Danke Schoen

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"Danke Schoen"
Single by Wayne Newton
from the album Danke Schoen
Released 1963 (1963)
Genre Standard
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Bert Kaempfert, Kurt Schwabach, and Milt Gabler

"Danke Schoen" /ˈdɑːŋkə ʃn/ is a 1962 song first recorded by Bert Kaempfert. 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".

Newton's version[edit]

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. 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, Fools Rush In as well as the French-American comedy Crime Spree. In 2015, it was used in a television commercial for Bank of America. The Newton version peaked at Billboard positions #13 pop, #3 easy listening.

Other versions[edit]

In the same year as Newton, Laila Kinnunen sang a purely Finnish version. The tone and the words "Auf Wiedersehen" at the end suggest a similar sentiment of this version.

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.

Brenda Lee recorded "Danke Schoen" for her 1964 album By Request, produced by Owen Bradley.

Anita Lindblom recorded the song in German. Caterina Valente recorded the song in an international version .

Martha and The Vandellas recorded a version for their 1963 album Heat Wave.

In 2004, Deluxe (a Spanish indie-rock artist) recorded a rock version for his album If things were to go wrong.

Linguistic details[edit]

In German, the phrase Danke schön is equivalent to the English Thank you very much or Thank you kindly. The word Danke means Thanks and the word schön means pretty, lovely, or nice. In Standard German the word schön (German pronunciation: [ʃø̞̈ːn]) is pronounced with a mid front rounded vowel, /ø̞̈/, that is not used in English phonology. However, in many High German dialects spoken in central and southern Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the front rounded vowels /œ/, /ø̞̈/, /ø/, /ʏ/ and /y/ are lacking and are replaced in these dialects with their unrounded counterparts, /ɛ/, /e̞/, /e/, /ɪ/ and /i/.[1] Orthographically, when writing in these dialects, ö becomes e or ee and ü becomes i or ie.[1]

Hence, in High German dialects commonly encountered in the United States, such as Pennsylvania German or Yiddish, the word schön rhymes with the English words pain and explain. Standard German Danke schön would be translated into Pennsylvania German as danki schee (IPA: [ˈdaːŋkiː ʃeː]) or dank scheene (IPA: [ˈdaːŋk ʃeːnə]).[2] Similarly, it would be translated into Yiddish: אַ שיינעם דאַנק‎, (a sheynem dank, IPA: [a ʃɛjnəm ˈdaŋk]). 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. Milt Gabler, the author of the English lyrics of the song, was the son of Austrian and Russian Jewish immigrants and would have been most familiar with the Yiddish pronunciation of the word schön (or schoen) as sheyn.


  1. ^ a b Born, Renate (2007), "The Evolution of Modern Standard German", Camden House History of German Literature, 4 Early Modern German Literature 1350-1700, Boydell & Brewer, p. 105, ISBN 1571132473 
  2. ^ Haag, E. C. (1982). A Pennsylvania German reader and grammar (Fourth printing ed.). University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 50. ISBN 027102142X. 

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