Alley Cat composer dies at 95

Alley Cat composer dies at 95


norman lebrecht

July 29, 2020

The Danish composer Bent Fabricius-Bjerre has passed away at a great age.

In 1962 his instrumental composition ‘Omkring et flygel’ was retitled ‘Alley Cat’ and sold a million copies, reaching #2 in the US charts and #1 in Australia.

It’s instantly recognisable.

The theme was used in several films, among them Duets (2000), starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and Imaginary Heroes (2004), starring Sigourney Weaver.

Bent renamed himself Fabric.

All you need is one flash of inspiration.


  • E says:

    Danced to this, in the sixties, with delight.

  • Doug says:

    Wonderful tune. I’m guessing he was pushing 100. I envy my parents for having lived during their maturity in that wonderful time. I’m also thankful I have some small memory of it.

    “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.”

  • Cubs Fan says:

    If there is Muzak in Hell, you just know this song’s on the playlist. There’s great place for pizza in Mesa, Arizona called Organ Stop Pizza with a huge, magnificently maintained Wurlitzer Theater Organ. Wonderful music. Alley Cat has become the de-facto standard that the organists play to end each session. I really that tune.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    If only Beethoven were around to write 32 variations and a fugue on the theme… 😉

  • V. Lind says:

    I remembered this, phrase by phrase, though it is decades since I heard it as a kid. (Though, heaven knows, I heard it enough then). Still brings a smile.

    Got me thinking. I do not follow the current popular music scene, but I do not recall hearing about much in the way of instrumental hits. After listening to this, I thought of when I was very young, in the era of the Beatles and the Stone sand all the British Invasion types, and a ton of instrumentals as familiar as this came immediately to mind — Telstar, by the Tornadoes, Stranger on the Shore by Mr. Acker Bilk, The Lonely Bull by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, Green Onions by Booker T and the MGs, Swinging Safari by Bert Kampfaert — these and suddenly so many more came to mind, unheard since childhood and remembered as well as if I had heard them yesterday.

    I wonder why the youth culture forsook instrumentals.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Aw, no!
    Alley Cat was one of those tunes I really looked forward to hearing back in the glory days of AM pop radio.
    I had my pocket-size six-transistor radio (which weighed a ton) tuned to KYA 1260 or KEWB 910, and Alley Cat was a HUGE surprise Top 40 hit. It came on every couple of hours, for weeks.
    It is so relaxing, and after all these years it still sounds way cool.
    RIP, Bent…. wherever you may go on your next journey, keep ticklin’ those ivories….