Klaus Nomi

  • Klaus Nomi
  • 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]