DJ Ötzi

Few Austrians have made as much of a stir in the pop music world as DJ Ötzi, otherwise known as Gerry Friedle. The bleached blond from Tyrol became a sensation in late 2001 by turning classic party songs into dance tracks, winning loads of fans and selling millions of singles in the process. But his work has also earned him plenty of scorn from the media, especially in the U.K., with some journalists labeling his music as overtly disposable. Friedle's initial goal in life was to be a farmer; a plan he was forced to abandon due to a fear of cows. He then tried his hand as a cook, but gave that up for a life as a tramp. Fortunately, his vagabond existence didn't last long; he discovered a passion for playing music and singing, and eventually became a DJ in the Austrian countryside. Testicular cancer threatened Ötzi's life in 1998, but he beat the illness and went on to launch a career as a recording artist. His first single, "Anton Aus Tyrol," was a massive hit throughout Central Europe in 2000. The following year, he pushed Madonna from the number one spot in the German singles charts with "Hey Baby (Uhh, Ahh)." That song went on to have a magnificent run in charts all over Europe -- including the U.K., where it stole the number one spot from Bob the Builder -- while Ötzi went on to launch a brand of flavored milk. "Do Wah Diddy" was the Austrian entertainer's next single; much like its predecessor, it charted all over Europe, including the U.K. Ötzi continued to issue uplifting dance anthems like "Burger Dance" (2003), "Sieben Sunden" (2006), and "Ein Stern" (2007), which all hit the Top Three in his native Austria. In 2008, Ötzi scored his second number one album with Hotel Engel. Subsequent albums like Du und Ich and Der DJ Aus den Bergen would not chart as high, but Ötzi returned to the top of the Austrian charts in 2012 with Simply the Best, a collaboration with the Bellamy Brothers, and Es Ist Zeit, his 2013 full-length that broke into the Top Ten in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. In 2017, he released his 16th album, Von Herzen, which featured the single "Geboren um Dich zu Lieben" with Nik P. ~ David Peter Wesolowski

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