b. 19 September 1941, Zurich, Switzerland. Hinnen displayed musical talent at an early age. He studied bass and piano at music school and at 14, he had also appeared in three films. He learned guitar and became interested in traditional Swiss folk music (Volksmusik) and especially in yodelling. His first record release, ‘Columbus Boogie’, was on a Polydor 78 in 1955. By 1959, he was working as a singer, yodeller and instrumentalist with a folk band but also visited the USA, where he appeared on New York’sRadio City Music Hall. He made two further visits to America in 1961 (when he appeared on a show with Judy Garland) and 1962. He enjoyed country music success in German-speaking countries with ‘Auf Meiner Ranch Bin Ich Konig’ (‘El Rancho Grande’) and ‘Siebentausend Rinder’ (‘Seven Thousand Cattle’) and clearly demonstrated his yodelling skills with his own composition ‘Mein Pferd Tonky’ (‘My Horse Tonky’), which he based on the melody of Elton Britt’s ‘Chime Bells’. These numbers later appeared on a 16-track country album. During the mid-60s, he had 15 Top 10 hits. He toured extensively and appeared on television in Europe and even Japan. He recorded a live album of Swiss folk music at Zurich’s famous Kindli venue, which gained a UK release through the World Record Club and clearly demonstrated his outstanding yodelling ability. In 1967, tiring of the hectic life style, he decided to take things easier. Resisting offers to play in Las Vegas and the London Palladium, he became a band leader. In 1990, he was persuaded to record an album of yodelling songs. He re-recorded some of his old hits, including ‘Siebentausend Rinder’, with more modern backing and the resultant success of the recordings saw him coaxed back into the entertainment business. In 1991, he undertook a 54-concert tour that saw him play to large audiences at venues in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On 9 February 1992, in Zurich, he gained a place in theGuinness Book Of Records as the World’s most rapid yodeller, when he yodelled 22 tones (15 falsetto) in one second. (This may sound totally impossible but the event was seemingly officially witnessed by Norris McWhirter.) The success of the tour saw him return to the public appearance circuits and, at the time of writing, he continues to record. The material is mainly country but naturally the yodel is never far away.
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