James Last Dies at 86

James Last Dies at 86
The world has lost a veteran big band leader, as James Last died this Tuesday (June 9). He was 86.

According to his manager, he passed away at home in Florida, "peacefully and in the presence of his family." The above tribute graphic has since been posted on Last's website.

The composer and conductor was born was born Hans Last in Bremen, Germany, in 1929. Last began his career in the '40s, and his breakthrough moment came in 1965 with Non Stop Dancing 65, which was made up of jazzy renditions of popular songs of the era (including numerous Beatles cuts).

He went on to amass an absolutely massive catalogue — just look at the size of his discography. Many of these were covers albums, as he made collections devoted to the music of the Beatles, ABBA, Motown, Bach and others. He also wrote music for other artists, including "Happy Heart" (recorded by both Petula Clark and Andy Williams in 1969), "Fool" (recorded by Elvis in 1973), "Games That Lovers Play" (recorded by Eddie Fisher in 1966) and more.

Last reportedly sold over 100 million albums throughout his career. His 52 charting albums in the UK made him second only to Elvis in terms of chart appearances.

A public memorial will be held in Hamburg, Germany, in the coming weeks.