Wednesday 7 December 2016

Last memories of a lost afternoon with my pal, Hansi

Liam Collins recalls the day, after the all-nighter, when he got on first-name terms with James Last and ended up in the Dean's bed

Published 14/06/2015 | 02:30

HATS OFF: James Last, left, and Max Bygraves, right, appearing with Terry Wogan on his BBC chat show in 1987
HATS OFF: James Last, left, and Max Bygraves, right, appearing with Terry Wogan on his BBC chat show in 1987

Other people might have known him as James Last, but to me he will always be Hansi. We were on first-name terms, at least for part of one balmy afternoon in Dublin some time in the early 1980s.

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It is hard to imagine just how famous James Last was in Ireland back in those days, but to be truthful I never saw him in concert because I detested his kind of clap-along orchestrated versions of everything from Motown to The Beatles, which became known as the 'happy sound'.

But you have only to rummage around in charity shop one-euro bins to understand how popular the German musician was with his Irish audiences of that era. In turn, he seemed to genuinely like Ireland and the people and when he threw the odd Irish air into the mix, audiences lapped it up.

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