Original Soundtrack “A Man Could Get Killed” (1966)
Bert Kaempfert

  1. Main Title (Bert Kaempfert)
  2. Explosive Welcome – Bi-Naveled – Key Note (Bert Kaempfert)
  3. Beddy Bye (Strangers In The Night) (Bert Kaempfert)
  4. Beddoes Shadows (Bert Kaempfert)
  5. Clues Dropper – A Tape Sandwich – Rude Awakening (Bert Kaempfert)
  6. Noted Arrival (Bert Kaempfert)
  7. Taking De-Tour (Bert Kaempfert)
  8. Sale Fish (But Not Today) (Bert Kaempfert)
  9. Down To The Docks – A Deadly Game (Bert Kaempfert)
  10. Foiled In Oil (Bert Kaempfert)
  11. Handy Brandy – Hail the Azalea (Bert Kaempfert)
  12. No A Go Go (End Title) (Bert Kaempfert)
    Bonus Tracks
  13. Love Theme From “You Can’t Win ‘Em All” (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)
  14. Flight To Mecca (Bert Kaempfert/Herbert Rehbein)

1 – 12 issued as Decca DL 4750 (mono) and Decca DL 74750 (stereo)
1 – 12 issued in Europe as Decca SLK 86 012-P
13 and 14 issued as single Decca 32715

Writing music for motion pictures is a highly complicated activity involving split-second timing, exact underscoring for the action taking place – to say nothing of originality and the ability to create a mood required of the composer. Bert Kaempfert succeeded magnificently on all counts and can proudly take his place with this highly select group of composers, thereby adding another strand to his crown of laurels. – Margaret Linn

Bert Kaempfert’s earliest international hits, “Wonderland by Night” and “Midnight Blues,” were themes from films. But these were covers. Kaempfert’s first film as composer was the 1962 German film 90 Minuten nach Mitternacht (a.k.a. Terror After Midnight), which yielded the German hits “The Hours After Midnight” and the delightful “Mexican Road.” Sadly, that soundtrack never crossed the Atlantic.

Kaempfert’s next film score – and his first Hollywood film – was for the screwball-comedy spy-spoof mash-up A Man Could Get Killed. The film, which premiered on March 25, 1966, stars James Garner and Melina Mercouri and is set largely in the wonderfully scenic Lisbon, capital of Portugal and the setting of an earlier Kaempfert album.

Appropriately, the music here tends toward the exotic, with a Spanish flavor mixing with the Greek (in honor of Ms. Mercouri) and zany comic cues referencing “Rule Britannia,” as the American Garner is ridiculously mistaken for a certain British agent. Guess who?

In early 1966, Bert Kaempfert flew to Hollywood in the company of musical partner Herbert Rehbein. The pair were locked in a room for eight weeks to compose the film’s music. Apparently Kaempfert became quite ill during this time and was unable to do anything much at all. Rehbein reportedly finished the music. Some have even said that he wrote most of the music for the film.

The actual soundtrack was recorded in Hollywood, under the direction of veteran Joseph Gershenson, while the soundtrack album was recorded when Kaempfert returned to Hamburg on March 8, 1966. Curiously, though, all references to Rehbein’s contributions are – and remain – absent.

This, of course, became especially problematic when the film’s love theme, known here as “Beddy Bye,” became a worldwide hit as “Strangers in the Night.” The slight – however it happened – caused a rift that lasted a lifetime between the two collaborators.

Kaempfert opted to make it up to Rehbein by insisting that from then on, all the pair’s music – whoever wrote what – would be credited to both Kaempfert and Rehbein (much as Lennon-McCartney were credited in The Beatles). The evidence, however, suggests that this hardly solved any of the duo’s issues.

“Strangers in the Night” won Bert Kaempfert a Golden Globe Award in 1967 for “Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.” Nevertheless, the composer himself went public with his disdain of composing for films.

“That’s not my kind of meat,” he claimed in an interview, “not my kind of working mentality, sitting in the cutting room with a stop-watch for hours and hours, looking at the same scenes again and again. That’s a troublesome Sisyphus-like work, and I prefer to leave it to others.”

He would score only one more film, You Can’t Win ‘Em All (1970), an action-adventure comedy starring Tony Curtis and Charles Bronson. This time, though, Herbert Rehbein was prominently credited as well.

Bonus Tracks

Given the success of “Strangers In The Night” – and the immediate appeal of what became known as “But Not Today” – there were, remarkably, no singles issued from the Kaempfert soundtrack to A Man Could Get Killed.

Perhaps the film’s lack of success had something to do with that.

But Bert Kaempfert was invited back to score yet another international Hollywood film: the stilted 1970 epic action-adventure comedy mash-up You Can’t Win ‘Em All.

The sprawling, though gorgeous, film, was directed by Peter Collinson – who had just come off the cult favorite The Italian Job – and was a bit of a Technicolor slog, despite the bravura and signature performances of its leads, Tony Curtis and Charles Bronson.

Bert Kaempfert, supported by his aide-de-camp, Herbert Rehbein, contributed a whopping two themes to the film (mercilessly repeated in bits and pieces all over the soundtrack). These were recorded for the 1970 Kaempfert album Free And Easy and issued as both sides of a single…that never charted.

The two themes previously factored on the 1997 German CD release Free And Easy : Good Life Music Vol. 9 and the 2001 Taragon CD release of Free And Easy. Both tracks are also available on the 2001 German Kaempfert CD soundtrack compilation 90 Minuten Nach Mitternacht on Bear Family Records.