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Formed within just few months in 1979, Dschinghis Khan was the product of the disco boom and following on the heels of other German-produced bands such as Boney M, Arabesque, and Silver Convention. Their songs were based on historical people and places. The group was formed by music producer Ralph Siegel AKA Mr. Eurovision. Siegel was apparently obsessed with making the next ABBA. Their name is the German spelling of "Genghis Khan," the name of the song they sang in their introductory performance in the Eurovision Song Contest. While they didn't win Eurovision, the group achieved great success in Europe, Russia, Israel, Australia, and Japan.
The group broke up in the mid-1980s. After the break-up, lead dancer Louis Hendrick Potgieter (known to Youtube users as Dancing Santa Jesus) returned to his native South Africa to manage a hotel. He contracted HIV and died of AIDS in 1993. For this reason he's been considered gay, though evidences (photos of him and his ex-fiancee, a pop/jazz/disco singer Madeleine Davis, as well as comments from his sister) disprove that.
Wolfgang Heichel, the youngest member of Dschinghis Khan, has introduced his wife Henriette Heichel to Siegel to help him completing the group cast. The two has divorced in 1986, both are taking part in modern incarnations of Dschinghis Khan.
Steve Bender, "the bald one" that looks like Destro, left the group in 1981 on the advice of his doctor and because of backpain, which made dancing hard for him. Although unofficial version has it that he had some arguments with the producers. He returned for a reunion concert in 2005 (sans the baldness), but died six months later from cancer.
Leslie Mandoki, the drummer, fled to Germany from his native Hungary, as the Commies wouldn't let him keep his mane and sing whatever he wanted.
Edina Pop is Hungarian too. She still works with the group in reunion concerts.
In 2004 "Moskau" became a surprise hit on the Internet due to the sharing of a performances of the song from the group's glory days. Blogging viewers of the video commented that the wild disco dances, retro instrumentation, and happy German vocals are hilarious and oddly uplifting. The song and its video have become an internet fad. Today, Dschinghis Khan is in the middle of the Cirque du Dschinghis Khan Tour, which includes the group in its current incarnation: "The Legacy of Dschinghis Khan" and acts from other artists including Mongolian circus acts.
Their songs include:
- "Dschinghis Khan" - Actually covered by one of the bands of the Hello! Project.
- "Moskau" - Their most famous song, which was used by Australia's Channel 7 for thei 1980 Moscow Olympics coverage. But not approved by the Soviet government in Moscow.
- "Rocking Son of Dschinghis Khan" - a hybrid English/German song.
- "Hadschi Halef Omar" - A song that gets away with saying Muhammad's name. Also the refrain is a fictional character's name crated by Karl May, the author of Winnetou.
- "What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor" - The only song theirs that only exists as an English version.
Dschinghis Khan has examples of:
- Badass Mustache: Leslie Mandocki
- Bald of Awesome: Steve Bender
- Boisterous Bruiser: Several comments in youtube point out how cheery and energetic Wolfgang Heichler looks in the live shows. "THE GUY IN BLACK IS SO F*CKING HAPPY!", indeed.
- Camp: So much, so much.
- The Comically Serious: Steve Bender was completely hard-faced in the middle of the crazy. And that's why we loved him.
- Covers Always Lie: Averted, fans expect fun, silly music with the covers.
- Cover Version: What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor
- Eighties Hair: Lack thereof, in Bender's case. Facial hair for Potgeiter and Mándocki, OTOH...
- See Heichler's hairstyle in the pic up there. What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?? Great chops, man.
- The Eighties
- Eurovision Song Contest: One of the more famous entries for the 1979 Eurovision.
- Face of a Thug: Mándocki
- Five-Man Band
- The Hero: Louis Hendrick Potgeiter. The main dancer.
- The Lancer: Steve Bender. The most ubiquous member aside of Potgieter thanks to his Bald of Awesome, Comically Serious attitude and charisma.
- The Big Guy: Wolfgang Heichel. The youngest and more cheerful of the male core, plus quite tall too. Married to the Tomboy of the group.
- The Smart Guy: Leslie Mándocki. Apparently by default, but he also had a quite long career as a percusionist and producer. (And is also a Supreme Chef to boot, according to The Other Wiki.)
- The Chick / The Heart: Both Henriette Heichel and Edina Pop. Tomboy and Girly Girl duet: the first one is the tomboy and the latter is the girly girl. As plus, the Tomboy is married to The Big Guy.
- They're even dressed like a Sentai team in their most famous performance. Hence the Fan Nickname "German Power Rangers".
- Genki Girl: Henriette Heichel is always all smiles as the group performs.
- Glorious Mother Russia (with some Vodka Drunkenski): "Moskau".
- Hair of Gold: Loreley, ley, ley!
- Landmark of Lore: Loreley
- Nice Hat: Louis Hendrick Potgeiter tends to wear these. See the above picture, and in "Moskau", where he wears what looks exactly like a Colovian fur helm.
- Overly Long Name: Hadschi Halef Omar Ben Hadschi Abul Abbas Ibn Hadschi Dawuhd al Gossarah
- Performance Video
- Popcultural Osmosis: Popular Jewish singer Mordechai Ben David wrote Yiddish lyrics for Dschinghis Khan. This version is called, Yidden and is extremely well known in the Orthodox Jewish community and is often played at Weddings and Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Guests often perform a complicated choreographed dance to it. Very few people familiar with this version are aware of its origin. Some of those who are aware don't like this version due to being a reworked version of Dschinghis Khan.
- Refuge in Audacity: Think of it. Germans singing about a conqueror in Jerusalem. They somehow got away with all of it.
- See the notes on Hadschi Halef Omar for more crap that they got past the radar.
- The Runner Up Takes It All: They didn't win the Eurovision, but they got a really sweet consolation prize with their international success.
- Signature Song: Moskau.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Henriette Heichel is the tomboy, Edina Pop is the girly girl.
- Truck Driver's Gear Change
- X Meets Y: They have been described as a mutant love child of ABBA and Village People