Monday, May 9, 2011

Wonderland by Night?

May 1961

Bert Kaempfert, back in the '60s, was a successful German orchestra leader, cut from the same cloth as Henri Mancini and Nelson Riddle, who happened to be from Hamburg.  His claim to fame at this time was his popular recording of an light orchestra piece called "Wonderland by Night", which the Beatles had certainly heard, even if it wasn't exactly their cup of tea.  Later, Kaempfert would gain even more fame by writing "Danke Schoen" which made the career of a young singer called Wayne Newton, and a song covered by Frank Sinatra.- "Strangers in the Night".  (This song is the original source of the iconic Sinatra scat line "do-be-do-be-do".  To hear it, jump ahead to 2:20.)  We are talking big leagues, here.  If you want to know just how big, listen to this song at about 33 seconds in.  (Obviously, I'm becoming a youtube fanatic.  There is just so much great stuff there!)

Anyhow, a talent scout employee of Kaempfert had heard tell of this new talent called Tony Sheridan and had dropped in to the Top Ten to hear this guy for himself.  He was equally impressed by Sheridan and with the sound made by his backing group, the Beatles, and invited them all around to the office to discuss a possible recording contract with the German branch of Polydor, a British label!  The boys excitedly agreed and plans were put in place for a recording session to take place next month, in June.

A bit of housekeeping.  I finally got the email subscription gadget to work on this blog, so if you want to be notified by email, use the "Follow by Email" link to the right.  And don't forget to tell your Beatle fan friends.  I have now had visits from all six inhabited continents.  Thank you, South Africa!  (I recon I might be waiting a while for Antarctica.)

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