Singing End, The

Band members               Related acts

  line up 1 (1970)

- Alf Gardner (aka Wolfgang Emperhoff) -- vocals,


- Herbert Ihle -- vocals, harmonica, rhythm guitar

- Gunther Luckenrath -- vocals, lead guitar

- Rainer Pietsch (RIP 1998) -- vocals, keyboards, bass,



  supporting musicians

- Manfred Thomas -- drums 

- Klause Weber -- keyboards


  line up 2 (1970-71)

- Alf Gardner (aka Wolfgang Emperhoff) -- vocals,


- Herbert Ihle -- vocals, harmonica, rhythm guitar

- Gunther Luckenrath -- vocals, lead guitar

- Rainer Pietsch (RIP 1998) -- vocals, keyboards, bass,



supporting musicians

NEW - Deiter Geis -- drums (replaced Manfred Thomas)

NEW - Rolf Lammers -- keyboards (replaced Klause Weber)




- Beat Stones (Rianer Pietsch)

- Bläck Fööss (Rolf Lammers)

- LSE (Rolf Lammers)

- Plack-Fizzles (Rainer Pietsch)

- The Rolling Beats (Gunther Luckenrath)

- The Stowaways (Rainer Pietsch)

- Tanned Leather (Wolfgang Emperhoff, Herbert Ihle, and

  Rainer Pietsch)





Genre: pop

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Romantic Vocal Sound of The Singing End

Company: Resono

Catalog: SLR 15006
Year: 1970

Country/State: Cologne, Germany

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: German pressing; minor ring wear

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5690

Price: $150.00


There's obscure and then there's OBSCURE ...  to most Americans (and a sizable slice of the German population), this one's easily categorized under the latter category ...



Born into a musical family, singer/multi-instrumentalist Rainer Pietsch started his rock and roll career in 1963 with the Cologne-based Plack-Fizzles.  Like their British counterparts, Pietsch and company were inspired by Beatlemania and quickly attracted a local following with their beat repertoire.  In 1966 Pietsch was asked to join The Beat Stones who attracted national attention touring Germany and opening for name bands like The Who and The Beach Boys. 1968 saw several Beat Stones members drafted into the German military and the band called it quits.  Pietsch moved on to The Stowaways before jumping ship to join singer/percussionist Alf Gardener (alias Wolfgang Emperhoff), rhythm guitarist Herbert Ihle, and former Rolling Beats lead guitar/singer Gunther Luckenrath in the band That's New.  Over the next two years the group expanding their touring line up to include drummer Manfred Thomas and keyboardist Klause Weber.  They also hired a manager in the form of Gibson Kemp and began playing throughout Germany with a repertoire that featured an eclectic mix of beat tunes and more rock oriented numbers.  In addition to attracting a local following, they also garnered  studio experience supporting German pop stars like Adamo and Thomas Fritsch. Gibson also recommended they consider a new name and after a Cologne paper ran a competition to come up with ideas, they settled on The End.   In 1970 they were signed by the small German Resono label.  The recording deal was accompanied by yet another name change.  Pressured by their label and manager Gibson, the band reluctantly agreed to become the middle-of-the-road sounding The Singing End. 



Credited to The Singing End, the band (now showcasing Gardner, drummer Deiter Geis, Ihle, keyboardist Rolf Lammers, Luckenrath, and Pietsch), made their recording debut with the 1970 single 'Pennies In the Air' b/w 'Someday, Somewhere, Somehow' (Resono catalog number R 570 16). 


back cover photo


While the single did little commercially, Resono agreed to finance an album (the Anette label acquired Scandinavian distribution rights).  Based strictly on the title, 1971's  "The Romantic Vocals Sound of  The Singing End"  sounded like a throwaway collection of MOR covers.  Luckily it didn't actually sound like that.  Co-produced by Gunther Tigert and Pietsch, the album featured a series of nine highly commercial Pietsch originals.  Propelled by Pietsch's lightly accented English vocals, musically the material bounced all over the spectrum.  The band had clearly been listening to lots of English and American rock which made the record one of those releases where it was fun to play 'spot-the-influence'.  'Carpets' and 'Green Grass' (the latter sporting a great Luckenrath fuzz guitar solo) sounded like the band had been listening to more than their share of British pop-psych bands.  The harmony-rich 'I Still Don't Know' and 'Lies' both recalled something out of The Hollies catalog.  'Listen To the Music' sounded like early Chicago horn-rock (before they became pretentious), and there was even a touch of Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys in 'Empty Streets'.  In the interests of fair advertising, let me warn you that the album was far from perfect.  Exemplified by songs like 'Lost Daddy's Craddle Song' and parts of 'Twilight' there were a couple of plodding, MOR-styled ballads.  Still, at least to my ears the album was full of enjoyable surprises and was as good, if not better than much of the British and American competition.  In fact the only real problem with this one was the fact it had been released about two years too late - popular tastes having already moved on to heavier rock moves by the time this saw the light of day.   Shame ...  


The album was also tapped for a single: 



- 1971's 'Carpets' b/w 'I Still Don't Know) (Reono catalog number R 570 23 


"The Romantic Vocals Sound of" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) I'm On My Way   (Rainer Pietsch) - 3:01

2.) Listen To the Music   (Rainer Pietsch) - 3:14

3.) I Still Don't Know   (Rainer Pietsch) - 4:25

4.) Carpets   (Rainer Pietsch) - 3:24

5.) Empty Streets   (Rainer Pietsch) - 3:37


(side 2)
1.) Lies   (Rainer Pietsch) - 4:50

2.) Lost Daddy's Craddle Song   (Rainer Pietsch) - 2:17

3.) Green Grass   (Rainer Pietsch) - 4;22

4.) Twilight   (Rainer Pietsch) - 5:55



One of the risks to signing with a small label is they normally have limited promotional budgets. That was certainly the case here. Resono did little to support the album and understandably the collection did little commercially. The company promptly went bankrupt, leaving the band to pay their bills as sessions players and backup singers. 

Band members Gardener (aka Wolfgang Emperhoff), Ihle, and Pietsch continued their musical collaboration as Tanned Leather who released a handful of singles and a pair of mid-1970s LPs on the EMI/Harvest label. 


Pitesch remained active in music as an arranger, working with the likes of Electric Light Orchestra, Queen, and Vangelis.  Unfortunately he suffered a fatal heart attack in 1998. 


Gardener/Emperhoff also remains active in the business working as a backup singer. 



You have to wonder why anyone would bother to go to the time and effort required to do a CD reissue, but in 2005 the German Long Hair Music label did. Dedicated to the late Pietsch, "Listen To the Music" (catalog number LHC 00041), compiled all nine songs from the original LP (though in a different running order), along with the 'A' and 'B' sides from their debut non-LP single: 


"Listen To the Music" track listing: 

1.) Listen To the Music   (Rainer Pietsch) - 3:14

2.) I'm On My Way   (Rainer Pietsch) - 3:01

3.) Carpets   (Rainer Pietsch) - 3:24

4.) I Still Don't Know   (Rainer Pietsch) - 4:25

5.) Empty Streets   (Rainer Pietsch) - 3:27

6.) Green Grass   (Rainer Pietsch) - 4:22

7.) Lies   (Rainer Pietsch) - 4:50

8.) Twilight   (Rainer Pietsch) - 5:55

9.) Lost Daddy's Craddle Song   (Rainer Pietsch) - 2:17


Bonus tracks 

10.) Pennies In The Air   (Rainer Pietsch) - 

11.) Someday, Somewhere, Somehow  (Rainer Pietsch) -