Berthold Heinrich Kämpfert, (16 October 1923 – 21 June 1980), better known as Bert Kaempfert, was a German orchestra leader, music producer, arranger, and songwriter. He made easy listening and jazz-oriented records and wrote the music for a number of well-known songs, including “Strangers in the Night” and “Moon Over Naples”.
Kaempfert was born in Hamburg, Germany, where he received his lifelong nickname, Fips, and studied at the local school of music. A multi-instrumentalist, he was hired by Hans Busch to play with his orchestra before serving as a bandsman in the German Navy during World War II. He later formed his own big band, toured with them, then worked as an arranger and producer, making hit records with Freddy Quinn and Ivo Robić.
Kaempfert’s own first hit with his orchestra had been in 1960, “Wonderland by Night”. Recorded in July 1959, the song couldn’t get a hearing in Germany, so Kaempfert took the track to Decca Records in New York, who released it in America in 1959 (or fall 1960). With its haunting solo trumpet, muted brass, and lush strings, the single topped the American pop charts and turned Bert Kaempfert and Orchestra into international stars.
Over the next few years, he revived such pop tunes as “Tenderly”, “Red Roses for a Blue Lady”, “Three O’Clock in the Morning”, and “Bye Bye Blues”, as well as composing pieces of his own, including “Spanish Eyes (Moon Over Naples)”, “Danke Schoen”, and “Wooden Heart”, which were recorded by, respectively, Al Martino, Wayne Newton, and Elvis Presley. For Kaempfert, little may have brought him more personal satisfaction than Nat King Cole recording his “L-O-V-E”.
Kaempfert’s orchestra made extensive use of horns. A couple of numbers that featured brass prominently, “Magic Trumpet” and “The Mexican Shuffle”, were played by both Kaempfert’s orchestra and by Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, whose initially Mariachi style, in fact, evolved towards the Kaempfert style as the 1960s progressed. The Brass covered “Magic Trumpet”, and Kaempfert returned the favor by covering Brass compadre Sol Lake’s number “The Mexican Shuffle”. The latter tune evolved into a TV ad, The Teaberry Shuffle.
In 1961, Kaempfert hired The Beatles to back Tony Sheridan for an album called My Bonnie. The album and its singles, released by Polydor Records, were the Beatles’ first commercially released recordings.
In his capacity as record producer, Kaempfert played a part in the rise of The Beatles when he signed a Liverpool-based singer named Tony Sheridan. Sheridan had been performing in Hamburg, and needed to recruit a band to play behind him on the proposed sides. He auditioned and signed the Beatles, and recorded two tracks with them during his sessions for Sheridan: “Ain’t She Sweet” (sung by rhythm guitarist John Lennon) and “Cry for a Shadow” (an instrumental written by Lennon and lead guitarist George Harrison).
On October 28, 1961, a man walked into the music store owned by Brian Epstein to ask for a copy of “My Bonnie”, a song that was recorded by the Beatles, but credited to Tony Sheridan. The store did not have it, but Epstein noted the request. He was so intrigued by the idea of a Liverpool band releasing a record, he investigated. This event led to his discovery of the Beatles and, through his effort, their signing by George Martin to Parlophone Records after Kaempfert helped them elude any contractual claim by Polydor. (by wikipedia)
And here´s another highlight of the musical career of Bert Kaempfert:
And of course his “Wonderland By Night” is one his classic tunes.
But also otherwise this album is almost a kind of reference LP for his special sound … languorous trumpets, discreet rhythm and the also so popular “crack bass” by Ladi Geisler.
So: for all romantics and those who want to become one… this album is a must !
Bert Kaempfert Orhestra
Charly Tabor (trumpet)
The original German edition:
Tracklist (running order from the German edition):
01.Wonderland By Night (Wunderland bei Nacht) (Neumann) 3.13
02. As I Love You (Livingston/Evans) 3.04
03. The Aim Of My Desires (Das Ziel meiner Wünsche) (Moesser) 2.54
04. Stay With Me (Kaempfert) 3.01
05. Tammy (Livingston/Evans) 3.04
06. Lullaby For Lovers (Kaempfert) 2.23
07. Drifting And Dreaming (Sweet Paradise) (v.Alstyne/Schmidt/Gillespie/Curtin) 2.32
08. La Vie En Rose (Piaf/Louiguy) 2.40
09. Happiness Never Comes Too Late (Das Glück kommt nie zu spät) (Kaempfert) 2.40
10. On The Alamo (Kahn/Jones) 2.54
11. Dreaming The Blues (Kaempfert) 3.02
12. This Song Is Yours Alone (Dieses Lied gehört nur dir) (Kaempfert) 3.20
The official website: