The Best Of Klaus Nomi

Razor & Tie 82207-2
Street Date:
August 24, 1999

Compilation Producer:
David Richman
Anthony DeLuca
Michael Halsband
Live Shot:
Elizabeth Bouras
Liner Notes:
Harry Young
Design: ELI
Elliott Federman / SAJE Sound, NYC

February 16, 2000
Village Voice
Pazz & Jop
Best of 1999
Critics' Poll:

Rob Kemp
Kembrew McLeod &
Kurt B. Reighley

In addition to his Tower Pulse!
Nomi CD review (below),
Kurt B. Reighley wrote a
Klaus Nomi
"Who The Hell" column in
Issue [ #27 ?] of Resonance Magazine.

San Francisco Bay Guardian CD Review
by Johnny Ray Huston

WFMU 8-13-99

WFMU 12-31-99

Rock & Rap Confidential /
Addicted To Noise

The Valley Advocate
July 20, 2000
Klaus Nomi - Eclipsed:
The Best of Klaus Nomi

(Razor & Tie)
5 stars
Klaus Nomi was born in 1944 in the Bavarian Alps and went on to forge a brief career (cut short in 1983 by AIDS) that mixed synth-driven new wave, 1920s' German cabaret music, disco and opera. It wasn't as though one or two of these influences would crop up occasionally in his songs, but rather he somehow managed to fuse all of these components into virtually every song he recorded. Featuring soaring operatic vocals, pumping synthesizers, thumping dance beats and the strangest arrangements you're likely to ever hear, songs such as "Simple Man" are impossible-to-categorize towering monuments of weirdness that lay waste to all other genre-mixers who came before and after him. You haven't lived until you've heard Nomi speak/sing his way (with his thick German accent) through a cover of The Wizard of Oz's "Ding Dong (The Witch is Dead)," complete with high, piercing female vocals and electronically treated background chants celebrating the death of that aforementioned witch.
~Kembrew McLeod

The Advocate
The Best of Klaus Nomi
Author: Steven Gdula
Issue: Sept 14, 1999

Eclipsed: The Best of Klaus Nomi

* Klaus Nomi * Razor & Tie

In every age a talent emerges that's so far ahead of its time, it can't be fully appreciated. That was the case with New Wave wunderkind Klaus Nomi. But finally, 16 years after his death, Nomi gets his due with Razor & Tie's Eclipsed: The Best Of Klaus Nomi.

The new CD captures the spirit of a world traveler who created otherworldly sounds. Born Klaus Sperber in the Bavarian Alps in 1944, Nomi grew up in Berlin, moved to New York City in 1972, and quickly became a fixture in the city's underground scene. His national U.S. television debut came in 1979, when he sang backup for David Bowie on Saturday Night Live.

While Nomi's 21st-century cabaret shtick created an immediate buzz, it was nothing compared to the sensation caused by his voice. Armed with an astounding vocal range, Nomi was what's known these days as a countertenor--capable of low Elvis Presley-like crooning one minute and soprano trills rivaling Maria Callas the next. As the quirky New Wave movement took off, Nomi seemed like a shoo-in as the Next Big Thing.

In 1981 the album Klaus Nomi was released by French RCA. Record execs, convinced they were priming the next Bowie, distributed his albums in Europe and Japan and put him on the road. But even as his star was rising, Nomi was already symptomatic with what was then known as the "gay cancer."

As his condition worsened, Nomi accused his handlers of ignoring his health in order to keep the tour going. "He said, `I kept telling them I was sick, and they wouldn't let me stop,'" recalls Nomi's collaborator and sometime accompanist Kristian Hoffman. "Between his crying and sort of talking to me on the phone, that's what I understood." In August 1983 Klaus Nomi died of AIDS-related complications.

Eclipsed: The Best Of Klaus Nomi makes it plain why the singer wowed audiences. A tree innovator, Nomi mixed punk-rock attitude with disco beats and unleashed his soaring soprano over such classics as "Total Eclipse," Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me," and "Ding Dong (The Witch Is Dead)." Of his own work Nomi once said, "I approach everything as an absolute outsider. It's the only way I can break so many rules." It's a testament to his vision that his music sounds so undated today.

The Big Takeover #46
May 2000
Eclipsed: The Best Of
(Razor & Tie)
Calling Klaus Nomi "camp" is a little like saying that Roger Ebert has a weight problem. It simply screams out at you. How else would you classify an operatic techo-pop rendering of "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead" (the Munchkin-trilled 1939 The Wizard Of Oz song that was later a #11 hit for THE FIFTH ESTATE in 1967!) sung in a deadpan Marlene Dietrich sprechstimme by a gay, balding, face-painted man draped in Kabuki costume? Nomi was one of those passersby in the early 1980s, like Laurie Anderson, whose arresting visual style and avant-garde genre and gender bending instantly aligned them with the new wave. Nomi succumbed to AIDS in 1983, though not before releasing a memorable single, the striking falsetto-tinged "Total Eclipse," and a barrel of kitsch synth covers, such as LOU CHRISTIE's 1966 #1 hit "Lightnin' Strikes" and LESLEY GORE's vaguely feminist 1964 #2 hit "You Don't Own Me" (also covered recently by RASPUTINA). If that sounds intriguing, this snapshot collection of one of pop music's most bizzare personas is for you.
~ Theo Cateforis

Tower Records PULSE!
November 1999
Eclipsed: The Best Of Klaus Nomi (Razor & Tie)
In the anything-goes atmosphere of the New York '80s club underground, it took a lot to raise eyebrows--and Klaus Nomi did. The Berlin emigrant coupled exaggerated theatrics and futuristic costumes with a program composed of equal parts opera, rock and cabaret. That combination may sound ludicrous to the uninitiated, but Nomi--who died of AIDS in 1983--was blessed with the technical chops, sincerity and good humor to make it fly. Fueled by the singer's clipped diction and soaring falsetto, ditties from Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me" and "Ding-Dong (The Witch Is Dead)" to early music staples by Purcell and Saint-Saens rocketed into new dimensions, while his zany original matierial--the space-age hoedown "Rubberband Lazer," the minimalist disco of "ICUROK"-- was both weird and winning. The 15 track Eclipsed, the first U.S. compilation of Nomi's work, provides a steller introduction to an underrated artist who left an indelible mark despite an all-too-brief career. (Four Stars)
~ Kurt B. Reighley

Alternative Press
December 1999
Eclipsed: The Best Of Klaus Nomi
Bavarian-born, NYC-smart Nomi mixed opera, dance pop and camp, space-age rock and roll in his brief, twisted career. He recorded two import albums for RCA in the early '80s, appeared on Saturday Night Live with Bowie and succumbed to the AIDS virus in 1983. This reissue captures much of Nomi's interpretive magic as classical enthusiast (Purcell's "The Cold Song"), oldies collector ("You Don't Own Me," "Can't Help Falling In Love"), camp counselor ("Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead") and incandescent showman ("Total Eclipse").
(Razor And Tie; dist. by BMG)
~ Jason Pettigrew

Yeah Yeah Yeah #16
January 2000

Marilyn Manson may be a clever media manipulator and fairly interesting personality, but the Grand Guignol characters he channels himself through seem just a touch too calculated. The late, great Klaus Nomi, on the other hand, appeared to be just letting his inherent artistic and theatrical pretensions run wild, letting loose upon the world one of the most outrageous personas in the history of pop music.
Evolving from Berlin child-opera prodigy to New York pastry chef to unparalleled pop singer, Nomi first freaked out the world in 1979 by, together with Joey Arias, carrying David Bowie to the front of the stage for a performance on Saturday Night Live, looking like some sort of asexual Kabuki robot. Nomi then launched a short but brilliant musical career, perhaps being embraced by the new wave because of mild similarity to gents like Marc Almond and the Associates' Billy McKenzie.
This new collection, ECLIPSED, presents an artist, however, who had no equal.
Possessing an almost inhuman vocal range, Nomi created a new intersection at which his influences could collide, resulting in some bizarre but fascinating, and often times outright stunning concoction of opera, disco, and synth-pop no one else could have or would have even attempted. From his covers of "Lightning Strikes" and 'I Feel Love," to his own compositions like "Keys of Life," he f*cked, however intentionally or accidentally, with just about every musical axiom that had preceded him.
When Nomi died in 1983, the world didn't exactly stand still. But with the boring '90s passing into memory, one can only hope that the next decade will feel the full impact of his influence.
~ Ken Scrudato

Time Out New York #204
Klaus Nomi
Eclipsed: The Best of Klaus Nomi
(Razor & Tie)
One act was a vocal troupe from the '20s that sang virtuosic, labyrinthine arrangements of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and Duke Ellington. The other was a habitué of the late-'70s Manhattan underworld who took on Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me," Doris Troy's "Just One Look" and Donna Summer's "I Feel Love." What is the possible link between these two acts, half a century apart? Simple: Every recorded moment of both the Comedian Harmonists and Klaus Nomi is ineffably German.
The Harmonists were modeled on the American group the Revellers but chose in most cases to sing in German--certainly not the easiest tongue to tame the requirements of early-20th-century American popular songcraft. But combine that with the Teutonic instinct for precision, and you have the formulae for utterly distinct versions of "Tea for Two" and "Night and Day." Ari Leschnikoff's tenor somehow makes German guttural phonics mellifluous and proves to be the key to the Harmonists' almost otherworldly allure. Naturally, as the half-Jewish, half-Aryan combo entered the 1930s, the Nazis forbade such mongrel stylings, and the Harmonists disbanded.
Born in Bavaria in 1944, Klaus Nomi may or may not have heard the Harmonists, but he surely was profoundly affected by the tension between the traditionally stern tendencies of German culture and the brief liberation of the Weimar era. His vocal stylings mirrored that tension exactly. Take his version of Lou Christie's "Lightning Strikes": A clipped, officious tone of an SS officer takes the verse, followed by a gleeful, operatic falsetto of a Munich diva on the chorus. Nomi also took to presenting himself as a space-age cabaret denizen with a dash of Kabuki and favored backing tracks, such as "Total Eclipse" and "Rubberband Lazer," that applied jumpy new-wave dynamics to chilly disco perfectionism. Pop music's first AIDS casualty (he died in 1983) was a true original, the contradictions of his heritage wholly informing his sheer uniqueness.
Both Nomi and the Harmonists struggled to shake off the severity of Germanic culture, and by and large they failed. Of course, when such failure is an interpretation as exceptional as both of these records show, then it's even more of a triumph, ja?
~ Rob Kemp

Record Collector 244,
December 1999
Eclipsed --
The Best Of Klaus Nomi

US Import: Razor And Tie 79301
822072 (58:21)
Klaus Nomi first regaled audiences with his brand of operatic new wave rock in 1979. "Total Eclipse", his most famous song, penned by the Mumps' Kristian Hoffman, kicks this set off. It sets the tone-- synthetic, dance-oriented backing tracks topped off by Nomi's wildly over-the-top high-pitched Gotterdammerung 'singing.' It's an absolutely arresting combination, a totally unique glam rock throw-back. Once (if) you've acquired the taste, it can't fail to thrill. Lou Christie's "Lightnin' Strikes" fits Nomi like a glove, while the gay re-interpretation of "I Feel Love" is an inspired, completely unsubtle move. Nomi died of AIDS in 1983: this brilliant collection is a fitting tribute.
~ Kieron Tyler

Roctober Number 26
December 1999
Klaus Nomi
"Eclipsed: The Best Of..."
(Razor and Tie)
This long overdue 15 track collection is one of the best listens you're gonna get this year. One time after listening to Klaus Nomi records for 12 hours straight I turned to my (earplug wearing) girlfriend and asked, "Do you know why I like Klaus Nomi's albums?" After she half-heartedly feigned interest I answered, "Because they're the greatest records ever made in the history of time by anyone." I'll stand by that. Haunting, bizarre, funny, dynamic, and enchanting, this Future Man who mixed opera, new wave, and freak theater in ways no one before or after has, deserves reverence and posthumous support, so run out and get this.

All Music Guide CD Review

Cool And Strange Music #15
November 1999- February 2000
Klaus Nomi
Eclipsed: The Best Of Klaus Nomi
Razor & Tie 7930182207-2
Whiteface heldensoprano, display window mannequin, pastry chef: Klaus Nomi was a phenomenon who burst onto the musical scene in the late 1970s, confounded expectations, and died as his popularity was growing.
The Bavarian-born Klaus Sperber grew up in Berlin, moved to the U.S. in 1972, and had a breakthrough seven years later backing David Bowie on NBC's Saturday Night Live. Nomi's first album appeared two years later, presenting a beat-heavy, synthesizer-drenched sound that still was forced to [the] back seat by Nomi's astonishing vocals. With a range that challenged Yma Sumac, he swooped and chanted through a categort-defying array of material. "Eclipsed" presents the best of his two studio recordings with a couple of numbers from two of his posthumous albums as well. Leslie Gore's "You Don't Own Me" is eponymously revised to suggest "you don't know me" (or Nomi), and Nomi's background in classical music comes out in a version of Henry Purcell's 17th-century "Cold Song," adapted from the opera "King Arthur" and given an unmistakable, unforgettable performance.
The biggest surprise here is a heartfelt version of "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You," one of the all-time great pop songs but requiring absolute sincerity to pull it off. Elvis sounds like he's going through the motions, but Nomi is astonishingly convincing.
~ B.A. Nilsson

Outlines, The Voice of
Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Community

October 13, 1999
Making Musical His— & Herstory
by gregg shapiro
Long before Merritt or Hentges made music as the members of their respective bands, "new wave innovator" Klaus Nomi made waves of his own. A German—born performance artist and singer, Nomi got noticed as a back—up singer for David Bowie´s 1979 Saturday Night Live performance. The appropriately titled Eclipsed: The Best of Klaus Nomi (Razor & Tie), collects 15 tracks by the artist who died of AIDS complications at age 39 in 1983. Nomi´s innovation came from his ability to combine dance music, pop music and opera to create his unique sound. That sound is exemplified in "Total Eclipse" and "Wasting My Time," and his re—invention of standards such as "Lightning Strikes," "Can´t Help Falling In Love," "I Feel Love," "You Don´t Own Me," "Just One Look," and "Ding Dong (The Witch Is Dead)." Who knows who Nomi would have "eclipsed" had he lived?

CMJ New Music Monthly
#74, October 1999
New Waver KLAUS NOMI probably had his greatest fleeting moment of fame when he appeared as one of David Bowie's super-weird backup singers on a famous 1979 Saturday Night Live TV performance. He sang "Boys Keep Swinging" in mime makeup while an orange-haired Bowie slithered around the stage with a plastic skeleton superimposed on his body. Nomi had a brief but influential solo career, fusing operatic vocals, cabaret and futuristic synthesizer-based rock. And move over Boy George, our man Nomi was out of the closet and acting outrageous long before Kissing To Be Clever. Razor & Tie has released Eclipsed, a best-of overview of Nomi's music, which, perhaps not unintentionally, also works as its own sort of parody and high camp: the early '80s was an extremely strange time to live through.

Shredding Paper #6
Display Until July 15, 2000
Klaus Nomi -
Eclipsed: The Best Of Klaus Nomi
CD 15 [Tracks] / 58:19
Was Klaus Nomi an (almost) right-place-right-time Novelty, an example of the worst that New Wave had to offer, or a misunderstood Genius waiting to be rightfully rediscovered? People have certainly made cases for all three viewpoints. His Cabaret singing style and the application of same to a repertoire that included a relative abundance of covers did produce an air of Novelty around him (not necessarily a bad Novelty, but a Novelty nonetheless). There are some amusing-to-good tunes on here (such as "Keys Of Life" and "Rubberband Laser") but as someone who's first exposure to Nomi (along with most people) was his love-it-hate-it-f*ck-it-I'll-do-both live appearance on the movie/soundtrack "Urgh! A Music War," I found the relative slickness of these studio tunes placing me in the first of the aforementioned camps. Still, the "Urgh!" track still has me wondering what a live/demo album from this late gentleman would be like. (For a good history from someone in the "Genius" camp, check out the issue of Roctober that had a well-written retrospective on him.)
~ David Hill

ICE The CD News Authority
July, August & September 1999

Illinois Entertainer September 1999

Klaus Nomi
Painted by Ward Lamb

01. Total Eclipse
(Kristian Hoffman)
Klaus Nomi France RCA PL-37556, 1981
UK RCA LP 6026 (PL 37556)
Klaus Nomi Encore!
West Germany RCA PL-70180, 1983

02. Lightnin' Strikes
(Lou Christie-Twyla Herbert)
Klaus Nomi France RCA PL-37556, 1981
UK RCA LP 6026 (PL 37556)
UK RCA 173, PB-8836, 1982
Klaus Nomi Encore!
West Germany RCA PL-70180, 1983

03. The Cold Song
(Henry Purcell)
Klaus Nomi France RCA PL-37556, 1981
UK RCA LP 6026 (PL 37556)
France RCA 110, PB-8864 (B), 1982
Klaus Nomi Encore!
West Germany RCA PL-70180, 1983
Japan JVC 45 VIPX-1798, 1984

04. Wasting My Time
(Klaus Nomi-Scott Woody)
Klaus Nomi France RCA PL-37556, 1981
UK RCA LP 6026 (PL 37556)
Klaus Nomi Encore!
West Germany RCA PL-70180, 1983

05. You Don't Own Me
(John Madara-David White)
Klaus Nomi France RCA PL-37556, 1981
UK RCA LP 6026 (PL 37556)
France RCA 110, PB-8783, 1981
Klaus Nomi Encore!
West Germany RCA PL-70180, 1983

06. Keys Of Life
(Klaus Nomi)
Klaus Nomi France RCA PL-37556, 1981
UK RCA LP 6026 (PL 37556)
Japan JVC 45 VIPX-1798 (B), 1984

07. Rubberband Laser
(Joseph Arias-Anthony Frere)
Simple Man France RCA PL-37702, 1982

(George Elliott)
Arranged by George Elliott & Klaus Nomi
Simple Man France RCA PL-37702, 1982
Canada RCA 12 KD-10005, 1983

09. After The Fall
(Kristian Hoffman)
Arranged by Kristian Hoffman
Simple Man France RCA PL-37702, 1982

10. Just One Look
(Doris Payne-Gregory Carroll)
Simple Man France RCA PL-37702, 1982

11. Ding Dong
(Harold Arlen-E. Y. Harburg)
Arranged by Kristian Hoffman
Simple Man France RCA PL-37702, 1982
UK RCA 289, PB-61005, 1982
France RCA PB-61033, 1982
Klaus Nomi Encore!
West Germany RCA PL-70180, 1983
France RCA 12 PC-61535, 1985

12. Simple Man
(Kristian Hoffman)
Arranged by Kristian Hoffman
Simple Man France RCA PL-37702, 1982
France RCA PB-9947, 1982
Klaus Nomi Encore!
West Germany RCA PL-70180, 1983
Canada RCA 12 KD-10005 (B), 1983

13. Three Wishes
(George Elliott-Jamie Dalglish-Sierra)
Arranged by George Elliott
Simple Man France RCA PL-37702, 1982

14. I Feel Love
(Peter Bellotte-Giorgio Moroder-Donna Summer)
Live At Hurrah, NYC 1979
Klaus Nomi In Concert
West Germany RCA PL-71145, 1986

15. Can't Help Falling In Love
(Hugo E. Peretti-Luigi Creatore-George David Weiss)
Klaus Nomi Encore!
West Germany RCA PL-70180, 1983

Tracks 1-6 Produced by Ron Johnsen
for Spindizzy Music, Inc.

Tracks 7-15 Produced by Ron Johnsen & Klaus Nomi
for Spindizzy Music, Inc.

Vocals, Backing Vocals: Klaus Nomi

Backing Vocals: Julie Burger (Tracks 1-6),
Scott Woody (Tracks 1-6), Jon Cobert (Tracks 1-6), Robert Medici (Track 13)

Bass: Rick Pascual (Tracks 1-6),
Robert Mache (Track 9),
John Kay (Tracks 7-8, 13)

Drums: Daniel Elfassy (Tracks 1-6),
Kevin Tooley (Tracks 7, 9, 11-12),
Robert Medici (Tracks 8, 10, 13),
Paul Rutner (Track 11)

Guitars: Scott Woody (Tracks 1-7),
Robert Mache (Tracks 9, 11-12),
Jimmy Zhivago (Tracks 10, 13),
George Elliott (Tracks 8, 13)

Keyboards: Jon Cobert (Tracks 1-6),
Kristian Hoffman (Tracks 9, 12),
Tommy Mandel (Tracks 8, 10)

Percussion: Kristian Hoffman (Track 11),
Daniel Elfassy (Tracks 9, 11-13),
George Elliott (Track 13)

Saxophone: Steven Elson (Track 10)

Sound Effects: Jack Waldman (Track 13)

Space Effects: Jack Waldman (Track 7)

Synthesizers: Kristian Hoffman (Track 11),
Tommy Mandel (Tracks 7, 13),
Jack Waldman (Track 11)

Synthesizer Programming:
Man Parrish (Tracks 7-9, 11-12)

Violin: Michael Levine (Tracks 7, 13)

Additional Musicians (Tracks 1-6):
Man Parrish, Monti Ellison, Brian McEwan

Sequence as per original Nomi albums:
06, 02, 05,
03, 04, 01,
09, 10, 08,
07, 11, 13,
12, 14, 15


If you thought The Bangles were the first to walk like an Egyptian, you'd be wrong by a couple of decades.


RPM CD 330 (55:15)
Released January 28, 2002