Category Archives: Biographical Essays


Terror after Midnight was released originally in 1962, under the German title of 90 Minuten Nach Mitternacht.  However, this compelling drama never made it to screens outside of Germany until 1965.  The film features a young actress Christine Kaufman who was a former wife of Tony Curtis in the role of a seventeen-year-old girl who is kidnapped by a young man Nolan (Christian Doermer) who has it seems always been obsessed with her and is looking for revenge because she and her family rebuffed him. Whilst he makes demands on the girl’s parents to secure her release, he has in his mind all the time to rape her.

A somewhat controversial movie at the time of its release, it contains a dramatic and tense storyline.

The score which is one of the highlights of the production is by German composer, performer, and band leader Bert Kaempfert. Who is an artist that we tend to associate with so many of those romantically laced easy listening numbers like Strangers in the Night, and jumpy entertaining pieces such as Swinging Safari.

He was a composer, conductor, and accomplished trumpet player that was popular throughout the world and his recordings and compilations continue to remain in demand today. Kaempfert, provided the movie with a wonderfully atmospheric score, and along the way added little nuances and created haunting melodies that are filled with what we know as his musical trademarks.


The score featured the bouncy and bright sounding track Mexican Road, which I am sure was the forerunner of many of the composers more prominent hits in later years, Kaempfert himself on certain occasions performing the trumpet lead on the track.

The soundtrack he fashioned for Terror after Midnight was a fusion of loungey yet steamy and sensual sounding pieces that are combined effectively with jazz-oriented compositions and surging and apprehensive dramatic interludes that ooze a charism that we associate with big band sounds.

It is a marvellously robust and vibrant score, with Kaempfert also employing choir and a soaring otherworldly solo female vocal performance in key places, such as the track Forgotten Melody and the Love Theme from the score both of which add a degree of melancholy, mystery, and romance to the work.

UNITED KINGDOM – JANUARY 01: Photo of Bert KAEMPFERT; (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

For me personally Bert Kaempfert was maybe the German equivalent to Henry Mancini, writing beautiful melodies, but melodies that elevated and underlined the images and scenarios on screen as they unfolded, injecting the storyline with a powerful and entertaining musical persona. He put an upbeat pop, jazz influenced, big band, spin on his scores for film and TV in a similar way to Mancini and Quincy Jones were doing in Hollywood at the same time, thus the music being effective as film music but also appealing to a wider audience.

Terror After Midnight was probably one of his darker, and edgier sounding works, at times having to it a menacing undertone. Many do not realise that the composer wrote for the cinema, but his luxurious and lush sounding approach was often well suited to the movies of the 1960’s and 1970’s that he was involved with.

One score that he worked on was for the 1970 film You Can’t Win Em All, which starred Tony Curtis and Charles Bronson, Curtis was totally miscast and became even more annoying than usual as the film progressed, without him it would have probably been a far better movie. The musical score however was very good indeed, Kaempfert filling it with adventurous themes, comedic references, and romantically laced interludes, as well as underlining the many action scenes effectively.

The composer placing music upon the film that not only did a great job of underlining, supporting, and enhancing its ever-changing storyline, but also had to it real sense of Hollywood lushness, and luxurious musical auras. The scores that the composer penned for cinema are sadly often overlooked, but there again who would really associate Bert Kaempfert with film music?  


I for one always placed him in that easy listening category along with the likes of James Last and Mantovani, Ronnie Aldrich, and that instrumental gold sound of the 1960’s.


Kaempfert like many other easy listening popular artists created a sound that was to become unique to him, which was one that became instantly recognisable from the opening bars of any of his original compositions or arrangements, with some of this style manifested in his film scores.

A Man Could Get Killed for example, which is probably the most well-known Kaempfert soundtrack and one that includes the first ever incarnation of Strangers in the Night, before it went on to become a worldwide hit. Kaempfert’s haunting melody graced the movie and became more popular than the film it was written for.


The movie which was an American adventure comedy directed by Ronald Neame and Cliff Owen, was released in March 1966 and was filmed on location in Portugal. It  starred James Garner, Melina Mercouri, Sandra Dee, Anthony Franciosa, and Robert Coote. The movie was to feature scenes with a young British actress Jenny Agutter, but these did not make it to the final cut of the movie. The screenplay was by Richard L. Breen, and T. E. B. Clarke and David E. Walker based on Walker’s novel Diamonds for Moscow (AKA-in USA- Diamonds for Danger), published in 1956.


The film introduced the melody of Strangers in the Night throughout the film and it won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Original Song in a Motion Picture” in 1967. Frank Sinatra recorded the song and took it to the top of the charts in 1967.

Kaempfert’s score was not just atmospheric and totally in tune with the film’s storyline, but also featured several catchy pieces, that had a life away from the movie as did the infectious melody of the song. In many ways the music oozed a kind of James Bond aura, the composer employing jazz, and easy listening styles and combining these with brassy big band sounds which he incorporated into the dramatic parts of the score.  

Bert Kaempfert, born Berthold Heinrich Kämpfert on the 16th of October 1923, was a German orchestra leader, multi-instrumentalist, music producer, arranger, and composer, and wrote the music for several well-known songs, including the already mentioned Strangers in the Night, as well as Danke Schoen and Spanish Eyes. He was born in Hamburg, Germany, where he received his lifelong nickname, Fips, and studied at the local school of music. 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 and toured with them, following that by working as an arranger and producer, making hit records with Freddy Quinn and Ivo Robić. Kaempfert’s first hit with his orchestra was Wonderland by Night, which was recorded in July 1959, the song could not get a release in Germany, so Kaempfert decided to take the track to Decca Records in New York, a label that saw the potential of the recording and released it in America in 1960.

With its haunting solo trumpet by Charles Tabor, muted brass, and lush strings, the release topped the American pop charts and turned Bert Kaempfert and his Orchestra into international stars.

Over the next few years, he revived such pop tunes as Tenderly, Red Roses for a Blue Lady, Three O’Clock in the Morning, and Bye Bye Blues, giving these already popular tunes that unmistakable Kaempfert sound. He also turned to composing pieces of his own, including Spanish Eyes (a.k.a. Moon Over Naples), and Wooden Heart, which were recorded by, international artists such as Al Martino, Wayne Newton, and Elvis Presley. With Nat King Cole recording his L-O-V-E.

Kaempfert’s orchestra made extensive use of horns. With a handful of tracks featuring the brass section prominently, Magic Trumpet and The Mexican Shuffle, being successful for both Kaempfert’s orchestra and Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. In his role as record producer, Kaempfert played a quite important part in the rise of the Beatles in the UK. In 1961, he hired the Beatles to back Tony Sheridan on an album called My Bonnie. Sheridan had been performing in Hamburg and needed to recruit a band to play behind him on the proposed tracks. Kaempfert auditioned and signed the Beatles and recorded two tracks with them during his sessions for Sheridan: Ain’t She Sweet sung by John Lennon and Cry for a Shadow which was an instrumental track written by Lennon and lead guitarist George Harrison.

The album and its singles, released by Polydor Records, were the Beatles’ first commercially released recordings. On 28 October 1961, a customer walked into the Liverpool music store owned by Brian Epstein and asked for a copy of My Bonnie, a song recorded by the Beatles but credited to Tony Sheridan.

The store did not have it, but Epstein noted the request. He was so intrigued by the idea of a Liverpool band releasing a record that he investigated. That event led to his discovery of the Beatles and, through his efforts, their signing by George Martin to Parlophone Records after Kaempfert helped them avoid any contractual claim from Polydor. He died on 21st June 1980 in Mallorca after finishing a successful UK tour.    

Paweł Mykietyn.

Paweł Mykietyn was born on May 2oth 1971 in Oława Poland.  He studied composition under professor Włodzimierz Kotoński at the Fryderyk Chopin Music Academy in Warsaw from where he graduated in 1997. He also studied when he took part in The Summer Composition Courses in Kazimierz Dolny which was from 1991 through to 1993 as well as attending Gaudeamus Music Week in Amsterdam in 1992. He attended the lectures of composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Lutosławski, Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, Michael Nyman, Magnus Lindberg, Louis Andriessen and Francoise Bernard Mache.

In his early twenties the composer made his Warsaw Autumn Festival debut with a piece entitled La Strada. In 1995 his composition 3 for 13, which was commissioned by Polish Radio, was placed first in the under thirty categories at the UNESCO International Composers Rostrum in Paris. The following year his composition entitled Epifora commissioned by Experimental Studio of Polish Radio took First place in the category of young composers at the fourth UNESCO International Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music which was held in Amsterdam, which also won one of the four nominations in the general category. He has written music for the Warsaw Autumn Festival, Teatr Wielki – Polish National Opera and for ensembles such as de Ereprijs, the Belcea Quartet, Icebreaker and Kronos Quartet.

 In January 2000 Mykietyn won Paszport Polityki and in the same month his composition 3 for 13 was presented at the Midem Classique in Cannes. The composer was the first prize winner of the OPUS Public Media Award in 2008. Three years later in 2011 he was honoured with Knights of the Order of Polonia Restituta and then in 2012 was awarded a prestigious award Prix for Musique Sacem France for music to the film Essential Killing which was directed by Jerzy Skolimowski.

The composer founded the ensemble, the ensemble Nonstrom which specialized in the performance of contemporary music. Taking an active role performing clarinet. Since the mid-nineties he has composed music for the most of Krzysztof Warlikowski productions and since 2008 he has been the musical director at Nowy Teatr in Warsaw.

He has written the scores for numerous movies and TV productions and received an award for his contributions during The Polish Film Festival Gdynia. His style can be likened to Zbigniew Preisner, creating subtle and harmonic, melodic pieces that underline and support, and have to them a haunting and hypnotic persona, the composers scores for cinema are both inventive and innovative and contain creative and interesting orchestrations. His score for the 2022 movie EO directed by Jerzy Skolimowski drew much attention and acclaim from critics and film music fans alike.


It is always a sad thing when we hear of a film music composers passing, it is like losing a family member in a way, because in many cases we never knew them personally but we felt we did because of the music that they composed and left for us. Gerald Fried sadly passed away this week, he was what I would call a workhorse composer, I mean no disrespect by this, its just that Mr Fried seemed to be constantly on the credits of TV productions and feature films. And he was working right up to the end of his life writing music and also screenplays.

There was something about a Gerald Fried score that resonated with many collectors, his soundtrack for the war movie Too Late the Hero I think is probably one of his best-known film scores, and his authentic sounding soundtrack for the TV movie I Will Fight No More Forever too is seen as an outstanding work in his phenomenal musical output.

I interviewed the composer a few years ago, and although he was a man of few words when discussing his career, I felt honoured that he had taken the time to answer my (probably annoying) questions. It was actually Too Late the Hero that first attracted me to the composer’s music, the movie was a big hit in the UK and I think I went to see it whenever it was showing on the cinema and in later years always caught it on TV. Fried’s score is an important part of the movie, underlining the action supporting the characters and being there to celebrate victory or to musically bring solace to moments of tragedy. It is also a rousing score, which has a central theme that inspires and invigorates. Gerald Fried was a composer, author, and oboist, educated at Juilliard (BS). He was first oboist for the Dallas Symphony and the New York Little Orchestra between 1948 and 1956. Then he joined Revue Studios in California, lasting until 1960, thereafter working freelance.

Joining ASCAP in 1956, his chief musical collaborators included Johnny Mercer and Jack Brooks. Fried was a member of the SAC (Social Athletic Club) known as the Barracudas as a teenager growing up in The Bronx. He would later be introduced to director Stanley Kubrick by mutual friend Alexander Singer. He and Kubrick would later play baseball and football together while growing up in New York City.

He will probably be remembered best for his music to the TV series Roots and his work on the Star Trek TV series. In October 2013 he received Lifetime Achievement Golden Pine Award at the International Samobor Film Music Festival (ISFMF), along with Clint Eastwood and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

He once said “Film scoring is so much more exciting than being an oboe player. I was 21 years old when I did my first picture and the idea of going to Hollywood … well! My eyes got awful big real quick. There’s a lot of challenge in film composing. We’re hired as part of a team, so you don’t show off. If music can stand up in the concert hall, it’s probably too complicated for film. My first task is to make it work within the film’s context”.

Born on February 13th 1928, in New York City, New York, he was to become one of the most sought after composers of music for film and TV, his list of credits is long and varied the composer never becoming type cast he seemed to be happy no matter what the genre. The composer passed away on February 17th 2023, in Connecticut USA.


Burt Bacharach was a great and popular songwriter, and a composer of many film scores. As we hear the sad news of his passing today, I wanted to say thank you Maestro, for all the memories and so many Magic Moments that made our Heart lights glow.

Together with Hal David, Burt Bacharach created songs that became popular standards. They were songs that once heard would never be forgotten, and each one seemed to have to it a persona, a mood and a refrain that would evoke memories of a time a place or an event that took place when you first heard it. Sophisticated, easy on the ear yet at times musically complicated, many of them became hits during a career glittering that lasted more than half a century. Bacharach’s songs surpassed the rock era; were never trendy but never out of vogue.

Burt Freeman Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1928 but grew up in New York, where his father a well-known newspaper columnist. He developed an interest in jazz as a teenager, often gaining entry into many of New York’s jazz clubs while being underage. He began to study music in Montreal and then later in California and found himself becoming friends with John Cage, who became a major influence on his career. Bacharach did his army service in Korea and, when he left the army returned to New York where he found work as a composer and arranger, writing songs for numerous performers, including actress and singer Paula Stewart, whom he later married. At one stage in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he accompanied Marlene Dietrich, as she took her cabaret act around Europe and the United States. By then, he had teamed up with the lyricist Hal David. They met at the famous Brill Building in New York, where so many music publishers and popular songwriters had their offices.

Bacharach and David had their first big hits in the late 1950’s The Story of My Life, recorded by Marty Robbins in 1957 and Magic Moments, sung by Perry Como in 1957 which went to the number one position in the UK hit parade. As the decade of the 1960s began, it seemed that the duo could not put a foot wrong and produced hit after hit for a plethora of artists. Gene Pitney recorded the now classic song Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa, The Walker Brothers with another iconic song Make It Easy on Yourself and Dusty Springfield charted in the USA and the UK with I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself.

Inspired by his second wife, actress Angie Dickinson, Bacharach wrote songs for the cinema, including Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head, from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid performed by BJ Thomas, and t the haunting theme song for Alfie, which was a hit for Cilla Black. It was his song for Alfie that garnered him an Oscar nomination for best song, as did the theme for What’s New Pussycat, which was a hit for Tom Jones, and The Look of Love which became a hit for Dionne Warwick in the USA and also a hit for Dusty Springfield in the UK and featured in the spoof Bond movie Casino Royale.

It was with Dionne Warwick, a singer Bacharach and David had hired to record demo records, that the duo achieved their most successful and continuing collaboration. Which began with Don’t Make Me Over in 1962, she recorded a string of almost forty Bacharach and David hits over the next ten years, including Walk On By, Do You Know the Way to San Jose? and I’ll Never Fall in Love Again. (which was also a hit for Bobby Gentry). By the beginning of the 1970s, Bacharach and David had written more than a hundred songs, but their partnership was starting to fall apart. A musical version of the 1937 film Lost Horizon (1973) was a disaster at the box office and was responsible for a number of lawsuits. Bacharach’s partnership with David broke up at this time.

The composer’s marriage to Angie Dickinson was also failing and his music was becoming less in demand. But Bacharach made a stunning comeback in the 1980s, writing hits like the theme song for the film Arthur with his third wife, Carole Bayer Sager, which achieved chart success for the singer Christopher Cross. Together the couple went on to write Making Love for Roberta Flack, That’s What Friends Are For, sung by Dionne Warwick, and songs for the likes of Gladys Knight, Neil Diamond, and Patti Labelle.

Many younger songwriters, such as Noel Gallagher of Oasis, expressed admiration and respect for Bacharach’s music with many others clambering to work with him. He collaborated with Elvis Costello and the rapper Doctor Dre, and also appeared on screen (as himself) most famously playing a piano and singing on a bus in London in one of the Austin Powers films. In June 2015, Bacharach performed on stage at the Glastonbury Festival to a ecstatic welcome. The fluency and warmth of Bacharach’s music meant the cleverness of much of it was sometimes overlooked: it was dismissed as Lift music, or even lounge or easy listening, maybe waiting room muzak. But typically, the compositions of Burt Bacharach were rhythmically complicated, often surprising the listener with deviations of melody, time signature, and unbalanced phrasing.

The harmonies were sometimes alternative, and the composer excelled at producing a soaring and hauntingly affecting musical hook that just stayed with the listeners, lodging in their brain and subconscious refusing to leave.

Above all, his songs are musically cultured, and they were open to and invited stylish interpretations from his singers – one reason, perhaps, why later generations of songwriters positively revered him. He was and will remain a giant of the music world.


Randy Edelman was born on June 10, 1947, in Paterson, New Jersey, USA. He is a composer and actor, known for his collaboration with composer Trevor Jones on the Daniel Day Lewis movie The Last of the Mohicans, (1992), and scores in his own right such as Come See the Paradise (1990), XXX (2002) and Six Days, Seven Nights (1998).

He works with both conventional or symphonic instrumentation and electronic elements, often fusing these to create haunting and action-packed musical scores. Edelman attended the University of Cincinnati, upon his graduation Edelman travelled back to New York where he was signed by CBS April Blackwood Music as a staff writer.   It was at this time that he started to perform piano in various Broadway pit orchestras and continued his interest as a music arranger.  He went on tour from time to time as Music Director for many entertainers. 

It was while traveling that Randy began writing both his own music and lyrics looking to one day produce his own solo projects and albums. These albums would eventually lead him to work with the likes of The Carpenters, Frank Zappa, and The Mothers of Invention. His songs began being recorded by such popular recording artists as Barry Manilow (“Weekend In New England”), Olivia Newton-John, Patti LaBelle, The Carpenters, The 5th Dimension, Jackie DeShannon, Blood Sweat and Tears, Kool & The Gang, Agnetha Faltskog (ABBA), and Bing Crosby to name a few. 

Dennis Quaid and dragon looking up in a scene from the film ‘DragonHeart’, 1996.

Subsequent success of his records in the United Kingdom led to appearances on the BBC show Top of the Pops, concerts at the London Palladium and Drury Lane Theatres, and tours throughout Europe, Japan and Australia. He had hit records in the UK with ‘Concrete and Clay’ and ‘Uptown, Uptempo Woman’. His main theme composed for Dragonheart (1996) and Dragon; The Bruce Lee story (1993) were both heavily used in movie trailers, at the end of the 90s. Several of the themes from his score for the epic movie Gettysburg (1993) (e.g. the cue entitled Fife and Gun) are used frequently in various film trailers and television programming, particularly sports coverage. His theme from The Adventures of Brisco County Jnr.  (1993) was used in coverage of the Olympics in 2002, and again by NBC during its coverage of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. The composer Scored seven movies for director Rob Cohen. From Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story to The Boy Next Door.  He was also credited in early trailers for scoring Cohen’s Stealth, but his score never appeared in the movie.


It was shortly after arriving in Los Angeles that Randy became interested in using his background as a classical musician and arranger to pursue his interest in film scoring.  In between his album recording he began scoring several television and feature films.  His TV scoring work included MacGyver, Maximum Security, Mr. Sunshine, Brisco County Jr. to name but a few.  Children’s projects included PBS Wonderworks, The Care Bears album and several award-winning after school specials.  After working predominantly on pop songs Edelman found the work, he did for film more liberating and decided to devote his time to pursuing composing music for motion pictures. He has now composed over one hundred scores for film and television. His music has been performed by such orchestras as, The Boston Pops, Charleston Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, and the London Symphony Orchestra, to name a few.

His score from The Last Of The Mohicans was nominated for both the British Academy Award and the Golden Globe. His movie themes have become a backbone of numerous sports broadcasts. And he has written the NBC’s NFL Football Theme, ESPN’s Sports Century documentary series theme, and the on-air Olympic theme for NBC. His scores have opened the Super Bowl and closed the Olympic broadcast for which he received an Emmy Award. In 200 he scored the comedy western Shanghai Noon, in which the composer fused the style of the old western as made in Hollywood with the sound of the Euro western, whilst also placing his own musical fingerprint upon the production.


In 2003 Randy received BMI’s highest honour, the Richard Kirk Award for Outstanding Career Achievement. In June 2004 Randy Edelman was awarded an Honourary Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Cincinnati. He received the Ph.D. along with three other distinguished honourees from various fields, including Coretta Scott King. In 2005 Randy had his biggest chart record with Nelly’s My Place. It reached the top of the pile on Billboard’s Rap and Hip Hop charts and achieved a number four position on the Pop chart. In 2007, Edelman was nominated by the IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association) for “Best Original Score For Television” for ABC’s mini-series The Ten Commandments.