Lena Valaitis

Lena Valaitis (born September 7, 1943) is a Lithuanian-German Schlager singer. She had her greatest success during the 1970s and 1980s and competed in three Eurovision Song Contests.

Valaitis was born in Memel (Klaipėda), in 1943 part of the reclaimed Memel Territory of East Prussia, Germany, now in Lithuania. Her father, a soldier of the Wehrmacht, was killed during World War II. At the end of the war, Valaitis, her mother, and her brother arrived as refugees in West Germany. She first attended Volksschule in Memmingen and then the “Lithuanian Gymnasium Hüttenfeld”) in Hüttenfeld, Hesse. Valaitis left for training with the Deutsche Bundespost in Frankfurt, where she received private singing lessons.

Valaitis has one son, Marco (born 1973), from her first marriage. In 1979, she married actor Horst Jüssen, with whom she had her second son, Don David (born 1983). Valaitis currently lives in Munich, Bavaria.

Valaitis began her musical career by joining the band Frederik Brothers. She signed a record contract with Philips in 1970 and released her first single, “Halt das Glück für uns fest”, on June 13, 1970. She made her first television appearance in the same year, appearing on ZDF-Drehscheibe, a musical program on ZDF. Valaitis achieved her first hit with 1971’s “Ob es so oder so, oder anders kommt”. Under the production of Jack White, she hits in the following years with “So wie ein Regenbogen”, “Bonjour mon amour”, and “Wer gibt mir den Himmel zurück”.

In 1976, Valaitis reached the Top 20 of the German singles chart for the first time with “Da kommt José der Straßenmusikant” and “Ein schöner Tag”, a German version of “Amazing Grace”. She sang “Du machst karriere” in the German finals of the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest, achieving seventh place. She also sang the chanson in the 1977 feature film Der Mädchenkrieg (de).

Valaitis is perhaps best known for her performance in the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Ireland. She represented Germany with the song “Johnny Blue”, which finished second to the British entry, “Making Your Mind Up” by Bucks Fizz. In the following years she made additional recordings, including a duet with the Greek-born German singer Costa Cordalis in 1984.

Her last Eurovision attempt was in 1992 with “Wir sehen uns wieder”, which came third in the German selection show, Ein Lied Für Malmö. Valaitis left show business in the end of 1993, but began releasing new material in the 2000s. She released “Ich lebe für den Augenblick” in 2001 and “Was kann ich denn dafür”, a duet with the Austrian singer Hansi Hinterseer, in 2002. Valaitis recorded another duet with Hinterseer, ““Muss i’ denn zum Städtele hinaus”” (the folk song on which Wooden Heart was based), in summer 2006.

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