Friday, August 6, 2010

Bent Fabric (music)

(1924- )
Official Website

Bent FabricThere are, of course, many one-hit wonders, groups that had a single hit and were never heard from again. Usually, you remember the name of the group when you hear the song, but in the case of Bent Fabric, his name has been completely forgotten, despite the fact that his one hit is still played around the US -- just not on the radio.

Though it sounds like the name of a group, Bent Fabric was the stage name of Danish pianist Bent Fabricius-Bjerre.*  Fabric started a jazz group after World War II and even founded his own record label.  And, in 1961, he recorded "Omkring et Flygel," a simple but sprightly little piano tune that was released in the US and was an immediate hit, reaching #2 on the charts and winning him a Grammy for Best Instrumental.

But the song didn't stop there.  It took on a life of its own, especially when a simple but fun dance was created for it.  Whenever there was a happy gathering -- wedding, anniversary party, etc.  -- in the 60s, 70s, and beyond, with live music, you could bet that at some point the band would play it.  You probably danced to it yourself.  Lyrics were added at one point for those who wanted to sing along.

Never heard of it?  Of course not.  With a name like "Omkring et Flygel,**" the US record company knew it stood no chance.  Since it was an instrumental, however, they were perfectly free to choose a new name for it.

The name they chose was "Alley Cat."

Bent Fabric continued to release albums, usually given animal-themed names like The Happy Puppy***, but never struck gold again.  It didn't matter.  Back in Denmark he became a respected film composer and TV host.

But somewhere this weekend, you can bet that there's a wedding where the band is getting everyone up to dance to the Alley Cat.


*"Bent" evidently was not uncommon as a first name in Denmark. A friend of the family who was Danish was named "Bente," the female version.

**"Around a Piano" in Danish.

***The first I saw his name.  It took me awhile to realize it was a single person.He also did an album with another instrumentalist of the time, Mr. Acker Bilk.

No comments: