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After The Fire - Der Kommissar (1982)

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  • 80's Score 80's score: 1.4
  • Find this song on: Music Stack

"Der Kommissar" is a song first written by Robert Ponger and Falco and recorded by Austrian artist Falco in 1981. In ...

"Der Kommissar" is a song first written by Robert Ponger and Falco and recorded by Austrian artist Falco in 1981.

In mid-1982, the British rock band After the Fire recorded an English version, also called "Der Kommissar", and released it as a single, but the record floundered. Coming off a tour opening for Van Halen, After the Fire was working on material for a new album when in December 1982 the group announced onstage during a concert that they were disbanding. Both the After the Fire and Falco versions were rising on the Canadian charts at the time, but neither had cracked the US pop charts. Around that time, American pop singer Laura Branigan began working on her second album, and she recorded "Deep in the Dark", a new song written over the melody and arrangement of "Der Kommissar" which was prepared for release. Then the After the Fire version finally hit the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on 22 February 1983, and started rising. Though its version barely nicked their home country's Top 50, in 1983 the song's music video received extensive airplay on MTV propelling its popularity on US radio. The song entered the American Top 40 on 5 March 1983, peaked at No. 5, and remained in the Top 40 for a total of 14 weeks. The single was released under the Epic label, with a catalog number of 03559. Amidst all this renewed attention to the composition, Falco's own version, which had done well in some US markets but not charted nationally, was re-released, but the German-language record remained essentially a novelty hit there, charting concurrently with the After the Fire version but not rising above No. 74 on the Cashbox chart.

In Canada, Falco's version had peaked at No. 11 the same late-January week that After the Fire's version peaked at No. 12. After the Fire's record company, CBS, pleaded with the band to regroup, but to no avail. While UK promos for "Deep in the Dark" were pressed (the After the Fire version missed the UK top 40 and the Falco version didn't even chart there), Branigan's record company, Atlantic, officially released "Solitaire" in the U.S., where that song went to No. 7.

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