Thursday, October 29, 2009

Maria Madelena - Maria taikka Leena

I couldn't resist the temptation to put Maria Magdalena to follow Jesus Christ, like, as we have been told, she did in real life. Frederik (yes, HIM again!) recorded "Maria taikka Leena" (Maria or Leena) in 1979 on his "Tsingis Khan" -album. The original song was called "Maria Madelena" and it was one of the lesser hits (1977) for our old friend from Mozambique, Afric Simone. This was the third Afric Simone -cover from Frederik, and one more was to come. The afro-disco song - which is not of religious nature - was once again written by Afric himself in collaboration with Stan Regal.

p.s. I'm on holiday trip for a week, so no finnpicking for a while.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Jesus Cristo - Jeesus Kristus

We end our religious spree with a powerful song by a powerful singer - Frederik. It could be surprising to find out Frederik grabbing a song with a religious theme. But anyway, his "Jeesus Kristus" (Jesus Christ), a single from 1972 - with lyrics by Vexi Salmi - beats the original 6 to 0. And the original "Jesus Cristo" (Jesus Christ) was performed by the Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos (finnpicked before, see here). The song was written by Roberto himself together with Carlos Erasmo. It was a huge hit in South America at the time. You can see him present the song live, here.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Sweet Lord - Isäni mun

Tapani Kansa was bold enough to record "Isäni mun" (Father of mine) in 1971. It was on the flipside of a cover of "Proud Mary" (I guess we are about to hear also that one in the future ...) and didn't get much attention. The lyrics are done by Staffan Folk, which, I guess, is just another pseudonym for Tapani himself. It's quite peculiar, in Finland, to hear a chorus sing 'Hare Krishna' while the singer is trying to find his Father (=God). Well, it was not so peculiar in the original song "My Sweet Lord", becouse it was written by George Harrison, and we all are familiar with George's fling with the eastern religions. However, it is generally not known that George wrote the song for his friend Billy Preston (another "5th Beatle"). It was included in his album "Encouraging Words" and was a minor hit for Billy in early 1970. George himself covered his own song on his album "All Things Must Pass", and it was released as a single in November 1970. And it became a worldwide hit. Later, as we well remember, a court decision was made that Harrison was unintentionally copied an earlier song - "He's So Fine" by The Chiffons. He was ordered to surrender the majority of royalties from "My Sweet Lord". Eventually, Harrison later bought the rights to "He's So Fine" ...

Here's the triplet:

You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in

Monday, October 26, 2009

Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Herran huosta kaiken kantaa

Jussi & Boys & Friends (see earlier entry) released an album called "Kehä kaartuu" in 1975. It was an ambitious record recorded in Sweden. The "Friends" were The Wigwam legends Jukka Gustavsson (organ) and Pekka Pohjola (base) and Swedish session men (horns). One of the tracks was "Herran huosta kaiken kantaa" (Lord bears it all). The lyrics were not done by Jussi himself this time, they were written by Mats Hulden (also ex-Wigwam man). The original song is an old American country/folk song "Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)" reworked by Carter Family in 1935. It is based on the hymn "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?", whose lyrics deal with the death, funeral, and mourning of the narrator's mother. The song has been versioned by many, many artists, but perhaps the most known version (and the one that inspired Jussi & Boys) was done by American country-folk-rock group, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1971. The song is officially credited to the band but it was done (like the eponymous album) with collaboration from many famous bluegrass and country -artists, including Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis and others. The song reflects how the NGDB was trying to tie together two generations of musicians.

Here's the pair:

You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dominique - Dominicus

Marion released "Dominicus" as one of her first singles and it resulted a minor hit in 1964. The lyrics were done by old stalwart Reino Helismaa. The original "Dominique" (Dominique was "great singing traveller who talks only of the Good Lord") was written and recorded in 1963 by Belgian singer Jeanine Deckers. As she was a nun in the Dominican Fichermont Convent in Waterloo, Belgium, she actually was Sister Luc-Gabrielle. But she performed with the stage name of Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile). The song was an international hit and even reached the first place in the Billboard Top 100 chart after it was released in the USA with the artist name 'The Singing Nun'. In 1966, a movie called The Singing Nun was made about her, starring Debbie Reynolds. In 1967, Jeanine recorded a song entitled "Glory Be to God for the Golden Pill" - a pro-contraception song - under the name Luc Dominique. It is easy to understand that it was a commercial failure ...

Here's the pair:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Himno de la Alegria - Ilon laulu

Kirka recorded "Ilon laulu" (Song of joy) in 1970. The lyrics were done by Pertti Reponen, and the arrangement by a famous Swedish producer and musician Bengt Palners. The original was called "Himno de la alegría" (Hymn of joy) and it was a single by Spanish singer and actor Miguel Ríos released in 1969. The single was enormously popular in many countries in 1970 reaching #1 on music charts in Australia, Canada, Germany and Switzerland and selling over four million copies worldwide. The arrangement was done by Osvaldo Nicolás Ferrara, better known as Waldo de lo Rios. The song borrows heavily from the final movement of the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven. This symphony - completed in 1824 - was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony. The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the "An die Freude," (To joy), a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785. The poem is ode to joy, "beautiful spark of Gods".

Here's the pair:

You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Put Your Hand In The Hand - Uskon ihmiseen

Lea Laven recorded "Uskon ihmiseen" (I trust in mankind) in 1971. It was released as a single, but the song on the flip-side "Manolito" had more success. The positive lyrics were done by Chrisse Johansson and they tell about man searching his Creator. The original song was the smash hit called "Put Your Hand In The Hand" for a one-hit-wonder group named Ocean. Ocean was a Canadian gospel rock band formed in 1970. They are best known just for this record, that sold over one million copies at the time (1971). You can see the group performing the song, here. The song was penned by Gene MacLellan, a singer-songwriter, who was also a Canuck. Another well-known song of his is "Snowbird", made famous by Anne Murray.

Updated on 21.02.2010: added the other Finnish version by Lasse Mårtenson and Seija Simola, "Iske kourasi kouraan".

Here's the triplet:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

L'Arca Di Noé - Nooakin arkki

Now it's time to present a song that tells about the oldest ship in the world - the Noah's Ark. Finnish actor and singer Tapani Perttu recorded "Nooakin arkki" (Noah's ark) in 1970 and had a minor single hit with it. Perttu started his singing career already in 1962 performing schlager under pseudonym Perttu Kari. His breakthrough happened in 1969, when he recorded a cover of Gilbert Beccaud's 'Nathalie". For the most of his career, Tapani has been resident actor in the Theater of Tampere and he is often used as a voice-over artist in animations. This song is not religious or biblical, but treats Noah's Ark as a symbol for change and hope for better times. As did the original, that was written and performed by Italian Sergio Endrigo and called "L'Arca Di Noé" (Noah's ark). In the lyrics the protagonist comperes his ship to Noah's ark becouse it's manned by "dog, the cat, me and you". Sergio was among the most popular and appreciated songwriters of Italy. He won the 1968 Sanremo Festival and finished third in 1970 with this 'Ark song'.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Lord's Prayer - Isä meidän

We begin the Finnpicks religious days with a song whose lyrics are probably the best known in the world. I guess every Christian knows them by heart. Marjo-Riitta (b. Marjo-Riitta Kervinen) & Savannah released in 1974 a single with "Isä meidän" (Our Father) on the A-side. And the lyrics were 'The Lord's Prayer' in Finnish. Marjo-Riitta released many records in the 70's but inspite of her talents ("A technically unsurpassable and daring, yet stylish singer") always stayed in the second division of Finnish female singers. She acted as a solo singer and with her group Savannah and as a member in the pop group Ernos and in the vocal group Cascade. The lyrics of today's song are truly 'traditional', but the music was created in Australia in 1973. The performer was Roman Catholic nun called Sister Janet Mead who is a living legend in the Australian music industry. In 1973 she began making professional recordings of her music for churches and schools. One of the tracks she cut was a cover of the Donovan song "Brother Sun, Sister Moon". As an afterthought, she cut a rocked-up arrangement of "The Lord's Prayer", which had been put to music by one of her parishioners and musical collaborators, Arnold Strals. And the rest is history. The song became the highest selling Australian song ever, the first Australian-made record to sell more than one million copies in the USA, widest international Top 40 hit song by any Australian artist. And Sister Jane probably has been the only artist who actually gave away all royalties to charity.

Here's the pair:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dirty Old Town - Viiden sillan maa

Like daughter like father. Yesterday we had Kirsty MacColl covered, now we have her father. The group Vilperin Perikunta (Heirs of Vilperi) recorded "Viiden sillan maa" (Land of five bridges) on their 1992 debut album "Gloria Vilperum". It was also released as a B-side of their first big hit single "Tervetuloa länteen, Andrej" (cover of "Down Under"). Vilperin Perikunta's name is an obvious tribute to Traveling Wilburys, and - just as in Wilburys - all the band members travel with surname Vilperi. Their songs are usually infested with comic and novelty ingredients, but some are 'almost serious', like this "Viiden sillan maa". The original song "Dirty Old Town" was written by Ewan MacColl, a famous British folk singer and songwriter (and father of Kirsty). The song was written already in the 40's in reference to Salford, a city in Lancashire, and the place where Ewan MacColl was brought up. And a city where both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels spent time, studying the plight of the British working class. It was hard to find an original version of "Dirty Old Town", so we present here a later version performed by Ewan and Peggy Seeger (another British folk legend). Additionally, we give you the perhaps most known version, done by the Irish pop/folk group Pogues.

p.s. Starting tomorrow Finnpicks goes religious (whatever that may mean), for a few days ...

Here's the triplet:

You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in

Sunday, October 18, 2009

They Don't Know - Syy on rakkauden

Another Anja Niskanen classic in a row. She recorded "Syy on rakkauden" (Love is to blame) in 1984 on her debut album and it was later released as a single. It was not as big success as her first single but a hit anyway. You can see her performing the song in a TV show, here. The original "They Don't Know" was the first single of English singer-sonwriter Kirsty MacColl. The song was a radio hit but lasting success failed to materialise. Kirsty is perhaps best known for her Christmas song "Fairytale of New York", performed with the Pogues. "They Don't Know" was however a big hit for Tracey Ullman in 1983. and went to number 2 in the UK and number 8 in the USA. Watch Tracey perform it here.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Dancing On A Saturday Night - Lauantaina bailataan vaan

As it's Saturday, let's party with Anja Niskanen and "Lauantaina bailataan vaan" (Saturday's only for partying). Anja won the popular "Syksyn Sävel" (Autumn Tune) TV song contest in 1984 and became a teen starlet overnight being only 16 at the time. To cash on the victory an album was released and it went gold. From that album is this teenage party song. Anja was perhaps the first Finnish female teen pop star who really sounded her age. There were of course earlier popsters that were young but this was the first entry in the girlie pop field. The original song was from the pens of Barry Blue and Lynsey de Paul, both pop artists in their own right, but often teamed up in writing songs. This "Dancing On A Saturday Night" was a huge disco-pop hit for Barry in 1973. You can see him performimg it here. Barry's real name was Barry Green and he had a small hit under that name in 1972, but when he 'changed colour', he struck gold.

Updated on 28.08.2010: added the first (1974) Finnish version "Lauantaina kaikki tanssii" by Markku Karjalainen.

Here's the triplet:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mohair Sam - Tyttöjen iskijä Mohair Sam

Carola (see earlier entry) was a very versatile singer. She sang pop, schlager, r&B, jazz - you name it - and always with credibility. In the 1968 she recorded a song called "Tyttöjen iskijä Mohair Sam" (Girl picker Mohair Sam). It was released as a single, but was not a big success chartwise, however highly acclaimed piece of music at the time, and still today. The original song was written by US country musician and songwriter Dallas Frazier and made popular by another country ace Charlie Rich. Charlie was a regular session musician for Sun Records in the 50's, playing on records by Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, etc., and also writing songs for them. In 1965 he had a TOP-30 hit with this "Mohair Sam," an R&B-influenced novelty-rock number. His follow-up singles weren't successful, until he broke through in big way in 1973 with "Behind Closed Doors" and "The Most Beautiful Girl".

Here's the pair:

New! You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in (includes Carola singing "Mohair Sam" in English).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Delta Dawn - Laakson lilja

Maarit (b. Maarit Äijö) has been constantly popular pop- and rock singer over 30 years now. She nowadays usually records material written by herself and her husband Sami Hurmerinta, but in the early years she cut several covers. The first and most famous one was "Laakson lilja" (Lily of the valley) in 1973. It was one of her biggest hits and some consider it as some kind of Maarit's signature song. The original song "Delta Dawn" was written by US country singer and songwriter Alex Harvey. He has later confessed that the song tells about her mother. The first recording was made in 1972 by at the time only 13 year old Tanya Tucker. It was also the first hit version, although the version by Helen Reddy was the biggest seller.

Here's the pair:

New! You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Daisy Mae - Näkis vaan

As for now, this is the last one of the long row of 1972 covers. The vocal duo of brothers Pasi & Pekka (family name Saarikko) had not same kind of success as their contemporaries Jouko & Kosti and Matti & Teppo. But despite being in the 'second division' they cut decent covers and recorded a whole album in 1972. On the single culled from the album was this "Näkis vaan" (Just wait and see). Surprisingly, it was another cover of Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds song (this one also written by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter). "Daisy Mae" was their second single and a minor Top-40 hit for the group in 1971. But the following single "Don't Pull You Love" - yesterday's Finnpick - was the one that spilled the beans.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Don't Pull Your Love - Kuin tuhka tuuleen

Here's one more artist that was known just by his first name. Sammy (see earlier entry) released records, however, as Sammy Babitzin. He recorded "Kuin tuhka tuuleen" (Like ash in the wind) in 1972 (as it happens, the year of origin of all the recent entries - a good year for covers) and it turned out to be a big success for him. The original song was written by US songwriters Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, and it was performed by pop trio from Los Angeles, Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds. The original members of the group were Dan Hamilton, Joe Frank Carolla and Tommy Reynolds. This "Don't Pull Your Love" was their first hit and a big one. The song was first offered to another, already established pop group, The Grass Roots, but they turned it down, because they felt it was a bit light for their style. Well, it was light enough to raise H,JF&R into 4th place of the Billboard Singles Chart in 1971.

Here's the pair:

Monday, October 12, 2009

La vie, La vie - Niinpä niin

Here's still another Finnish male pop singer who used single-first-name moniker, Gulliver. He never had same kind of success that some of his contemporaries, but despite that, he recorded frequently both as Gulliver, the solo artist, and Gulliver, the group (1974-1978). Presently Gulliver, performing now under his own name, Markku Laamanen, is making waves as Finland's Susan Boyle in Talent Finland TV -show. In 1972 he recorded his second single, and our Finnpick today "Niinpä niin" (Well, well) was on the B-side of a Charles Aznavour -cover. And from France originated this song, too. As "La Vie, La Vie" (Life, Life) it was a modest hit for Michel Delpech. Michel was very popular singer in Europe for some years after winning the song contest 'Grand Prix du Disque' in 1968. His biggest claim to fame was of course "Pour un flirt" in 1971.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Summer Kisses, Winter Tears - Kesän suukot talvi vei

In the same line with yesterday's Peter - when it comes to stage names - is Richard. He was born as Robert Richard Orjavuono and as far as I know released only one single - in 1972. On the A-side was this "Kesän suukot talvi vei" (Summer kisses taken away by winter). Richard is no Elvis, but his voice has certain 'something' and it's a wonder he didn't continued his recording career. The original song "Summer Kisses, Winter Tears" was written for Elvis Presley's 1960 movie Flaming Star. It was a ballad written by Ben Weisman and meant to be sung by Elvis to his leading lady during a love scene. Unfortunately, it was decided to have him sing it to a group of Indians sitting around a campfire smoking a peace pipe. At the screen preview, the audience broke into laughter when the scene occurred. As a result, the song was cut from the film.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Help (Get Me Some Help) - Taas laulu kun soi

We have presented a long line of Finnish male singers with single-first-name-in-english monikers; Danny, Johnny, Robin, Dave ... Now it's time to introduce Peter. (b. Pekka Parviainen). He recorded only three singles in 1969-1972, and none of them was any great success. Which is a pity, because at least this last one of those three "Taas laulu kun soi" (When there's songs played again) in 1972 deserved to be a hit. The original came from Spain. "Help Get Me Some Help" (originally "Help! ayúdame!") was a worldwide hit in for Tony Ronald. Tony was born as Siegfried Andre Den Boer Kramer in Holland but moved in the 60's to Spain (Barcelona). In 1971 he had his breakthrough with winning a Spanish song festival in Tenerife and recording this song composed by his (and ours, see earlier entry) friend Daniel Vangarde.

Here's the pair:

Friday, October 9, 2009

Manuel Goodbye - Tavataanko taas

This time we present a piece of music that recent years has been labeled as 'Eurotrash'. This is from the 80's, a decade of pre-Eurotrash. Well, trash or not, hugely popular this kind of music was. Eini recorded "Tavataanko taas" (Should we meet again) in 1983 for her album "Aika pakkaus". It was not released a single, but it has some staying power anyway. The original song was of German production and was performed by US actress and singer Audrey Landers (b. Audrey Hamburg). This ong was her first big hit and she has earned 10 gold singles, 4 gold albums and 2 platinum albums (mainly in Europe) since. However, Audrey is probably best known for playing the role of Afton Cooper in the television soap opera 'Dallas' from 1981 to 1984.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Coconuts From Congoville - Ihanaa Elämää

Where's Danny, there's Johnny - at least when it comes to covering 60's & 70's pop. Johnny recorded "Ihanaa elämää" (Wonderful life) in 1973 and it was one of the last big successes for him. The original song was called "Coconuts From Congoville", and it was a big Euro-continental hit for the group Soulful Dynamics. The group was founded in the mid-1960's as Dynamic Club in Liberia, Africa. In 1969 they moved to Hamburg Germany and recorded several Euro hits with the concept "funny pop songs from the black continent".

Here's the pair:

Monday, October 5, 2009

Secret Agent Man - Vaaksa vaaraa vain

One of the smaller scale hits - now long forgotten - for Danny was "Vaaksa vaaraa vain" (Just a hint of danger) in 1966. The original song "Secret Agent Man" was written by famous US songsmiths Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan. The most famous recording - and biggest seller - was made by Johnny Rivers (b. John Henry Ramistella). It was used for the opening titles of the American broadcast of the British TV series 'Danger Man'. The tune was inspired by the familiar James Bond theme.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Borriquito - Borriquito

It seems that the blog has had a lot of "listeners". My DivShare monthly bandwidth has been exceeded, thanks to you ;-). It shall be reset sometimes after the 8th of October.

Mimmi Mustakallio (b. Raija Tuula Mustakallio) cut two well-received singles in the beginning of the 70's. This is first one, released in 1971, and called "Borriquito". Mimmi performed usually Spanish songs, especially flamencos. "Borriquito" was originally Catalonian rhumba, and a smash hit for a guy called Peret (b, Pedro Pubill)."Borriquito" is the diminutive for "burro" (donkey), and the song of course tells a story of a man and his little donkey.

Here's the pair:

I Can't Explain - En tahdo selittää

Now is the time to re-open the treasure box of covers of the group Clifters (see earlier entry), . In 1987 they recorded "En tahdo selittää" (I don't want to explain). It was on their album "Kuningas" (The King). The original rocker was "I Can't Explain", the first single of the legendary mod and rock group The Who. They had released singles ealier (as the High Numbers), but this was their first as The Who. And it was a great success and breakthrough for them.

Here's the pair:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Partie de dames - Entinen jää

Now we can listen how a Finnish ye-ye girl interprets the song of another ye-ye girl. Kristiina Hautala recorded "Entinen jää" (The past is left behind) in 1967 and it was released on the flip side of the single "Kenen syy, kenen syy" - Finnpicked earlier, here. The original, "Partie de dames", was performed by Liz Brady of France. Liz Brady’s image was a complete fabrication. To create a cool Carnaby Street edge image for her, her French record label gave her an English-sounding stage name and a false English heritage (six years were also trimmed from Liz’s age). In reality, she was born as Raymonde Fleurat in Heliopolis, in Egypt. Despite the effort Liz never reached the big stardom, but eventually make some good records, like this "Partie de dames".

Here's the pair:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

An Old Fashioned Love Song - Vanha rakkauslaulu

As another entry in our "Both Sides Now" we now present Dave's "Vanha rakkauslaulu" (An old love song), on the B-side of yesterday's Finnpick "Rosy". It is a good song and decent cover as such, but the "Rosy" was the biger hit of the pair. The original song "An Old Fashioned Love Song" was penned by famous US composer and musician Paul Williams for the rock group Three Dog Night. It was culled as the first single from their 1971 album Harmony. The song peaked at number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Paul Williams also recorded his own version of the song on his album "An Old Fashioned Love Song" in the same year of 1971.

Here's the pair: