Sunday, March 30, 2003

She sings like a bear

If you've been reading my weblog for a while, you may remember that I bought the LP The World's Worst Record Show not too long ago.

I think if I had to pick one favourite song from this record, it would be Zarah Leander's infamous rendition of Wunderbar, a highly ironic title for a song of this quality. One of the things that makes you go whaaaa is that Ms. Leander has a deep, manly voice and loves to sing like she's in a operetta. It's unintentionally hilarious.

Don't just take my word for it. Listen to a snippet of the song here.
(To listen to the song snippet, scroll down the above linked Amazon in Germany page until you see the section marked Horbeispiele. Click on Selection number one in this section: Wunderbar. )

I did some research on the Internet and learned that she was a German film star in the 1930s and early 1940s, until she told the Nazis to get bent and returned to her native Sweden when they pressured her to become a German citizen. Here is a 1938 photo of
and a brief biography, in English, if you are curious to know more about her.

I also learned that others appreciate her musical "talent". She is reportedly a gay camp figure in central Europe. One novelist's young character, in this
passage here
, listens to Leander and decides that "She sings like a bear."

I also found this amusing account of what happened when a European band played Leander's version of Wunderbar as something to amuse their listeners before a concert but failed to turn it off. Distressing for them to be sure, but amusing for me and you.