Alphaville was formed when singer Marian Gold and Bernhard Lloyd met in Berlin in 1981. Being heavily influenced by Tubeway Army, Gary Numan and Orchestral Manoeuvres in The Dark. The name of the band came from the 1965 SF movie with the same title. The band included: Lead singer Marian Gold (born Hartwig Schierbaum in 1954), guitarist and keyboard player Bernhard Lloyd (born Bernhard Gössling in 1960), and keyboard player Frank Mertens (born Frank Sorgatz in 1961).

Marian / Frank / Bernhard

The band came at a time synthpop had already passed the peak. Their debut album managed to give them success mainly in Europe during the 80's.

The first song they wrote was named after a punk band called "Big In Japan" from the UK featuring Holly Johnson (later to become lead singer of Frankie Goes To Hollywood). 

Big In Japan including Holly Johnson

The first three songs recorded were "Big In Japan", "Seeds" and "Forever Young" (in a up-tempo version). "Big In Japan" would become their first single and was an immediate hit in reaching #66 in the US, #8 in the UK, #5 in the Netherlands and #1 in their homecountry Germany. Eventually "Forever Young" was transformed into a ballad to become the third single reaching #65 in the US (in 1988) and #14 in the Netherlands. It is about the cold war "hoping for the best, but expecting the worst; are you gonna drop the bomb or not?". Officially they wanted to call the band "Forever Young" before they came up with Alphaville. "Sounds Like a Melody" was written and arranged in just two days and released as a second single reaching #8 in the Netherlands and #3 in Germany. Songs were also written in german but were dropped in favour of the english songs: "Blauer Engel", "Traumtanzer", and "Leben Ohne Ende". The song "Summer in Berlin" was referring to a rebellion in 1953 in Berlin against the living standards imposed by the government of East Germany in accordance with the soviet standards. "In The Mood" is about the fact the band became very successfull but were afraid to lose their artistic freedom. "The Jet Set" is a jingle that advertises things money can't buy. Mertens left the band in December 1984 after the release of their debut album. The album reached #12 in the Netherlands.

Original album cover

Forever Young (1984)
A Victory of Love / Summer in Berlin / Big in Japan / To Germany with Love / Fallen Angel / Forever Young / In the Mood / Sounds Like a Melody / Lies / The Jet Set

Big in Japan (single cover) / Sounds Like a Melody (single cover)
Forever Young (single cover) / Jet Set (single cover)

Big In Japan / Seeds
Sounds Like A Melody / The Nelson Highrise (Sector One : The Elevator)
Forever Young /  Welcome To The Sun
Jet Set / Golden Feeling

Forever Young

Summer in Berlin

Sounds Like a Melody