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Information of Bert Kaempfert

Bert Kaempfert (born Berthold Kämpfert; 16 October 1923 ? 21 June 1980) was a German orchestra leader and songwriter. He made easy listening and jazz-oriented records, and wrote the music for a number of well-known songs, such as "Strangers in the Night" (originally recorded by Ivo Robi?) and "Spanish Eyes". He was born in Hamburg, Germany - where he received his lifelong nickname, Fips - and studied at the School of Music there. 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 Robic. In 1961, he hired The Beatles to back Tony Sheridan on "My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean)," "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Ain't She Sweet" and "Cry for a Shadow," in a session for Polydor, the Beatles' first commercial recordings. Kaempfert's own first hit with his orchestra had been in 1960, with "Wonderland by Night". Many of his tunes became better known as hits for other artists: *"Strangers in the Night" (with words by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder, originally composed by Ivo Robi?), was originally recorded as part of his score for the 1965 film A Man Could Get Killed. It became a #1 hit for Frank Sinatra in 1966. *"Wooden Heart," sung by Elvis Presley in the film GI Blues was a hit in 1961. A cover of "Wooden Heart" performed by Joe Dowell became a big hit in the summer of 1961, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, on August 28 of that year. *His instrumental "Moon Over Naples," when given words by Snyder, became "Spanish Eyes", originally a hit for Al Martino and also recorded by Engelbert Humperdinck, Presley, and many others. *"Danke Schoen", with words added by Kurt Schwabach and Milt Gabler, became Wayne Newton's signature song. *"L-O-V-E", with words added by Milt Gabler, was a hit for Nat King Cole *"Tenderly", "Three O'Clock in the Morning", "Red Roses for a Blue Lady" and other romantic songs were covered frequently by other easy-listening or middle-of-the-road performers. *A jazzier number called "A Swingin' Safari" was the initial theme tune for the long-running TV game show, The Match Game used on the NBC version from 1962-67. "A Swingin' Safari" also hit the Billboard charts by Billy Vaughn, the single release peaking at #13 in the summer of 1962. Another 1962 single, That Happy Feeling, became well-known as background music for children's television programming, most notably that of Sandy Becker. *"Tahitian Sunset" was sampled extensively by the lo-fi dance artists Lemon Jelly as their track "In the Bath". 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 the 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". Many of his hits during this period were composed and arranged with the help of fellow German Herb Rehbein, who became a successful bandleader in his own right. Rehbein's death in 1979 shook Kaempfert deeply. Both Kaempfert and Rehbein were posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. By the 1970s, sales of Kaempfert's music had dropped off somewhat, but he continued to record (his version of the "Theme from Shaft" was admired by Isaac Hayes himself) and remained popular with audiences. He expanded the musical scope of his band and recorded in a wide variety of styles. He also began to play live concerts with his orchestra, beginning in 1974, with a successful appearance at London's Royal Albert Hall. A cigarette smoker (as illustrated on the posthumous Best of CD), he died suddenly, at the age of 56, following a stroke at his home on Majorca, shortly after a successful tour of Britain. Kaempfert used many musicians who were available in Germany and other parts of Europe, including many of the same players who played for James Last, Kai Warner and Roberto Delgado. He featured such top soloists as trumpeters Charly Tabor, Werner Gutterer, Manfred Moch and Ack van Rooyen, trombonists Ake Persson and Jiggs Whigham, and sax/flute player Herb Geller. Drummer Rolf Ahrens supplied the characteristically simple but steady beat, often playing just a snare drum with brushes. Another contributor to Kaempfert's music was guitarist/bassist Ladislav "Ladi" Geisler, who popularized the famous "knackbass" (crackling bass) sound, which became the most distinctive feature of many Kaempfert recordings - a treble staccato bass guitar sound in which the bass string was plucked with a pick and immediately suppressed to cancel out any sustain. Note: it was Ladislav "Ladi" Geisler who lent his guitar amplifier to The Beatles for their recording session with Tony Sheridan, after the band's own equipment proved to be inadequate for recording purposes.