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Anorak | The making of Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night

The making of Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night

by | 23rd, October 2015

Bert_Kaempfert

 

Mark Steyn celebrates his Sinatra Centenary series with a look at the making of a hit song:

It was 1966. Enter Bert Kaempfert “the German kaiser of kitsch”:

He eschewed the standard 32-bar A-A-B-A song, possibly on the grounds that a middle section was way too much work. Instead, his tunes are built on the slightest of melodic themes, endlessly repeated. Yet they are, as the Germans say, Ohrwürmer or earworms: maddening tunes that insinuate their way into your head and refuse to get out. “L-O-V-E” is the über-Kaempfert, a tune so simple that its lyricist Milt Gabler turned it into a spelling lesson, an “Alphabet Song” for grown-ups:

L is for the way you look at me
O is for the only one I see
V is very very extraordinary
E is even more…

So Kaempfert had form. And so Jimmy Bowen listens to Hal Fine’s bunch of Kaempfert themes and something called “Beddy-Bye” comes up. And Bowen plays it again, and again. And then he says, “Man, get me a lyric on that, and I’ll do it with Sinatra.”

“Beddy-Bye” sounds to me like yet another minimalist Kaempfert tune: the five-note title phrase, reprised a tone up and a tone down, is about 50 per cent of the tune. Yet a remarkable number of other people claim to have had a hand in its creation. The last time I mentioned the thing in this space David C Tobin of Washington, DC wrote to say that it was composed by Avo Uvezian, a Beirut-born Armenian-American pianist cum cigar manufacturer. He does indeed claim to have written the music, but so does the late Ivo Robić, the crooning Croat, who insisted that he’d composed it for a folk music festival in Split, Yugoslavia. M Philippe-Gérard, the Brazilian-born French composer of “When The World Was Young”, sued on the grounds that the tune was stolen from

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Posted: 23rd, October 2015 | In: Music, News Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink