Pepe Lienhard

It was a long time ago, in spring 1977, that the Pepe Lienhard Band entered the Eurovision Song Contest with a pop ode to the alphorn and finished in sixth place. The position represented a triumph that Switzerland could only dream of in today’s Eurovision Song Contest. The song title was “Swiss Lady”. It was an homage to his homeland, clichéd but insouciant and fresh-sounding – a catchy tune that has survived the years remarkably well. The song still has something. Perhaps it is the refrain? In any event “Swiss Lady” became a Swiss pop classic and still remains the nation’s only entry in the competition to have topped the charts.

Forty years on and the musician and arranger from Lenzburg is primarily known as a big band leader. He has been filling concert halls for years and appears at galas and events. He has also accompanied Sammy Davis Junior and Frank Sinatra with his orchestra. In particular, Pepe Lienhard has been in the spotlight over the past three decades as the musical companion of Udo Jürgens. His orchestra played with the German entertainer until his unexpected death two years ago.

Pepe Lienhard has recently also featured more frequently in the media’s celebrity columns. He celebrated his 70th birthday this year and explained in various media how he enjoys working in his garden but prefers to leave the weeding to his wife Christine. His concerts today are more swing than pop, but “Swiss Lady” remains unmatched.

Marko Lehtinen

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