Peter Alexander Makkay (born 30 August 1949 in Brașov), better known as Peter Maffay, is a German musician.
Born in Braşov, Romania, the son of a German (Transylvanian Saxon), he was 14 when his family relocated to his parents' (West) Germany in 1963. In the same year, he started his first band, The Dukes. After completing his education and working for Chemigraphics, an art manufacturer, Maffay worked in clubs, where he distributed his music.
Maffay's career started with the publication of his first single, "Du" (You in German). It was the biggest German hit in 1970 and brought Maffay instant fame. With the album Steppenwolf in 1979, Maffay became a major music star in Germany. The album sold 1.6 million copies, making it the best selling LP at that time. In 1980, the album Revanche (Revenge) broke his previous record, selling 2.1 million copies.
Maffay holds the German record for the most number one ranked album sales charts, including 16 albums. In addition, each of his studio albums since 1979 reached the top ten. He also holds a German record for most albums to have sold over one million copies, with 14. His 2005 album, Laut und Leise (Loud and Quiet), became the fourteenth.
Altogether, Maffay has sold over 40 million records, which makes him one of the top selling artists in Germany. Since 1980, each of his 13 tours (roughly every 2 years) has ranked among the three most visited attractions each season in Germany, with nine of them ranked first in that category. The first leg of his 2015 Tour (19 Arena shows) sold out nearly a year in advance.
Maffay also created a string of fairy tales about a little green dragon named Tabaluga. The tales, which spanned across five albums, were also turned into a musical. Maffay went on tour individually with Tabaluga & Lilli in Germany; he later released a live album, DVD, and live TV broadcast. The tour included Peter Maffay, Alexis, Nino de Angelo, Rufus Beck, and Carl Carlton, among others.
In 1998, Maffay created an album in collaboration with global artists, including Aboriginal singers and musicians from Israel, called "Begegnungen". Julia Neigel, another famous German artist, is one of the musicians he usually works with in lyrics and singing in duets. She wrote two of his top singles - "Freiheit die ich meine" and "Siehst Du die Sonne", a cover of Michel Polnareff's "La poupeé qui fait non".
He also starred in two movies directed by Peter Patzak: 'Lethal Obsession in 1987, and Gefangen im Jemen in 1999, for which Tony Carey provided the soundtrack. In addition, Maffay played a supporting role in the feature Der Eisbär.
On 12 March 2011, Maffay received the Steiger Award (Germany).
Peter Maffay is active in politics and sometimes inserts his own political stances into his music. He is a peace activist, and in 2005 he performed a concert for German ISAF troops in Afghanistan. Maffay also donates to projects for traumatised and abused children. On the Spanish island of Majorca, he established a ranch where traumatised children from all over the world can have a free two-week holiday to help them cope with their problems. For his social commitment, he received the Bundesverdienstkreuz in 1996, and, in 2001, he received an award called "Goldene Henne" ("The Golden Hen").
Peter Maffay has been married four times, has a son and lives with his family on a farm on Majorca. One of his hobbies is motorcycle riding. In 1972, Maffay was severely injured in an accident after crashing his Harley Davidson. Later in life, he crossed the Sahara Desert several times on an off-road motorcycle.
Since the beginning of Maffay's musical career, Carl Carlton has played guitar in many projects. Likewise, for many years, Bertram Engel (drums), Ken Taylor (bass), and Jean-Jacques Kravetz (piano) have worked with Maffay as well. Some time later, Jean-Jaques Kravetz brought his son Pascal Kravetz (guitar) with him into the fold. In 2004, Frank Dietz, Andreas Becker, some of Maffay's friends from the band left to pursue other projects. The American keyboard player Tony Carey, who produced many of his records also took part in his live band for many years. The newest addition to the band is the Hamburg guitarist, Peter Keller.