The Lords (German band)

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The Lords
Liesel 19-08-2011 The Lords in Grossolbersdorf.jpg
The Lords performing in Großolbersdorf in 2011
Background information
Origin Düsseldorf, Germany
Years active
  • 1959 (1959)–1971 (1971)
  • 1976–present
  • Leo Lietz
  • Bernd Zamulo
  • Philippe Seminara
  • Jupp Bauer
Past members
  • Knud Kuntze
  • Ulli Günther
  • Werner Faus
  • Rainer Petry
  • Charly Terstappen
  • Peter "Max" Donath

The Lords are a German rock band, formed in Düsseldorf in 1959 and are one of the longest-running beat groups from Germany over the last half century.[1] They are best known for their work during the sixties and early seventies and are noted for their sometimes humorous and irreverent approach.[2]

Between 1965 and 1969, the Lords had twelve titles on the German charts, mainly produced by Heinz Gietz. Their biggest hit was the classic, "Glory Country", from September 1967, which reached number 5,. Their last success was "Three-Five-Zero-Zero" in August 1969. By 1989, The Lords had released over thirty singles and had achieved sales of seven million copies, a record for a German rock band in their own country.[3]


1959-1971: classic period[edit]

In 1959, The Lords started out as a skiffle band in Berlin using partly custom-made instruments. In 1964 when Beatlemania and the British Invasion swept across the world, they turned into "Germany's First Beat Music Act" and developed their classic style for which they are still known in Germany today. On 23 July 1964, the United Artists production of the Beatles film Yeah Yeah Yeah appeared in the German cinemas. Before the premiere, a competition was held, with the "Berliner Beatles" being sought. For this competition the Lords emerged as the winner on 21 July 1964. Therefore, they were allowed to participate in the nationwide finals at the Hamburg Star Club. On September 6, 1964, the Lords won here too, and were named "Germany's Beat Band No. 1".[4] In late 1964 the band received a recording contract from EMI in Cologne and were now marketed as the German Beatles.[5] In 1964 their bassist Knud Kuntze ("Lord Knud") (*18 March 1944) had to leave the band due to an accident in which he lost his leg. He then started a career in radio, becoming a prominent DJ at the radio station, RIAS.

In 1965, the Lords' band's roster changed to what most fans consider to be their classic line-up. It would consist of Ulli Günther (vocals), Bernd Zamulo (bass), Leo Lietz (guitar), Rainer Petry (guitar) and Max Donath (drums). This roster lasted until 1971, which would mark the end of what was the most successful period of the band.[6] In the period from 1965 until 1969 they had 11 hits in West German pop charts. Their first hit single from 1964 was Shakin' All Over (originally recorded by Johnny Kidd & The Pirates in 1960). Their other hits included the blues traditional Poor Boy in 1965, Poison Ivy in 1965 (originally by The Coasters, 1959), the Baptist traditional Gloryland in 1967, and Rockin' pneumonia in 1967 (probably originally by Larry Williams). Their 1960s cover versions of Shakin' all over, Poison Ivy, and Gloryland still get much more airtime on German radio today than the original or later recordings versions of these songs by English and American performers.

They also appeared as supporting act of The Kinks and The Who on German tours of the two English bands, and performed on the contemporary TV music program Beat-Club several times. These Beat-Club performances are still repeated on German TV well into the 2000s, being largely responsible for today's classic image of The Lords back then. Their success allowed them in 1967 made an appearance as the main band in the Legia Stadium in Warsaw in front of 25,000 spectators; they were the first western band that could occur in a Soviet bloc country.[7] However, in 1971 the Lords broke up, but would re-unite five years later.

1976-today: reformation[edit]

From 1976 onwards, The Lords have re-united on several occasions with different line-ups, mostly as a nostalgia live band playing their old hits on 60s festivals and TV shows, every few years re-recording technologically updated versions of their songs. Especially "Lord Leo" Lietz has become sort of a bandleader since they have become mostly a 1960s nostalgia act, representing them and still giving the most interviews of all current band members.

Singer of The Lords, Lord Ulli died in a Potsdam hospital on 13 October 1999, after having a breakdown while performing on stage on 9 October 1999 during a concert of their 40 years anniversary tour. Since 2000 The Lords have re-united once again, in 2002 and 2009 they released two new albums.

Style and reputation[edit]

Rather than taking the approach of a serious music band, The Lords were more of a slapstick and comedy troupe especially on stage, probably akin to bands like The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in England at the time (and indeed Johnny Kidd & The Pirates whose Shakin' all over The Lords covered and which became their first hit single), overdoing the contemporary moptop hairstyle by making it look like a stereotypical Medieval haircut as portrayed in the modern comic Prince Valiant, taking the formal suit fashion introduced by The Beatles and turning them into waiters' clothing, and dancing like a girl group such as the 1920s Tiller Girls on stage.[8] However, in spite of the band's comic approach, their level of musical skill can be viewed as commensurate with many of the better-known acts of the mid 60s, particularly when viewing their live television performances from the era.

This rather lighthearted attitude led to a rivalry with the more serious Hamburg-based band The Rattles and especially their bandleader and producer Achim Reichel, who was critical of the Lords for their silly antics. In addition to their clownesqueries, which were looked down upon by more ambitious proto-Krautrock artists such as Reichel, there was a notorious rumor that singer of The Lords, Ulli Günther ("Lord Ulli") spoke not a single word of English even though it was the language he sang in, and that therefore his German accent was much thicker than was usual in the German-produced but English-sung music scene at the time.

Towards the end of the 1960s, the band was increasingly influenced by psychedelia and brought more social commentary, serious or satirical, into their lyrics, effectually turning from a British Invasion-influenced pop band into a progressive Krautrock group. However, nothing of this development, nor the slapstick approach that came before it would be evident in subsequent reunions after 1976. Instead, since their re-formation they foster more of a rough rocker and teddy boy image both in their instrumentation, arrangements, and their clothing, now appearing in jeans clothing and sunglasses, comparable to the new style 1970s glam rock band Slade took on during the 1980s, even though today The Lords often perform to playbacks of their old singles when on TV while dressed up in their new style.

The original recordings of their singles, later often re-recorded by the band, were issued on CD as the double CD box The Original Singles-Collection/The A & B-Sides in 1999, beside which the CD version of their 1972 best-of album The LORDS 1964-1971 sold well, while Shakin' all over '70 (1970) and The Lords - The Very Best (1992), like most of their albums after 1971, are more recent, technologically updated re-recordings of their classic songs.

Album discography[edit]

  • 1965 In Black and White - In Beat and Sweet
  • 1966 The Lords II - Shakin' All Over
  • 1967 Some Folks by the Lords
  • 1968 Good side of June
  • 1968 Deutschlands Beatband Nr. 1 Die Volksplatte
  • 1969 Ulleogamaxbe
  • 1970 Shakin' all over '70
  • 1971 Inside out
  • 1972 The Lords 1964-1971
  • 1979 Birthday Album - 15 years
  • 1984 20 Jahre Lords
  • 1988 The Lords '88
  • 1989 Stormy
  • 1992 The Lords - The Very Best
  • 1999 The Original Singles-Collection/The A & B-Sides
  • 1999 Live 1999
  • 2002 Spitfire Lace
  • 2009 Lords 50


  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Lords: Artist Biography." Allmusic.
  2. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Lords: Artist Biography." Allmusic.
  3. ^ Edenhofer, Julia. The Great Oldies Lexicon - Singers and Bands from A-Z, Bastion-TB, 1st edition, Bastei-Lübbe Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 1991, p 383, ISBN 3-89350-720-5
  4. ^ Diergarten, Eckhard. 50 years The Lords: "long-haired, loud and a legend ..."--The Biography. Schalksmühle 2008, pg.36 - with forewords by Uschi Nerke and Manfred Sexauer ISBN 3-86805-232-1
  5. ^ Diergarten, Eckhard. 50 years The Lords: "long-haired, loud and a legend ..."--The Biography. Schalksmühle 2008, pg. 15
  6. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Lords: Artist Biography." Allmusic.
  7. ^ Blazek, Matthias. 50 Years Ago, Started in the Beat by Celler Space (50 years Beatlemania in Celle). BPR project GbR, Celle 2013 ISBN 978-3-00-041877-8 , pg. 5 and 9
  8. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Lords: Artist Biography." Allmusic.

External links[edit]