Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 17 April '29, Bremen, Germany) Leader of big cabaret/show band, supplying posh middle-of-the-road dance music for a huge audience. Studied piano '39, bass at music school '43; voted best bassist in German jazz poll '50, '51, '52; joined Northwest German radio Orchestra '55, began arranging for radio '56, first LP Non Stop Dancing '65 discovered 26 hit songs in 90-second bits for continuous dancing. Wrote hit "Games That Lovers Play' ("Eine Ganze Nacht' in German; English words by Larry Kusick and Eddie Snyder recorded by Eddie Fisher and Wayne Newton). Only three LPs (on Polydor) have reached top 200 in USA, but Continental popularity is phenomenal; he had four LPs in UK charts simultaneously '67: 52 hit albums in UK '67-86 (second only to Elvis Presley) incl. James Last Goes Pop, Polka Party, Golden Memories, Violins In Love, many volumes of Non-Stop Dancing, Classics Up To Date etc. Made an LP with Astrud Gilberto '86 in Florida. Touring personnel of 60 people (17 nationalities) incl. 46 musicians (all American vocalists); shows sell out with no advertising. As with the Lawrence Welk band on USA TV '50s, the slickness should not be undervalued; good musicians can play anything: a German Show Express programme seen on Anglia TV UK early '87 incl. Kris Kristofferson's "Me And Bobby McGee': excellent small vocal group, good brass writing and playing, first-class rock drumming slightly behind the beat would be an improvement on most of today's pop.