Knoll Havens achieved global success 40 years ago when it came to benefits

Knoll Havens achieved global success 40 years ago when it came to benefits

From New Zealand to France and from South America to Switzerland: Knoll Havens from Tilburg is a global hit with ‘Suzanne’. Exactly 40 years ago this month, his success with the VOF de Kunst began. So it’s time for a party: Sunday at the Tilburg Theatre. Look back in amazement, because this Brabant below came somewhere again: “I sat on a Persian carpet in Morocco with Madonna and France at my feet.”

It was clear from an early age that Knoll wanted to make music. But that doesn’t mean he will earn a living as a musician. Because Knoll actually found everything interesting. “I’m very curious about things, White does?” So when his neighbor asked a plumber for help, he did so: “We went to work in the evening. I really liked it.

In the meantime he was in contact with Ferdie Lancey. He had a studio on Koerkestraat in Tilburg. Ferdie took care of Noel and invited her to sing a song in the backing choir one evening with some friends and acquaintances. “It’s a strange song, but it’s a sweet evening.”

“We got a contract through social services.”

It was the eighties, with unemployment and mass layoffs. So young Knoll was fired from the plumbing company. Salvation came through Lancey, who came up with a plan: “We set up our own company with nine musicians. And social services allowed us to make music for two months while still receiving benefits.

That company became VOF De Kunst. There was also the music. That one song Lancey recorded with Noel in the backing choir didn’t quite fit him. Noel can’t sing? Knoll became the lead singer and recorded ‘Suzanne’.

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A month later, in November 1983, Suzanne hit #3 on the Top 40: “A Whopper of a Hit. Then records are opened that you didn’t know about. We were on television and we were recognized. Our lives are completely different.

“We had a limousine with a driver and everything was possible.”

The Netherlands did not stop with success. The record company released an English version worldwide. “I had never flown before and soon I was flying four times a week.” In 1984, ‘Susanna’ topped the French charts. “We were on the popular show ‘Champs-Elysées’. It was seen by 28 million people. We had a driver, a limousine, everything was possible.

Anything less will make your head spin. But Knoll is too humble for that. “I was a huge fan of Split Ens and was in make-up with singer Tim Finn. But that was normal back then. You always ran into each other on those TV shows. It was a normal world then, you get used to it.

So after the world victory, Knoll came home with the Concorde: “My old Renault was in the parking lot and I drove to Hilvarenbeek and then my wife: ‘Are you doing a bit of shopping?’

“You know the difference between John Mayer and you.”

Knoll never lost sight of reality: “Look in the mirror and know where you stand. We are very lucky to have a good song. You know the difference between John Mayer and you. It’s another level.”

‘A cup of coffee’ after Suzanne arrives: another big hit. Then came children’s shows with Eric von Muyswinkel and songs by Annie MG Schmidt on Sesame Street: “My kids watched TV and thought all the dads were performing on Sesame Street.”

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In fact, Knoll doesn’t like looking back. As a solo artist or photographer, he likes to constantly look for new ways to grow. But should he name a highlight? “My first pay slip. It proved that what I had always dreamed of happened while I was sitting in my living room with my guitar. Make money with music. I thought it was incredible.

The anniversary will be celebrated with two concerts at the Tilburg Theater on Sunday. At one in the afternoon, VOF De Kunst will present a program for children with Erik van Muiswinkel. and an annual show with guests at four o’clock.

Knoll will be a guest on ‘KRAAK asks through’ on Wednesday. Watch again from 5.15pm on Omrop Brabant TV. The program can be viewed online and via Brabant+.

English version of Suzanne by VOF de Kunst (Institute of Arts).

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Susannah also had a big hit with Ricky Martin’s version:

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