#324: Live Is Life by Opus

Peak Month: January 1986
14 weeks on Vancouver’s CKLG chart
Peak Position #6
Peak Position on Billboard Hot 100 ~ #32
YouTube: “Live Is Life
Lyrics: “Live Is Life

Opus is a band from Graz, Austria. They formed in 1973. Members of the group consisted of bass guitarist and vocalist Peter Niklas Gruber (born in Graz in 1956), guitarist and vocalist Ewald “Sunny” Pfleger (born in 1955 in Ollersdorf im Burgenland), percussionist and backing vocalist Günter Timischl (born in 1948 in Fürstenfeld), keyboard player Kurt-Rene Plisnier (born in 1957 in Güssing), lead vocalist Herwig Rüdisser (born in 1956 in 1956 in Glödnitz, Carinthia), and drummer Günter Grasmuck (born in 1957 in Fürstenfeld).

Opus recorded their first album, Daydreams, in 1980. In 1982 their single “Flyin’ High” climbed to #5 in Austria and Switzerland. Between 1982 and 1984 they released Eleven, Opusition, and Up and Down. But it was their fifth album, Live Is Life, which gave them international exposure. Their title track, “Live Is Life” was recorded in 1984 and released in 1985.

Live Is Life by Opus

“Live Is Life” was cowritten by five members of Opus. The song is about a melding of feelings/oneness experienced by a band on stage and its audience. There is a “power” in the vibration felt in the concert venue as everyone in the audience stands up and dances. And as the band does its best to perform and give their best, people looking back on what will be a “memory of the past,” will recall how the energy of that concert kept extending itself until the final song was over.

“Life Is Life” peaked at #1 in Toronto and Montreal, #2 in Ottawa (ON) and Saskatoon (SK), #4 in Edmonton (AB) and Regina (SK), #6 in Vancouver (BC), #7 in Calgary (AB), and #8 in Hamilton (ON).

Internationally, “Live Is Life” climbed to #1 in Austria, Canada, France, Spain, Sweden, and West Germany. It also peaked at #2 in Belgium, Norway, South Africa and Switzerland, #3 in the Netherlands, #4 in Ireland, and #6 in the UK. But in the USA it stalled at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 1987 a single titled “Whiteland” climbed to #3 on the Austrian pop charts. Nik Gruber left Opus in 1991. The next year in 1992 a single by Opus titled “Gimme Love” cracked the Austrian singles Top Ten. A remix of “Live Is Life” titled “The Power Of Live Is Life” climbed to #3 in Austria in 1994.

Opus released seven more studio albums between 1985 and 2004. They have also released several compilation albums over the past decade.

Ewald Pfleger told Athens Calling in a January 2021 interview “When we started the band, we dreamed about having an international hit song, so we reached this goal and are very happy and proud about it! But we never expected that this success could last for so long…:-) In addition we also made 16 albums and wrote hundreds of other titles!” Pfleger remembers the first album he ever bought was a Doobie Brothers album. 

Over their career Opus has appeared in concert in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Venezuela, the United States, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Chile and in 1986 in Montreal, Canada. The current musicians in Opus consist of four members from the classic lineup: Herwig Rüdisser, Ewald Pfleger, Kurt-Rene Plisnier and Günter Grasmuck.

June 21, 2021
Ray McGinnis

Opus,” Wikipedia.org.
Sarge, “Opus-Live Is Life… Interview with Ewald “Sunny” Pfleger,” Athens Calling, January 18, 2021.
Top Thirty Hot Hits,” CKLG 730 AM, Vancouver, BC, January 30, 1986.

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One response to “Live Is Life by Opus”

  1. Ernest Arthur Block says:

    “Live is Life” hooked me from the very first time I could actually recollect hearing it on a Reno Nevada radio station during my college years – specifically, 1986. There was something transformative about that song that stayed with me, and still does, even till this day.

    I consider it as having a valid place on a rather short list of personal favorites that:
    (A) started out great and somehow, at least in my experience, didn’t get the usual radio hit overplay to the point of my never wanting to hear it again…
    (B) actually receiving status as a bonafide international hit while the band Opus was able to maintain a relatively mysterious or enigmatic presence amidst the normally, celebrity obsessed world of rock and roll, despite having been together for 11 years prior to that song’s creation in 1984, and probably partially due to the fact that the members of Opus are Austrian, and not the typical cookie cutter, overproduced Hollywood type creation for the masses, which gave them the added flair and presence of authenticity, a sadly diminishing quality in today’s music/ business world..
    But the most endearing quality of “Live is Life” for me is,
    (C) the ongoing natural effect of it’s effortlessly inspiring joyousness, and timeless appeal.

    Don’t get me wrong: I can enjoy a “feel good” musical composition – however superficial – with the rest of them.

    “Live is Life”, by Opus contains something else though. Something that is hard to pin down when trying to describe it but is very apparent and lasting and obvious when one is exposed to it. A fine example of artistic integrity able to produce inspiration and gratitude where the end result is ultimately superior and more meaningful than the sum of all its parts. Aspects that I’m now only even fully realizing as I write this response on social media almost 40 years after the fact.

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