Stations of a career - Stephan Eicher - 40 years of musical high-flying

Stations of a career - Stephan Eicher - 40 years of musical high-flying

More than 40 years ago, Stephan Eicher set out to make his mark on Swiss pop music. As a comrade-in-arms with the Neue Deutsche Welle band Grauzone, then solo as a Noise Boy or with "Les Filles du Limmatquai". He later conquered the French charts and the stage at the Paris Olympia.Stations in a career - Stephan Eicher - 40 years of musical soaring

However, he never allowed himself to be pinned down to his role as a romanticizing chansonnier: Stephan Eicher has reinvented himself as an artist with every work. Now he is receiving the Swiss Grand Prix Music 2021. Who is the man from Münchenbuchsee? Stations in Eicher's career.

1973: Making music in Münchenbuchsee

Stephan Eicher grew up in a terraced house in Münchenbuchsee. Grandfather is a violinist, father Gottlieb plays in a dance band. At the age of 12, Eicher taught himself to play the guitar, violin and piano. At some point, young Stephan finds out about his Yenish ancestors. This gives him an explanation as to why music is regularly played in the family on Sundays and why the basement is so packed with instruments.

1980: Chirping for the «polar bear»

In the Sunrise Studios in Kirchberg, Stephan Eicher accompanies his brother Martin, the singer of the band Grauzone. The two feel like they're in a toy store with all the gadgets they can play around with. It still takes sweat and nerves until "Eisbär" is in the box. The track becomes the soundtrack to the Zurich youth riots. A post-punk disco track for the anti-disco kids


From the archive: Stephan Eicher sings "Come back" ("Karussel", February, 1983)

From Kultur Extras from September 20th, 2017.

PlayStations in a career - Stephan Eicher - 40 years of musical soaring

1983: Lovesickness on Limmatquai

After the end of Grauzone, Stephan Eicher is on the road solo. In 1983 he wrote his hit «Les Filles du Limmatquai». He wrote the song out of lovesickness: When his girlfriend moves to Paris to become a seamstress, he asks a friend to take care of her. But she promptly falls in love with him and Stephan Eicher thinks to himself: this French pack!

1992: Uninhibited in Paris

When Stephan Eicher is standing in the venerable Olympia concert hall in Paris, he plays his version of Mani Matter's "Hemmige" and promptly forgets the text. The Parisians surprise him when they strike up Bärdütsche themselves and sing along: "Hemmische ei". The cover version almost didn't end up on Eicher's hit album "Engelberg": When the musicians recorded it a year earlier at the Hotel Hess in Obwalden, it seemed too small, too hand-knit.

Suitable for the topic

Link to related article:

Stephan Eicher's «Engelberg»

How Stephan Eicher's biggest hit almost ended up in the trash

September 10, 2021Stations in a career - Stephan Eicher - 40 years of musical soaring

With videos

2003: Walking through Europe

Eicher undertakes a European experiment. He travels from Hamburg to Palermo by taxi and traces the essence of his home continent. The plan is for the taxometer to rattle along happily. When it stands at 9999 euros, it should tip over and start again from zero. But the taxi driver doesn't understand this joke. That's why Eicher buys the taxi from him right away. This is how his album “Taxi Europa” came about.

2020: Not understanding the world

In the KKL Luzern, Stephan Eicher looks back on the last 40 years with a big stage show. Pop singer Sophie Hunger sings with heartbreaking beauty, the Traktorkestar drum combo gets going, Tinu Heiniger, the Bernese dialect musician, performs his "Lied vo de Bärge", Martin Suter reads from the joint "Song Book". And at some point Eicher summed it up: "I don't understand the world."


Stephan Eicher - the anniversary concert 2020 from the KKL

From Sternstunden Musik from August 15th, 2020.