Peggy March celebrated worldwide success with hits like “I Will Follow Him”. Now the Schlager singer is 75 – and still dreams.
Peggy March became a star even as a teenager: at the age of 15 she reached the top of the US charts with “I Will Follow Him”, with other successful songs such as “Mit 17 one still has dreams”, “Canale Grande Number One” or “In “Carnaby Street” she later became a superstar worldwide and especially in Germany.
60 years later, the Schlager singer celebrates her 75th birthday – and gives herself the publication of her autobiography: With “I Will Follow Me” the title of the book turns around that of her first successful song in a self-determined way.
On her birthday, March wants to present the book in Munich – the city where she once lived with her husband and daughter and where she “feels at home” to this day. “It’s a great gift,” March told dpa. “I’m sure it will be a day full of surprises. And it will be very nice for sure.”
An integral part of the Schlager establishment
March also has dozens of other dates, readings and TV appearances in his calendar for the year – still mostly in Germany. Because since the singer sang in 1965 with a white bow dress, brown bob and a clearly audible American accent at the Schlager Festival in Baden-Baden “With 17 you still have dreams” – and won – March has been an integral part of the German Schlager establishment. The Schlager Festival was the “highlight” of her career in Germany, says March. “It all started for me in Germany.”
More than half a century later, Germany is still the center of her career – even if March now lives in the US state of Florida again. She always found the people in Germany “extremely great and nice to me,” says March. “Of course I didn’t always speak German, but they were always considerate and very helpful.”
March has appeared in countless German television programs, has taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest several times and has collected many gold records. Schlager fans still dance to hits like “Memories of Heidelberg”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Telegram from Tennessee” or “Sweetheart give me a ring”. Only the carnival is not her thing, says March. “I didn’t enjoy doing carnival shows. They can be crazy. And very noisy. But you can see that people are having a great time and that’s really okay.”
Born Margaret Annemarie Batavio in the US state of Pennsylvania, the daughter of an engineer family in her home country would sing every commercial on the radio even as a small child. Later, “Little Peggy March” sang at private parties and eventually on local television.
The early breakthrough came at the age of 15: With “I Will Follow Him” March stormed to the top of the US charts – younger than any other singer before her. March heard of her success on the radio while she was washing the dishes from dinner, as she once said in an interview: “I was all alone in the kitchen, standing over the sink with soapy water and my song was number one.”
After that, their success is mainly concentrated in Europe and Asia, but little remains of the money earned. When a manager cheats on her, March has to start all over again financially. She looks for a new manager – and immediately finds a husband in Arnie Harris. It was Harris, who died in 2013, who always encouraged her to write her autobiography, says March.
You have no regrets. “Everything I’ve ever done, good or bad or right or wrong, has brought me to this point. And this point is pretty cool. So no complaints.” She looks ahead and her days are so varied – with work, with sport, with travel, with shopping, with family and friends – that she never gets bored. “I don’t have a typical day, but espresso is always the first thing that’s nice.”
In the meantime, March also knows: “You’re never too old for dreams”, as she titled her last album in 2019, whether at 17 or 75. “I have a wish every day, be it eating a certain piece of cake, a piece Having chocolate or something like that,” says the singer. “I’d love to get on a zeppelin sometime. I think that would be so cool. But the opportunity hasn’t come my way yet. And I’d love to sing at the White House.”
I am an author and journalist who has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade. I currently work as a news editor at a major news website, and my focus is on covering the latest trends in entertainment. I also write occasional pieces for other outlets, and have authored two books about the entertainment industry.