Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...

updated 06/20/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/20/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

>David Hasselhoff

FROM BAYWATCH TO BEIJING

TO US, HE'S THE UBERLIFEGUARD OF Baywatch. But in Europe, David Hasselhoff is a rock god. How'd that happen? Good old American initiative.

Back in 1987, Hasselhoff, despondent over the breakup of his first marriage and the cancellation of his hit series Knight Rider, was shocked to find out that Night Rocker, his quickie album which flopped here, was on top of the charts in Austria. He began dialing Europe and, using a phony name to pose as the booking agent he didn't have, set up a Knight Rider tour. Then he had to scramble to have a Pontiac Trans Am customized so he could pass it off as KITT, the talking car from the TV series. "The next thing I know," marvels Hasselhoff of that first tour, "the German papers are comparing me to the Beatles."

Though his popularity overseas has continued to soar, Hasselhoff has received scant musical recognition here, a situation he seeks to rectify with a live pay-per-view concert this week (Fri., June 17, 8 p.m. ET, $14.95), which will feature appearances by Baywatch costars Pamela Anderson and David Charvet.

Hasselhoff checked in recently from Hong Kong; proximity to China inspired our musical Marco Polo yet again. "Here I am, miles away," he enthuses. "I couldn't resist making inquiries about a tour. But there's the language barrier, so, in a pinch, I put my housekeeper here in Hong Kong on the phone," he says. "A major cultural event, and I have the housekeeper negotiating for me!"

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