Lost Treasures: Bert Kaempfert – “Afrikaan Beat”

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This week’s “Lost Treasure” is from 1962 and this easy-listening classic made it to both the US top 40 & MOR charts.  Bert Kaempfert in addition to being a talented multi-instrument musician was also house producer for Germany’s Polydor Records for a number of years.  In addition to releases from his own orchestra, he recorded & produced a number of MOR, jazz, easy listening recordings, many quite popular in Europe but unreleased elsewhere.  He also oversaw Polydor’s prestigious classical music output which had heavy sales worldwide. “Afrikaan Beat” was included in an LP devoted to the music styles of South Africa which included his own “Zambesi” along with traditional tunes “Wimowaheh” & “Skokiaan”.

Kaempfert’s other claim to fame was being the first to record an unsigned, scruffy bunch of rock n rollers from Liverpool, England who had found work playing the bars & brothels of Hamburg, Germany.  Long before fame, The Beatles along with UK singer Tony Sheridan recorded an LP of music for the label, but the record flopped.  Polydor also released a single from these sessions – John Lennon leading the group on the traditional “My Bonnie”. As the famous story claims, it was a young record buyer who entered Brian Epstein’s record store in Liverpool requesting a copy of “My Bonnie” by a Liverpool group.  Epstein was intrigued enough about a local band, that he investigated further…and we know the rest of that story!  A curious side note about this song:  the “Afrikaan Beat” melody was quite popular in Jamaica & was sampled & used on a number of reggae releases from that country.  Have a great weekend from your friends at Puget Sound Media!

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Mike Cherry

Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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