Who was/is Fred Bertelmann ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more
Fred Bertelmann's future as an artist did not look particularly bright when he signed a contract in 1952 with the small company Tempo, which supplied department stores with its inexpensive records. The repertoire of the label consisted of successful hits, which had been recorded by the great stars of Polydor, Philips, Electrola or Teldec. The task of Bertelmann and colleagues was now to quickly throw a copy onto the market for Tempo in order to share in the success of the titles.
However, the singer, who was born on October 7, 1925 in Duisburg, already had a foot in the door to show business. He brought with him the prerequisites for this. Against his mother's wishes, who would have liked to see little Fred as a great doctor, he pushed through his musical wish after graduating from high school and enrolled at the Duisburg Conservatory for the subjects trumpet, harmony and music history. Before he could graduate, he was committed to military service and was taken into American captivity.
As'Prisoner of War' he founded an orchestra in the camp in Alabama together with other prisoners. Back in Germany, Fred Bertelmann consistently continued his artistic career, which led him via a band with the Egerländer Ernst Mosch, a detour to the show orchestra Pepo de Seato and finally to the Charly-Schiele-Combo. At a concert in Travemünde he was discovered for the record market by an employee of Michael Jary. When his tempo recordings were also played on the radio, Fred Bertelmann was also allowed to sing his own songs instead of the previous copies. This earned him a contract with Cologne-based Electrola in 1955.
First successes came with Tina Marie, a version of the American Perry Como hit, which also became a hit for Die drei Travellers in the same year and with a parody (1957) and another version by Fred Frohberg on the East Berlin Amiga label, and In Hamburg the nights are long. In Hamburg are the Nights Long' was the title of a film with Barbara Rütting, which premiered in Germany in February 1956. And the song written for it by Karl Bette - unlike so many film hits of the time - actually seems like film music. Bette, from whom I also shake hands with you as a farewell, worked as a composer in many screen productions, e.g.'Der Schmied von St. Bartholomae','Zwei Herzen und ein Thron' (both 1955),'Der Glockengießer von Tirol' and'Wo der Wildbach rauscht (both 1956). His Hamburg Song, written by Hans Bradtke (Pack' die Badehose ein), conveys the expert's routine. Of course Fred Bertelmann sings: "In Hamburg the girls are beautiful and only really lively at night".
But the city on the Elbe is not only defined by the harbour: "If moonlight falls on the Alster, we forget the whole world". The quality of In Hamburg are the nights long was also recognized beyond the great water. When the King Sisters were engaged by Capitol Records in 1957, they recorded the song not only with the German title (and partly German lyrics), but also exactly with the arrangement (including whistled introduction). A suggestion for the American sisters may have been the female choir of the Hansen Quartet at the Fred Bertelmann recording. The English text, however, is more relaxed. "My girl come and don't be scared" became "You take a Fräulein by the hand" for the King Sisters. And finally: "Would you like to get cosy with me?"' Fred Bertelmann remained true to the female gender after Tina Marie with My sweet little Susi and Marie with the cheeky look.
But it wasn't until he decided to sing to the laughing vagabond in 1957 that he had really made it. He presented his record company Electrola with the first seller of millions after the war. The composition of the American Jim Lowe (Green Door) had come a long way before she came to Germany. Country singer Rusty Draper brought Gambler's Guitar to the American charts in 1953. On this recording there was already laughter, which later made Fred Bertelmann the trademark of his interpretation. The 1953 version of the American RCA interpreter Jack Turner also dates back to the same year, when he recorded the body-stoller piece Hound Dog, which later made Elvis Presley world-famous. Two years later, RCA released in Italy an Italian version - Dillo Chitarra - by Paolo Bacilieri, which was the model for the Bertelmann hit in the arrangement. The company chronicle of Electrola reports that the German lyricist Peter Mösser listened to Gambler's guitar on holiday and enthusiastically wrote a text about it. Whether he heard the American original or Dillo Chitarra remains unclear.
Fred Bertelmann Der lachende Vagabund
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