Anneke Grönloh Bookmark and Share


7 June 1942 - 14 September 2018

Anneke Grönloh was born in Tondano, North-Celebes, Indonesia and spent her first lifeyears in the detention camp during the Japanese occupation in WOII. After the war the family Grönloh went to Holland and settled in the city of Eindhoven. At the Gemeentelijk Lyceum she met Peter Koelewijn and performed in his band Peter and his Rockets on parties and weddings. Pushed by Peter she joined the talentshow Cabaret der onbekenden (Cabaret of the unknown) with the song ‘Ma, He's Making Eyes At Me’. She won and was offered a contract with Phonogram.

Grönloh's debutsingle ‘Asmara’, a selfpenned Malaysian song, is released in 1960 but does nothing in Holland. In Singapore however the song is a big hit. A phenomenan that will be a constant factor in Anneke’s career with hits in the Dutch and Malaysian language. In 1960 she also starts performing with the Dutch Swing College Band. In 1962 Anneke scores the biggest hit in her career (and one of the biggest Dutch sung hits ever) with ‘Brandend zand’ ('Burning sand'). A translated cover of the international Mina hit 'Heißer Sand'. Together with an instrumental version by 'Willy Schobben And His Golden Trompet' all three versions spend 29 weeks in the charts. Her popularity is enormous and she pushes a whole string of teenage stars like Willeke Alberti, Rob de Nijs and Trea Dobbs. The hits (like 'Paradiso', 'Soerabaja' and 'Cimeroni') follow short after another. At the height of her fame she joins the Eurovision with the song 'Jij bent mijn leven' ('You are my life') which is a strange feminist song about a man that treats her bad but she still stays loyal. In real life Anneke also ties the knot in 1964 with radio DJ Wim-Jaap van der Laan. The couple stay together until his death in 2004.

In 1965 it’s all over when the Merseybeat of the Beatles replaces Anneke’s teenybop music. She joins the Sleeswijk revue in Theatre Carré. In 1966 she tries to hook up with the new trend with the album ‘Nu’ ('Now') but the record company refuses to release any singles of it. She starts touring the European contignent and with her good feel for language has success abroad. Her album with Serbian songs even gets gold in Yugoslavia. At the start of the seventies she again tries to get back into style with an hour long tv special. (The special is released on dvd in 2007). It fails. In Indonesia however she stays undisputed the queen of popular music.

It would take until the nineties before Anneke gets back into the spotlight for real. Her appearance in the Dutch version of  ‘This is your life’ in 1993 gives her the opportunity for another tv special. She also starts missionary work for the aids foundation battling the taboos around the disease. She records a cover of the Bacharach composition ‘That’s what friends are for’ to help the foundation. In the same year she is also picked up by Dutch singer/songwriter Jan Rot. Together with him she records an album with new material that suddenly sounds fresh and closes the book on her old teenbop period. The song ‘Als een kind’ ('When a child'), about the coming-out of a gay child, becomes a hit.

In 1999 she celebrates her fortieth jubilee as singer with the theatre program La Grönloh. A year later she sues her old record company (now part of Universal) for unpaid royalties of the 20 million records she sold over the years. In 2004 the court decides that the claim is outdated but she appeals to that decision. In 2002 Anneke is parodied by popular tv personality Paul de Leeuw. He performs her as an alcoholic and very unstable person. She tries to stop the parodies with a court order and eventually recedes from the public eye. In 2006 she is back on stage with theatre group Purper and with an own program called ‘Anneke and friends’.

In 2016 Anneke Grönloh is hit by a heavy pulmonary embolism. As a result, it becomes dependent on an oxygen device. She will continue to perform normally, but at the beginning of June 2017 she decides to end her career on the day before her 75th birthday. The performance is very heavy for her and she regularly has breathing problems. On September 14, 2018, she dies in Arleuf, France at the age of 76 from complications due to her disease..

On the web:

- Anneke's website: http://www.annekegronloh.nl

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Vicky Leandros (Greece)

Séverine (France)

What do we think:

DB: And now you expect me to sum up all the good stuff about Anneke. Let's see how i do this without coming to the point. To start she does have a great voice, especially for jazz music and rock n'roll. She also articulates really well so you'll understand what she on about. She did have a big influence on Dutch sung pop at the start of the sixties gapping the bridge between the Indorock scene and Dutch music. She is probably a very sweet and nice person. And yes, she did field work for the gay and HIV+ community. Musically...mwah. Let's just keep it with the example that due to the royalties issue she rerecorded her entire catalogue again for the compilation '28 times Gold' with a (bad!) synthesizer and a drummachine. Horrible. How's that for feeling of style.

PR: The Netherlands do not have many diva's, but Anneke is definitely one of them. Her life story is interesting, with a lot of drama and ups & downs. She has a great voice and a well-crafted image, but also released a lot of poorly produced albums. But let's keep in mind that she alone is the first female superstar in Holland, with album sales similar to the Beatles! What an impact that must have been for such a young girl... Looking for a Grönloh introduction? Search for one of the many best of cd's or - if you can find it - buy the album 'Gevoelens' for Anneke at her best.

Recommended albums:

♪♪ - Surprise Album - 1963

♪♪ - Anneke Nu - 1966

♪♪ - Anneke Grönloh - 1994

♪♪♪♪ - Gevoelens - 1998

Further listening:

So long - 1962; Kerstmis met Anneke - 1963; Asmara - 1967; Anneke Grönloh - 1972; Liedjes van verlangen - 1980; Voor jou - 1982; Santa Domingo - 1986; Jazz - 1992; My one and only love - 1992; Nina Bobo - 2002
♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands