James Last

James Last (born Hans Last on April 17, 1929 in Bremen) is a German composer and big band leader with a large fan base in Europe and world-wide. Last's trademark is arranging pop hits in a big-band style; his series of "party albums" is equally well-known. Over the course of his career, he has sold well over 100 million albums. Last learned how to play piano as child, switching to bass as a teenager. ...show more

James Last (born Hans Last on April 17, 1929 in Bremen) is a German composer and big band leader with a large fan base in Europe and world-wide. Last's trademark is arranging pop hits in a big-band style; his series of "party albums" is equally well-known. Over the course of his career, he has sold well over 100 million albums. Last learned how to play piano as child, switching to bass as a teenager.

He joined Hans-Gunther Oesterreich's Radio Bremen Dance Orchestra in 1946, when he was 17 years old. In 1948, he became the leader of the Becker-Last Ensemble, which performed for seven years. During that time, he was voted as the best bassist in the country by a German jazz poll for three consecutive years, from 1950-1952. After the disbandment of the Becker-Last Ensemble, he became the in-house arranger for Polydor Records, as well as for a number of European radio stations.

For the next decade, he helped arrange hits for artists like Helmut Zacharias and Caterina Valente. Last released his first album "Non-Stop Dancing" in 1965. The record of brief renditions of popular songs, all tied together by an insistent dance beat and joyous crowd noises. It was a hit and helped make him a major European star. ...show less