Apache

Album: Pop History 1961 (1961)
Charted: 2
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Songfacts®:

  • 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 five 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.

Comments: 16

  • Weasel from Bakersfield AreaI worked on this song for a whole year to get it right! Then I had a stroke in 2015 and I lost the ability to play this song as I was told at least you did it.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NySixty years ago today on April 3rd, 1961 "Apache" by Jørgen Ingmann peaked at #2 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, for the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Blue Moon" by The Marcels...
    Three other versions made the Top 100; Sonny James' vocal version {at #87 in 1961}, The Sugar Hill Gang {at #53 in 1982}, and Davie Allen and The Arrows {at #64 in 1965, their version was titled "Apache '65"}...
    In the United Kingdom, The Shadows' version peaked at #1 {for 5 weeks} on August 25th, 1960, and the original version by Bert Weedon reached #24...
    He had one other record that made the Top 100, "Anna", it peaked at #54 {for 1 week} on June 12th, 1961...
    Jørgen Ingmann, born Jørgen Ingmann Pedersen, passed away at the age of 89 on March 21st, 2015...
    May he R.I.P.
    And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of Billboard's Top 10 on April 3rd, 1961:
    #3. "Surrender" by Elvis Presley
    #4. "Pony Time" by Chubby Checker
    #5. "Dedicated To The One I Love" by The Shirelles
    #6. "Don't Worry" by Marty Robbins
    #7. "On The Rebound" by Floyd Cramer
    #8. 'Walk Right Back" by The Everly Brothers
    #9. "Runaway" by Del Shannon
    #10. "But I Do" by Clarence 'Frogman' Henry
  • Wade Collins from New Orleans UsaNonsense the Shadows didn’t mean anything in the US. Nobody heard of them, Jorgen created the best version more suited for the US. For Gods sakes all the Shadows did was a cover. In the biggest market the US Jorgen had the hit. I like the Shadows sound but they were a UK thing.
  • Christopher from Charlotte Nc 28270I want To add that after The Shadows version became a huge hit and before Jorgen Igmann recorded his version, that Jerry Lordan DID record the song himself along with The Johnnie Spence orchestra. His own recording differs from Weedon's, Shadows, and Ingmann's cover in that in addition to the guitar
    there is also big orchestral accompaniment.
    Here's a link
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oovh7kgPYBQ
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaLove Jorgens version. Still have my old 45.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyPer: http://www.oldiesmusic.com/news.htm
    Jørgen Ingmann, the Danish guitarist who gave us the instrumental classic, "Apache" (#2-1961), died Saturday (March 21st, 2015) at the age of 89. Born Jørgen Ingmann Pedersen in Copenhagen in 1929, he won the Eurovision song competition for Denmark with his wife Grethe with the song "Dansevise" in 1963. His only other American chart tune was "Anna" (#54), another instrumental, in 1961.
    May he R.I.P.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 17th 1961, "Apache" by Jorgen Ingmann entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on April 3rd it peaked at #2 (for 2 weeks) and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100...
    The two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record was "Blue Moon" by The Marcels...
    Three covered version have charted on the Top 100; Sonny James (#87 in 1961), as "Apache '65" by Davie Allen & the Arrows (#64 in 1965), and the Sugarhill Gang (#53 in 1982)...
    Mr. Ingmann will celebrate his 89th birthday in three months on April 26th (2014).
  • Tom from St. Louis, FlShadows version doesn't come close to Ingmann's, who made a recording that was innovative, moody and totally unique.
  • Marvin from Palm Springs, , CaWe never heard of the shadows here, Ingmann, had the best version. but then he had Jazz background helps. Ventures ehh pretty good .
    Nivramify, PS. Ca. (The Old Rocker)
  • Michael from Staten Island, NyMatthew from NJ, I would give you a hi-5 if I knew you, I couldn't agree more
  • Wayne from Las Vegas, NvI've just heard the lyrics by Sonny James for the first time. Did he write them?
  • Ian from Duesseldorf, GermanyThere is a fantastic version by The Edgar Broughton Band. Called Apache Dropout it mixes, somewhat bizarrely, The Shadows' Apache with Captain Beefheart's Dropout Boogie. (Apparently it was planned to be called Dropout Apache - but Lordon insisted on the reversal.)
  • Roy from Leeds, EnglandThe Shadows were originally called The Drifters and released two singles under that name, but threatened legal action by The Drifters (US0 meant they had to find another name.

    Their first single as the Shadows was in fact a vocal (Saturday Dance)Apache was such a massive hit in UK they basically kept to instrumentals.
  • Walter from Antwerp, BelgiumThe Sugar Hill Gang and Fatboy Slim (and many others) uses the 1973 'Apache' version by Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band as a backbone. Don't know if it's still in print, but definitely well worth seeking out for.
  • Matthew from East Brunswick, NjThe Sugar Hill Gang version is so much cooler!
  • Carmel from Pensacola, FlSugar Hill gang released a version of this also.
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