Record label

The Coconut Records success story begins in 1973 when Karin Hartmann, a student of German philology and advertising graduate, meets law student Tony Hendrik in Cologne.
The two music fans exchange information about music productions, trends and sounds. Then Karin starts her job in the marketing department of an insurance company. Here she meets 16-year-old Bernd Althof, a heartthrob whom girls adore. The first collaboration with Tony begins, as Karin’s idea is to rejuvenate an old music tune by having a young artist sing a modernized version of a traditional “polka” song – a genre hugely successful at the time – and voilà: Bernd Althof becomes Dennie Christian, and his “Rosamunde” song reaches second place in the German charts right behind famous Udo Juergens “Griechischer Wein (Greek Wine)”: 300,000 pieces of vinyl are sold, and “Rosamunde” appears on many compilations. This project marks Karin Hartmann’s entry into the music business.

Coconut Records is founded in Hennef in 1981, and later its own recording studio is added under the same roof. The “dream duo” Hartmann / Hendrik produces hits for the likes of Andreas Martin, Wolfgang Petry, and also for English-speaking acts such as A La Carte, Bad Boys Blue, Haddaway, Soultans, Chyp-Notic, Londonbeat and Weather Girls for over 20 years. In January 2007 Tony & Karin sell their label to Coconut Music Ltd. & Co. KG with connection to an international group of investors, who now continue under the “Coconut Music” umbrella.

When asked about her success strategy, Karin Hartmann says: “I guess it just worked. Tony with his soulful hit melodies, and then I with my vision, ideas and contacts.” The career of trio Bad Boys Blue also starts in Cologne. In 1985 the first single “You’re a Woman” (produced and composed by Hendrik / Hartmann) reaches # 8 on the German single charts.
Artists for Coconut Records are sought through casting, like the girls’ band A La Carte from London, or are discovered at live shows. Andreas Martin recommends a singer to Karin and Tony: “He sings just great, but somehow is too timid to go public.” The shy guy is Wolfgang Petry, then performing at the local club “Whiskey Bill” with a band. Karin and Tony sign him, successfully producing a total of 20 singles and 7 LPs until 1984.

In addition, Karin cold-calls artists such as Jimmy Helms (Londonbeat) and offers a deal. Or asks singer Haddaway, who tapes demos in the Coconut recording studio, if he is interested to sing lead vocals for “What Is Love” – ​​the production becomes a worldwide hit with over 8 million sales. Karin sums it up: “Seizing opportunities and being creative is probably the most important thing in this business. And you can find the right hit sound when you stay up to date at all times”. That truly is the secret of Coconut Records’ success – then and now.

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