Born in East Germany, Nina Hagen had already gained a reputation as a flamboyant rock singer by the time she emigrated to the West in 1976, where she formed a band, signed to CBS Germany, and released the debut album Nina Hagen Band in 1978. It was followed in 1980 by Unbehagen. Hagen's first U.S. release, Nina Hagen Band EP (1980), was a four-song EP consisting of songs drawn from her two German releases. She moved to New York and made her first English-language LP, Nunsexmonkrock, in 1982. That and its follow-up, the Giorgio Moroder-produced Fearless (1983), charted briefly, and "New York New York" was a Top Ten dance club hit. But Hagen left CBS after Nina Hagen in Ekstacy (1985). In 1988, she celebrated her marriage with the EP Punk Wedding, released in Canada, and in 1989 she returned to the German market with Nina Hagen. In 2010, Hagen released Personal Jesus, which featured 13 faith-based tracks that dutifully blend rock, blues, soul, and gospel into a sound that’s distinctly hers. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Pop - Released January 1, 1989 | Vertigo Berlin
At her best Nina Hagen was deliciously abrasive -- an East German post-punk princess whose brash delivery was coupled with real musical talent and a wide vocal range. By the end of the '80s, however, she had descended into pop trash, rehashing the same kinds of synth-enforced songs again and again. Her self-titled album is no exception. Largely sung in English, it contains mostly questionable covers, including Janis Joplin's "Move Over," a version of the gospel classic "Hold Me," and a truly awful rendition of "Ave Maria." Two small bright spots on the album are a metal version of "Viva Las Vegas" and a odd rap song about Gorbachev called "Michail, Michail." ~ Stacia Proefrock
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