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Rolf Kempf: Press

From 'The Independant" - www.independent.co.uk
Writer - Rober Webb
"HELLO, HURRAY" JUDY COLLINS / ALICE COOPER Alice Cooper's third Top Ten, a hit in 1973, is as strong as a python and as camp as smudged mascara. "Hello, Hurray" was written on a borrowed guitar beside a swimming pool in a house in Laurel Canyon, LA, in 1968. Its composer, Ontario folk singer Rolf Kempf, recalls: "I was there for the lack of anywhere else to go, since my band had broken up and gone back to Canada, and all my belongings had been stolen, including my guitar." Fellow folkie Judy Collins came around, seeking material for her next album. "She really liked 'Hello, Hurray', although it seemed out of character at the time. But she recorded it and did a great job".
It's the life-affirming introduction to her celebrated folk-rock set Who Knows Where The Time Goes?, produced by David Anderle and featuring guest artists James Burton, Stephen Stills and Van Dyke Parks. Collins warbles like a whitethroat through lines later dropped by Cooper: "Hello, hurray, let the lights grow dim, I've been ready/Ready as the rain to fall, just to fall again/Ready as a man to be born, only to be born again".
The song has a spiritual purpose, as Kempf explains: "My inspiration was the concept of self-renewal and re-invention to help me through a frustrating period of my life. And it has helped in more ways than one." Detroit's ophiophilic shock-rocker first heard "Hello, Hurray" through his producer, Bob Ezrin, who met Kempf at a Toronto party. Released as a single, it reached Number Six in the UK and became the opener to Cooper's extravagant stage show. It's the least depraved track on Cooper's glam-dram classic, Billion Dollar Babies. "Roll out, roll out with your American dream and its recruits, I've been ready" taunts a goulish Cooper. "The whole idea behind the album," said Alice at the time, "is to exploit the idea that everyone has sick perversions. But they've got to be American perversions; we're very nationalistic, you know."
Kempf was delighted with Cooper's definitive rendition. "He got the emotional essence of the tune right, and added a tag to bring it home." Kempf included a puissant version of his most famous song, with string arrangement, on his 2002 album Daydreamer.
Robert Webb
"Rolf's tunes wrapped me in a warm reverie and had me swaying on the dance floor..." - RC, 2004
More reviews are on the way
Robert Webb - The Independant..UK (May 15, 2002)
Woody is deep. Sure has a Impressionistic style. Full of surprises that propels

author: www.cdbaby.com/rolandbowman
Well Woody is a pretty good size textbook of ideas. He utilizes tonality both emotionaly and scientifically. The kinda music that can take you for a ride somewhere you never experienced. I been on nine since i spun it about 5 songs ago. wtg dawg. you da bomb home boy! roland bowman from east part of virginny
Roland Bowman - CDBaby Customer (Sep 13, 2010)

Brigs wrote: "Great to have yer good company, yer good sir :) Wishing yer all sorts of outlandish accomplishments with yer chimerical crucible of jazzy genius, Cheers, yer star Brigs, and all us Super Punk Muffins :)"

Brigs PunkMuffin - Brigs (Oct 17, 2010)
Year Inducted: 2016
Era Inducted To: Modern Era
Written In:1968
Lyricist(s):Rolf Peter Kempf
Composer(s):Rolf Peter Kempf

At first glance, it may seem that shock-rocker Alice Cooper and folk singer and peace activist Judy Collins have little in common – yet they both recorded the same song, Rolf Kempf’s haunting Hello, Hooray; Collins first in 1968, and Cooper a few years later.

Songwriter Rolf Kempf had moved from Toronto to Los Angeles to aid his burgeoning music career, but his band soon decamped, and to make matters worse, someone had stolen his guitar. Reflecting on these events, jamming on a borrowed guitar beside a swimming pool, he composed Hello, Hooray, a song about reinventing oneself after hard times. A few days later, Judy Collins stopped by, looking for new songs to extend her folk-singer boundaries. Kempf offered his newest creation. “I fell in love with it the moment I heard it,” Collins declared in her memoirs.

Thus it was that Collins, with Elektra Records producer David Anderle, came to record Hello, Hooray on her 1968 folk-pop album “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” (along with a few other Canadian classics: Ian Tyson’s Someday Soon and Leonard Cohen’s Bird on a Wire).

The lyrics Collins sang were Kempf’s original words about renewing the spirit at those times when you have to pick yourself up and start over (“Ready as a man to be born, only to be born again”), with a hint at Eastern mysticism and reincarnation, in this life or the next. Here’s where it gets really interesting: Rocker Alice Cooper (the stage name of Vincent Furnier) heard the potential for the lines “Let the show begin/Let the lights grow dim” to directly address his concert audiences. So, he added his own lyrics about the special dynamic between a star and his fans. Songwriter Kempf, far from objecting to the liberties, was delighted with the new lyrics. “He got the emotional essence of the tune right, and added a tag to bring it home,” the composer said.

Alice Cooper recorded his arena-rock interpretation of Hello, Hooray as the opening song on his 1973 “Billion Dollar Babies” album, produced by Bob Ezrin (later a Canadian Music Hall of Famer and Juno-winner), with Steve Hunter providing a slide-guitar solo. Warner Brothers Records released the 45-rpm single (Warner 7673) with Generation Landslide on the B side. Cooper’s single took an early start at No. 2 on “Billboard” magazine’s Pop Picks column for 20 January 1973, and in March peaked at No. 35 on Billboard’s Top 40 chart.

Hello, Hooray was even more popular in the United Kingdom, where the single peaked at No. 6 in February 1973, and was No. 66 overall for that year. The single was also competitive in Canada, featuring for over 10 weeks on RPM’s Top 100 Singles chart through spring 1973, peaking March 24 at No. 18 for two weeks.

The next year, Cooper re-released the single as part of a Back-to-Back Hits series. And, singer Meg Christian recorded it with yet another set of lyrics, this time with a feminist bent.

The song has had a varied and successful run, from Judy Collins singing it at the Lincoln Center in 1969, to its appearance in the 2014 futuristic film “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” It has been a regular in Alice Cooper’s playlist, opening their shows for over 40 years starting in 1973. Hello, Hooray has also been featured on the albums “Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits” (1974), “The Beast of Alice Cooper” (1989),  “The Definitive Alice Cooper” (2001), and “Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper” (2005). Other acts who have recorded the song include Pig (Raymond Watts), and The Frankenstein Drag Queens From Planet 13.

Rolf Kempf, the song’s creator, sings Hello, Hooray on some of his own albums, and has performed it at athletic events including the Vancouver Paralympic Games.

Rolf Kempf studied English literature at Hamilton’s McMaster University, performed in a folk group around Toronto, and moved to Los Angeles in the late 1960s. Based now in Surrey, BC, Kempf performs folk, world, jazz, and instrumental music. He continues to co-write on occasion with Alan Gerber and Stephen Kalinich, who has co-written several songs with Brian Wilson in the Pet Sounds era.

Nick Fedor - Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (Nov 25, 2016)