Klaus Nomi born 24 January 1944 (d. 1983)
Klaus Nomi was a German countertenor noted for remarkable vocal performances and an unusual, elfin stage persona. Nomi is remembered for bizarrely theatrical live performances, heavy make-up, unusual costumes, and a highly stylised signature hairdo which flaunted a receding hairline. His songs were equally unusual, ranging from synthesiser-laden interpretations of classic opera to covers of 1960s pop standards like Chubby Checker's The Twist and Lou Christie's Lightning Strikes.
Nomi was born Klaus Sperber in Immenstadt, Germany. His birthday is commonly observed as January 24, 1944, though the director of The Nomi Song stated at the New York City premiere of the documentary that Sperber's exact birthday is unknown.
Nomi moved from Germany to New York City in the mid-1970s. He began his involvement with the art scene based in the East Village. According to Andrew Horn's documentary film, Nomi took singing lessons and supported himself working as a pastry chef. Nomi moved in gay circles and in the performance underground.
After a chance meeting in a nightclub, David Bowie hired Nomi and drag-diva Joey Arias as back-up singers and consultants on costume design for a performance on Saturday Night Live which aired on December 14, 1979.
Nomi also collaborated with producer Man Parrish.
The 1981 rock documentary film, Urgh! A Music War features Nomi's live performance of Total Eclipse.
Many consider Nomi an important part of the 1980s East Village scene, which was a hotbed of development for punk rock, music, the visual arts, and the avant-garde. Although Nomi's work was not met with national commercial success at the time, he garnered a cult following, mainly in New York and in France.
In 2004 Andrew Horn made a feature documentary about Nomi's life, work and influence called The Nomi Song.
Nomi died on August 6, 1983 in New York City, one of the first celebrities to die of an illness complicated by AIDS.
The Nomi Song website
The middle video is Klaus Nomi's remarkable interpretation of Henry Purcell's The Cold Song from the opera King Arthur.
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