Max Raabe (born Matthias Otto, December 12, 1962, Lünen, North Rhine-Westphalia) is a German singer. He is best known as the founder and leader of the Palast Orchester.
Raabe developed an interest in the sound of German dance and film music of the 1920s and 1930s, such as the songs of the Comedian Harmonists, from seeing old films on television and from his parents' record collection. He formally studied music at the Berlin University of the Arts, intending originally to become a baritone opera singer. He and eleven other students formed the Palast Orchester in 1985. The ensemble initially used music arrangements that Raabe found whilst shopping at various flea markets. The orchestra worked for one year to learn these arrangements without any public engagements or performances. The orchestra first performed publicly at the 1987 Berlin Theaterball, in the lobby as a secondary act, but with such success that the audience left the ballroom to hear the orchestra's performance in the lobby. Raabe and the Palast Orchester had a hit with his 1992 original, Schlager-styled song "Kein Schwein ruft mich an" (literal translation "No swine gives me a call", meaning "No-one ever calls me"), a pop song in 1920s style.
In addition to covers of vintage music, Raabe writes original songs and music, including film music. He and the orchestra have also created covers of modern pop songs in a 1920–1930s band style, including songs by Britney Spears, Tom Jones, and Salt'n'Pepa. Raabe has also made a number of cameo appearances as a stereotypical 1920s and 1930s singer and entertainer in a number of films by German directors, such as Der bewegte Mann (1994; English title "Maybe, Maybe Not"), Werner Herzog's Invincible (2001), and Wenzel Storch's Die Reise ins Glück (2004). His live theatre performances have included a 1994 appearance as Dr. Siedler in the Berlin "Bar jeder Vernunft" version of The White Horse Inn, and 1999 performances as Mack the Knife in Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht's The Threepenny Opera alongside Nina Hagen.
Raabe first performed in the USA in Los Angeles in 2004. In 2005, he performed his first concert in New York City's Carnegie Hall and returned for subsequent engagements with the Palast Orchester in 2007 and 2010. In 2011, Raabe produced an album, Küssen kann man nicht alleine (You cannot kiss alone), with former new-wave musician and producer Annette Humpe, who also wrote the lyrics. His latest album, also with Humpe, is Für Frauen ist das kein Problem ("It's no problem for women"), released in 2013.