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KLAUS NOMI (Buy CDs by this artist)
Klaus Nomi (UK RCA) 1982
Simple Man (UK RCA) 1982
Encore! (UK RCA) 1983

One of the 1980s' most profoundly bizarre characters to emerge through rock music, the late Klaus Nomi specialized in unexpected mixes of vocal styles in anomalous settings. The Bavarian-born singer's awesome falsetto and dramatic tenor were equally applied to classical music and rock'n'roll, producing startling records that ramble wildly from high-pitched operatic vocals accompanied by a synthesized orchestra to ultra-stylized pop and warped interpretations of rock oldies. Nomi's records stretch from hauntingly beautiful (Purcell's stunning "Cold Song") to hysterically funny (a somber reading of "Can't Help Falling in Love," a languid dissection of "The Twist") to straightforward Sparks-like big band rock ("Simple Man"). His final album, a compilation that also includes a live performance, is the one to get, an utterly unique creation that defies you not to fall under its wonderful spell. Nomi died in 1983.

[Ira Robbins]