This is the first volume in Bear Family's eccentric 1000 Nadelstiche series -- well, eccentric to English-speaking listeners, at any rate -- of American and British artists, mostly pop/rockers from the 1960s, singing in German. With the exception of a 1971 ringer by Cliff Richard, all 31 of the tracks are from the '60s on this CD, which serves as something of an all-purpose survey of just how many different performers, in numerous different styles, recorded German-language discs for the foreign market at one point. The British Invasion is well represented, and these are some of the better cuts here, including Manfred Mann's "Sie" ("She" in English), the Swinging Blue Jeans' "Das Ist Prima" ("Shaking Feeling"), the Sorrows' "Nimm Mein Herz" ("Take a Heart"), Dusty Springfield's "Warten und Hoffen" ("Wishin' and Hopin'"), the Merseybeats' "Nur Unsere Liebe Zählt" ("It's Love That Really Counts"), Petula Clark's "Downtown," and the Honeycombs' "Hab Ich das Recht" ("Have I the Right"). Of course, none of these are as good as the English versions, but if you're a hardcore completist, you do get the bonus of the Spencer Davis Group's damnably rare 1966 track "Det War in Schöneberg" (with Stevie Winwood still in the band). It's a song they never recorded in an English-language counterpart, and doesn't even show up on their otherwise exhaustive two-CD Eight Gigs a Week compilation of the Winwood-era lineup, although the song itself, alas, is pretty lame.
Motown also has a surprising presence, with cuts by the Temptations ("Mein Girl"), the Supremes, and Marvin Gaye; American teen idols make themselves heard with efforts by Brenda Lee, Gene Pitney, Connie Francis, Paul Anka, Pat Boone, and Brian Hyland (whose German version of "Sealed with a Kiss" is actually a highlight, sounding far less clumsy than much of its surroundings). Throw in efforts by the Beach Boys ("Ganz Allein," i.e. "In My Room"), Roy Orbison, the Everly Brothers (whose 1965 recording "Am Abend auf der Heide" is sadly puerile), Wanda Jackson, and Johnny Cash, and it's really quite an all-star cast. Well, almost, since it's also weighed down by some pedestrian relative no-names like Toni Cavanaugh, the Flamingos, and the Liverpool Beats. Still, as well assembled as this is, it's something that can only be recommended to zealous collectors since these German versions are not only inferior to the originals, but sometimes suffer from quite bumbling execution. It's also, despite the impressive résumés of most of the performers, a real mishmash of styles to jam together onto one CD. As another disadvantage for English speakers, the liner notes are in German, though the booklet is full of color reproductions of the original picture sleeves of the releases on which these tracks first appeared.