This tune takes me back to my childhood days of listening to DJ Nicky Horne’s show on London’s Capital Radio. The show was called Your Mother Wouldn’t Like It and was probably the only place at that time where a ten minute Pink Floyd tune would be played back to back with the Clash. There was a weekly chart compiled from listeners’ phone votes of their current favourite albums, and La Düsseldorf’s Viva was popular for a while in 1979, when it was issued in the UK. That was purely on the strength of this track – I don’t recall Horne ever playing any of the others on the record!
The band was more or less Klaus Dinger, previously of Neu, and his brother Thomas. There was an invented keyboard player called Nikolas Van Rhein who was simply there to make it look more like a band rather than Klaus and a drummer. Viva is an odd, but likeable album. The lyrics are a mixture of German, English, French and Italian and there is an epic twenty minute track called “Cha Cha 2000”, a couple of two minute punky tunes, a minute and a half of bird song called, unsurprisingly, “Vögel”, and a dreadful tune called “Geld” (with the memorable lines “love is all you need / geht ein altes Beatles Lied“) with a hackneyed anti-money message.
“Rheinita” was always the one, though. It’s an instrumental, so there are none of the mangled Franglais-Italideutsch banalitites. That’s a major plus point. In the end, though, it’s just a very beautiful track. It starts with what sounds like a snatch of a church service, before launching into a big primary-coloured synth and piano melody which is underpinned by a very Neu-like motorik beat. The tune is simple, but with an anthemic feel with big piano chords – rather like Rachmaninov goes krautrock. It still sounds great nearly thirty years on: epic and unsubtle, but at the same time quite moving in its way.