Growing up in post-war West Berlin has shaped Kaiser, whose real name is Ronald Keiler, to this day. “The SPD has become my political home because it was the political home for everyone in the area where I grew up. Red Wedding was pure SPD.”
After the death of his foster mother, Kaiser dropped out of adult education center and trained as a car salesman. In the evenings he sings in pubs and at weddings. His later producer Thomas Meisel became aware of him in the mid-1970s. The career begins – under a slightly different, but definitely more glamorous stage name.
Roland Kaiser: Gentleman of the Schlager
Kaiser celebrated his first chart entry in 1976 with the now rather unknown song “Free – that means alone”, which at least reached number 14. Even the second chart hit, “Sieben Fasser Wein”, remains unforgotten – even if it was actually for Rex Gildo was intended.
The West Berliner no longer sings the drinking song (“Seven barrels of wine will not be dangerous to us”) at concerts. But his only number one hit “Santa Maria” to date. Kaiser is not telling the story of how the ballad came about for the first time – like so many things in his long career.
Emperor and co-scribe Norbert Hammerschmidt actually want to sing about Christopher Columbus’ ship of the same name. Too intellectual for producer Meisel: “How do we want to transport emotions when we give history lessons?”. Over a bottle of red wine, the disappointed authors draft a “fun version” with a completely over the top text: “At night on your snow-white beaches I held your youth in my hands”.