The Tor Guides

Those were indeed different days!

In Classic pop on 6 May, 2011 at 14:52

I would guess that more than one young person of today thinks of German music in terms of Rammstein. Others, maybe somewhat older, may rather think of Kraftwerk or energetic copy-cat Nena and her 99 luftballons. Still, all of these artists somehow capture all our preconceptions of German music, in its worst and best ways.

However, there was once a different time, full of love and hope of a better day and improved conditions, and no one defined that era better than the two German soft core giants Hans ”James” Last and Klaus Wunderlich and their British colleague Les Humphries, who by chance also worked in Germany.

In their world nothing could go wrong and the only road to the future was paved with expectations of certain success. They all have massive CVs. Last released his never-ending Non Stop Party album series while Wunderlich released his Pops series in the same fashion.

I recall from reading an interview with my fellow Swede Nicklas Frisk, to the international audience maybe most famous for his work together with Nina Persson and Nathan Larsson in A Camp, a couple of years ago. Frisk went on and on with praise and admiration of Les Humphries´ swinging rhythm sections and how it really could swing. I remember that it seemed like a strange praise at the time – but was it really that strange? I would say that there is a lot more music and musicality that meets the ears as opposed to what meets the eyes.

Did you know that Herbert Bornholdt and Peter Hesslein who made up the drum and rhythm section of Last´s orchestra also played in German prog rockers Lucifer´s Friend? Or the fact that Les Humphries´ singer Liz Mitchell eventually became one of the ladies on Frank Farian´s über the top pop project Boney M? Or that singer John Lawton not only sang for Humphries´ but also provided vocals in Lucifer´s Friend and would later go on to front Uriah Heep?  Wunderlicht and his signature Hammond organ was maybe more chilling and less prog – forever holding on a concept of a world of umbrella drinks in the porch swing and semi nude ladies on the record sleeves.

Below you can see a clip of a hard working Last from 1973, giving his best in a strange but swinging mix of Beatles and German bierstube classics.

Ahh …those were definitely different days!



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