The Les Humphries Singers were a singing group, established in 1969 in Hamburg, Germany. They had their first chart success in 1970 in the Netherlands with the gospel hit “To My Father’s House”, a song that reached the #1 spot and stayed there for six weeks. Especially in German-speaking countries, the group scored numerous other hits. Some of the most successful and well-known titles include “Promised Land”, “We Are Goin Down Jordan”, “Old Man Moses”, “Mexico”, “Mama Loo” and “Kansas City”.
Their repertoire consisted of Humphries’ self-written songs from traditionals, spirituals and evergreens. The group also recorded a series of albums with medleys of hits by other performers. Bandleader Humphries accompanied his choir on the piano or occasionally acted as a singer.
The lead vocals were taken over by different members of the group.
Under the musical direction of Humphries and Hans Hammerschmid, the singer Hildegard Knef accompanied their album in 1971. The Single “Mexico” (1972) used the melody of the 1936 song “The Battle of New Orleans”. Les Humphries rewrote the lyrics for “Mexico” so that he could claim the author’s fees. Because his original text was too similar to “The Battle of New Orleans”, he rewrote the text again to avoid plagiarism allegations. The newly recorded version appeared on later albums.
In 1973, the group had a guest role in the ZDF crime series “Der Kommisar”. In 1974, they performed in the theatrical gangster movie “Es knallt und die Engel singen”. In 1976 they represented Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest with the German-language song “Sing Sang Song”. Only six members were allowed on stage, so Les Humphries himself was the conductor. It was not a success, and in the end of 1976 the group broke up.
Les Humphries invited his singers to the NDR Talk Show in Hamburg in October 1991. Then they got a record deal and in 1992 the album “Spirit of Freedom” was created. It was followed by a tour of Germany as opening act for Howard Carpendale. In February 1993, her last appearance on tv was Meine Show with Dagmar Frederic. On December 29, 2007, three days after the death of band founder Les Humphries, NDR presented a detailed documentary by Andreas Fischer about the group entitled “The Les Humphries Singers – Rise and Fall of a Pop Legend”.