|Single by Wayne Newton|
|Writer(s)||Bert Kaempfert, Kurt Schwabach, and Milt Gabler|
"Danke Schoen" / / is a 1962 song first recorded by Bert Kaempfert; however, it gained its fame in 1963 when American singer Wayne Newton recorded his version of it. It regained fame when it was featured in the 1986 American comedy film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, lip synced by the main character, Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick). The music was composed by Bert Kaempfert, with the German lyrics written by Kurt Schwabach and the English lyrics by Milt Gabler. The melody was originally released without lyrics under the title "Candlelight Cafe".
Wayne Newton's first version was released when he was 21 years old. The song was originally intended for singer Bobby Darin as a follow-up to his hit single Mack the Knife, but after seeing Newton perform at the Copacabana, Darin decided to give the song to Newton and transposed the key of the recording to fit Newton's voice. Newton's high tenor is occasionally mistaken for that of a female singer by those unfamiliar with the song. It has been featured in many television commercials and motion pictures, such as Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Meet the Parents, Matchstick Men, Vegas Vacation, and Fools Rush In. The Newton version peaked at Billboard positions #13 pop, #3 easy listening.
Connie Francis recorded the song in French, Japanese, Spanish and Italian, keeping the original title line "Danke schoen" in all versions except the Italian recording, which was released as Grazie a te.
In German, "Danke schön" is equivalent to the English "thank you very much." It is similar to the English "thank you kindly." The polite response is "bitte schön" or "bitte sehr", essentially a request (bitte, intensified by schön or sehr meaning "very") that the recipient take or keep the item or favor offered; in this respect it is roughly equivalent to "you are very welcome [to the item or favor offered]", in that both replies represent ratification of the recipient's accepting the item or favor.
In German, schön (pretty) has a sound, "ö", that is not used in English. In the English lyrics the word is pronounced throughout the song as it is in Yiddish, שיין [ˈʃɛjn], approximately rhyming with "pain" rather than as German schön [ˈʃøːn]. Note that the German letter "ö" can also be written using the older typography "oe" (schön = schoen) – of which the umlauted O is a contraction – when umlauts are unavailable or not readily accessible.