43) Bert Kaempfert – “Wonderland by Night”

It’s interesting to have these occasional reminders that rock and roll didn’t kill the old easy listening tunes completely, that parents and grandparents still exerted enough financial influence to outbuy the teenagers every so often.  It’s hard to really rate “Wonderland by Night” because it is simultaneously so different from what I expect in a pop song and yet sounds so similar to a number of other elevator music tunes.  The false beginning promises a rambunctious start – those wailing horns, the arrested count off  (“One! … One! … One!”, or at least that’s what I think they’re saying) – before settling into mid-tempo blandness.  It’s very close to “Theme From A Summer Place“: they’re both pleasant enough while playing, but I can’t imagine anyone rushing out to buy them, especially in the numbers needed to fetch a spot at the top of the Hot 100 for three weeks.  Then again, I wasn’t an adult record buyer in 1960, so I’m clearly not the target audience.  But hey, at least it’s better than the other Kaempfert-composed song that’ll top the charts in 1961. 4

Hit #1 on January 9, 1961; total of 3 weeks at #1
43 of 965 #1’s reviewed; 4.46% through the Hot 100


Filed under 04, 1961

2 responses to “43) Bert Kaempfert – “Wonderland by Night”

  1. GeorgeL

    Interestingly, Kaempfer has ties to Sinatra, Presley & the Beatles! He worked with Presely on “Wooden Heart”. He had some contact with the Beatles in their early days in Germany. Sinatra recorded “Strangers in The Night” which was written by Kaempfert.

  2. Action Man

    This name is probably more familiar to younger generations as a name drop in another US number #1, Bare Naked Ladies’ “One Week” (“Bert Kaempfert’s got the mad hits”)

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