Hermann Wilhelm Göring (or Goering; 12 January 1893– 15 October 1946) was a popular and influential German band-leader, songwriter and impresario in the 1930s and 1940s
The Early Years
Göring had performed with several local cover bands in Bavaria during his early teens. His pleasant tenor voice was widely admired. In 1915 a mutual friend, Bruno Loerzer, introduced him to Manfred Mann Richthofen whose band ‘Flying Circus’ had gained great commercial and critical success in Germany with singles such as “My Little Red Fokker” and the albums “Bombers and Nightingales” and “The Five Aces of Manfred Mann”. Richthofen, who was about to resume a controversial tour of France and needed additional support vocalists, signed Göring up after hearing his rendition of “Frog on the Run”. Göring quickly showed his value to the band, helping pen several new hits. Following the death of Richthofen in a mysterious flying accident, the band’s management, Kaiser Bill Records, made Göring the new front man. However, the tour was in trouble. Despite the success of the “Flying Circus” many of the support acts were struggling, and one (the “High C Fleet”) refused to perform at all, citing artistic differences. Management cancelled the remainder of the tour and the band returned to Germany where it soon broke up. Göring, along with many other tour personnel would later call this the “Stab in the Back”.
Exile On Main Street (Stockholm)
By this time the music business in Germany was in a state of turmoil. The “Imperial Sound” of Göring and the Flying Circus had become deeply unpopular, and a new wave of left-wing bands, including former members of the “High C Fleet” who had reformed as “Mutiny” and followers of the “Berlin Sound” of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg were sweeping the charts. Göring was reduced to busking in Sweden to make ends meet.
Brewing Up A Storm
In 1922 Göring was contacted by concert promoter Adie Hitler. Hitler was a big fan of the Imperial Sound and wanted to restore its popularity by using viral marketing to establish a grass-roots revival. Hitler organised a number of gigs featuring Göring leading a “scratch band” called “Storm Detachment”. Storm Detachment’s overtly right-wing music was controversial, and their performances were often associated with violence. In November 1923 following a concert at the "Bürgerbräukeller” in Munich a major riot broke out. As a consequence Hitler was arrested and imprisoned.
The Needle and the Damage Done
A thoroughly shaken Göring escaped arrest himself by fleeing first to Austria and then to Italy, where he became influenced by the emerging Italian disco sound, and developed a taste for Morphine, the hip drug of that scene. The taste developed into addiction, and in 1925 his alarmed family forced him into rehab at the Langbro clinic in Sweden. Meanwhile, Adie Hitler had been released from prison and had established a new record company “Now! See!! Party!!!”, promising investors “A thousand hit singles” and domination of the European music scene. Despite having misgivings about Göring’s drug abuse, Hitler realised that Göring’s musical talents, charisma, popularity within certain circles of the music scene and contacts with the now dynamic Italian music industry would be invaluable in bringing these plans to fruition. Göring was appointed Now See’s musical director.
As Musical Director, Göring rapidly developed a Now See house style, incorporating into the Imperial Sound elements of German Folk Music, New Age Mysticism, Wagnerian Epic, Industrial Modernism and his beloved Italian Disco Beat. A stunningly successful tour of Germany by Göring and Storm Detachment culminated in the first of what was to become an annual outdoor festival in Nuremburg in the summer of 1927. A live album and a film of the festival (both titled A Symphony of the Will to Fight) topped their respective charts for several months afterwards. The success of the 1927 tour brought credibility, and an increasing numbers of investors to Now See, allowing Hitler and Göring to create a variety of popular new acts in the following years, including the Boy Band “Hit Jugend”, the all girl “Band DM”, the new age “Faith Movement”, the traditional Imperial Sound “Kyffhäuser Band” and the notorious “Protectors” (Schutzstaffel) . By the beginning of 1933 Now See’s bands dominated the domestic music scene, and had gained nearly 44% of the market with a remarkable 288 hit records the previous six years. The annual German Music Industry awards ceremony for 1933 was held at the Reichstag Theatre in Berlin. After a near clean-sweep of the awards, Hitler, Göring and all other Now See personnel left early, avoiding a disasterous fire that swept rapidly through the building, killing or maiming many bands and executives of rival music companies. Although many blame a disgruntled former member of the band Mutiny for the fire, there is no doubt that the result of the carnage was to make Now See the only player in the game. With the home market secured, Now See started to look for international expansion.