THE SHORT STORY OF MICHAEL LEARNS TO ROCK
Someday in 2013 it would be exactly 25 years ago, since Michael Learns To Rock played their first-ever gig in Aarhus in Denmark, the hometown of the band.
Since then, lots of classic songs have been rotated on radio stations around the world. Hundreds of concerts have been played and millions of albums have been sold all over the globe. Noteworthy and worth celebrating: Michael Learns To Rock still continues to write and record these characteristic and melodic songs, that keep them on the road and on air some 25 years since the beginning.
With a global record sales of 11 million physical albums since the debut album in 1991, more than 6 million paid downloads, estimated 50 million video views on YouTube and more than 1 million plays on Last.FM, the Michael Learns To Rock story is not only one of the most successful to ever come out of Denmark, but also a story of an exception: their way to success has never been about scandals, divorce, drugs or any extreme way of living. It has always been about the music! The secret about Michael Learns To Rock is simply their incredible gift to write, record and play great pop songs and get them through to people all over the world.
Michael Learns To Rock was formed in the spring of 1988 by singer and keyboard player JASCHA RICHTER (born 1963), drummer KÅRE WANSCHER (born 1969), guitarist MIKKEL LENTZ (born 1968) and bassist SØREN MADSEN (born 1967). In that summer the band won a local talent competition and started out on a nearly-two-years-long tour around Denmark. Playing wherever possible, winning an ever-growing audience and having both talent and musical skills, the songs sharpened along the way. After months of hard work in the studio, the band released their self-titled debut album in September 1991. Among the fine songs on the album is the smash hit “The Actor” that got wall-to-wall airplay from Danish radio stations and helped the album reach the top of the Danish sales chart in January 1992. Later that year “The Actor” wemt #1 on the charts in Norway, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. The next year, the band toured intensively in Denmark and visited new friends in Asia. Along the way, Jascha Richter wrote songs for their second album “Colours”, released in October 1993. Great ballads like “Sleeping Child” and “25 Minutes” are the main singles that secured combined albums sales passing the 1 million mark.
Michael Learns To Rock toured Europe and Asia in the next couple of years and in 1995, their third album “Played On Pepper”, is released all over Scandinavia and in Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, France, Italy, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, the United Arab Emirates and 11 countries in Southeast Asia. October of that same year saw the bansd on a huge Asian tour, with 25 concerts in 10 countries. “That´s Why (You Go Away)” and “Someday” were new hits and “Played On Pepper” ended up selling more than 1,2 million albums. In 1996, “Paint My Love” was released. It was a greatest hits album exclusive for South East Asia. The album ended up selling more than 3,4 million copies – and made the band one of the biggest international acts ever in countries like South Korea, Thailand and Malaysia. The up-tempo hit “Something You Should Know” led the way for the fourth studio album “Nothing To Lose” which was released in 1997. The albums turned the band into superstars in South Africa. When Michael Learns To Rock played in Johannesburg and Pretoria in January 1998, the critics wrote: “This is as good (if not better!) a band as any current big name group out of America or the UK.”
“Greatest Hits” is a well-chosen title for an international collection of the band’s hits, out in 1999. Same year Søren Madsen left MLTR. Kåre, Jascha and Mikkel decided to continue as a trio, releasing their fifth studio album “Blue Night” in 2000. Early 2001, MLTR embarked on a five week tour covering Dubai, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and China. The tour was for promotion of the compilation “19 Love Songs”, which was only released in Asia and included then-new single “The Ghost Of You”. 2002 is a year-off for the three remaining members of the band, who are all working on individual projects, including the first solo album from Jascha, “Planet Blue”.
In 2004, the sixth studio album was released. Originally titled “Michael Learns To Rock” and later released in Asia as “Take Me To Your Heart”. The latter title was taken from the album’s lead single, a re-make of popular Chinese singer Jacky Cheung´s “Goodbye Kiss”. 2005 saw the band back in Asia, playing concerts in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam and China (a gig in the pit during the Formula 1 race in Shanghai). Michael Learns To Rock also returned to India for the first time since 1996, with shows in Bangalore, Mumbai and Shillong. “Take Me To Your Heart” became another huge hit – and by the end of 2006 it was rewarded with the prize of “Most-downloaded song of 2006”, after more than 6 million paid downloads.
In 2007 MLTR released “The Live Adventures of Michael Learns to Rock” – a tour de force of hit singles played live. The seventh studio album “Eternity” was out in 2008, the first album with Mikkel Lentz being the sole producer. The album included the Thailand #1 single “Sweetest Surprise” and the more surprising Asian hit “It´s Gonna Make Sense”, getting very popular when used in Philippine reality show “Pinoy Big Brother”. To mark their northern roots, studio album number eight is titled “Scandinavia”. Released in 2012 it comes with new potential classics as “Renovate My Life” and “Any Way You Want It” (with the video shot in Kathmandu, Nepal).
From 2007 to 2012 Michael Learns to Rock have played another 87 concerts in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Denmark, China, India and Singapore. And more than 20 years into their career, new markets are still opening for the band, with first time concerts in Nepal (2011) and Bangladesh (2012). The total number of concerts the band has done is approaching 500 – and there is no sign of them stopping…
Find more information in details here: Wikipedia