Early life and family
Kraus is the son of Austrian-born director and comedian Fred Krausnecker, and spent his youth alternating in Munich, Vienna and Salzburg where his father owned a small theatre. During his school years he took singing and acting lessons as well as step dancing classes. His first acting role was the part of Johnny in The Flying Classroom (1954) after the novel by Erich Kästner.
In 1969 Kraus married the photo model Ingrid. Kraus adopted Ingrid's daughter Gaby. A few years later their son Mike was born. Gaby died in her late thirties from breast cancer.
When the German music industry discovered that rock ’n’ roll was a big seller even with German lyrics, they marketed Kraus as an Elvis copy. Kraus soon became – just like his colleague Ted Herold – one of Germany's most popular singers and teen idols, the lanky and nonchalant attitude of the young man was a big hit with teens. In the first four years after his debut he published 36 hits and sold more than twelve million records.
Kraus' first disc in 1956 was a German version of Little Richards "Tutti Frutti". In mid-1957 his first hit "Susi Rock“ followed and made it to number 8 in the charts. From then until 1964 Kraus was regularly in the German charts. 1958 he recorded "Wenn Teenager träumen“ (When Teenagers Dream), "Hula Baby" and the legendary "Sugar Baby", 1959 followed his version of Fabian's "Tiger". At first Kraus was heavily influenced by Elvis Presley, but soon he managed to find his own style. As the "nice boy from next door" he sang with his female counterpart, teen idol Conny Froboess and appeared with her in movies like 1958 in "Wenn die Conny mit dem Peter" or 1960 in "Conny und Peter machen Musik". Both advanced to the most beloved big screen stars of German teenagers in the late fifties. 1959 Peter Kraus appeared together with his father Fred Kraus, playing the role of his father, in "Melodie und Rhythmus".
Kraus also published some songs together with Jörg Maria Berg; under the pseudonym The James Brothers the two played German cover versions like 1958 "Wenn" (When), 1959 "Cowboy Billy", 1960 "Rote Rosen" (Pretty Blue Eyes), "Die jungen Jahre" (Endless Sleep) oder 1964 "Hätt' ich einen Hammer" (If I Had A Hammer), to name a few. He also sang together with Connie Francis, Lill Babs, Danny Mann, Alice and Ellen Kessler, Gus Backus as well as Gina Dobra.
- Peter Kraus. Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon
- For his biography see: Frank Laufenberg / Ingrid Hake: Rock- und Pop-Lexikon. Vol. 1: ABBA - Kay Kyser. Düsseldorf / Wien: ECON Verlag, 1994, p. 850f
- Julia Edenhofer: Das große Oldie Lexikon. Mit Hitparaden-Übersicht England, USA, Deutschland. Bergisch-Gladbach: Bastei-Lübbe Verlag, 1991, p. 354f
- Günter Ehnert (ed.): Hit Balance. Deutsche Chart-Singles 1956-1980 Hamburg: Taurus Press, 1990, p. 188f
- Günter Ehnert (ed.): Hit Balance. Deutsche Chart-Singles 1956-1980 Hamburg: Taurus Press, 1990, p. 106