Tony Ronald Biography

Siegfried Anthonius den Boer Kramer was born in 1941 in the Dutch town of Arhhem, a river port on the banks of the Rim River, about 80 km from the capital. His grandfather is a professional musician and he instills in him the hobby. He carries out nautical studies and as soon as he reaches sixteen, the minimum age required, he enlists in the merchant navy. His company, a guitar. Barely a year will last his profession, because on a trip to Barcelona, he falls in love with the city and there he stays. He works in the port and in the evenings he visits the Club Hondo, a must for jazzfans. In 1960 he formed Kroner's Duo with José Luis Bolivar. He will make his first performances and record his first albums. The following year they separated and soon Tony Ronald - already by then he calls himself that - forms a couple with a compatriot of his recently arrived in Barcelona. This is Charley Kurt and evidently the duo is called Tony & Charley. They perform on the Costa Brava, they go out sometimes singing live on that television of cardboard sets and they continue to edit some EPs with covers of songs that triumph in Europe and with some theme of their own. Also this de facto couple breaks up soon and in 1962 they decide to maintain a good friendship and throw each one on their side in the musical.

The two duos in which he has played have a contract with La Voz de su Amo and the gramophone label and the puppy offers him to start a career as a soloist to sing in Spanish triumphant songs abroad. He doesn't think twice and in October 1962, just a few weeks after Tony & Charley broke up, there's a Tony Ronald record on the street. "Madisonistas / Más que Ayer / Eres Monísima / Escalones al Cielo" (The Voice of his Master, 1962). That is, a madison, a rock and roll, a slow and a twist. This Guatemalan EP is the solo debut of this handsome boy, with a good facha, who sings well, pronounces a little weird and likes girls. In April 1963 he took out another extended and decided to go to his country.

In Holland he recorded a couple of singles for the Imperial label and recruited three musicians friends of his to accompany him in his particular conquest of Spain. They are his childhood friend Felipe -Shorty- Hagen (drums and second vocals), Pier von Dart (bass) and a great sixteen-year-old Indonesian guitarist named Franky Gort. They are also accompanied by André, Tony's brother, to take care of the equipment and the lights. Remembering the name of their first duo, the group is baptized as Los Kroner's. He returns to Spain with his new companions and with a new dance that is all the rage. He soon recorded and published: "Hully Gully" (The Voice of his Master, 1963),the first of a series of albums signed as Tony Ronald and his Kroner's in which the entire group is portrayed on the cover.

In 1964 the Swedish instrumental group The Spotnicks visited Barcelona. On this occasion, a great festival is organized on March 19 at the Palacio de los Deportes. There they perform, in addition to the aforementioned group, Lone Star, Los Mustang, Los Diablos Negros and as opening act for all of them, Tony Ronald and his Kroner's who present their new EP dedicated to songs by The Beatles. Their performance is overwhelming and they leave there consecrated as a leading group. Their sound is different from the rest thanks to the equipment that bassist Pier, an electronics technician, has made for them. His covers are the best ever heard and Tony reveals himself to be a great frontman. His albums begin to sell more and be known throughout the country.

"Hippy Hippy Shake / Forgive Me Friend / Sleeping Beauty / You Will Be My Baby" (The Voice of His Master, 1964) is a small national hit. They begin to take care of details and are the first to carry in their performances cannons and light games. They do not achieve great sales triumphs, but soon they become the reference group that all novices want to resemble. Really Tony Ronald and his Kroner's become a cult group that never disappoints in their live shows. His way of dressing comparable to the great English bands of the 60s, his small round or square sunglasses, his manes and his casual and aggressive shapes on stage are copied by many others. An aesthetic not far from The Who with some breakage of spotlights and small stage brawls do not leave their followers cold.

In 1966, still with the accompaniment of The Kroner's, who have changed their bassist for an excellent Dutch musician, Otto van der Pol, and signed only by Tony Ronald surely comes out the most complete EP of his entire career. "Yellow Submarine / Russian Spy and I / Unchained Melody / Cadillac" (The Voice of his Master, 1966),a trallazo of the best pop.

Tony Ronald has become a popular character, friend of Joan Manuel Serrat, Lluis Llach, Pi de la Serra and other Catalan musicians is encouraged to record a single in this language: "Estem Vivint" (The Voice of his Master, 1967). Of those friendships are still remembered the races on the Castelldefels highway between Joan Manuel's tricked Mini Cooper and Tony's Ford Mustang, to which the singer will dedicate one of his best-known songs. They offer him to record songs like "Juanita Banana", which surely would have provided him with good economic dividends, but he refuses at that time to become a singer of pachangas.

That same year he remade his accompaniment group that becomes a large band formed by a majority of foreign musicians. But the incentive is the signing of Carla van Wettum and Annemieke Vogel, the first go-gos that had been seen by Spain. Their minishorts, their tight T-shirts and their frantic and tireless dances drove the chaste (forcibly) Spanish men crazy. From 1966 they were announced live as Tony Ronald Group, but the albums will only include the name of the soloist. It also becomes a regular presence in the posters of the festivals that at the end of the decade are held in the sports palaces of Madrid, Barcelona and other cities. There he alternates with the best of a golden age: Micky and The Tonys, The Savages,The Mustangs, The Sirex, The Jumpers, Pop-Tops,etc.

At the end of 1968 Tony Ronald changed his label to enter Movieplay and start a career as a melodic singer, who gradually moved away from pop rock, a style in which he had proven to be an accomplished teacher. After his break with his usual label, he will publish an anthological compilation: "Tony Ronald" (La Voz de su Amo, 1969) which, despite its character is one of the best Spanish LPs of its time and in which the best of the singer's production during the 60s is collected.

With the arrival of the 70s, Tony Ronald began his career as a producer. It is also the first to open a production office in our country. Take a second-row group that had released some EPs with more sorrow than glory. The group is called Los Diablos and the first album directed by Tony for them is "Un rayo de sol", which exceeds 400,000 copies sold in Spain. He will also make productions for Los Amaya or for his old companions who formed the group Top Show. He will also collaborate with progressive groups such as Iceberg and with a magnificent group formed by his friend and former partner Otto van der Pol, Los Zooms. The list of productions and collaborations is much broader.

But Tony has not hung up his guitar and the turn of the decade will place him at the top of Spanish music. After some somewhat gray singles in which the singer seems not to find his new style, will come "Why" (Movieplay, 1970) and "Superstar" (Movieplay, 1971),both at the top of the sales charts. Finally in 1971 he attended the Atlantic Festival in Puerto de la Cruz with his song "Help (Get Me Some Help). (Movieplay, 1971). He wins on the street, obtains the greatest triumph of his career and occupies for five weeks the absolute No. 1 in sales. He also makes versions in different languages that reach that same privileged place in Holland and Germany, countries where he released a good number of albums throughout his career. In the slipstream of that big bombshell will come other new hits: "I Love You Baby" (Movieplay, 1971),which would also be No. 1, and "Lady Banana" (Movieplay, 1973). From 1972 he formed a work and production team with the French composer Daniel Vangarde and with Amado Jaén, a member of Los Diablos. A team that will direct own and other recordings for several years.

Since 1974 his career as a performer will begin its decline. He continued to record regularly until 1977 and performed even a year later, however, his career was coming to an end. Later, he will be the main architect of the packages of artists called Míticos 70 and El Gran Guateque, which between 1997 and 2003 animated the summers of the nostalgic. Names like Micky, Karina, Lorenzo Santamaría or Jeanette owe him a good part of that revival that meant for them and others a second youth. Today Tony lives in a Mediterranean village near Barcelona, his adopted city, with his wife Mariló and their children, enjoying a well-lived old age and being able to affirm without shame that he was one of the greatest in Spanish music. And as he himself reminds us, open to hiring, scarce but that in summer allowed him to make some gala.

Tony Ronald passed away on March 3, 2013. He sang rock, twist, pop, ballad, carols, melodic song... and he did everything with a level of quality and professionalism worthy of all praise.

This article was updated on September 24, 2021