It started with jazz says Bill Ramsey about his life. Born in 1931 in Cinncinati, Ohio, the musical stronghold of rhythm and blues at the time, he was born with jazz and blues and became deeply rooted in him as he grew up.
When he came to Germany at the age of 21, it was his love for music that would determine his professional career. In Frankfurt am Main he worked for AFN Radio, where he quickly rose to become a producer. A year later he recorded a concert by Ella Fitzgerald. When they sat together in the evening, happy and relaxed, he was asked to sing a song and sang a blues for Ella. She was so impressed that she said to her manager: “All u got to do is close your eyes!” (Close your eyes and you think a black man is singing.) With this compliment, she hit exactly the point: Bill Ramsey’s vocal force, which is shaped and carried by deep passion.
His career seemed unstoppable, someone had to get on stage because he managed to pull everyone away. But during the economic miracle his career took on different shapes. He became a pop star, entertainer, film actor and spirited away his audience with his charm, his almost mischievous wit and his quick-wittedness. He was able to make the Germans laugh and smacked unforgettable hits like “Mimi never goes to bed without a crime thriller” or “The sugar doll from the belly dance group”. In the course of his career he has made 28 feature films, countless television programs, live performances, tours and radio productions, 50 singles as well as 30 LPs and CDs and a lot more. He taught as a guest lecturer at the University of Music and Theater in Hamburg. For three decades, Bill Ramsey moderated the “hr2 Swingtime” weekly – until March 1, 2019.
But jazz in the blood was back and from then on he devoted all of his art to his most beloved genre. He jazzed – and how! Bill Ramsey established himself as an important jazz vocalist and from then on performed jazz, swing and blues on the stages. He became Germany’s swing and jazz legend and gave his audience unforgettable listening pleasure. He wrote many songs himself. No wonder that Bill is loved and adored by young and old alike. He is simply an original, still as captivating today as ever, in private and on stage, charismatic and humorous, he likes to make people laugh. I was able to convince myself of this because I have already spent several wonderful days with the Ramsey couple. He completely conquered my heart. He and his wife Petra, a doctor and just as charismatic and empathetic as he, are now acting as honorary sponsors for Back to Life.
It means more to me than some awards when someone with such a lifetime achievement gives me their full support. I am already looking forward to our next meeting. At the end he gave me a wonderful compliment on my way: “Smile is your password!”
Thank you dear Bill and dear Petra!by Stella Deetjen