Klaus Wunderlich



Klaus Wunderlich, the Super-Organ Wonder was born to a policeman in the Saxony town of Chemnitz in 1930. As a teenager he worked for the local opera rehearsing singers but soon chose popular music over classical. By 1951 he was ready to tour West Germany, which led to a standing gig at the Tiny Cabaret Simple in Mannheim. Here he was playing winsomely in a beer hall, and the owner and patrons liked him enough to buy an expensive organ. Then Telefunken found and signed him.

Wunderlich experimented with the Hammond, as all the great pop organists have done, to discover and add to its range of extraordinary sounds. It was not long before he was using organ and early synthesizer to reproduce strings, horns, and so forth. To overcome the early synthesizer's one-note-at-a-time limitation, he became an expert at multi-tracking, effects, and other production wizardry.

The magic was not all technical, however. Wunderlich, like a benign Black Forest gnome, played music that pandered to popular taste but also pushed the boundaries for keyboardists. He wrote some great tunes and arranged many others in a zany way not seen since Lenny Dee, whose career was peaking as Wunderlich picked up the baton. Wunderlich shared Ethel Smith's affinity for Latin and Brasilian rhythms, Lenny Dee's zany pop sense, and Jean-Jacques Perrey's lighthearted invention and technical facility. He also recorded under the name Chris Waxman (dodging contractual obligations).

A long series of albums for Telefunken included some Moog albums and demos for the Wersi super-organ, which was something like a Hammond stuffed with Moog capabilities. The "Hammond Pops" and other Wunderlich albums are notorious, mainly because the music and jackets are rife with cheese and cheesecake. There is a lot of "mush" to sift through, to be sure, but fine gems twinkle there too, as though out of a fairy tale by the brothers Grimm.

Buying: The first album and the later Wersi and [partly] synthesizer albums are best.


Klaus Wunderlich LPs

Rating
7Chris Waxman: at the Hammond Organ (Organized); Decca/London SP-44119 (Chris Waxman is a pseudonym for Klaus Wunderlich)
7Hammond Sensations; Telefunken TP-2506
624 Melodien, die man nie vergiBt/24 Melodies You'll Never Forget Vol. 1; Telefunken 6.21003; 1960
24 Melodien, die man nie vergiBt--Neue Folge/24 Melodies You'll Never Forget Vol. 2; Telefunken 6.21018
Hammond Fireworks; Telefunken (RoyalSound SLE-14376-P)
5Hammond for Lovers; Telefunken (RoyalSound SLE-14489-P)
6Südamericana/South Americana--Klaus Wunderlich Plays South American Rhythms; Telefunken 6.21027 (licensed in Australia as Carinia SLE-14.415)
5Hammond Pops--28 Hits on Parade (Hammond Pops 1); Telefunken 6.21032; 1967
5Hammond Pops 2; Telefunken 6.21043; 1968
4Hammond Pops 3; Telefunken 6.21047; 1969
5Hammond Pops 4; Telefunken 6.21054; 1969
Film-Melodien, die man nie vergiBt; Telefunken 6.21056
4Opera Happening; Telefunken (Carinia SLE-14533)
5Hammond Pops 5; Telefunken 6.21057 (has "Ma Na Ma Na")
Bar-Erinnerungen; Telefunken 6.21075
5Hits Again; Telefunken 6.21078; 1971
Hammond Pops 7; Telefunken 6.21082
Polka Pops 1; Telefunken 6.21091
5Hits Again 2; Telefunken
Süd Americana 2/South Americana No. 2; Telefunken 6.21083
Hammond Pops 8; Telefunken 6.21101
Polka Pops 2; Telefunken 6.21114
6Hits Again 3; Telefunken 6.21115; 1973
3Hammond Pops 9; Telefunken 6.21121; 1973
8Sound 2000; Telefunken 6.21134; 1973 (Gema SLE-14715; Ace of Clubs SCL-2074)
3Hammond Pops 10; Telefunken 6.21152; 1973
7Fascination di Wersi mento; Telefunken 66.21153; 1973 (Gema TST-78070)
5Sound 2000 2; Telefunken 6.21155; 1973 (Gema SLE-14739)
7Uraltedelschnulzensynthesizergags; Telefunken 6.21179; 1974 (Gema SLE-14765)
Adieu, Mein Kleiner Gardeoffizier; Telefunken 6.21183
Wunderlich Pops 1; Telefunken 6.21184
5Hammond Für Millionen; Telefunken 6.21359; 1975/1971
Hammond Sensations [vol. 2]; Telefunken 6.21480; 1975
Wunderlich Pops 2; Telefunken 6.22141; 1975
5Sound 2000 3; Telefunken 6.22167; 1975
Klaus Wunderlich an der Heimorgel--Musik zum Nachspielen; Telefunken 6.22267; 1975
6Favorites; Telefunken 6.22278; 1975
Wunderlich Pops 3; Telefunken 6.22295; 1975
7Wunderlich Pops International--28 Top-Hits on Parade; Telefunken 6.22325; 1975 (partly disco)
The Hit World of Klaus Wunderlich; Telefunken 6.22363
7Süd Americana 3/South Americana 3 (Latin Festival); Telefunken 6.22594; 1976
7WersiTime 2; Gema 66.21365
6Spielt Glenn Miller/In the Miller Mood; Telefunken 6.23026; 1977
Wunderlich Pops 6; Telefunken 6.23068; 1977
5Klaus Wunderlich Pop Party--Vol. 1; Telefunken 6.23802; 1979 (28 tunes, disco)
8Sound Explosion; Gema TST-78361
Around the World with Klaus Wunderlich; Telefunken 6.28001 (2-LP)
5Klaus Wunderlich--Mr. Hammond; Telefunken 6.28005 (2-LP)
6The Phase 4 World of Klaus Wunderlich; Decca; 1978/1969 (compilation lic. Telefunken; Axis 6395)
5The Fantastic Sound of Klaus Wunderlich; K-Tel NA-524 (compilation)
5Klaus Wunderlich an der Wersi-Orgel Helios: Rendezvous; EMI/Gema F-667.911; 1982


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