Der Kommissar (song)

"Der Kommissar" (German: [deːɐ̯ kɔmɪˈsaːɐ̯]; "The Commissioner") is a song first written by Robert Ponger and Falco and recorded by Austrian artist Falco in 1981. The song reached the top of the charts in many European and Scandinavian countries. The song was covered in 1982 by English group After the Fire.

"Der Kommissar"
Falco - Der Kommissar.jpg
Single by Falco
from the album Einzelhaft
B-side"Helden Von Heute (Alles Wartet Auf) (Today's Heroes)"
Released11 December 1981
GenreSynthpop, Neue Deutsche Welle
LabelGIG, A&M
Songwriter(s)Robert Ponger, Falco
Producer(s)Robert Ponger
Falco singles chronology
"That Scene (Ganz Wien)"
"Der Kommissar"
"Auf der Flucht"
Music video
"Der Kommissar" on YouTube
"Der Kommissar" (U.S. ver.) on YouTube


"Der Kommissar" was originally written by producer Robert Ponger for Reinhold Bilgeri. Bilgeri rejected it, as he felt the song was too soft, so Falco reworked the song for himself instead.

Falco wanted to release "Helden von heute" as the main side (A-side), but the record company wanted "Der Kommissar" to be released, because they felt it had more potential. The record company decided upon a double A-side release and was vindicated when "Der Kommissar" reached No. 1 in German-speaking countries in January 1982. After this success, Falco's management decided to release "Der Kommissar" (as an A-side) in other countries as well.

The song recorded for other side of the record, the pop-rock "Helden von heute" ("heroes of today"), is a tribute to David Bowie's "Heroes". It was recorded in Berlin, Germany; Falco claimed in an interview that he went to Berlin to follow the "tracks" left there by David Bowie, with his albums "Heroes" and Low.

Music videoEdit

In the official music video for Falco's German-language version of "Der Kommissar", Falco is shown in front of a blue screen while stock footage of police cars driving the streets at night play behind him. Falco runs in place (to simulate running from the cops) while lip-synching the song.[1] Another music video for the Falco single released in Europe also exists.[2]

Chart performanceEdit

The song reached No. 74 on the US Cashbox chart in 1983[3] and did not chart on the US Billboard Hot 100 or in the UK. Falco would break through with major hits in those countries two albums later, with "Rock Me Amadeus" and "Vienna Calling" in 1986. Updated remixes of "Der Kommissar" were released by Falco in 1991, 1998, and posthumously in 2008.

After the Fire versionEdit

"Der Kommissar"
Single by After the Fire
from the album Der Kommissar a/k/a ATF
B-side"Dancing in the Shadows"
StudioThe Record Plant
New York City
GenreNew wave, pop rock
Length4:03 (single version)
5:43 (album version)
Songwriter(s)Robert Ponger, Falco, Andy Piercy
Producer(s)John Eden, After the Fire
After the Fire singles chronology
"Rich Boys"
"Der Kommissar"
"Dancing in the Shadows"
Music video
"Der Kommissar" on YouTube
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusicNo rating[20]

In mid-1982, the British rock band After the Fire recorded an English version, also called "Der Kommissar", and released it as a single, but the record floundered. Coming off a tour opening for Van Halen, After the Fire was working on material for a new album when in December 1982 the group announced onstage during a concert that they were disbanding. Both the After the Fire and Falco versions were rising on the Canadian charts at the time, but neither had cracked the US pop charts. Around that time, American pop singer Laura Branigan began working on her second album, and she recorded "Deep in the Dark", a new song written over the melody and arrangement of "Der Kommissar" which was prepared for release. Then the After the Fire version finally hit the US Billboard Hot 100 singles chart on 22 February 1983, and started rising. Though its version barely nicked their home country's Top 50, in 1983 the song's music video received extensive airplay on MTV propelling its popularity on US radio. The song entered the American Top 40 on 5 March 1983, peaked at No. 5, and remained in the Top 40 for a total of 14 weeks. The single was released under the Epic label, with a catalog number of 03559. Amidst all this renewed attention to the composition, Falco's own version, which had done well in some US markets but not charted nationally, was re-released, but the German-language record remained essentially a novelty hit there, charting concurrently with the After the Fire version but not rising above No. 74 on the Cashbox chart.[3]

In Canada, Falco's version had peaked at No. 11 the same late-January week that After the Fire's version peaked at No. 12. After the Fire's record company, CBS, pleaded with the band to regroup, but to no avail. While UK promos for "Deep in the Dark" were pressed (the After the Fire version missed the UK top 40 and the Falco version didn't even chart there), Branigan's record company, Atlantic, officially released "Solitaire" in the U.S., where that song went to No. 7.

Chart performanceEdit


Year (1983) Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[7] 12
Germany (Official German Charts)[21] 61
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 13
South Africa (Springbok) 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[23] 20
UK Singles (OCC)[24] 47
US Billboard Hot 100 5
US Billboard Disco/Dance Top 80[25] 17

Year-end chartEdit

Year-end chart (1983) Rank
US Top Pop Singles (Billboard)[26] 30

Other cover versions and tributesEdit


  1. ^ U.S. Falco music video of "Der Kommissar" at YouTube
  2. ^ European Falco music video of "Der Kommissar" at YouTube
  3. ^ a b c "Cash Box Top 100 4/23/83". Cash Box Magazine. 23 April 1983. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  4. ^ " – Falco – Der Kommissar" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  5. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 190. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  6. ^ " – Falco – Der Kommissar" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  7. ^ a b "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6194." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  8. ^ "Toutes les Chansons N° 1 des Années 80" (in French). 25 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
  9. ^ " – Falco – Der Kommissar" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Der Kommisar". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  11. ^ " – Falco – Der Kommissar". VG-lista.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Falco" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  13. ^ " – Falco – Der Kommissar" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  14. ^ " – Falco – Der Kommissar". Top 40 Singles.
  15. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  16. ^ " – Falco – Der Kommissar". Singles Top 100.
  17. ^ " – Falco – Der Kommissar". Swiss Singles Chart.
  18. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 95.
  19. ^ Mainstream Rock - Falco | Billboard
  20. ^ Stewart Mason. "Der Kommissar – After the Fire | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 April 2017.
  21. ^ " – After the Fire – Der Kommissar" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  22. ^ " – After the Fire – Der Kommissar". Top 40 Singles.
  23. ^ " – After the Fire – Der Kommissar". Singles Top 100.
  24. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  25. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974-2003. Record Research. p. 17.
  26. ^ "Talent Almanac 1984: Top Pop Singles". Billboard. Vol. 95 no. 52. 24 December 1983. p. TA-18.
  27. ^ "Pink Project – Der Kommissar (El Comisario)". Discogs (in Spanish). Retrieved 26 May 2017.