Blue Boys

Taking a different route to our favourite bar yesterday we passed a sinister place called "Blue Boy" which seems to have a very special clientele. Instead of reminding me of "Remember Me", the late 90s big cross-over hit by Blue Boy, I immediately gave a rendition of this old German cover version of "Lonely Blue Boy".

Originally performed by Conway Twitty, the German version sung by American-GI-stationed-in-Germany- Gus Backus transforms this basic blues ballad into a cinematic piece of schmalz-deluxe with its night-club trombone and lush strings.

Blue Boy

Gus Backus, became incredibly successful in Germany in the first half of the sixties with a string of novelty hits which he performed with a charming American accent.
During this decade the German audience welcomed singers from all over the world who sometimes were practically unknown back home but made a good living with a hefty dose of faux-folklore in Wirtschaftswunder-Germany.
This went so far that even some German singers acquired a slight fantasy-accent to appear a little bit more exotic.

His "Blue Boy" was only the flip-side of one of his biggest hits, which was one of my favourite singles from my parents collection. Together with the over-the-top arrangement and the ridiculously nihilistic lyrics "Blue Boy" is a forgotten "Schlager" masterpiece.

"I have no home
I have no friend
I live without the sun
´cause it won´t shine on me
Yeah, the whole town is calling me Blue Boy

My life is lonely
My life is empty
I live without love
and this is so hard
Yeah, the whole town is calling me Blue Boy

I walk the streets every evening
but luck wont find my way
A man who was forgotten by the stars
happiness will always pass me by."

After his success had died down he returned to the USA to work on the oilfields. The German audience believed he was dead, but he later returned to try to cash in on a Schlager revival, which did not really work out all that well for him. Today Gus is still performing on a very small level and he maintains a website.

Here is the original version "Lonely Blue Boy" by Conway Twitty:

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