She sang “I’ll Never Be Maria Magdelana” but was she hoping to be?! Have some “Everlasting Love” for Sandra…
European pop singer Sandra sold over thirty million records in the 1980’s and topped the charts in twenty one countries in a career that began for her at the age of thirteen! She was known as the Madonna of Europe, due to the fact she sold more records than her American counterpart!
Sandra Lauer was born in Saarland, West Germany in 1962 learning both ballet and the guitar from the age of five. After performing the song “Andy Mein Freund” at the Young Star Festival in Saarland in 1975, she was picked up by a German record company who quickly released it as a single. While it failed to find an audience commercially, it did give massive exposure to Sandra as a singer and a performer. She joined the disco/pop group Arabesque (Michaela Rose, Jasmine Vetter and Michael Cretu) as the group’s lead singer and enjoyed huge success in both Germany and Japan in 1981 with the top ten hit “Marigot Bay”. After NINE studio albums between 1978 and 1984, the group split with Rose and Vetter continuing as a duo for two more years.
Sandra and Cretu, by now romantically tied, moved to Munich and worked together on the project Data-Alpha, releasing the single “Big In Japan” in 1984, although this failed to chart anywhere. By now Sandra herself was itching to break out on her own and in 1985 released her first solo single for ten years, “I’ll Never Be Maria Magdelana”. The song topped the charts across Europe, although it stalled at No.91 in the UK. A re-release the following year saw it make No.2 in South Africa but not do much better in the UK, this time reaching No.87.
She followed this up with “In The Heat Of The Night” which again did big business across Europe reaching No.2 in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Both tracks came from her debut album “The Long Play”, released in December 1985 and gaining a Gold certification in Germany and France. A third single “Little Girl” was released at the beginning of 1986 and charted at No.11 in Italy and No.14 in Germany.
Sandra recorded and released her second album “Mirrors” in the Summer of 1986 and returned to the top ten with the singles “Innocent Love” and “Hi Hi Hi” and the top twenty with “Loreen” and “Midnight Man”. Neither the singles nor the album charted at all in the UK.
In 1987 Sandra recorded her version of Robert Knight’s 1967 hit “Everlasting Love” which returned her to the top five across most of Europe but once again eluded her success in the UK when the song faltered at No.88. The following year (1988), the song was remixed by hit UK trio Stock, Aitken, Waterman at their PWL studios in London. This time the song climbed to No.45 in the UK – her highest charted position there, No.4 in South Africa and No.13 in Canada. To date, both versions of Sandra’s single have sold over three million copies.
In January 1988 Sandra and Michael Cretu married. That same year she achieved FOUR top ten hits across Europe with “Stop For A Minute”, “Secret Land” and “We’ll be Together” and “Heaven Can Wait” and released the album’s “Into A Secret Land” (Platinum in France and Switzerland, Gold in Germany) and “Ten On One (The Singles)” which was Gold certified in Germany and France.
Her fourth studio album “Paintings In Yellow” came in 1990 and made the top five in Germany and Switzerland and included the hit single “Hiroshima”. But by 1990 Michael Cretu had formed his own music project called Enigma. Sandra performed vocals on four tracks that were recorded for the project’s debut album “MCMXC a.D.” including the lead single “Sadeness (Part 1)” which topped the charts in twenty one countries worldwide including the UK and the US dance chart, and selling over five million copies in the process. Enigma have since released a further six albums, the most recent in 2016, and achieved massive global success with the single “Return To Innocence” (1994).
Since then, Sandra has continued to record and release music with studio albums in 1992, 1995, 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2012 as well as numerous greatest hits packages and reworkings of both “Magdelana” and “Everlasting”! She sang vocals on DJ BoBo’s 2006 hit “Secrets Of Love” and the 2009 duet with Thomas Anders “The Night Is Still Young”. Sandra and Michael Cretu became parents in 1995 to twin boys but the marriage ended in 2007. Since 2009, Sandra lives in Ibiza and continues to perform across much of Europe as well as releasing new material.