Over several years and many records, musicians have searched for that elusive, different — and commercial — ‘sound’. And one or two of them have even found it. Glenn Miller, as a notable example. He truly struck gold in the big band field with those distinctive and so individual arrangements. But that Miller Magic was born many years ago and few, if any, bandleaders have been able to emulate him since.
Few bandleaders, that is, with the exception of the remarkable Bert Kaempfert. For the Hamburg-born musician did a Miller and hit upon a unique, inspired may in which to blend and voice the instruments under his command. A way which produced an overall sound — the dominant bass line, the regimented swing of the beat, the muted brass, and the general air of quality — that quite literally grabbed the public by the ear. All of which is very evident from the many millions of Bert Kaempfert LPs which have delighted record listeners the world over.
Bert Kaempfert became interested in music at a very early age —when he was discovered trying to make tunes on the old piano in the parlour. His parents encouraged him by sending him for private lessons and later he was enrolled at the Hamburg School of Music from which he graduated with flying colours.
In addition to piano, he learned to play clarinet, saxophone, and accordion. And, before long, his talents as arranger and composer began to emerge. His recording career began effectively in 1960 when the ‘single’ of his own song, “Wonderland By Night”, topped the American charts and became a million-seller. And there were to be many more successes along the way — notably his “Strangers In The Night” composition, which he wrote for a film and which gave Frank Sinatra a long-awaited Number One hit, and “Bye Bye Blues”, his British chart debut record.
The Bert Kaempfert talents are all contained on this LP, with many of his own compositions, like “Happy Trumpeter”, “The Bass Walks” “Explorer”, and “Catalania”, sharing the honours with such well-loved ‘standards’ as “Blue Moon” and “Cherokee”.
The Kaempfert Sound, in fact. And for a musician’s work to be that instantly recognisable must be satisfaction indeed to the man whose brainchild it was in the first place.
Label: Contour 2870 441 Photograph: Michel Leguens Sleeve Design: Jack Levy
Let’s be honest about it. This is a mood music album. It has piano and strings and some great ballads from the halcyon years of song. It’s designed to put you and your loved one in the right mood while dancing cheek to cheek. That’s what mood music is all about.
What it isn’t is musical wallpaper something you put on and forget, so that when it’s over you can’t remember a single note. Somehow that fate never befalls Tony Osborne’s records, which is why our Mr. 0. is still making musicianly albums of standards when other ex-mood music maestros are struggling against the embarrassment of trying to orchestrate banal pop tunes.
Tony realises that there’s still a demand for Romance. The stuff hasn’t gone out of fashion, whatever the trendies may say. He knows, too, that many people find it just a little difficult to get in a romantic mood to the output of the Top 20. But then why try? The greatest popular writers made it so easy with their love songs; songs of such inherent quality, both lyrically and melodically, that they have survived over the years.
Like Rodgers & Hart’s Isn’t It Romantic and Have You Met Miss Jones, Warren & Gordon’s The More I See You and Jobim’s Quiet Nights, all of which bespeak the thrill of new love. Or “lost love” songs like Irving Berlin’s plea for reassurance, Say It Isn’t So, Schwartz & Dietz’s I Guess I’ll Have To Change My Plan, McHugh & Adamson’s Where Are You and Lennon & McCartney’s Yesterday. Whatever the basic emotion, such songs are rich in the sort of melody that a mood music album cries out for.
They give an arranger something to work on and a pianist something interesting to play. When both functions are combined in one man like the multi-talented Tony Osborne, and when that man has a top-flight orchestra to work with, the result is the neatest piano playing and the richest orchestral ensemble you can imagine.
Of course, the only thing wrong is that it defeats its object as mood music. It’s so darned interesting as music per se you’re bound to stop whatever you’re doing to listen to it.
Love Story, Feelings, If You Leave Me Now, Speak Softly Love, Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love), Petite Melodie, Don’t Give Up On Us Baby, Somewhere My Love, When I Need You, Don’t Cry For Me , Argentina, Do You Know Where I’m Going To (Theme From “Mahogany”), Jeux Interdits
Francais, Francais, The World Is A Circle, Last Tango In Paris, Vivaldi, I Love You, My Love, The Gondolas Of Venice, Vado Via, Forever And Ever, Quatre Saisons Pour Un Amour, Theme From The Film Papillon, Sunrise, Sunset, Clo Clo, Imagine, L’avventura
Listen to Franck Pourcel’s instrumental version of Paul McCartney’s “My Love“
Cigarettes, Whusky And Wild Wild Woman, Harry Lime Theme, You Always Hurt The One You Love, Red Roses For A Blue Lady, You’ll Never Know, I’ll Remember April, Faraway Places, Lady Is A Tramp, It’s Magic, On The Sunny Side Of The Street, Begin The Beguine, Lilli Marlene, I Wish You Love, We’ll Meet Again
As most pop fans know our Hallmark “Top of the Pops” albums, issued every six or eight weeks, are consistently the best selling records of their kind in the world.
Each issue of “Top of the Pops” sells, not in thousands, but in hundreds of thousands; and, such is the outstanding success of these records, we decided in 1969 to introduce a “Best of Top of the Pops”, containing the thirteen best tunes from “Top of the Pops” issued during the year.
This was a runaway success and so were the subsequent issues; and all you pop enthusiasts supported us wonderfully.
We are thus encouraged to produce yet another “BEST OF” this year and again we have gone to enormous trouble to serve up on this album a superb selection of 13 hit tunes of the year, all of which have been featured at No. 1.
You’ll swing to these rhythms made famous during the year by the greatest artistes in show business. We sincerely think some of our versions are even better than the originals! Try it.
NOW HERE’S A BIG FREE BONUS FOR YOU ALL. INSIDE IS A SUPER, EXTRA BIG (ALMOST 3 feet x 2 feet), PIN-UP POSTER CALENDAR FOR 1973, IN SUPERB, FULL COLOUR!
We think we have produced a winner. There’s rhythm and beat and wonderful sound on the record to set your feet tapping; and there’s a gorgeous gal on our poster calendar to titillate your eyes.
We’ve done our very best. We KNOW you will do your best to make this big value release an all-time winner.
Love, they say, makes the world go round. The very same thing is often said of music, too. What could be more natural, then, than a happy combination of the two ? Here, with the ubiquitous James Last and his fine orchestra performing twelve excellent love songs, one could say that the world has never had it so good. Love, of course, has many faces and in this well-spiced selection James Last seems to have covered most of them musically.
The melodic grace of Time After Time – a long-time favourite written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn for the 1946 Sinatra musical film It Happened In Brooklyn—makes a fitting start to the programme. This is followed by James Last’s own hit composition of twenty years later, Games That Lovers Play – a song that brings a mature and pleasantly original twist to the adolescent taunting-and-teasing side of love. This song has been recorded by many artists all over the world but to hear the composer’s own version makes this an especially interesting track.
One of the cinema’s great love scenes provided the background for the clever merging of Moonglow and the theme from Picnic. While scoring the music for this fine 1955 film, composer George Duning was looking for a way to complement and intensify a dance sequence in which the leading characters—played by William Holden and Kim Novak—discover their love for each other. He hit on the idea of using the jazz standard Moonglow (which was composed in 1934 by Will Hudson Eddie de Lange and Irving Mills) and combining it with his own theme as an obligato for strings. The effect was not only dramatically stunning it also resulted in a multi-million selling single. It is also interesting to note, nearly twenty years later, that the song Moonglow is hardly ever played without Duning’s fine Picnic theme in attendance. On this occasion James Last offers a richly scored treatment of the famous musical tandem which moves at a slightly faster tempo than usual.
The first side of this disc is completed by two emotionally contrasting pieces—the exotic romanticism of Passion Flower and the impending disillusionment of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’. The latter song was written in 1964 by record producer Phil Spector and the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill. It was recorded by the Righteous Brothers and subsequently became one of the biggest pop hits of the sixties.
Side two opens with the Academy Award-winning film song of 1953 Secret Love. Introduced by the irrepressible Doris Day in the musical Calamity Jane, it provided Doris with her fifth million-seller. In this version James Last has arranged the song in a very appealing way paying full regard to Sammy Fain’s superb melody. A somewhat more contemporary atmosphere is engendered by Last’s fine interpretation of Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man, and this adds a pleasant touch of variety to the proceedings. Tambourine, of course, was a strong hit in 1965 for that popular group, The Byrds. The contemporary flavour continues simmering in Help Me Girl, before Last returns to the super-romantic swing of Close Your Eyes, a fine and well-loved standard which is usually associated with Tony Bennett who made a very successful recording of it back in the 1950’s.
One of the best known songs of the sixties Bart Howard’s elegant Fly Me To The Moon (sometimes known as In Other Words) makes an ideal vehicle for the arranging talents of James Last who, in this treatment, brings out all the lively elements of romantic fantasy implied by the title. Finally, having run the musical gamut of emotions connected with this crazy thing called love, James Last and his fine musical organisation strike a joyously optimistic note for the finale with their version of the recent Andy Williams hit Happy Heart.
If it is true to say that both love and music make the world go round, then it is a pretty safe bet that the world of James Last will continue spinning for many years to come … at the agreeably romantic speed of 33 1⁄3 r.p.m., of course.
Steppin’ Out – I’m Gonna Boogie Tonight, Love Me For A Reason, Queen Of Clubs, Kung Fu Fighting, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, Black – Eyed Boys, Rock Me Gently, The Bitch Is Back, Now That We’ve Found Love, You, You, You, Hang On In There Baby, The Player, Annie’s Song, Mr. Soft, Another Saturday Night, Rock ‘N’ Roll Lady
Here’s yet another great pop L.P. from Pickwick. And as always, it’s packed with the latest, most up-to-datest chart sounds. With twelve super tracks brilliantly performed and produced to the very highest standard, Top of the Pops is without doubt the best value for money to be found. If you prefer listening to your music on tape, then you can get this very album on Stereo Cassette HSC 290 or 8-track Cartridge H 8290.
TOP OF THE POPS VOLUME 51 … another smash hit L.P. from Pickwick.