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Bert Kaempfert

Bert Kaempfert (also Kämpfert) (b. 16 October 1923 - d. 21 June 1980) was a German orchestra leader and songwriter. He made easy listening and jazz-oriented records, and wrote the music for a number of well-known songs, such as "Strangers in the Night" (originally recorded by Ivo Robić) and "Spanish Eyes". He was born in Hamburg, Germany, and studied at the School of Music there. A multi-instrumentalist, he was hired by Hans Busch to play with his orchestra before serving as a bandsman in the German Navy during World War II. He later formed his own big band, toured with them, then worked as an arranger and producer, making hit records with Freddy Quinn and Ivo Robic. In 1961, he hired The Beatles to back Tony Sheridan on "My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean)," "When the Saints Go Marching In," "Ain't She Sweet" and "Cry for a Shadow," in a session for Polydor. These turned out to be the Beatles' first commercial recordings. When Beatles manager Brian Epstein asked Kaempfert about further promoting The Beatles, Kaempfert informed Epstein that the company was only interested in The Beatles as Tony Sheridan's backup group. (It also turned out British Decca executive Dick Rowe turned them down in favor of local beat combo Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.) He then released The Beatles from their contract with Polydor.

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