Bobbejaan Schoepen

Bobbejaan ( Bobby Jaan Bobbejaan Schoepen or ), civil Modest Schoepen Hyppoliet Joanna ( born May 16, 1925 in Boom, Belgium, † 17 May, 2010 Turnhout ) was a Belgian singer and entertainer and one of the first European representative of country music. He was the founder of the Belgian theme park Bobbejaanland. Bobbejaan received during his career 25 times the gold record.

Bobbejaan was a classically trained singer and guitarist and art piper. His stage name came from the South African song Bobbejaan klim the mountain. " Bobbejaan " is Afrikaans for baboon, and this title means " The baboon climbs the mountain". He has sold more than five million records from such diverse areas as cabaret, film soundtracks, chansons, country and folk music scoring his 482 title repertoire.


Bobbejaan grew up with five siblings in Belgium. After school he learned blacksmith, after his father had been a blacksmith. As a young man he performed in a theater group in his home village and was known as regionally. In 1943 he made ​​his debut with a performance at the Ancienne Belgique, Antwerp. Before a full house, he never sang the South African song Neen mom, 'n Duitseman that wil ek. Want Pork dat ek lus never ( "No mom, I do not want a German, for pork, I do not like " ), whereupon the Nazis led him away, and the Ancienne Belgique remained closed for three weeks.

In 1948, he was able to resume his first record in Belgium De yodel end Fluiter with Django Reinhardt in his orchestra. This he received performances at various radio broadcasts. In 1948, he played for the U.S. Army during the Nuremberg Trials. 1949 went Bobbejaan with the Dutch army on a concert tour to Indonesia, later he toured with Josephine Baker, Caterina Valente, Gilbert Becaud and Toots Thielemans, who played in 1951 as a guitarist in his orchestra. 1953 brought him further tours to the USA, where he performed, among others, one of the first Europeans on the Grand Ole Opry. In 1954, he appeared in Scandinavia and Iceland. In January 1955 Jacques Brel played in the Brussels Ancienne Belgique for a week in his opening act, in September 1955 Bobbejaan toured through several cities in Germany and in October of the same year by the Congo.

1957 brought him again toured in the United States, where he appeared among others in the Ed Sullivan show. In the same year Bobbejaan took part in the Grand Prix of Belgium Euro Vision Song Contest and reached with his song Straatdeuntje the 8th Place. In 1958 he played at the Gala Ball of the British Queen Mum.

1959 Bobbejaan sang before the popular German composer Peter Kreuder. Then he got a record deal in Germany and released as the first single I stand at the bar and have no money, a cover version of A Pub With No Beer of the Australian Slim Dusty. The title came in 1960 in the charts and remained there for 30 weeks. The song was a number -one hit in Belgium and Austria.

Bobbejaan toured in Belgium with his own show in a circus tent, 1958-1961 Bobbejaan played 1950-1967 in five films, including two in Germany. O sole mio (1960) and of which all dream girl ( 1961).

After this success Bobbejaan published in Germany in the years to come more Title: I cry in my beer (1960), Kili Watch ( 1961) and I have reverence for snow-white hair, the 1963 version of Camillo rims, and 1971 was successful in the version of Elton John ( Dear Mother ). Including the instrumental version of James Last, more than three million copies have gone over the counter. In 1965, hits followed in France with Je me suis souvent demandé ( Richard Anthony ), and 1974 in the U.S. with Fire and blister at Tex Williams.


1959 to 1961 he was in the Belgian wetland Kasterlee the Bobbejaanland build. At the center of the park stood Water and variety, among other things stood Bobbejaan with Ilse Werner, Rex Gildo and Michael Holm on stage. On the advice of Phantasialand - owner Gottlieb spoon Hard Bobbejaanland was expanded in 1975 to an amusement park and developed in the Benelux countries and the border areas of France and Germany to the tourist attraction. 2004 sold Bobbejaan among other health reasons the park on a Spanish group.

Last years

2005 Bobbejaan had four brief appearances in the context of the literature festival Saint Amour. On 13 February 2007, he was honored in Belgium for his musical life's work with the ZAMU Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2006, he worked after having overcome colon cancer in a new music project in which Geikie Arnaert ( Hooverphonic ), Axelle Red and DAAN of Dead Man Ray participated, this album - Bobbejaan - was published in May 2008 in Belgium.

In July 2008 he was inducted as an art Pfeifer in the U.S. Whistlers Hall of Fame.

Bobbejaan was married to the opera singer Josée Jongen since 1961 and had five children.


  • Deed of courage and self-sacrifice for the musical support of Dutch front-line fighters in Indonesia, 1949
  • Education Artistique, Diplôme de Croix de Chevalier d'Honneur, Paris 1965
  • Platinum plate for 30 years hits Telstar Holland 1978
  • Knights of the Crown, Belgium 1986
  • SABAM Medal, Belgium in 1993 and 1995
  • Certificate of the Order of Leopold II, Belgium 1995
  • Inclusion in the "Hall of Fame" of Radio2, Belgium 2000
  • ZAMU Lifetime Achievement Award, Belgium 2007
  • Inclusion in the " Whistlers Hall of Fame" in 2008
  • Officer of the Crown, Belgium 2009

Filmography (selection)

  • Oh! It's So Good to Be Home 1950
  • Dream of all girls, 1961