Johann (Hans) Hölzel (19 February 1957 – 6 February 1998), better known by his stage name Falco, was an Austrian pop and rock musician and rapper. He had several international hits: "Der Kommissar", "Rock Me Amadeus", "Vienna Calling", "Jeanny", "The Sound of Musik", "Coming Home (Jeanny Part 2)" and posthumously, "Out Of The Dark". He is the first and only artist to date whose principal language was German to score a number-one hit in the United States with "Rock Me Amadeus". His estate claims he has sold 40 million albums and 20 million singles to date, which makes him one of the best selling Austrian singers ever.
Falco began to show signs of unusual musical talent very early. As a toddler, he was able to keep time with the drumbeat in songs he heard on the radio. He was given a baby grand piano for his fourth birthday; a year later, his birthday gift was a record player which he used to play music by Elvis Presley, Cliff Richards, and the Beatles. At age five, he auditioned for the Vienna Music Academy, where it was confirmed that he had perfect pitch.
In 1963, Hölzel began his schooling at a Roman Catholic private school; four years later, at age ten, he switched to the Rainer Gymnasium in Vienna. Shortly thereafter his father Alois Hölzel left the family. From then on, Hölzel was raised by his mother and grandmother and remained very close to them all his life.
He left school at sixteen in 1973 due to absenteeism. His mother then insisted he begin an apprenticeship with the Austrian employee pension insurance institute, but this only lasted a short time. At seventeen, he volunteered for eight months of military service with the Austrian army.
He entered the Vienna Music Conservatory in 1977, but left after one semester to "become a real musician". For a short time, he lived in West Berlin while singing in a jazz-rock band and exploring the club scene. When he returned to Vienna he was calling himself "Falco", reportedly in tribute to the East German ski jumper Falko Weißpflog (he changed one letter to make the name more international), and playing in the Austrian bands Spinning Wheel and Hallucination Company.
En route to becoming an international rock star in his own right, he was bass player in the Austrian hard rock-punk rock band Drahdiwaberl (from 1978 until 1983). With Drahdiwaberl he wrote and performed the song "Ganz Wien" ("All Vienna"), which he would also include on his debut solo album, Einzelhaft (Solitary Confinement ). He also played bass with the space disco band Ganymed in 1981.