Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel]

Fritz Schulz-Reichel (July 4, 1912 – February 4, 1990) was a German jazz and pop pianist.

Schulz-Reichel's father was a classical musician, and he began playing piano at the age of six. He developed an unusual technique where he played the melody of a tune with the left hand and the rhythm with the right hand.

While he trained to be a concert pianist, he chose a career in pop music, playing light jazz and pop tunes. He invented a device called the Tipsy Wire Box, which could be attached to a piano to make it sound like an out-of-tune barrelhouse upright. (Another interpretation is that "Tipsy Wire Box" was a slang expression for the piano itself, which was merely "detuned"; that is, one of the three strings that make up each note of the main section of the piano is slightly flatted, giving the piano the characteristic sound.)

In 1953 he adopted the moniker Schräger Otto (Crazy Otto), and recorded for Deutsche Grammophon. His tunes became hits in Germany, France, England, and America; his albums were released on Decca and MGM in the U.S. and Polydor which were distributed by Philips Electrical Industries Pty. Limited in Australia. In 1955, American musician Johnny Maddox played a medley of his songs, entitled "The Crazy Otto Medley"; this went to #2 on the U.S. charts, and in the U.S. both Reichel and Maddox were subsequently known as "Crazy Otto", to some confusion.

Schulz-Reichel continued to perform live and on film, and remained a popular jazz favorite in Germany for many years.

"Crazy Otto" is referenced in the song "Ramble on Rose" written by Robert Hunter and performed by the Grateful Dead.

Birth and Death Data: Born July 4, 1912 (Meiningen), Died February 4, 1990 (Berlin)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1954 - 1961

Roles Represented in DAHR: piano

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 86 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 87222 12/30/1954 Glad rag doll Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87223 12/30/1954 Smiles Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87224 12/30/1954 In the mood Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87225 12/30/1954 S-H-I-N-E Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87226 12/30/1954 Beautiful Ohio Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87227 12/30/1954 Lights out Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87228 12/30/1954 My melancholy baby Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87229 12/30/1954 Paddlin' madelin' home Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87230 12/30/1954 Red sails in the sunset Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87231 12/30/1954 Rose of Washington Square Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 87237 12/11/1954 Everready polka Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 88471 8/8/1955 Marching Otto medleys: No.1: Somebody stole my gal ; You were meant for me ; Should I Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 88472 8/8/1955 Marching Otto medleys: No.2: I'll never smile again ; Undecided ; Heartaches ; Military band Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 73 3/28/1955* Twefth Street rag Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 74 3/28/1955* [Unknown title(s)] Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 75 3/28/1955* The Crazy Otto rag Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 86 6/22/1955* The Darktown Strutters' Ball Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 87 6/22/1955* Mammy o' mine Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 88 6/22/1955* I'll always be in love with you Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 89 6/22/1955* Palesteena Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 90 6/22/1955* Indiana Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 91 6/22/1955* If you knew Susie Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 92 6/22/1955* Rag mop Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 93 6/22/1955* Oh Johnny, oh Johnny, oh! Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
Decca DGN 94 6/22/1955* Alabama bound Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel] instrumentalist, piano  
(Results 1-25 of 86 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel]," accessed January 26, 2022, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/310135.

Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel]. (2022). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 26, 2022, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/310135.

"Crazy Otto [Fritz Schulz Reichel]." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2022. Web. 26 January 2022.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/310135

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