Music For Making Love

Anthony Ventura And His Orchestra

Ariola, 1980

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Werner Becker is not, by any stretch of the imagination, Germany’s answer to Barry White.

Oh, you haven’t heard of him? If you’re under the age of 40, that’s no surprise; even if you’re of my age and the name draws a blank, that could be expected. However, if you refer to him by his Anglicized name of Anthony Ventura?

Hmm… still no?

Truth is, Ventura/Becker is an artist whose recorded work would probably be found hidden in the recesses of your parents’ or grandparents’ record collection. His instrumental renditions of popular songs from the ’60s and ’70s resulted in a slew of adult contemporary albums apparently designed to help increase the chance of fornication and subsequent reproduction, known as his “Je T’aime” series of releases.

Take, for example, his 1979 release Music For Making Love—another one of my “what the hell am I doing in this section of Internet Archive” adventures. It doesn’t appear that this album was ever released in the United States—knowing how prudish we are over here, the cover alone should have been evidence of this. (The version I’m reviewing was released one year later on Ariola; it initially was released in Germany by RCA Victor, but the track listings are identical.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With Ventura behind the keyboard, he and a nameless group of backing musicians plow through 16 tracks of some renown. And while I can’t say this music is gonna make you want to get your freak on, it is nice, mellow background music that one might, for example, have expected to hear playing at the doctor’s office. This might sound like a veiled insult; it is not meant to be. It’s simply something you’d expect to hear in the background, not demanding much (if any) of your attention to detail.

The choice of songs, however, leads me to question how some of this could be considered as romantic music. I mean, “In The Ghetto”?!? If I were much, much younger and was putting the moves on some nubile young woman and that track came on, chances are good that I’d lose… um, focus. “Hotel California”?!? Maybe it’s just me, but when the wife and I are in the mood and we have background music, the last thing I’m thinking is, “You know what would put me in the mood? A two-minute guitar solo!” (Not that there’s one on this version.)

Look, it’s easy to take cheap shots at this album due to its title and track selection. The question becomes: is this worth listening to? And… I gotta admit, it’s not terrible. I can’t say it’s good, but it’s definitely not the worst thing I’ve listened to in my life, even if I was getting FM100 flashbacks over here. (They were the muzak radio station in Chicago when I was a kid… doubt many people would get that reference.)

There are, however, some cringe-worthy moments. Take, for example, the electric organ on “Killing Me Softly.” I guess, if I were trying to get laid at the roller rink in 1979, this one would work. Other than that, the organ work makes this one sound extremely dated.

I can’t say that Music For Making Love is going to deliver on the promise of its title, nor can I say that this one is essential owning and listening. It is, however, a relatively accurate snapshot of its time and the particular style of music that Ventura was perpetuating. It has some kitsch factor and is nice background music, but that’s about all it has going for it.

Rating: C-

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