James Last Passes On At 86 | Independent Newspapers Limited
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James Last Passes On At 86

Posted: Jun 10, 2015 at 3:18 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Big band leader, James Last, famed for his trademark ‘happy music’ died at his Florida, U.S. home, aged 86, on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

Last died after a short illness and his family was with him at the time, Semmel Concerts state.

During his career, Last sold well over 100 million albums and had 52 hit records in Britain alone between 1967 and 1986, a total only bested by Elvis Presley.

Last’s manager paid tribute to him, saying: ‘In him, the world loses a unique ambassador whose expressive andall-encompassing language was music.

‘We bid farewell to the man, friend and visionary, who by his impressive strength and openness, his professionalism, modesty and love of life served as a role model and as an inspiration for many generations worldwide.’

Over a career spanning five decades, Last produced more than 190 records as his signature ‘easy listening’ sound brought him worldwide acclaim.

Born Hans Last in Bremen in 1929, he began learning the piano and bass from the age of six at a military school during the Second World War.

In 1946 he and his two older brothers began performing on radio, and in 1956 he started making arrangements for orchestras.

A recording contract with Polydor followed in 1962, and Last began touring the world, performing to packed crowds from America to the Soviet Union.

At his peak, Last was producing two albums a month, and while his music did not always attract critical acclaim, he was deeply popular with the public.