Dutch singer Anneke Gronloh represented the Netherlands at the Eurovision Song contest in 1964. In Copenhagen, she performed the song “Jij Bent Mijn Leven” (You are my life) and placed tenth. Earlier in 2017, she decided to end her career after 60 years in the music industry.
Her management released a statement Sunday morning announcing that the singer passed away on the 14th of September, after a long illness.
Anneke was born in Indonesia and grew up in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. Her father, a Dutch officer, was locked up during that time, before she was born. Only after the war would she meet her father for the first time. The family moved to the Netherlands, where they settled in the city of Eindhoven. There she started her musical career at the age of 16. She started in local bands and school bands, but would soon have bigger hits, national and international.
Highlights of her career
Anneke had many highlights in her career. She was popular in her earlier years in the Netherlands, Germany, former Yugoslavia and Asia, especially in Singapore and Malaysia. She sang in different languages and earned gold and platinum disks in several countries.
In the Netherlands, she managed to have four No.1 hits in a row. She also holds several Guinness records, including the longest stay in a music chart (37 months) and, most No.1 hits in a row. It is said that she sold a record of 30 million singles worldwide, but this amount has been topic of dispute.
Social involvement: Aids and the gay community
During her life, Anneke became a known face in the movement for gay rights and acceptance of people with Aids. In 1994, she performed at the second edition the Dutch Homo-expo — an expo with focus only on the LGTB community. A part of the profit goes to the Aids Fund.
In 1997 she recorded a duet with Lucas Vermaat, member of the HIV association of the province of Limburg. The single was released on World Aids Day. The gay community awarded her the yearly honour title of Queen Mother of the Dutch Gay. She also got the Golden Triangle, a prize for people dedicated to the cause of gay rights.
Anneke Gronloh was chosen to represent the Netherlands at Eurovision in 1964 in Copenhagen. In the Dutch national song contest, she sang three songs and an internal Dutch jury chose eventually “Jij Bent Mijn Leven” as the song she would sing in Copenhagen.
The two other songs of the national final where “Weer zingt de wind” (Again sings the wind) and “De Vliegende Hollander” (The Flying Dutchmen). Anneke ended up placing 10th in a total of 16 contenders. She was a novelty in being one of the first artists with non-European roots to represent a country at Eurovision.
Her later years
Anneke has been in the music business for 60 years. In the autumn of 2017, she was forced to end her career as health problems made it difficult for her to perform any longer and she had been performing for a while with an oxygen tank on stage.
In August 2017 she said a final goodbye to the audience, performing at the music event De Nacht Van Johnny Hoes, an event to celebrate the life of Dutch producer/singer Johnny Hoes. Anneke gave the last ever performance of the song “Brandend Zand” (Burning sand) The song had been her biggest hit and was written by Johnny Hoes.
Anneke passed away age 76 in her house in France. The wiwibloggs team offers our deepest condolences to Anneke’s family and friends.