Comedian Harmonists

Profile:
Internationally successful German vocal group, founded in December 1927, split up in March 1935.

Originally created in imitation of the American The Revelers (2) and called "The Melody Makers," the "Comedian Harmonists," a vocal quintet accompanied by a pianist, developed their own close harmony style. The five singers blended their voices so closely together that there was usually no more than an interval of a twelfth between top and bottom voices; individual singers would emerge from this close vocal texture for solos, and tenor buffo Frommermann, in particular, would contribute comical voice imitations of instruments. The ensemble's repertoire ranged from German Schlager ("Veronika, Der Lenz Ist Da," 1930) and German versions of jazz-tinged American pop songs ("Wochenend Und Sonnenschein" = "Happy Days Are Here Again," 1930) and a vocalized version of Duke Ellington's "Creole Love Call" (1933) to German folk songs ("In Einem Kühlen Grunde," 1932). The Comedian Harmonists recorded first for Odeon (1928-1929), from October 1929 to March 1935 for Electrola.

The group started to be subject to antisemitic harassment from 1932. Once the Nazis had taken over the German government in January 1933, official pressure increased as well. In March 1935, the Nazi-created Reichskulturkammer permanently banned the three "non-Aryan" members, Collin, Frommermann, and Cycowski, from professionally performing or recording in Germany.

The group split into two parts. Both formed new ensembles that tried to attach themselves to the former group's success. The exile group continued to use the name "Comedian Harmonists" (on His Master's Voice export releases), which it had trademarked in Paris in March 1937, or its English equivalent "Comedy Harmonists." The three "Aryan" members, Biberti, Bootz, and the Bulgarian Leschnikoff, remained in Germany and adopted the Nazi-approved name "Meistersextett." In November 1935, they won official permission to call themselves "Das Meister-Sextett Früher Comedian Harmonists" (The Meister-Sextett, Formerly Comedian Harmonists).

Personnel of the "Comedian Harmonists" during their prime:

Erwin Bootz (Piano)
b. 30/06/1907 in Stettin, Poland
d. 27/12/1982 in Hamburg, Germany

Ari Leschnikoff (1. Tenor Vocals)
b. 16/06/1897 in Chaskowo, Bulgaria
d. 31/07/1978 in Sofia, Bulgaria

Erich A. Collin (2. Tenor Vocals)
b. 26/08/1899 in Berlin, Germany
d. 28/04/1961 in Los Angeles, USA

Harry Frommermann (3. Tenor Vocals)
b. 12/10/1906 in Berlin, Germany
d. 29/10/1975 in Bremen, Germany

Roman Cycowski (Baritone Vocals)
b. 25/01/1901 in Łódź, Poland
d. 09/11/1998 in Palm Springs, USA

Robert Biberti (Bass Vocals)
b. 05/06/1902 in Berlin, Germany
d. 02/11/1985 in Berlin, Germany

Occasional members replacing one or the other of the "Comedian Harmonists" on recordings were:
Theodor Steiner (b. 1905 Berlin - d. 1970 Wien; Baritone, Dec. 1927 - May 1928);
Walter Nussbaum (b. 1903 Wiesbaden - d. after 1961, Lima, Perú; Second Tenor, February 1928 - March 1929);
Walter Joseph (b. 1890 Berlin - d. 1954 Lake Placid, NY, USA; Piano, January-August 1931).
Sites:
Members:
Variations:

Artist

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Singles & EPs

O-11 296 Toselli-Serenade / Legende D'Amour — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Toselli-Serenade / Legende D'Amour(Shellac, 10") Odeon O-11 296 Germany 1928 Sell This Version
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none Comedian Harmonists Ninon, Du Süße Frau / Jig Walk(Shellac, 10", TP) Grammophon none Germany 1928 Sell This Version
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O-2585 Ich Küsse Ihre Hand, Madame / Ich Hab' Ein Zimmer, Goldige Frau — Comedian Harmonists Gesangsquintett Comedian Harmonists* Ich Küsse Ihre Hand, Madame / Ich Hab' Ein Zimmer, Goldige Frau(Shellac, 10") Odeon O-2585 Germany 1928 Sell This Version
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O-2586 Gesangsquintett Comedian Harmonists* Ein Bißchen Seligkeit / Ninon, Du Süße Frau(Shellac, 10") Odeon O-2586 Germany 1928 Sell This Version
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E. H. 432 G'schichten Aus Dem Wiener Wald / Ich Hol' Dir Vom Himmel Das Blau — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists G'schichten Aus Dem Wiener Wald / Ich Hol' Dir Vom Himmel Das Blau Electrola E. H. 432 Germany 1929 Sell This Version
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O-11 099 Bimbambulla / Ich Hab' Eine Kleine Braune Mandoline — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Gen. Die Deutschen Revellers* Bimbambulla / Ich Hab' Eine Kleine Braune Mandoline Odeon O-11 099 Germany 1929 Sell This Version
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O-2861 Bitte Recht Freundlich — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Gen. Die Deutschen Revellers* Bitte Recht Freundlich(Shellac, 10") Odeon O-2861 Germany 1929 Sell This Version
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E.G. 2032 Ein Freund, Ein Guter Freund / Liebling, Mein Herz Läßt Dich Grüßen — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Ein Freund, Ein Guter Freund / Liebling, Mein Herz Läßt Dich Grüßen (Single) Electrola E.G. 2032 UK 1930 Sell This Version
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E. G. 2033 Veronika, Der Lenz Ist Da / Wochenend Und Sonnenschein — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Veronika, Der Lenz Ist Da / Wochenend Und Sonnenschein (Single) Electrola E. G. 2033 UK 1930 Sell This Version
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E. G. 1685 Halloh 1930 — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Halloh 1930(Shellac, 10") Electrola E. G. 1685 Germany 1930 Sell This Version
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E. G. 2149 Heut' Fahr' Ich Mit Dir In Die Natur / Bei Der Feuerwehr — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Heut' Fahr' Ich Mit Dir In Die Natur / Bei Der Feuerwehr(Shellac, 10") Electrola E. G. 2149 Germany 1930 Sell This Version
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E. G. 1911 Ich Hab Für Dich 'Nen Blumentopf Bestellt / Wir Sind Von Kopf Bis Fuss Auf Liebe Eingestellt — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Ich Hab Für Dich 'Nen Blumentopf Bestellt / Wir Sind Von Kopf Bis Fuss Auf Liebe Eingestellt(Shellac, 10") Electrola E. G. 1911 Germany 1930 Sell This Version
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E.G. 2125 Ich Träum' Von Einer Märchennacht / Träume, Die Nur Um Deine Liebe Sich Dreh'n — Comedian Harmonists Marcel Wittrisch Und Die Comedian Harmonists Marcel Wittrisch Und Die Comedian Harmonists - Ich Träum' Von Einer Märchennacht / Träume, Die Nur Um Deine Liebe Sich Dreh'n(Shellac, 10") Electrola E.G. 2125 Germany 1930 Sell This Version
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E.G. 1935 Wie Werde Ich Glücklich / So Ist Das Leben — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Wie Werde Ich Glücklich / So Ist Das Leben(Shellac, 10") Electrola E.G. 1935 Germany 1930 Sell This Version
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E. G. 2405 Hunderttausendmal / Mein Lieber Schatz, Bist Du Aus Spanien — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Hunderttausendmal / Mein Lieber Schatz, Bist Du Aus Spanien Electrola E. G. 2405 Germany 1931 Sell This Version
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E. H. 723 Großes Potpourri Marek Weber Und Sein Orchester Mit Gesang: Comedian Harmonists Marek Weber Und Sein Orchester Mit Gesang: Comedian Harmonists - Großes Potpourri "Blume Von Hawaii" Electrola E. H. 723 Germany 1931 Sell This Version
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E.G. 2328 Leichte Cavallerie / Was Schenkst Du Mir Dann — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Leichte Cavallerie / Was Schenkst Du Mir Dann Electrola E.G. 2328 UK 1931 Sell This Version
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E. G. 2382 Das Ist Die Liebe Der Matrosen / Wenn Der Wind Weht Über Das Meer — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Das Ist Die Liebe Der Matrosen / Wenn Der Wind Weht Über Das Meer Electrola E. G. 2382 Germany 1931 Sell This Version
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K-6375 Les Gars De La Marine / Quand La Brise Vagabonde — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Les Gars De La Marine / Quand La Brise Vagabonde Disque "Gramophone" K-6375 France 1931 Sell This Version
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E. G. 2435 Hallo, Was Machst Du Heut, Daisy! / Ich Hab Dich Lieb, Braune Madonna — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Hallo, Was Machst Du Heut, Daisy! / Ich Hab Dich Lieb, Braune Madonna Electrola E. G. 2435 UK 1931 Sell This Version
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E.G. 2204 Marie, Marie / Hof-Serenade — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Marie, Marie / Hof-Serenade Electrola E.G. 2204 UK & Europe 1931 Sell This Version
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E. G. 2752 Wochenend' Und Sonnenschein / Heut' Fahr' Ich Mit Dir In Die Natur — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Wochenend' Und Sonnenschein / Heut' Fahr' Ich Mit Dir In Die Natur(Shellac, 10") Electrola E. G. 2752 Germany 1931 Sell This Version
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K-6192 Véronique, Le Printemps Est Là / Heute Nacht Hab' Ich Getraumt Von Dir — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Véronique, Le Printemps Est Là / Heute Nacht Hab' Ich Getraumt Von Dir(Shellac, 10") Disque "Gramophone" K-6192 France 1931 Sell This Version
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E. G. 2245 Fünf-Uhr-Tee Bei Familie Kraus / Halt Dich An Mich! — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Fünf-Uhr-Tee Bei Familie Kraus / Halt Dich An Mich!(Shellac, 10") Electrola E. G. 2245 Germany 1931 Sell This Version
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E. G. 2607 Einmal Schafft's Jeder / Irgendwo Auf Der Welt — Comedian Harmonists Comedian Harmonists Einmal Schafft's Jeder / Irgendwo Auf Der Welt(Shellac, 10") Electrola E. G. 2607 Germany 1931 Sell This Version