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Gruppo Sportivo bij TopPop in 1979 (Bron: fotocollectie Beeld en Geluid)


1976 - current


new wave, pop


Officiële website (Facebook)

Gruppo Sportivo

Pop group from The Hague that became popular in the late '70s at the beginning of the new wave era. The group balances between pastiche and parody. Creative brain and anti-hero Hans Vandenburg unexpectedly disbands the group in 1979. But when his new project Buddy Odor Stop flops, he continues ...
Full biography


Lies Schilp   zang
Peter Calicher   toetsinstrumenten
Inge Bonthond   zang
Max Mollinger   drums
Hans Vandenburg   gitaar, zang
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Former members

Gerrit-Jan Konink   basgitaar
Eric Wehrmeyer   basgitaar
Martin Bakker   achtergrondzang, basgitaar
Laurens de Jonge   saxofoon, toetsinstrumenten
Michiel van Leeuwen   saxofoon
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Mentioned in the biography of

1970   Robert Jan Stips
1975   Supersister
1977   Jan Cees Tans
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Biography Gruppo Sportivo

Pop group from The Hague that became popular in the late '70s at the beginning of the new wave era. The group balances between pastiche and parody. Creative brain and anti-hero Hans Vandenburg unexpectedly disbands the group in 1979. But when his new project Buddy Odor Stop flops, he continues with Gruppo Sportivo, however, without being as successful as in the early days.


Hans Vandenburg (Bron:  Collectie Nederlands Pop Instituut, Bijzondere Collecties, UvA) Gruppo Sportivo is formed in The Hague. Max, Peter, Eric and Hans Vandenburg from the Leo Unger Band. Zappa and Beatles fan Vandenburg soon becomes the band's leader. He asks singer Meike Touw to join the band. She is joined by Josee van Iersel and together they make up the Gruppettes. The band's career takes a turn when they are asked to support the Golden Earring on their new tour. Earring singer Barry Hay produces Gruppo Sportivo's first single Out There In The Jungle, which becomes a small hit.

Leo Unger Band


Gruppo's second single is, Hoola Fever, released. The single is produced by keyboard player Robert-Jan Stips (ex-Supersister, ex-Golden Earring). The single fails to do anything and consequently record company Polydor ends the contract. Gruppo Sportivo signs to Ariola and releases their full-length debut 10 Mistakes, also produced by Robert-Jan Stips.

Robert Jan Stips


In March the non-album track Rock And Roll is released on single. 10 Mistakes enters the album charts and is also released in the UK. The band embarks on a successful UK tour and the European summer festivals. The track Beep Beep Love is released as a single in the UK only. In September the band receives an Edison Music Award for 10 Mistakes. They also record the second album Back To 78 from which the track Hey Girl is picked as the first single. Both single and album do very well in the charts and in the UK polls Gruppo ends third in the category 'most promising new band', behind Ian Dury and Dire Straits.


Gruppo Sportivo (Bron:  Collectie Nederlands Pop Instituut, Bijzondere Collecties, UvA) After an extensive promotion campaign in France and Germany, the band again leaves for the UK for yet another tour. In March the non-album track Disco Really Made It is released on single and becomes the band's biggest hit in The Netherlands. While an extensive campaign has started to promote the band in the US, Hans Vandenburg announces, much to everyone's surprise, that he has decided to disband the group. Reason is that he feels restricted in his musical development. He plans to form a new band with musicians from New York. Gruppo Sportivo goes on a farewell tour. The band's final single Sleeping Bag fails to enter the charts. By the end of the year Vandenburg's new band, Buddy Odor Stop, releases its full-length debut. Instead of American musicians the band consists of familiar faces like Peter Calicher, Max Mollinger and Meike Touw, and newcomers Martin Bakker (bass), and Lisa Bialac (vocals). The tour that follows attracts large crowds and mixed reviews. The album and single Buddy Odor Is A Gas! unfortunately aren't very successful.

Buddy Odor Stop


Gruppo Sportivo (Bron:  Collectie Nederlands Pop Instituut, Bijzondere Collecties, UvA) Gruppo Sportivo is re-formed without Vandenburg, but with vocalist Bette Bright (ex-Deaf School). The album Copy Copy is a disappointment to many but it does bring the band back in the album charts. Meike Touw forms her own band with Fay Lovsky and they record the album Tutti Frutti. They also form the Tweeters with Josee van Iersel. For a short period they also join the West German group Spliff, replacing Lisa Bialac.

Fay Lovsky Meike Touw


Pop! Goes The Brains is the band's fourth album. Interest in the band has reached its lowest point in the Netherlands as well as in the UK and the US. They are, however, still hugely popular in Italy and Germany. The band plays at the Roskilde festival in Denmark.


Happily Unemployed, taken from the Design Moderne album, is a modest hit in Germany.


The band plays at the Parkpop festival in their hometown The Hague, but the reactions from the crowd are half-hearted and the band itself seems to be tired of its own songs.


The greatest hits album, Greatest Hats, comes out. A new album, Sombrero Times, is released on the Nova Zembla label.


The group disbands.


Hans Vandenburg forms a new band: Ugly Head.

Ugly Head


When Ariola decides to release the Wall Of Voodoo cover Mexican Radio as a single, the band's name is changed back into Gruppo Sportivo. The band tours Belgium and West Germany. Mexican Radio can be found on the album Back TO 19 Mistakes. Vandenburg produces several singles for Dutch band the Charlies, appears in a couple of TV shows and can also be seen in several Golden Earring videos.

The Charlies


Gruppo Sportivo (Bron: Collectie Nederlands Pop Instituut, Bijzondere Collecties, UvA) The mini CD Sucker Of The Century is released, but fails to attract any interest in the band.

Bombitas Girls Wanna Have Fun


Release of the double CD Young & Out, which contains studio-outtakes and new material. The single She Was Pretty gets a fair amount of airplay, but fails to reach the charts. Vandenburg again disbands the group and goes solo.


Gruppo Sportivo (Bron: Collectie Nederlands Pop Instituut, Bijzondere Collecties, UvA) Hans Vandenburg's first solo album, Commercial Break, is released. The album remains very close to the old Gruppo Sportivo sound. Vandenburg and his band release an acoustic concert on VAN Records. The album contains both old and new material.

Hans Vandenburg


Vandenburg releases his second solo album: Shake Hands With Vandenburg.


Hans Vandenburg produces the Hallo Venray album Hallo Venray. Although he succeeds in creating a new sound for the band, the album is not successful.

Hallo Venray


After having released several albums under his own name, Hans Vandenburg now releases the full-length debut of Hans Vandenburgs Dierenpark. The band was originally called Ouwe Hans Dierenpark, but because there is a Dutch Zoo called Ouwehands Dierenpark, Vandenburg was forced to change the name of his band.



Gruppo Sportivo's complete catalogue is re-released on CD by Double Dutch. Each CD contains two albums. The record company also releases a CD with all singles and B-sides, including a new single recorded by the original band members. The band also goes on tour with the original line-up and gets lots of airplay of both TV and radio.


Gruppo Sportivo appears to be still active as in December it is announced that the band has been invited to play at the 2003 edition of the South By Southwest (SXSW) music and media conference in Austin, Texas. A new album is slated for release as well.


Gruppo Sportivo signs a record deal with PIAS. The new album Topless 16 is set for release in spring 2004. The band is also working on a new DVD with the title Career Movies.


In the spring the album Topless 16 comes out. The cover of the album is based upon a LP cover that Hans Vandenburg, according to the tales, once had hanging above his bed. Because he never knew how the music on that LP sounded he made up some 'covers' which he put on the new Gruppo CD. The release of Topless 16 is followed by a tour. With Bob Fosko (Raggende Manne) and Beatrice van der Poel (Beeswamp) Hans Vandenburg plays at the annual Parade theatre festival tour. Their show is dubbed Muziek Om Bij Over Te Geven, which means 'Music To Throw Up With.' The DVD Career Movies consists of four hours of videos, a concert at Germany's renowned Rockpalast TV show, plus a documentary about an Italian tour.

Beeswamp De Raggende Manne


On October 28 Gruppo Sportivo celebrates its 30th anniversary at Amsterdam's Pakhuis ('Warehouse') Wilhelmina. To commemorate this feat, the band releases the double album Rock Now, Roll Later.

Discography Gruppo Sportivo

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Gruppo Sportivo

Audio/Video Gruppo Sportivo

Video Gruppo Sportivo

Het begin
Het begin
De Platen
De Platen
Disco of OJC
Disco of OJC
Complete Interview
Complete Interview
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Gratis popfestival trekt 80.000 bezoekers (1978)
Gruppo Sportivo (1977) bi...
Gruppo Sportivo (1977) bij de Nederpopnacht (NPS)
Gruppo Sportivo - Christi...
Gruppo Sportivo - Christine - La Edad de Oro, Madrid 1983
Gruppo Sportivo I Don´t T...
Gruppo Sportivo I Don´t Think So
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