Jorgen Ingmann, the Guitarist from Denmark with a Global Hit


Introduction to Jørgen Ingmann

Jørgen Ingmann (born 1925) is a Danish musician but best known as a guitarist who achieved global fame during the early 60s music era. He originated from Copenhagen, Denmark. Ingmann first started out in jazz, having worked with the “Fiddling Viking” Sven Asmussen sometime from the 1940s-1950s, being part of the group The Swe-Danes. Then he shifted gears during part of the 1950s, when he built his own studio and explored the still-new-ish multi-layer track recording, doing all the guitars and the percussions. The multi-talented musician became a “band” of his own, which he called Jorgen Ingmann and His Guitars. Ingmann recorded one of the tracks, “Apache,” a cover of the Shadows original. Ingmann’s version became an unexpected global hit, first creeping into the Canadian CHUM charts and eventually into the US, nearly topping the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. His other single “Anna,” was minor hit on the Hot 100. Outside his native land, his records were also popular in Germany.

Jørgen Ingmann’s early life

Jorgen Ingmann was a Danish guitarsmith specializing on jazz and pop. Born on April 26, 1925 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Ingmann had his stage debut during the 1940’s, performing with the Swe-Danes. In the group, he was with the jazz violinist Svend Asmussen. He performed with the group until the early 1950’s. By 1955, he met his future wife Grethe and they got married the following year. 

The birth of Jorgen Ingmann & His Guitar

Ingmann considered Les Paul (American guitarsmith and recording studio pioneer) as his main influence. He eventually built his own studio where he further honed his guitar-playing techniques. There, he learned multi-tracking method and distortion effects which was very high end during that time and later enhanced it with bass and drums. From that point, he started recording with the name Jorgen Ingmann & His Guitar.

In December 1960, Ingmann released his cover version of The Shadows’ original “Apache.” In 1961, his version became a smash hit in Canada, charting at #1 in the Ontario-based radio station CHUM 1050 AM. In the US, it peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, #9 on the R&B and #4 on Cashbox charts. It also reached Germany, peaking at #6.

Throughout his career, he had also released several singles which earned considerable success: “Anna” (#19, 1961), “Pepe” (#15, 1961), “Violetta” (#16, 1962), “Drina Marsch” (#5, 1964) and “Zorba le Grec” (#14, 1965). However, most of these singles were big hits in Germany.

With Ingmann’s other half, Grethe Ingmann, he also formed the husband and wife duo, Grethe og Jorgen Ingmann. In 1963, the couple joined the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest and performed their winning piece, “Dansevise.” It was composed by Sejr Volmer Sørensen and the melody was created by Otto Francker.

Later years

In 1975, Ingmann and Grethe filed a divorce. Grethe died of cancer on August 18, 1990. On March 21, 2015, Ingmann died naturally at the age of 89. Both passed away in their country.

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