Helloween PhotoFORMED: 1984, Hamburg, Germany

Euro-metal quartet formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1984: Kai Hansen (guitar, vocals, songwriting), Michael Weikath (guitar), Markus Grosskopf (bass), and Ingo Schwichenburg (drums). 18-year-old singer Michael Kiske was added before 1987's Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I, enabling the group to become more melodic and break through to a wider audience. They played at the 1988 Castle Donnington Monsters of Rock festival, but shortly thereafter became involved in a dispute with their record company. Hansen left the group to form Gamma Ray prior to 1996's Time of the Oath; Walls of Jericho followed two years later, as did the compilation The Best, the Rest, the Rare and a new studio album, Better Than Raw. Metal Jukebox appeared in 1999; 2000's The Dark Ride, and not even the departure of long-time members Grapow and Kusch could slow them for long. Now regarded as elder statesmen of Euro-metal, Helloween celebrated their achievements with 2002's Treasure Chest greatest hits set. This was followed by 2003's Rabbits don't come Easy, which introduced new guitarist Sascha Gerstner and featured Motorhead's Mikkey Dee guesting on drums until a permanent replacement could be found in Stefan Schwarzmann (ex-U.D.O., Running Wild and many more). . ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide