THE DYNAMITES



Above, classic "Too Late" lineup of The Dynamites. L to R: Pit Schaefer (drums), Peter Rietman (bass),
Robert Wittner (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Robert Sulzer (piano) and Rolf Antener (lead guitar)





The legendary Dynamites from Basel were formed in 1958 by Robert "Röbi" Wittner. They first went under the name of LITTLE ROBIN BAND (adopted from the Bobby Day song Rockin Robin), before it was changed to THE RED DYNAMITES (after the Cliff Richard song Dynamite) and then finally shortened to the much more dynamic, and explosive sounding name of THE DYNAMITES in 1964.

Their first real lineup was consisting of Robert Wittner (lead vocals), Willy Lanz (bass), Fritz Arpagaus (drums), Sandro Bellafati (rhythm guitar) and Rolf Antener (lead guitar). On the 5. of January 1963, during a break of a Red Dynamites show at the Safran in Basel, one of the people from the audience came backstage, to ask The Red Dynamites leader Robert Wittner if he could join the band for a session. It was Robert "Robi" Sulzer and he had no band experience yet, but was a big fan of Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino and he had learned to play the piano at school. Sulzer became their piano/organ player and second lead vocalist.






Above, short living six piece 1963 lineup of The Red Dynamites. L to R: Sandro Bellafati (rhythm guitar), Rolf Antener (lead guitar), Fritz Arpagaus (drums), Robert Wittner (vocals, bass, rhythm guitar), Robert Sulzer (organ, vocals), Willi Lanz (sax, bass)





After the tragical death of The Red Dynamites first drummer Fritz Arpagaus, on June 13. 1964, they went through different drummers (including Hisam Werner and Peter Thommen), until they were joined up by Pit Schaeffer as for their permanent drummer (he would stay with them until the end).

In summer of 1965 the ex-Vampires organist Markus Muggi Hungerbuehler joined The Dynamites. Muggi had started out as a guitarist for the Kangaroos in 1961, they became (after watching many Hammer horror films at the movies) the very highly rated Vampires in 1962. On the first of August 1965 (the Swiss national day), he joined Les Pirates.




Above, 1964 lineup of The Dynamites. L to R: Peter Thommen (Drums), Rolf Antener (lead guitar), Peter Rietmann (bass), and Robert "Röbi" Wittner (vocals, rhythm guitar, songwriter)





Some of their highlights include shows with Cliff Richard & The Shadows, The Moody Blues (at an open-air festival in Paris 1/1966), Tony Sheridan (with The Dynamites as backing band), Bill Ramsey (with The Dynamites as for his backing band - at one very rare concert in Chur, Switzerland), Stan Urban (as backing band), to play at the famous Film Ball in Munich, and the winning of the international beat band battle at the legendary Golf Drouot in Paris, that has brought them the contract for the French EP release.

Their records, most notably Too Late, are classics, and considered a must have for 60s beat, garage collectors worldwide.






Above, ultrarare early shot of The Red Dynamites "on world trip" at the Safran in Basel, ca. 1962.






Above: THE DYNAMITES in Paris 1966. L to R: Rolf Antener (lead guitar), Robert Sulzer (organ, vocals),
Robert Wittner (lead vocals), Pit Schaeffer (drums) and Peter Rietmann (bass)




THE DYNAMITES DISCOGRAPHY:







BE MY OWN (Robert Wittner) / Hello Daddy (Trad. Arr. Robert Wittner)
One of a kind acetate of previously unreleased 1963 Single! Be My Own (a frantic rocking early beat number with superb guitar leads) was the first originalsong from Robert Wittner. Hello Daddy is a supercool Johnny And The Hurricans styled rocking instrumental arrangement of Oh Mein Papa (although, it sounds like a completely different tune) with some fantastic guitar, organ and sax leads. WOOOW!! Both sides were recorded live onto reel to reel (mono) at the bands practice room in 1963.
Dance (Robert Wittner) / Nadine (Chuck Berry) / I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennen, McCartney) / Little Safari (Rolf Antener)
Ultrarare first EP from 1964!! All tracks great!! Little Safari, a fabulous early beat guitar instrumental penned by the Dynamites fantastic leadguitarist Rolf Antener, was (for some strange reasons) the only Dynamites original-song that was not written by Robert Wittner. Belongs into any serious Swiss 60s beat collection. There were only 500 copies of it made, but only around 50 copies came with a sleeve, so this 7" EP was released sleeveles.
Dance (Robert Wittner) / Nadine (Chuck Berry) / I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennen, McCartney) / Little Safari (Rolf Antener)
With thin, and glossy, superior printed demo (gatefold) picturesleeve insert (on very fine paper) from 1964, that gives much finer details and shows some more of the picture. Only one copy known to exist.
Dance (Robert Wittner) / Nadine (Chuck Berry) / I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennen, McCartney) / Little Safari (Rolf Antener)
With slightly thicker sleeve (less details, different printing quality and slightly different red color). Very few copies made. Some of them were sold at the Sesam Record shop.
Dance (Robert Wittner) / Nadine (Chuck Berry) / I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennen, McCartney) / Little Safari (Rolf Antener)
With insert of the backcover only!! This probably was the most common version of the Dynamites Sesam EP Picturesleeve (a one sided insert only). Few copies in existance.
Little Girl (Arr. The Dynamites) / Tell Me Yes Or No (Robert Wittner)
Unreleased 1965 Layola L-17-215 test-pressing Single! This is the Dynamites original version of Little Girl featuring Markus Muggi Hungerbuehler on organ. Soon after the recording, Muggi would leave The Dynamites to join The Sevens and he would take the song with him - so this is the infamous song that The Sevens have actually stolen from The Dynamites. It was re-recorded (with slightly changed text) by The Sevens in 1966 and then released as Little Girl I Know on Layola. The unreleased Layola version of Tell Me Yes Or No has a great sounding guitar part in it, but the completely different, re-recorded version on Columbia has got more punch. I like both versions of it. Shortly after the recording of this single, The Dynamites would sign contracts with Columbia records, and so the Layola 45 never happened. Only two copies in existance.
Lonely Baby (Robert Wittner) / If You Need Me (Pickett-Bateman-Sanders) / Jenny Jenny (Johnson-Penniman) / I´m Moving On (Snow)
Swissbeat Live! (Columbia ZPX 10009) October 1965, stereo LP

This frantic live LP was recorded on 1. October 1965 at Hotel Salmen in Schlieren (nearby Zurich), and released shortly thereafter. The Dynamites were asked to play 4 songs for the event of this concert. It was like a regular show for them, and with a real audience that went really wild. Some of the applause that you hear on the Sauterelles tracks was for some unknown reasons faked. The LP was highlighted by the Dynamites boss version of I´m Moving On, and with snotty lead vocals from Robert Sulzer. Virtually impossible to find in perfect condition.
Too Late (Robert Wittner) / Tell Me Yes Or No (Robert Wittner)
(Columbia SCMZ 3028) October 1965, mono Single

Too Late =the ultimate greatest Swiss 60s beat, punk record ever made (along with The Sevens classic track "Seven", that is!) Too bad that the executives at EMI (Zurich, Switzerland) never went to produce a full album with The Dynamites. They hail as the first, best and most experienced Swiss beat band. Even the great and very respectable Tony Vescoli of Les Sauterelles was a big fan of the legendary Dynamites. Superrare record to find thesedays. Some copies got autographed at the Too Late record release concerts in Basel (Rheinbruecke) and Zurich (Jecklin).
Someone Like Me (Robert Wittner) / Don´t Leave Me Behind (Robert Wittner)
Columbia SCMZ 3031

Ultrarare Swiss promo Single! It was recorded in Schlieren, Zurich on 8. January 1966, between 09:00 - 15:00 O´clock. The A-side, a fantastic moody ´66 punk ballad with soulful vocals courtesy of Robert Wittner, was coveed by The Wylde Mammoths (from Stockholm, Sweden) on their 2nd album. The flipside is a killer harp wailing 1966 organ punker with a deadly lead-guitar solo from Rolf Antener! Robert Wittner would always write (in his songs) about feelings, and true-life experiences of his own. He could really put his heart into it.
Someone Like Me (Robert Wittner) / Don´t Leave Me Behind (Robert Wittner) / Too Late (Robert Wittner) / Tell Me Yes Or No (Robert Wittner)
Columbia ESRF 1739 in stereo!

Superrare French EP!! It was released in February 1966 upon winning an international beat band battle that was held on 4. - 6. of February 1966, at the famous Golf Drouot in Paris, France. It long rates as one of the rarest and most sought after French 60s EPs. Definitely a must have for the collectors of the best and rarest transworld 60s beat, punk, garage records. When Rolf Antener (and Peter Rietmann later on as well) joined Les Sauterelles in May 1966, Les Sauterelles would take over the status of the top 60s beat band from Switzerland. Les Sauterelles big 1968 hit record of "Heaveny Club" was written by Antener/Vescoli and had featured the lead vocals of the ex-Dynamites Rolf Antener (and bass courtesy of the ex-Dynamites Peter Rietmann).
Right Down (Robert Wittner) / Say It Today (Robert Wittner)
Their final single of great beat pop garage (featuring lead guitarist Bernhard Spiess). This record was ordered, paid for and released privately on the Philips label by The Dynamites themselves. Philips was some kind of a cool label, that could be used as for a pressing plant as well, but you´ve had to sell the records by yourself. Some of the best and rarest Swiss 60s beat records got manufactured by Philips (The Slaves, Gaby Marchand, Charles Ryder Corporation etc.). There were 2000 copies of this 45 made. Each of the 4 members has (paid for and) received 500 copies of it to sell. Both sides great.



                           Site produced February 11. 2005. Copyright for all contents: Feathered Apple Records


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