Nina Hagen

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Nina Hagen

Who is Nina Hagen:

Catharina Hagen (born on March 11, 1955) is a singer from East Berlin, Germany

Date of birth / dead: born on March 11, 1955 / still alive

Relation to Rammstein:

Most recently, she did a cover of Rammstein’s Seemann with Apocalyptica.


Nina’s parents were Hans Oliva and Eva Maria Hagen, a Jewish scriptwriter and an actress. Oliva died when Nina was still a child, and her mother married Wolf Biermann, a singer/songwriter. Nina left school in the 10th grade and joined a cover band. Biermann, something of a revolutionary, was kicked out of East Germany, and Hagen followed suit. Eventually she formed the band Automobil, which released a well-received album in Germany. By 1977, Hagen had formed her own band, the Nina Hagen Band.

During a subsequent European tour Hagen decided to leave the band, though she was still under contract to produce a second album in 1979. This LP, Unbehagen (which in German also means discomfort or unease), was eventually produced with the band recording their tracks in Berlin and Hagen recording the vocals in Los Angeles, California. It included the single “African Reggae” and a cover of Lene Lovich’s “Lucky Number”. (The headless Nina Hagen Band soon developed a successful independent musical career as Spliff.)

Meanwhile, Hagen’s public persona was steadily creating an increasing media uproar, and she became infamous for an appearance on an Austrian talk show called Club 2, in which she performed an explicit simulation of masturbation. She also acted with Dutch sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll legend Herman Brood in the movie Cha Cha.

A European tour with a new band in 1980 was cancelled, but in 1982 her first solo album NunSexMonkRock, a dissonant mix of punk, funk and opera, was a minor hit, and led to a world tour with the No Problem Orchestra.

In 1983 came the album Angstlos and a minor European tour. By this time, Hagen’s public appearances were becoming yet stranger, and over the years frequently included discussions of God, UFOs, her social and political beliefs, animal rights and vivisection and claims of alien sightings. The English version of Angstlos, Fearless, generated two major club hits in America , “Zarah,” and the disco/punk/opera classic, “New York New York.”

1985’s Nina Hagen In Ekstasy fared less well, but did generate club hits with “Universal Radio” and a cover of “Spirit In The Sky,” and also featured her hardcore punk take on Frank Sinatra’s “My Way,” which had been one of her signature live tunes in previous years. Her contract with CBS over, she released the Punk Wedding EP independently in 1987, a celebration of her marriage to an 18-year old punk. It followed an independent 1986 one-off single with Lene Lovich, the anthemic “Don’t Kill The Animals.”

In 1989 Hagen released the album Nina Hagen which was backed up by another German tour. Now living in Paris with her daughter Cosma Shiva, in 1991 she toured Europe in support of her new album Street.

In 1992 Hagen became the host of a TV show on RTLplus. The following year she released Revolution Ballroom and two years later the German-language album Freud Euch appeared, recorded in English as Beehappy in 1996. Also in 1996, Hagen collaborated with electronic music composer Christopher Franke on “Alchemy of Love”, the theme song for the Tenchi Universe movie Tenchi Muyo! in Love.

In 1998, Hagen became the host of a weekly science fiction show on the British Sci-Fi-Channel, in addition to embarking on another tour of Germany. In 1999, she released the devotional album Om Namah Shivay, which was distributed exclusively online. She also sang “Witness” on KMFDM’s Adios.

In 2000, her song Schön ist die Welt became the official song of Expo 2000. The album The Return of the Mother was released in February 2001, accompanied by another German tour.

Hagen dubbed the voice of Sally in the German release of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and she has also done voice work in Hot Dogs by Michael Schoemann.

Hagen has been featured on many songs by other bands, for instance on Oomph!’s song Fieber. Most recently, she did a cover of Rammstein’s Seemann with Apocalyptica. She sang the song “Garota de Berlim” with Brazilian singer Supla in her early years.

Her two children are Cosma Shiva and Otis.


  1. She’s a freak, and that’s what I love about her. And she does a hell of a cover song for “Seemann”.


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