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20 May 1944

Boudewijn de Groot was born in Indonesia in 1944 in a Japanese concentration camp close to Batavia (today known as Jakarta) where his mother died in June 1945. In 1946, he and his family returned to the Netherlands. De Groot's father, however, was obliged to return to Indonesia, so de Groot went to stay with his aunt in Haarlem. In 1951, his father came back and in 1952, the family moved, with his new stepmother, to Heemstede. De Groot lived in Heemstede in the same street as his future lyricist, Lennaert Nijgh, who was a friend of de Groot's stepbrother.

In 1960, de Groot met Nijgh at the Coornhertlyceum in Haarlem. At that time, de Groot was already singing that sounded a lot like the work of Jaap Fischer and Jacques Brel. Lenneart Nijgh wrote his lyrics. After their high school-period they both decided to go to a film academy. In their last year, Nijgh made the short movie 'Feestje bouwen', for which de Groot wrote two songs. During one of the presentations of the movie, television journalist Ed Lautenslager became impressed with de Groot's talent, and subsequently helped him to get a contract with record label Philips. De Groot's first single, 'Strand', appeared in 1964 and led to some media attention. He followed it up with 'Elegie prenatale' and 'De morgen', and his recurring appearances in the television show 'Kaberet Kroniek' made de Groot a minor national celebrity. The single 'Noordzee' in February 1964 was a much bigger hit, but the huge breakthrough came in 1966 with Lenneart Nijgh's adaptation of a song from Charles Aznavour's 'Une enfant de seize ans', retitled 'Meisje van 16'. This was de Groot's first song to appear in a music chart.

Much of Nijgh's lyrics included social criticism, so after the release of his first album in 1966 de Groot was labeled as a protest singer, an image confirmed for the mainstream audience by the success of his song 'Welterusten meneer de president'. De Groot's second album 'Voor de overlevenden' was released later in 1966. However, during carnival 1967, 'Land van Maas en Waal' was released and became de Groot's third hit. Under the name 'Baldwin', an English version of these songs appeared in the U.K. The next single, 'Onder ons', just made it into the charts. By this time, de Groot had already recorded songs like 'Verdronken vlinder', 'Testament' and 'Beneden alle peil', which would later become successful but would never enter hit charts. De Groot and Nijgh become influenced by the Flower Power movement during that time and created the album 'Picknick'.

In 1968, de Groot decided he didn't want to perform live anymore and stopped his collaboration with Nijgh. In 1969, de Groot worked with the guitarist of Cuby & The Blizzard and, under the name 'Tower', they recorded the single 'In Your Life'. In 1971, his record label released a compilation album called 'Vijf jaar hits'. It sold over 100,000 copies. De Groot began working with Nijgh again, and they released the album 'Hoe sterk is de eenzame fietser' in 1973. De Groot moved to California a few months later and did not return until 1977. He made no new records in this period, but toured in Belgium and Holland. One of the songs he wrote in California, 'Annabel', became a hit for Hans de Booy. In April 1980, his new album 'Van een afstand' was released with minor succes. After his retirement in music, De Groot wants to translate, compose film music and perform when he is asked.

In 1996, Boudewijn de Groot released 'Een nieuwe herfst'. He starts writing again with Nijgh who dies in 2002. In 2003 'Een eiland in de verte' is released. In 2007 De Groot releases the almost self penned album 'Lage Landen'.

On the web:

- Boudewijns website: http://www.boudewijndegroot.nl

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

Joaquin Sabina (Spain)

What do we think:

DB: I read an interesting interview the other day with members of De Dijk, The Scene and Blof recollecting the place De Groot took in Dutch pop. What they experienced fits our theory that singing in Dutch was (and still is is) not considered cool. They remembered him coming on stage to do his Dutch-sung material squeezed between bands who tried very hard to play American blues or Beatlesque music. Apparantly the audience didn't understand. Boudewijn de Groot fills the gap between the Dutch sung teenage wave at the start of the sixties and the Dutch sung pop wave in the eighties. Together with Nijgh he created a Dutch singer songwriter style with elements of Dutch folk, kleinkunst and chanson you could describe as typical Dutch pop. His more recent albums are a bit too 'see how serious I take myself' for my taste though.

PR: As many other people in Holland, I grew up with Boudewijn de Groot. He left an impressive mark on Dutch (pop) music. A lot of his songs have become classics through the years. He is a great singer and - sometimes - songwriter, who was at the right time at the right place. Having said that, I must admid I hardly listen to his records nowadays. If you are nto serious singersongwriter material from Holand, this is one of the best artists to start with.

Recommended albums:

♪♪♪ - Boudewijn de Groot - 1966

♪♪♪♪ - Voor de overlevenden - 1966

♪♪♪♪♪ - Picknick - 1967

♪♪ - Nacht en ontij - 1969

♪♪♪ - Hoe sterk is de eenzame fietser - 1973

♪♪♪ - Waar ik woon en wie ik ben - 1975

♪♪ - Van een afstand - 1980

♪ - Maalstroom - 1984

? - Een nieuwe herfst - 1996

? - Een eiland in de verte - 2003

? - Lage landen - 2007

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


  EUROPOPMUSIC - Netherlands