Triumvirat was a German progressive rock trio that formed in 1969 in Cologne, Germany. The founding members were: keyboardist/composer Hans-Jürgen (later simply Jürgen) Fritz, drummer/lyricist Hans Bathelt, and bassist Werner Frangenberg.
In German and French, Triumvirat is the word for a Triumvirate (see that article for historical institution of that name).
During its early years, Triumvirat initially played Top 40 songs at local venues in Cologne. The Nice and Emerson, Lake and Palmer heavily influenced Triumvirat’s musical direction and the band incorporated some of Nice/ELP music into their repertoire (Rondo among others). In fact, at the height of their fame during the 70’s prog rock era, Triumvirat was often referred to as the ‘German Emerson, Lake & Palmer’ or ‘ELP clone’ due to Fritz's classical virtuosity on keyboards and synthesizers.
In the early 1970s, the band sent a demo tape to EMI Records in Cologne and won their first record contract. Triumvirat subsequently produced modestly successful albums during the early to mid-1970s, including Mediterranean Tales: Across The Waters and Illusions on a Double Dimple and toured the United States with Fleetwood Mac to support Illusions on a Double Dimple, playing the album in its entirety. In 1975, Triumvirat reached the apex of their commercial success with the release of Spartacus, which is considered by many as a classic "prog rock" masterpiece album, along with Illusions on a Double Dimple.
The band underwent numerous personnel changes over the course of its life and eventually disbanded in 1980 with the release of their final album Russian Roulette. An officially-authorized biography of the group was written by Russell Schenewerk and appears on www.triumvirat.net.
Vocalist/bassist Helmut Köllen (performing on the band's most successful albums, Illusions and Spartacus). Köllen left the band after Spartacus to pursue a solo career. On May 3, 1977, at the age of 27, he died from carbon monoxide poisoning while listening to some of his studio tracks in his car's cassette player while running the engine in his garage.