Danke Schoen

Album: Danke Schoen (1963)
Charted: 13
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • The music was written by German bandleader Bert Kaempfert, with lyrics by Kurt Schwaback and Milt Gabler. Kaempfert first recorded the song in 1962, for his album Living It Up!.

    It was Wayne Newton's version that made the song famous, reaching #13 on the Billboard chart in 1963. Newton became a very popular singer in Las Vegas casinos and nightclubs.
  • In German, "Danke Schoen" means (literally) "Thank nice," equivalent to "Thank you very much" in English.
  • Capital Records originally wanted Bobby Darin to record the song as a follow up to "Mack The Knife." Darin, however, felt that his protégée had the perfect voice for the track, even threatening to never record for the label again if they wouldn't release Newton's recording.
  • Milt Gabler, who wrote the English lyrics, was a famous record producer who released Billie Holliday's "Strange Fruit" and produced Bill Haley and the Comet's "Rock Around The Clock."
  • Wayne Newton's famous recording of this song is played in the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off as the main character, Ferris Bueller, lip-synchs to it while riding atop a float in a parade. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Larry - New York, NY

Comments: 25

  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrTo Lisa from State College, PA Schön can also mean "Beautiful". As in "wunderschön". "Pretty" is "hübsch". Interestingly enough, "bitte" is "please", but it seems that "bitte schön" is "You're welcome", but sounds to me like it would literally be something like "pretty please". Now I'm confused!
  • Bitte Schön from Minneapolis, Mn@Eric from Somerset, NJ is incorrect. Ferris was lip syncing Wayne Newton's version. Wayne Newton's vocals are notoriously high-tenor. It is not Brenda Lee, who recorded "Danke Schoen" for her 1964 album By Request, produced by Owen Bradley.
  • Eric from Somerset NjWhile Wayne Newton first recorded the song in 1962, it was the version by singer Brenda Lee that was featured in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off that Ferris was lip-synching to during the parade scene later in the movie. Much earlier in the film during the monologue in the shower, Ferris belts out part of the second verse a la Wayne Newton in a nod to his original version.
  • Tdot from Lakewood, Wa.Yes, I was 11 yo when this came out and yeah, we all thought it was a woman singing and actually were kinda disappointed when we found out it wasn't. It's still creepy to me, but that kid really nails it. Such a well written, beautiful song.

    Also, according to Wikipedia, Wayne pronounced schoen correctly.
  • Babbling Babette from Tulsa OkI remember this song from my childhood. haa! My older sis bought the single & played the heck out of it until we all got sick of it. I thought it was a girl singing the song. I never learned it was a man until about 1968 when I inherited all my sister's worn-out & scratched-up records! Big deal! Then I saw the label on the single said "Wayne Newton." I never played it again. I loved rock & roll. That was definitely NOT rock & roll. I just couldn't believe it was a man singing that song. I guess the song is "pop." Still---Newton's voice is just too effeminate for my tastes! Anyway, I guess he beat the odds and made a career out of it, since he got shuffled off to Vegas. Whatever happened to Newton???
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 2nd 1963, Wayne Newton performed "Shirl Girl" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    At the time it was at #95 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and five weeks later on December 1st, 1963 it peaked at #58, and it was also in its 7th and last week on the Top 100...
    Thirty-five days earlier on September 28th, 1963 "Danke Schoen" was at #56; and that was its last day on the Top 100.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 7th 1963, "Danke Schoen" by Wayne Newton entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #75; and on August 18th, 1963 it peaked at #13 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    Between 1963 and 1980 he had seventeen Top 100 records; one reached the Top 10, that was "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast", which peaked at #4 (for 2 week) on July 30th, 1972 and it reached #3 on the Adult Contemporary chart...
    Mr. Newton, born Carson Wayne Newton, celebrated his 72nd birthday three months ago on April 3rd, 2014.
  • Rocky from Tulsa, OkMy Mom still has nightmares about Wayne Newton's plastic surgery marred face! Mom said when she was a teen her parents took her to Vegas for a spree & they all caught Wayne Newton's show. Mom said they were lucky to get a table near the stage, but she noticed Newton's mishapened face right off the bat. Later, she had nightmares about him & it kept up for years. She mentioned all this yesterday when we were in Tulsa driving downtown & this song came on the radio. We listened to it & before Mom explained it all, I actually thought it was a woman singing. Then Mom explained why she has an aversion to Wayne Newton and his music. Quite a bizarre experience. I really don't know much about this guy or his music. That was way back before I was born. I never heard of a man who sings like a woman before. That is, not until now. I hope I don't have nightmares over this too!!
  • Raunchy from Tulsa, OkHey, this song was way before my time, but I heard it on Sirius radio the other day & could hardly believe it was sung by a man. Uh, I guess you could call Wayne Newton a man??!! I mean, who sings like a woman anyway? My girlfriend Bambi said her Dad has this 45rpm record from when he was a kid in the Sixties. So she said she talked to him about the record. It's in mint condition. You know why? Her Dad said that after he played it he was too embarrassed to own-up to buying it so he never played it again. It seems that his buddies in high school way back then considered Wayne Newton a sissy. Well, I don't know about going that far in calling names, but Newton does have an effeminate voice. Or at least he did when the song was recorded. How old was the dude when he recorded it? Couldn't he have done a more masculine singing voice instead? Man, this song is the pits! Is this Wayne Newton guy still living? It was done bck in the early Sixties, according to Bambi's Dad. So he thinks that Newton must be in his Nineties by now. Right? Anyway, this guy needed to show a hell of a lot more "attitude" in this song.
  • Randy from Fayettevile, ArI heard this song again last week on an oldies radio station. I still think Wayne Newton sings like a girl on this record. I'm not trying to be mean, but honestly, he does. I will just accept the fact that he was probably a kid and in puberty when it was recorded. As someone else said, it's a pop record and not rock & roll, but back in the Sixties when it was on the charts there was a variety of music types on the charts too. Still----I can't get used to his voice. Bizarre!
  • Rotunda from Tulsa, OkI first heard this song back in 1963 when I was a little kid. I never bought the record & never really paid attention to who sang it. All these years, I thought it was a woman or a girl who sang it. I ran onto Songfacts by chance & decided to look up a bunch of songs. This is one that totally surprised me with the facts. Until now, I never knew it was sung by a guy. Well, I guess he was probably a boy when it was recorded & he was still in puberty. Right??? Hmmmm..........bizarre.
  • Randy from Fayettevile, ArA strange song & an even stranger singer. A few months ago, this song was on an oldies radio station playing on my Dad's radio while we both were working in the garage. Dad told me he first heard it when he was a kid back in 1963 and he thought it was a girl singing it. Actually, when it came on that day, I coulda swore it was some chick singing. Dad said that he heard that Wayne Newton's sputtering career was saved when he got hired to sing in Las Vegas ages & ages ago. Last year my folks took a vacation to Las Vegas, but Wayne Newton wasn't there any more. Dad said he & Mom vacationed in Vegas back in '88 and Newton was performing there then and Dad said he still sounded like some teenaged chick. Now that's straange!
  • Bubblesk from Memphis, TnThis is a "nice" song from 1963 & pure pop. I was 8 yrs. old in '63 & my Dad bought me this record merely because he heard me say once that I liked it on the radio. But I never liked it enough to buy the record. I just put it to the back of my record collection. Now Wayne Newton was another matter. I thought he was way way too effeminate & needed to show some "attitude," but that never happened.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkGood grief! When this song was released in '63, a DJ on my favorite rock station kidded the fans & said the singer was a woman! Then I heard it on another radio station & they said it was a boy named Fig Newton! FIG??? Everybody wants to be a comedian!! Anyway, I never did care for the song. It's a nice pop song, but I preferred rock & roll back then (and now). As fate would have it, Fig----or Wayne Newton made an entire career out of this song & became the "toast" of Vegas for a while. Until his supply of ebony black hair dye ran out. True, it is pure pop and shows Newton's talents well. But if you're a rocker, this is definitely NOT your territory, man.
  • Joe from Hamburg, GermanyLisa: you've got it all wrong.
    a) He pronounces schön/schoen the way he does in order to make it rhyme with words like: "pain ... explain ... again"
    b) "schoen" in context of "Dankeschön/ Dankeschoen" does not mean "pretty". It means "very much". As in "Thank you very much"
    c) the song rocks (though maybe just to folks who've watched the movie)
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlHA! This is on Ferris Bueller's Day Off! One of the best movies ever!!! lol Great song!
  • David from Dallas, TxTyler makes a somewhat valid point. The German language does, in fact, have approximately 150 different dialects--some of which are pretty unusual. However, Newton's German pronunciation is not consistent throughout the song. At the end of the song (1:39), he enunciates a fairly perfect "high German" aufweidersehen. Clearly Newton and the songwriters went with a pronunciation of danke schoen that best rhymed with the appropriate English words. To say that this is a "correct" pronounciation is a stretch. It's not even common--certainly not any more. This song is about fifty years old. It is NOT a pronunciation that you would learn in any German language class, nor is it something that you would be likely to hear upon visiting Germany unless you happened to end up in that one small hamlet where the eldest residents and a few hardcore dialecticians are stubbornly struggling against the mainstream German language to keep it alive--think "Latin." When Americans repeat Newton's pronunciation (either during a visit to Germany or to Germans visiting the U.S.) and think that they're "speaking German," they demonstrate a lack of culture, intelligence, and/or sophistication. Case in point--when you travel the U.S., people "in the know" understand the regional differences between ordering a "soda," a "pop," or a "Coke."




  • Britt from Boston, MaI have had this song on repeat for the past 17 hours, this song is beyond addicting! In Ferris Bueller's Day Off I actually thought a woman sang this song, I couldnt find this song at all on the internet and then I realized that it was infact Wayne Newton and that it wasn't a woman after all.
    It surprised me!
  • Mike from Matawan, NjI hear ya, Tyler. It can also be pronounced as 'Throat Warbler Mangrove' incidentally.
  • Tyler from Denver, CoPeople, do you know nothing of the word Dialects? It can be pronounce Danke Shown, Danke Sein, and Danke Shern.
  • Steve Dotstar from Los Angeles, Canice arrangement by Jimmie Haskell with nice low brass toward the end...a famous musician told
    me once regarding the building of an arrangement or record..."start slow and build" this record is a good example.
  • Frank from Toronto, CanadaThis song was also played during the movie "Fools Rush in" with Selma Hayak, and Matthew Perry, a 1997 film.
  • Annabelle from Eugene, OrI've heard that Danke Schoen is actually supposed to be pronounced like "Dánka Shern". I learned this from a German exchange student who attended the Maryland School For The Blind, the school I used to go to in middle school and high school.
  • Lisa from State College, PaUgh I hate this song. Wayne Newton pronounces Danke schoen wrong. It's supposed to be pronounced like Dawn-kuh shown not like Dawn-kah shane. And schoen means pretty not nice. Nice is nett.
  • Ron from Green Bay, WiWayne Newton also got national exposure from an appearance on an episode of "I love Lucy".
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Brandi Carlile

Brandi CarlileSongwriter Interviews

As a 5-year-old, Brandi was writing lyrics to instrumental versions lullabies. She still puts her heart into her songs, including the one Elton John sings on.

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic Furs

Tim Butler of The Psychedelic FursSongwriter Interviews

Tim and his brother Richard are the Furs' foundation; Tim explains how they write and tells the story of "Pretty In Pink."

Shaun Morgan of Seether

Shaun Morgan of SeetherSongwriter Interviews

Shaun breaks down the Seether songs, including the one about his brother, the one about Ozzy, and the one that may or may not be about his ex-girlfriend Amy Lee.

Maria Muldaur

Maria MuldaurSongwriter Interviews

The "Midnight At The Oasis" singer is an Old Time gal. She talks about her jug band beginnings and shares a Dylan story.

Crystal Waters

Crystal WatersSongwriter Interviews

Waters tells the "Gypsy Woman" story, shares some of her songwriting insights, and explains how Dennis Rodman ended up on one of her songs.

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)Songwriter Interviews

Richie talks about producing the first two Kiss albums, recording "Brother Louie," and the newfound appreciation of his rock band, Dust.