Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Danke Schoen

First recorded (as the instrumental “Candlelight Cafe”) by Bert Kaempfert (1959 |1962).
Hit version by Wayne Newton (US #13/MOR #3 1963).

From the wiki: “‘Danke Schoen’ was composed by Bert Kaempfert (‘Spanish Eyes’, ‘Strangers in the Night‘) and was first recorded as a jazzy instrumental titled ‘Candlelight Cafe’ in 1959 with Ladi Geisler on guitar, and again in 1962 in an ‘easy listening’ arrangement. Kurt Schwabach wrote the German lyrics.

“The song gained international fame when, in 1963, Milt Gabler wrote English lyrics and 21-year old singer Wayne Newton recorded an American version. The song was originally intended for singer Bobby Darin as a follow-up to his hit single, ‘Mack the Knife’, but after seeing Newton perform at the Copacabana, in Las Vegas, Darin passed the song along to Newton, transposing the arrangement to fit Newton’s voice. ‘Danke Shoen’ became Newton’s first US Top-20 hit.

“Newton began singing as a youth in local clubs, theaters, and fairs with his older brother, Jerry. The brothers, performing as the Rascals in Rhythm, appeared with the Grand Ole Opry roadshows and on ABC-TV’s Ozark Jubilee; and performed in front of then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower and auditioned unsuccessfully for Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour.

“In the spring of 1958, near the end of his junior year of high school, a Las Vegas booking agent saw Newton on a local TV show, Lew King Rangers Show, on which the two Newton brothers were performing and took them back for an audition. Originally signed for two weeks, the brothers eventually performed for five years, doing six shows a day. On September 29, 1962, they first performed on The Jackie Gleason Show. Wayne would perform on Gleason’s show 12 times over the following two years. In the early to mid-1960s, Newton also acted and sang as ‘Andy’, the baby-faced Ponderosa ranch hand on the classic western TV series, Bonanza.

“By 1963, Newton had been signed to Capitol Records and his first album was released on the label, promoted by the title track, ‘Danke Shoen’.”

Bert Kaempfert, “Candlelight Cafe” (1962):

Wayne Newton, “Danke Shoen” (1963):

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