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Jorgen Ingmann is a Danish guitarist who had the first American hit with "Apache," which was the top song in the UK the previous year and later made its way into many Hip-Hop songs as a popular sample.
The song was written by a British performer named Jerry Lordan, who had three UK Top-40 hits in 1960, but didn't record "Apache." A guitarist named Bert Weedon first recorded it, but it was The Shadows' "Apache"
that was first released and became a UK #1 hit for 5 weeks in 1960. The Shadows met Jerry Lordan when they appeared on the same bill of a 1960 tour, and they heard Lordan perform the song on his ukulele.
The Shadows version didn't make it in America, where the group had little promotion and a lawsuit from an American R&B group also called The Shadows. It was Ingmann who finally delivered the US hit with this song. Ingmann hadn't been playing this style long - he played Jazz guitar in dance halls before he discovered the style of Les Paul in the 1950s. While his version was the US hit, The Shadows recording with guitar work from Hank Marvin is generally considered the definitive version.
UK guitarist Bert Weedon originally recorded this song, but his Top Rank Record Company procrastinated over its release, and Jerry Lordan passed it to The Shadows. Bert Weedon's version was released shortly after The Shadows' came out, but his only reached #24.
The Shadows were Cliff Richard's group in the 1960s, and Richard played the Chinese drum that sounded like bongos on The Shadows version. In 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh he says "Jorgen Ingmann put in a few tricky bits, but essentially it was a cover job. If the Shads had made the charts there with 'Apache,' things might have been very different for us."
One Ingmann hit with this song, the floodgates opened for cover versions. Sonny James added vocals to the song and took it to #87 later in 1961. The Ventures released their cover in 1963 and included it on albums released '65, '67, '71, '75, '77, '80 and '82. Other charting covers in America were by Davie Allen & The Arrows (#64 1965) and The Sugarhill Gang (#53 1982).
The most influential cover was by The Incredible Bongo Band
, whose 1973 version included an extended drum break that gave the New York DJ Kool Herc the idea of looping that section of the song, creating the first breakbeat. This "break" became one of the most popular samples in Hip-Hop, appearing in songs by LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, MC Hammer and many others.
Three years after recording this, Jorgen Ingmann with his wife Grethe won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Dansevise" (Dancing Tune). They were representing their home country of Denmark. The couple met in 1955, where married in 1956 and got divorced in 1975.
This was a rare cover of a UK hit that made it into the US Top 10. Through most of the 1960s, it was usually the other way around, with British bands importing American hits.
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