If you come from a European (especially German) family, you'll know who James Last is. James Last has always been something of a tradition in our family. At every family gathering I can ever recall, Grandpa Sitter would always walk over to the stereo to put on a James Last record. The kids would always snide remarks and make jokes at how "awful" the music was, but we all secretly enjoyed it. I play James Last's Christmas Album religiously every holiday season.
Today, the German-born musician's manager said Last died at his home "peacefully and in the presence of his family".
James Last sold millions of records with his trademark "happy music" - upbeat versions of pop and classical favourites performed by his orchestra. Last is remembered for his youthful energy, even into his old age.
James Last was a Big Band Leader to be reckoned with in the European music scene for decades. I'm sure he will be missed. I know he will be missed at my family's holiday gatherings.
A public memorial service for James Last will take place in Hamburg, Germany, in the coming weeks.