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James Last

James Last is a German big band leader with a large fan base in Europe, although he has never had a comparable following in the United States. Last's trademark is arranging pop hits in a big-band style; his series of "party albums" is equally well-known. Over the course of his career, he has sold well over 50 million albums.

Last learned how to play piano as child, switching to bass as a teenager. He joined Hans-Gunther Oesterreich's Radio Bremen Dance Orchestra in 1946, when he was 17 years old. In 1948, he became the leader of the Becker-Last Ensemble, which performed for seven years. During that time, he was voted as the best bassist in the country by a German jazz poll for three consecutive years, from 1950-1952. After the disbandment of the Becker-Last Ensemble, he became the in-house arranger for Polydor Records, as well as for a number of European radio stations. For the next decade, he helped arrange hits for artists like Helmut Zacharias and Caterina Valente.

Last released his first album, Non-Stop Dancing, in 1965. The record of brief renditions of popular songs, all tied together by an insistent dance beat and joyous crowd noises. It was a hit and helped make him a major European star. Over the next two decades, Last released over 50 records, including several more volumes of Non-Stop Dancing. On these records, he varied his formula by adding different songs from different countries and genres, as well as guest performers like Richard Clayderman and Astrud Gilberto.

Though his concerts and albums were consistently successful -- especially in England, where he had 52 hit albums between 1967-1986, which made him second to Elvis Presley in terms of number of charting records -- he only had one hit single with "The Seduction," the theme from American Gigolo (1980). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Boots Randolf Channel is great, Thanks Pandora.
togalady
I think I've finally found what I enjoy listening to (:
The Dick Panthers are better.
Without question the cleverest, most creative arranger of music around. His arrangement of others' music is so novel, so engaging and so original as to be like brand-new songs.
Simply the best
KeithP Jamaican New York USA. I've listened to many great big bands on stage and albums but, James Last is the greatest of all that I've enjoyed so far. Last's musical arrangements fit into every moment of ones life. None stop dancing and many more of his albums i have. My first album was The Las of Old England which was stolen from me in 1979, wish i could find that album again i dearly love it. This album brought back memories of my school days singing all those Irish songs. If anyone knows of
have bought many of james last cds. cannot get enought of his orchester.
Ha. Mixing up James Last with a punk band. Good job, Pandora.
oneryj
Is this a piece of subversion? I'm a hard-core Ramones fan, and the irony of this bio is pretty hysterical.
Ramones bio?
Unfortunatel y , the bio above is NOT about James Last (get it fixed, Pandora!). Last was a fantastic conductor with many great hits - had many of his LPs even as a teenager. Loved a lot of girls to them.
I have listened to Last for many years, I was born in Nurnberg germany, we listened to his concerts all the time He tried to make it here in the states but didn't have the following that he had in Europe. He is one of the last with big band experience.
Why does James Last has a Ramones Bio in it?
thelmavan
Was introduced to him years ago by his PBS specials. His music is just great! Love it all!!!
Love his big band arrangements and style. Have many albums from the late 60's and early 70's and everyone of them is terrific. Never get tired of listening to his music!
Ahhh James Last, Where has all the goooood music gone. I don't understand why James was not popular in the USA. We need more of this type of calming musis that makes sense! This is real music, not the puberity stuff they are playing today.
vlober
I LOVE the music of James Last. I can't believe my good fortune to have found this opportunity to listen to his music online. Thank you. Val Lober, Chicago
James Last top of the list classic "Biscaya" followed by "Beachrunner " , should be part of this radio station archives of best classics.
Jim London, NY
jemicklo
Hard not to love true soothing orchestral music such as Last's arrangements ! ! We have lost most all the great orchestra composers/le a d e r s that created real music during the 50's-60's decades. That will never be repeated and we should be thankful to have experienced this musical journey! I enjoy a vast array of these artists, along with Last including Mantovani, Percy Faith, Pourcel, Winterhaulte r , Baxter, Manuel (aka Geoff Love), Chacksfield, Mancini, Paramor, Mueller and countless other wel
richard.qin
Why the biography is about Ramones?!
I've been a James Last fan since 1961. My favourites are still the "Classics up to date" series. If you haven't heard any of those tracks go to YouTube and enter James Last, Classics up to date. You will be pleasantly surprised because there are no other recordings like that.
I enjoy James Last music a lot. It brings back memories of my teenage years; I grew up listening to him, Caravelli, Paul Mauriat, Frank Pourcel and others. This is great listening music!
this is real music, i love it
arlene.ferna n d e z
I like the way he arranges his music ...soothing, lively and easy listening to. I really enjoy listening to his orchestra.

is this the james last of giant man fame?
iallen8515
James Last music and i go a long way back i was Born in belin Germany 1935
and my Father was a pianoplayer in the berlin Band james Last music is al ways in my Heart Hope all is going better with your Haelth Inge from las vegas nv
I like Paulette Le Pore Motzko's comments - she has it down right. I, myself, have been listening to James Last for over 50 years. He has no equal in converting popular songs into a large orchestral production, allowing you to experience the 'full value' of what the original artist intended you to hear. Fabulous stuff! ~from Tucson, Arizona, USA.
a great artist.
lsolma2001
I ENJOY listing his music very good
I have never seen any one person that sold 50 million albums! I wonder how many The Beatles sold by comparison?

I'm listening to Lying Eyes and it has a very nice sound. Mixing Pop styles with a full orchestra is something I haven't heard too often. Very nice.
It almost sounds like he talked to The Eagles and asked for their basic track on this to put an orchestrated version on it. The brass solos are very nice in this piece. Amazing to see how many different ways one piece can be produced.
famosita11
wonderful music very romantic and peacefull it goes into the soul
for me this guy is a wonderful musician! capable of arranging and playing any kind of music including classical! I just love what he does!
iski111
Saw the group on PBS. Never heard of him bewfore, but I thinks the music is GREAT!

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