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Systems In Blue
A brief summary of the SIB history
>> The true story about Modern Talking
September 3, 1984; four singers were called to the Arnie Music Studio in Hamburg for a test session. Their names were: Rolf Köhler, Birger Corleis, Michael Scholz and Detlef Wiedeke.
In the Studio, they met with the composer and producer Dieter Bohlen, also they were know to Luis Rodriguez and the german singer Thomas Anders. During this day, they recorded four songs. An ordinary German song, a disco song with German and English lyrics, and finally a song that could become to a megahit "You're My Heart, You're My Soul". Actually at this time they didn't know what style to choose, then after many hours working, they created a totally new unmistakable sound. Since this moment the genre of "Modern Talking" began. For the arrangement, chorus and first vocals in the recorded songs, the musicians received a payment of 350 dollars. Within a short space of time, without adverstisment and without videoclip, "You're My Heart, You're My Soul" started to be number one in the German charts. This sensation was brought about with help of the radio DJs. The Team in the studio had made a new sound wich became to be a unique, many other music producers tried to copy and duplicate the new style. The main characteristic of the Modern Talking sound was the chorus, that consisted of singers with high tone voices.
The great success was celebrated in a big party with more than 100 guests of the press, radio and musical industry. During the celebration, two speeches were given. One of the speakers was Dieter Bohlen. Bohlen's speech was adressed to the guests, and colleauges and especially to his group of singers. He recognized their excellent work and promised them that they would be considered in music licensing rights in the future. These were to prove empty words. Without doubt, the first six Modern Talking albums would not have proven so popular without the genious input of these four singers and musicians.
>> Before Systems In Blue
The story of Rolf Köhler, Michael Scholz and Detlef Wiedeke before Systems In Blue is the story of talented singers struggling for recognition. They are famous singers of studio, that knew each other since many years in the music scene of Hamburg. Rolf Köhler and Michael Scholz met since their youth due the fact they both played in different bands during the late 60s, followers of the hippie lifestyle, they met and worked with different musicians in several music projects, one of the more known was Kentucky. Later they started to produce some albums and made some performings in different venues, that was how they started to grow and became being known. It was in 1979 that looking for a guitarist, Michael Scholz met with Detlef Wiedeke for the first time, fate allowed that they three could work together developing not only a good relation as professionals but also as friends.
Working in the project Straigh Flush in 1984 with the label Intercord, Michael, Rolf and Birger Corleis, were called to work into the Dieter Bohlen productions. Their participation became fundamental and part of the success of projects like Modern Talking, but their own production as independent singers had to be stopped while they worked on it.
Rolf, Michael and Detlef also collaborated with Dieter Bohlen after the second comeback of Modern Talking, but they rennounced to it short time after. Some unfairly payment and lack of proper acknowledgment to their work was commented as reason.
In the year 2002 was released a curious single called "Its Haad Se Dieter Tuh Bie" by Dieter Talking, it was a surprise for fans because the songs were considered masterpieces, but it was only a parody about Dieter Bohlen. Anyway it was an early introduction to what they were able to do.
Rolf Köhler told that they always had the idea of recreate the music of the old projects together Bohlen like Blue System and also Modern Talking, because they were making this music by many years and they knew enough about it. After Modern Talking was disolved, there were a lot of fans dissapointed and thinking the sound could be lost, but a Bohlen fan called Thomas Widrat found them and proposed to make a new project for release new songs in this style, in this way they took the decision and the rest was history.
>> Birth of Systems In Blue
Systems In Blue was conceived on May of 2003, since Thomas Widrat, had the idea to produce modern music with the 80's style. The team was formed by Rolf Köhler, Detlef Wiedeke and Michael Scholz, they were the original backing group of Modern Talking and Blue System, so then within two months they decided to use the name of “Systems In Blue”, the heritage link was obvious.
The memory of their work alongside Dieter Bohlen in the past, served to form the inspiration for their first song, which was named "Magic Mystery", a song dedicated to the title of Blue System hit "Magic Symphony" from 1989. The inspiration and reflection of “Modern Talking” and “Blue System” was obvious in their songs.
To the fans around the world of this sound, the former groups are now fond memories, but now there was a chance to relive and enjoy this distinctive sound once again, presented by “Systems in Blue”.
>> Systems In Blue - First Era: The beginning
In the year 2003, two songs produced by Systems In Blue appeared. The first was a clear copy of the known song of Blue System, "Magic Simphony", they even called it in similar way, "Magic Mystery". The explanation was that they wanted to give an homage to this production of Dieter Bohlen. The tune and choir were almost the same, just sligh variations and a different lyric, all had a purpose and it was to show that in fact, there was not any doubt, those were the same voices of Blue System. Rolf Köhler was the second voice in the project of Bohlen, but he actually was the main voice there.
Magic Mystery in this way, got to call the attention of Bohlen fans and of course also to Modern Talking fans. Some fans and criticizers started to react and it showed that there was interest. The second song came out then. This was the first real Systems In Blue song and it was called "Every Little Thing". This song had many variations before finally to be released. The reaction was quite positive, we had a new masterpiece and everybody could agree, they created probably one of the more beautiful songs of their repertorie.
Despite were released only two songs, the new band called Systems In Blue, became a breath of inspiration and creativity to fans of this music style, the old Bohlen fans turned their sight to SIB members and they wanted to know and listen more about them. The road to Systems In Blue was ready. Rolf Köhler, Michael Scholz and Detlef Wiedeke, under the support of Thomas Widrat, were writing the story.
But still existed a doubt, would those guys, so called the real backvocal singers of the Bohlen productions, to reach success and make new hits?. SIB also had a production together the 80's disco star Patty Ryan, and both songs were perfect hits in ears of the Modern Talking fans.
The public was everytime interested to listen more and more. So after the release of Magic Mystery in 2004, a new single was announced and two new songs were on it, "Winner" and "Only For You", both songs counted with a special participation. The first had the collaboration of Christian Flühr, snowsport winner, they planned to record a videoclip, and "Only 4U" counted with the participation of Judith B. , participant of the show DSDS, she sang as vocal leader of this song together SIB. There was many expectation for it, and the feedback was positive. Both songs were a well done job, with perfect music and perfect voices, even the ballad "Only 4U" showed the big potential of those guys. All what SIB was doing became perfect, but still they didn't get enough public. Only few enthusiast fans started to follow them. At the end of 2004 a fan edition CD was released, the record actually had not a label, but was one of the more wanted releases. The rumour of a complete album was coming, the first SIB album, which would appear the next year.
In 2005, many things happened, a tragedy for the catholic world was when they lost the pope, but it also meant that a new one had to be chosen, a same phrase became popular then, and when SIB released their first album, that same words were expressed with a different context, fans exclamed relieved: "Habemus SIB!!". Point Of No Return was the first album of Systems In Blue, in fact it was a point of no return to them, no more test songs, no more experiments, this time was real, they were there as a formal new music band of eurodisco-discofox 80's in nowadays. The album had 13 songs, including the songs of the previous singles. But this same year they decided to release two homages more of a previous work in Blue System. The songs were releases as special Fan CDs, and they were called "Sexy Ann" and "System In Blue", homages to "Don't Do That" and "Deja Vu".
The year ended with the release of a new single called "1001 Nights". This single had many expectation due that was the first formal, under a record label and would count with a videoclip which was included in the single too. It was well received but did not fulfill all the expectations, anyway more singles were released during 2006, including a collaboration with singers like Mark Ashley and Tommy Fischer. Some live shows and performings also happened during this time.
There came a first silence with SIB, until finally was released a new single called "Voodoo Queen" in 2007. This record got good sales and it motivated to SIB guys to release a second album. Also the work together the singer Mark Ashley let fans begging for more. Some fans claimed that Mark's voice was similar to Thomas Anders, so a song of Mark together SIB, was like Modern Talking again. The decision was done and SIB was going to produce the new album of Mark Ashley. Two new releases were coming and both a promise of assured success.
>> Systems In Blue - Second Era: The loss of Rolf
During 2007, SIB had some performings inside and outside Germany and two ambitious projects, their second album and the production of a complete new album to the singer Mark Ashley. The contact with fans was continues. SIB wanted to please them with new fresh songs and also introduced them to their own brand. While the first album was an introduction of the band to the old Modern Talking and Blue System fans, showing that their voices were the same that they heard in those 80's records. The second album was planned to be more personal, to show the real SIB with their own music. Rolf this time would not follow the sounds that he was commanded to do inside the songs of Blue System. This time he wanted to sing with his natural vocals. It was a fireproof then and a challengue that they were ready to assume, whatever would happen, this time was their time. But suddenly a tragedy truncated all plans. Working in the second album, Rolf Köhler suffered an apoplegic attack, nothing could be done for save him and he died after two days. The mourning invaded to all his followers, SIB fans were devastated, it seemed amazing that a thing like this could happen. And his friends and colleagues, Michael Scholz and Detlef Wiedeke, were not able to continue after so irreparable loss. Also the production to the singer Mark Ashley was half done. Fortunatly Rolf got to sing all his parts in the new songs of SIB, the album was almost ready. Took a time to the team to overcome the grief and get the new album ready, it was called "Out Of The Blue" and was released during the first months of 2008. The album was announced also as the "last" SIB album, something ambiguous that got the concern of SIB fans about the future of the band.
Some singles were released during this time as well, including a fan CD called "Jeannie Movistar", the first SIB production without the vocals of Rolf. This time Michael started to took the place he let. This single was probably the more sold during the first days, but unfortunately without a label, which did not allow them to enter in charts. The song was also not part of the coming album produced to Mark Ashley, it was only a virtual single as a previous promo to this album, but the album was officialy performed during the fan meeting of Mark Ashley where Michael and Detlef were specially invited to perform it. This album was called "Heartbreak Boulevard" and was recognized as "the new Modern Talking", fans were fascinated with the songs. Only the half of songs had the Rolf Köhler vocals.
The future of Systems In Blue was uncertain, fans expected some new single releases of the second album and even SIB members pushed for it, but nothing else came. The only stuff coming were some compilation CDs, classic Best Of, some remixes, but nothing different. A new project also gave his support to SIB, this was the project of Uli Eichblatt called Talking System (Modern System), they made covers of some old hits of Blue System and Modern Talking, reason for which they asked the participation of Michael and Detlef on it. The support also was to a production of an independent single with a song that the record label of SIB had not rights, the song "System In Blue", it was released in 2009 by Akasa Records, but this was all the help that this producer and label could give them.
Following years we continued having more compilation CDs released in other countries. The collaboration with Marco Lessentin seemed the only thing that kept to SIB working, they made some german schlager songs and gave the vocals to the Lessentin productions. Also some few performings were done, the first solo concert of SIB in Russia happened during that time too, it was in 2010 and only Michael and Detlef were on stage, there was always an empty place that nobody could replace.
>> Systems In Blue - Third Era: The comeback
During 2011 and 2012, some new mixes of the SIB songs were also released in special CDs, megamixes and special versions, including unreleased intrumentals, but no new songs.
Some special releases were done with the ex-collaborator of SIB, Thomas Widrat, who rennounced to SIB after Rolf's death. Under his new project called Tonschatz, he released special tribute CDs with Rolf Köhler versions and demos, including the songs of the album Heartbreak Boulevard with Rolf vocals. The special Mega Blue Box was also released, a big CD kit compilation to the more SIB loyal fans and the work of SIB also continued with some collaborations to german schlager projects like Marco Lessentin and Die Dandys.
But was on September 2012 when they performed for the first time in Poland, and they were not alone this time, a new guy was there singing with them, this guy was Olaf Senkbeil. He was announced by Detlef as supporter for those performings in the disco fest of Poland. Olaf name was already known inside some Rolf Köhler followers, due his participation in some common productions and even with some Bohlen collaborations thanks to his link with Billy King. But nobody was sure if he would stay with them from now.
The following year, Olaf again acompanied to SIB guys on stage, so he was already recognized and accepted as the new member of Systems In Blue. Olaf was not replacing Rolf, he was there in order to give support to SIB with his talent and bring back the energy in the shows that he, being about two decades younger than the others, could contribute. Took a time to some fans to accept him, but with him also came the chance to hear new songs and a future new album.
The dilema was always the same, the lack of finantial support for produce a complete album. So, during 2014 a crowfunding was opened with this purpose, even a new song was perfomed where we could see to Michael Scholz singing together Olaf Senkbeil, the song was "Go Systems Go". Unfortunately the crowfunding didn't succeed. Chances for the new album were stopped. Some fans then, decided to organize themselves by their own, in order to keep and support this idea, creating a new crowfunding, this time with people who was able to even pay a much major money quantity everyone in order to make it possible. But while the plan was being organized and planned, the french producer Johann Perrier who also was part of this new crowfunding group, took the initiative and decided to be the new producer of Systems In Blue. Thanks to his support a new EP with new songs was finally released, it was called "Back In Blue", becoming a comeback to SIB. Public had a positive reaction to it, more releases were coming and finally the third SIB album.
Althought some fans believe Johann guides to SIB to a different path, the same SIB members manifested their wish of move on and look for a new style, but that not mean they will let apart to the 80's eurodisco followers, because they will continue making the classic versions and producers like Itamar Moraz and Karel Post were making sure it happens. They both produced a 80's remix version of one the songs of the third album, the song "There's No Heart". This was released only in vinyl version and was successful between the more exigent Modern Talking followers. SIB traveled to Netherlands in order to work with Karel and Itamar.
>> DO Passion and the Blue Universe
During October 2018, fans were surprised by a new sub-project inside Systems In Blue, it was called DO Passion. The beginning was a bit confusing because althoutgh the style was almost the same one from SIB, It had a different name. They explained then that while Michael Scholz was producing an independent stuff and releasing own records together the french producer Johann Perrier, a thing that kept him away and distand from them. They felt the need to continue in their way too. But this did not mean they were divided or the band split. It was only that in order to keep the passion to create new songs, they decided to do it by their own without count with Scholz this time. It was the way how the Blue Universe started to expand. We had in one side to Michael and MS Project producing in a different studio and in the other to Detlef and Olaf doing their own songs, in the same SIB studio but maybe in a more "relaxed" way, because in difference than Systems In Blue, DO Passion had more freedom to explore and sound in styles not necessarily related with the eurodisco new generation scene. A song per month was planned and everyone was released in digital way.
Despite the success of DO Passion between SIB fans, some intern circunstances did not allow that they got to continue in the way they planned and the project was stopped almost at half of 2019. Anyway a last song under this project name was released in 2020. With this release was also spread the new that Systems In Blue was working in the 4th album.
The pandemic situation during 2020 obligated a general lockdown to the entire world and it frustrated the chances of SIB to a live performing in some international fests. But what to do during this time, when open gigs were no more allowed and the reality of musicians became difficult?. The idea about the fourth album came out in this way, thanks to Olaf Senkbeil who was the main impulsor of this album. He started to create the new melodies and music to this production.
The album came to light on December 2020 in physical format, but it surprised to fans due this time was not only SIB alone. All the "Blue Universe" appeared inside, so the album was actually from Systems In Blue feat. DO Passion feat. MS Project. SIB & DO Passion belonged to the same team but the inclusion of MS Project was only due the presence of Michael Scholz. That situation brought some confusion between fans at first, but the album was a production well accepted later.
But the year was not able to finish without give another surprise, in this case was a sad and polemic decision. Olaf decided to leave from the band. Reasons were a serie of circunstamses that were not working fairly to him, stuff also related to the suddenly stop of the project DO Passion. After a time distant from the group, he finally made public that decision by his social network.
A new blow destroyed to SIB fans, because Systems In Blue again was losing a great voice. Anyway the chances to count with Olaf presence in any live show or in some productions only as choir was not denied. But Michael and Detlef again were by their own.
2021 continued with the digital release of Blue Universe including some bonus tracks and a deluxe version of that album was also announced with some extra remixes and instrumentals. Some songs from Olaf that did not reach to be included on the fourth album, probably will come to light by Olaf solo in future.
The next what follows is still being written...
>> Future and legacy
The history of Systems In Blue shows that they are a strong band that could survive and continue against all odds, nothing could stop them since they started, not even the loss of their main leader and their numerous productions, including a fourth album confirms that.
Currently they are very known inside the circle of eurodisco and italodisco new generation followers in all the world. And although is true that despite their tracks can get easily the top 1 inside the radio charts, they only got a relative success in official charts; however we know that SIB music is always included in the tracklist of any respectable music event like evergreens songs together other classics hits and Systems In Blue has become not only a band, but also a brand. Their voices continue being hired by different artists who which to count with the original Modern Talking choir inside their productions. The special way that they developed for sing in harmony is also being copied and reproduced by young singers who see them as their major inspiration.
For all that and more, Systems In Blue gained already a well deserved place inside the eurodisco music history.