A couple of years back, I spotlighted Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, a British group that’s best remembered now for a song that became a rock and roll classic, “Shakin’ All Over.” I also mentioned that a couple of other bands had hits with the song in those days, but there was one that I missed. It was a group that rocketed up the German charts with the song in the late 1960s, and had ten other big records too — The Lords.
It took a few years for the Berlin-based combo to get to that degree of popularity though. Beginning life in the late 1950s as a skiffle band, the group reached its peak midway through the following decade with a lineup that included lead vocalist Ulli Günther, Bernd Zamulo on bass, Max Donath on drums, and Rainer Petry and Leo Lietz on guitar. And even though the group was by then describing itself as ‘Germany’s First Beat Music Act’ to appeal to fans of the Beatles and other British groups, the Lords continued to be a little quirky in performances.
Even after the 1964 success of the hard-driving “Shakin’ All Over,” the band often followed up by putting their odd spin on songs that varied all the way from traditional blues like “Poor Boy” to a cover of the Coasters’ “Poison Ivy.” They even tried their hand at “Greensleeves,” but German fans loved the guys and packed their beat-club appearances, and they were often part of the German tours of bigger names like the Kinks.
By the early 1970s the original Lords had more or less dissolved, but in subsequent years they often performed in various combinations of original personnel mixed with new members. In fact, even in the new millennium the Lords are still entertaining fans with many of the same songs and something close to the same quirky style.