A German institution, the rock band Bap were formed in 1976 by the Cologne-based singer/songwriter/activist Wolfgang Niedecken.
Niedecken was already well-known as Cologne's answer to Bob Dylan before he began Bap, partly because of his acoustic guitar and harmonica, but mostly because of his poignant, socially aware lyrics. Listening to the Rolling Stones and the Kinks influenced him to form a band. He named the band Bap after a nickname he took to avoid using his father's surname. Niedecken's turbulent relationship with his father lasted up until his father was on his deathbed. Their bittersweet reconciliation would become the topic of Bap's defining song, "Verdamp Lang Her," a staple of the group's live set that featured a Bruce Springsteen-styled monologue that would change a little each night. A single with 11 different versions of the song culled from live recordings over the years was released in 2005 (Springsteen and Niedecken had met in the '80s, eventually becoming good friends). In 2002 revered director Wim Wenders made Viel Passiert -- Der BAP Film, a documentary about Bap in the style of his earlier film Buena Vista Social Club. In 2006, a new Bap with Niedecken as the only original member finished their "greatest hits tour" by performing three sold-out nights in their hometown of Cologne. In 2008 they released Radio Pandora, a collection of their hits recorded "unplugged" and "plugged" and continuing with the live releases, the album Live und in Farbe (Live and in Color) was released in 2009. A long-awaited studio album - Halv su wild (Half as Wild) - was released in 2011. ~ David Jeffries