Music: Peter Kraus: “Sugar Baby” turns 85

Peter Kraus may be living proof that music keeps you young.

Music: Peter Kraus: “Sugar Baby” turns 85

Peter Kraus may be living proof that music keeps you young. After all, the singer, actor and entertainer turns 85 on Monday (March 18) – and he still rocks every stage. You will be able to see this for yourself on his special day at his performance in the Munich Isarphilharmonie. “This time I’m celebrating my semi-circular birthday with my fans,” he told the German Press Agency.

At the performance he wants to welcome his friend, the Spider Murphy Gang boss Günther Sigl and the Gypsy Jazz guitarist Joscho Stephan as star guests. Otherwise, the audience can expect a typical Peter Kraus show, where he wants to present the biggest hits of his over 65-year career. Of course, “Sugar Baby” shouldn’t be missed. “The song is my trademark, my calling card,” he says. In Gamlitz, Austria, where he mainly lives, people often greeted him with a cheerful “Hello, Sugar Baby” – which was completely fine with him.

“Sugar Baby” may be his biggest hit and a timeless classic in German pop history. But Peter Kraus cannot be reduced to that. On the contrary. The son of the Austrian director Fred Kraus is a pioneer: as early as the mid-1950s, he brought rock'n'roll to post-war Germany with his debut single "Susi-Rock (Bluejean Bop)" - highly successful. In his first four years of career, Kraus published 36 titles that sold a total of over twelve million copies. He was a sought-after duet partner (including with Connie Francis) and an accomplished interpreter of classic blues. In addition, the artist has been fueling his acting career since the mid-1950s. He also became a film star in around 30 cinema and television films.

The “German Elvis”

For the media, the passionate collector of vintage cars was, above all, the “German Elvis”. A comparison that flattered Kraus, but which has always been flawed for him. “Well, he gave me the idea,” he admits. He copied the hip swing and styling from Elvis Presley. Musically, however, Kraus soon took a more pleasing direction with romantic songs. Nevertheless, a personal meeting with the King of Rock'n'Roll almost took place. "Unfortunately, my record company thwarted my plan at the time," he remembers, "the record bosses were afraid that the photos would say: The original is shaking hands with its copy."

Even in the pioneering days of the music industry it was all about PR and marketing, but there is no comparison to today's requirements in entertainment operations. If he were a newcomer today, would he be interested in using social media and the like? "No, not at all," he says and gives an insight into the early days of the music business: "It was all new territory. There weren't even young musicians with whom I could form a band. That's why I'm with Max Greger a lot -Band traveled. We sometimes played two performances a day - in cinemas, ballrooms, theaters. And we experienced the wildest things. Today none of this would be possible anymore because it would immediately be published on the social media forums. "

On his last album “Idole”, released in 2022, Peter Kraus showed a different musical side. With the support of music stars like Till Brönner, Helge Schneider and Götz Alsmann, he serves up German versions of evergreens like "Mr. Bojangles", "Blue Bajou" and "Summertime". "This is the music I grew up with. Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Nat King Cole were my heroes. They made me want to pursue this profession."

Tour in the fall

After his performance on his birthday, further individual appearances and a tour in the fall are scheduled to follow. His last? "Who knows, it's not called a farewell tour, but rather a birthday tour." But, he adds: “It has to end at some point.”

Even if he still feels fit today – thanks to sporting activities and a healthy lifestyle – that could change quickly. However, Peter Kraus doesn't waste any thought on death. Rather, he enjoys his music and his life with his wife Ingrid: "We never argue and laugh a lot. I'm still in love with her like I was on the first day. That also keeps me young."

Peter Kraus