune's Bar on the karaoke stage. The character Pauline is an alcoholic, who treats the song very seriously and performs it very seriously.