Hölderlin started out playing cover tunes in Germany in the 1960s until they received an offer for a record contract in the early 1970s. The band was led by two brothers, Christian and Joachim Grumbkow, who wrote most of the music. They released their first album, Hölderlins Traum in 1972, with no fewer than 9 band members. Primarily in the progressive folk vein, it featured a wide array of instruments, complex compositions and female vocals all sung in German. Troubles soon arose when the band's producer wanted to have the band change their sound. After a long three year legal battle, the band was able to get rid of their contract, slightly change their name and release their second album, Hoelderlin in 1975. After much touring and good publicity, Hoelderlin released their third album, Clowns and Clouds in 1976. Then in 1977, Christian Grumbkow had a mental breakdown, left the band and was replaced by Pablo Weeber for their 1977 release, Rare Birds. Then their double live album Traumstadt was released in 1978, right before some personnel changes. Hoelderlin's final two studio albums were released in the early eighties, taking a more rock-oriented approach.

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