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“I'm from Austria”: classic Austropop returns to the present

“I'm from Austria”: classic Austropop returns to the present

After the final whistle in the 3-2 match against the Netherlands, as happened in previous European Championship matches with Austria, the “I'm from Austria” sound system at the Berlin Olympiastadion took over in the oval and on the field. “Here I am. 'Don't let me go!'” he sang joyously to the footballers and 25,000 fans. Team president Ralf Rangnick was also moved and spoke of “goosebumps when the team is in the corner and this song comes on”.

He finds the song “authentic and appropriate for the team and this country when 25,000 Austrians sing it,” as Rangnick said in the post-match press conference on Tuesday evening. The fact that the song's third line says, quite inappropriately, “There's less fame and splendor” didn't faze the triumphant enthusiasm.


The players on the field joined 25,000 fans to celebrate the 3-2 win over the Netherlands

If Austria is eliminated in the round of 16, things will somehow get back to normal again for the nation's often-suffering long-time football fans. Austria also reached the last 16 of the European Championship in 2021 and only lost in extra time to eventual European champions Italy. Rangnick said it was still unlikely that Austria would become European champion. But he couldn't rule that out either.

Inject motivation to the team

Of course, there are no critical verses like those found in Fendrich's take on the Beatles' “Hey God” or Neil Diamond's “Sweet Caroline,” which was also sung alongside “I'm From Austria” at the Olympic Stadium. According to Marcel Sabitzer, Fendrich is also a source of motivation for the team: “If I had to rank them, I would say ‘I’m from Austria’ and ‘Strada del Sol’.” Classic in recent months.

ÖFB team in front of the fans

APA/AFP/Ronnie Hartmann

Marcel Sabitzer: “We feel very connected to our country”

In any case, there is no lack of self-confidence. “Once you get into the knockout system, you can start running,” said Sabitzer, who was named man of the match against the Netherlands for the winning goal. Austria has the ability to overcome any competitor, “but the road will be very difficult.”

The Waldheim Affair and Homesickness

Fendrich published “I'm from Austria” in 1989 in response to the Waldheim case. The then Federal President Kurt Waldheim had no memory of his membership in the National Socialists and was an international outcast. Fendrich, who was in Florida at the time, was still homesick. Fendrich stated in an interview with News magazine in 2016 that these two feelings prompted him to write the song.

“On the one hand, I didn't want to put up with Austria being abroad […] He has this Nazi image. This hurt me. On the other hand, there was also a feeling of homesickness; I really wanted to write a kind of crossover ballad. It's not an uncritical song either. In this regard, I object to the phrase “the second national anthem” because it is very important for that. “The national anthem is always an uncritical admiration for the country you come from,” says Fendrich.

“Standing together when it matters”

During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Vienna police played the song from the loudspeakers of their patrol cars every day at 6pm to create a good atmosphere. Radio Vienna also played it every day at this time. “I'm speechless,” Fendrich commented at the time, “but if my song can help foster solidarity, 'I'm from Austria' will finally be understood the way I meant it. That is, Austria stands together when it matters.”

Reinhard Fendrich

Apa/Expa/Jasmine Walter

According to Fendrich, the song means “Austria stands together when it matters.”

In an interview with “Kurir,” Fendrich said: “I sang and still sing this song with the same conviction because I know what it means.” I couldn't influence the fact that other people made an anthem out of it. I also couldn't prevent “right-wing tendencies” from taking over this song. “I definitely distance myself from that.”

New album and tour

Fendrich has a double reason to celebrate next year: The singer-songwriter will turn 70 on February 27, and his 45th anniversary is approaching. The Viennese are giving himself two gifts with the upcoming studio album “Wimmernschlag” and a major live comeback. Fans can look forward to new music and a concert tour across more than four decades of artistic creativity.

From April 2025, the songwriter and his band will tour Germany, Austria and Switzerland under the slogan “45 years of the life of Reinhard Fendrich – just the blink of an eye”. Fendrich recently returned to the charts with the release of his live album “Symphonic in Schönbrunn”.

“Wimmernschlag” was released six years after his last album, “Starkregen”. The advance announcement promises that the songs will “once again be an impressive mix of catchy melodies and thoughtful, thoughtful lyrics, occasionally combined with a wink of humor.”

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