Claus Ogerman – “Zorba” (1968)

“Life is what you do while you’re waiting to die/ Life is how the time goes by,” – “Life Is” from Zorba. After a brief – and remarkably unsuccessful – stint on RCA Records, running the gamut of pop genres during the mid-sixties, the German arranger, composer and bandleader Claus Ogerman (1930-2016) was mysteriously recruited…

Claus Ogerman on RCA

The German arranger and bandleader Claus Ogerman (1930-2016) first worked with producer Andy Wiswell (1905-94) at Capitol Records on zither player Ruth Welcome’s Carnival album and on The Manhattans’ single “Sing All the Day” (which Ogerman co-wrote) – both in 1962. When Wiswell moved over to RCA the following year, the two also worked together…

More Bert Kaempfert on Decca, Pt. 1: Traces Of Love (1969)

The Bert Kaempfert Decca Collection brings together 23 of the German bandleader’s albums issued in America between 1958 and 1970 plus Pete Fountain Plays Bert Kaempfert (recorded in Germany with Kaempfert’s orchestra). But while the box set adds a whopping 45 “bonus” tracks, it omits six of Kaempfert’s Decca records issued between 1969 and 1972.…

More Bert Kaempfert on Decca, Pt. 2: Free And Easy (1970)

Hal Fein – president of Bert Kaempfert’s American music publisher, Roosevelt Music – had been the one responsible for placing Kaempfert songs with popular singers, such as “Danke Schoen” with Wayne Newton, “Spanish Eyes” with Al Martino and, most famously of all, “Strangers In The Night” with Frank Sinatra. By 1969, Fein had sold his…