Hildgard Knef, a great singer and actress

“Hildegard Knef ist tot.”

What is it with 2002? A lot of people I really admire have died already, and it’s only February. I have been listening to her a lot recently, and she really was brilliant. Although I gather that she was mainly an actress, I’ve never seen any of her films, and it’s her music that fascinated me. Over a long career, she made dozens of great records, including countless German language versions of standards (e.g. ‘the lady is a tramp’), bossa novas, and psychedelic, groovy Bacharach-tinged pop. Like many people who don’t sing in English, Hildegard doesn’t seem to have had much of a following in the US or UK. This is a great shame. Some time, I’ll make a single-disc Hildegard compilation in her memory. People have to hear this stuff – much of it is really incredibly good. If you’re interested in checking her out her music, I recommended a couple of tracks (with sound samples) at musical taste. You can get the superb 7-disc box set of her work very inexpensively at These really only cover a tiny corner of her oeuvre, but there you go. Rest in peace, Hildegard, and say hi to Juan, Peggy and Julie for me.

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