Alphaville is a German synthpop group which gained popularity in the 1980s. The founding members were Marian Gold, Bernhard Lloyd and Frank Mertens. The band was at first named Forever Young before changing to Alphaville. They are best known for their two biggest hits, "Big in Japan" and "Forever Young".
Alphaville originally began as a band in early 1982, where Marian Gold and Bernhard Lloyd met each other at the music project Nelson Community. Some months later Frank Mertens joined the project and together the three established Forever Young and had written on their first demo of the same name. In 1984, the newly-renamed Alphaville released their debut single "Big in Japan", which Gold wrote in 1979 after he heard the music of Holly Johnson's earlier band Big in Japan. In autumn 1984 they released their debutalbum Forever Young. Despite its success, Frank Mertens left the band that year and was replaced by Ricky Echolette in January 1985 – already credited in the "Forever Young" album.
"Big In Japan" was Alphaville's biggest hit, topping the charts in Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Sweden and the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart and reached the Top Five in Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Ireland and South Africa. It also became the group's only Top 20 single in the UK, peaking at #8.
The band's next two singles, "Sounds Like a Melody" and "Forever Young", were also both European Top 5 successes, although the former track failed to make an impression on the American charts.
In 1986, their second album, Afternoons in Utopia, was successfully released and its first single "Dance with Me" was a big international hit, reaching the Top 20 in Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and South Africa, and number 25 in Austria. The LP was followed up in 1989 with The Breathtaking Blue, including the highly acclaimed singles (if not so successful chart hits) "Romeos" and "Mysteries of Love".
The next album, Prostitute, was not released until 1994. In 1996, Ricky Echolette left the band. Salvation, a back-to-the-root opus, followed in 1997. Stark Naked and Absolutely Live was released in 2000, followed by the remix album, Forever Pop the following year. A DVD – Little America – was released in 2001 documenting two concerts performed in Salt Lake City, Utah. Bernhard Lloyd did not contribute to the CrazyShow album, and shortly after its release on March 18, 2003, he officially left the group.