Trio The Band: Their Greatest Hit

Published on November 29th, 2010 in: Issues, Music, Retrovirus, Three Of A Perfect Pair |

By Emily Carney

Trio is a band generally known for two momentous things. First, they were obviously a trio (consisting of singer Stephan Remmler, guitarist Gert Krawinkel, and drummer Peter Behrens). Second, they had one of the biggest hits of 1982, even if you’ve never heard of them before reading this little tribute.

Trio were associated with the Neue Deutsche Welle (NDW) movement in Germany in the early 1980s, but they had more in common with the often-hilarious Belgian synth-pop group Telex (another trio!) than the sex-and-muscle obsessed DAF. Trio generally did simple, fun pop songs that stuck to the listener’s gut like glue. A prime example of their music is their greatest hit, named in its entirety, “Da Da Da I Don’t Love You You Don’t Love Me Aha Aha Aha” (generally known as “Da Da Da” to listeners).


A video of Trio “performing” their big hit in 1982 shows the group to be exhausted and inactive at best, which makes this video all the more charming. They all look a bit hungover, like they had a long night and had to get up early for this green-screened video shoot.

Trio, performance-wise, were the polar opposite of DAF, although I can draw a lot of parallels between the DAF sound and the Trio sound: both bands used mechanical sounding drumbeats/synths and sometimes childishly simple German lyrics, which I suppose are hallmarks of the NDW movement. The very best part of this video occurs when singer Stephan Remmler busts out what looks like a microscopic early 1980s Casio keyboard and starts playing a cheesy little melody. I think I had at least two of these keyboards as a kid, and it’s nice to see an actual band use them to a good effect on a real pop hit. God only knows why these guys never made it to the Eurovision Song Contest.

As unbelievable as this sounds, Trio were probably among the biggest breakout stars of the NDW movement, along with Peter Schilling of “Major Tom” fame and Nena and her band (“99 Luftballons”). “Da Da Da” became a hit internationally and sold approximately 13 million copies worldwide. It was nice to see that their investment in the Casio corporation paid off so handsomely. After 1982, the hype surrounding “Da Da Da” dissolved somewhat, and Trio themselves disappeared off the map after breaking up in the mid-1980s. All they left were some more minor hits and various greatest hits compilations.

Fast forward to the mid-1990s, and “alternative rock” was all the rage. Some advertising executive decided to use “Da Da Da” for Volkswagen’s “Stinky Couch” commercial. Suddenly this song became a very zeitgeist-y thing given the commercial’s success (and the time period—the song somehow fit into the mid-1990s “new wave of new wave” ethos), and Trio was back in the mainstream again. Cover versions poured forth. There are really too many to mention for one article, but the most memorable versions were by Elastica, who gave the song some bad ass chick rock swagger and fellow 1980s German star Herbert Groenemeyer. When this song became big again in the 1990s, I was still a teenager and had no clue that the song had been released in 1982. Trio’s sound hadn’t dated at all, and they still sound pretty contemporary in 2010.

So, if you get bored or hungover, raise your glass to Trio and have a 1980s NDW dance party. Remember to insert some songs by Telex in there to keep the party going—but I digress, Telex deserves an article all their own.

One Response to “Trio The Band: Their Greatest Hit”

  1. Emily FanFanFan:
    November 30th, 2010 at 1:26 am

    They were thought to be highly strung out on drugs when they came to these parts that year.

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