Kristiina Hautala (see previous entry) recorded "Kenen syy, kenen syy" (Who's to blame, who's to blame) on the last day of the year 1966. It was released as a single and was quite a big hit for her in 1967. As you can hear from this performance, Kristiina was the real Finnish "ye-ye girl". Although this moniker was of course not used those days. The original song was written by famous UK songsmith and orchestra leader Tony Hatch. There were two versions recorded in 1966 and I'm not sure which one is the original. Probably it is the one done by Tony's wife Jackie Trent, but my guess is that Finnish cover was based on the version by Connie Francis. Connie (real name Concetta Rosemarie Franconero) has been called "The most popular female entertainer of the rock and roll era". I don't know about that, but he was an exceptionally international star (she recorded and performed worldwide in 15 different languages) and some kind of role model for teenage girl in her music and movies.
Updated on 27.10.2009: Added Jackie Trent's version (or original?).
Seppo Närhi recorded "Naisen verran" (Womanful) in 1977 on his album "Enkelit on harvinasta riistaa" (Angels are a rare game). We have heard one finnpick from that album already (see this entry). The lyrics were written by another Finnish singer Irina Milan (see this entry). The original song was written by Scotsman Iain Surherland and performed by the group Sutherland Brothers and Quiver. Sutherland Brothers (Gavin and Iain) originally performed as a folk-rock duo in the early 1970s, In an effort to diversify and expand their folk based sound, they joined forces with a Scottish rock band known as Quiver. This song "Arms of Mary" was their most succesful offering and came from their 1975 album "Reach for the Sky". The song reached number 10 in UK charts. I'd like to add that this song is one of my personal all-time favourites.
We end our Finnpicks Disco Week series with the artist that we started with. Eini joined forces with another popular singer Markku Aro (see previous entry) and recoded "Nousen kanssas aurinkoon" (I'll raise into the sun with you) in 1985. It was on her album "Eini" and was not released as a single. The original song "When The Rain Begins To Fall" was recorded by the singers Jermaine Jackson and Pia Zadora, and released as a single at the end of 1984. Jermaine was of course once in Jackson 5 and he had numerous solo hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Pia Zadora (b. Pia Alfreda Schipani) is an American actress and singer. After work as a child actress on Broadway, Zadora starred with Stacy Keach and Orson Welles in the 1982 film Butterfly, with a plot around father-daughter incest. She won that year's Golden Globe Award as "Best New Star of the Year". She gained success in Europe as a singer, and had several hit singles. This song was one of those and was included in the sci-fi comedy movie Voyage Of the Rock Aliens in which Zadora played a lead role.
The sixth entry in our Finnpicks Disco Week series is one from the singer that was more of a rocker. Kirka (see previous entry) released "Kesällä kaikki on toisin" (In the summer everything is different) on B-side of a single in 1980. It fared a little better than the A-side but wasn't a big hit. The original this time originated fron Sweden. The song "10 O'Clock Postman" was performed by Secret Service in 1979. The Swedish group was led by Ola Håkansson (the 'Ola' from Ola and the Janglers) and Tim Norell. The song was groups second smash hit, the first being "Oh Susie". For some reason Norell, who penned along with Håkansson most songs of the band, however, did not appear with them on stage or on the album covers.
As I promised, I have now added the FIRST Finnish version of "Tell It To My Face" (see this entry) done by Anita Hirvonen in 1967, with different lyrics and with the title "Tulet kuitenkin uudelleen" (You eventually will return). And it's a good one ...
It's Frederik Friday and Frederik's contribution to Finnpicks Disco Week is his rendition of "Tsingis Khan". The album of the same name was released in 1979. It was Frederik's biggest success to date and earned him his first Gold Record. I don't know it this is true, but it has been told that when the German composer of the song Ralph Siegel heard this version, he called to Finland saying that this was better than original. The original being of course "Dschinghis Khan" performed by the group Dschinghis Khan. The group was initially formed for just one purpose; to perform this song in Eurovison Song Contest 1979 (as it did, and placed 4th) but it became a much bigger and long-lasting phenomenon and has earned some cult status among disco people. The real Genghis Khan - the name meaning ‘Universal Ruler’ - lived about 1155–1227. He was originally called Temujin and was the son of a Mongol chieftain. He became ruler of all Mongols in 1206 and subsequently conquered other areas in Asia. When he died, his empire ranged from the Yellow Sea to the Black Sea. Genghis Khan controlled probably a larger area than any other individual in history. The ruins of his capital Karakorum are southwest of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.
The fourth Finnpicks Disco offer this week is "Ken tuo nainen oikein on" (Who that woman really is) recorded by Anita Hirvonen in 1977 on her album "Villitsee mun". This is already the third finnpicked track from that album, the two previous ones being the title track (here) and "Milloin saavut" (here). The original song was entitled "Whos That Lady With My Man" and it was Roberto Danova -penned disco hit for at least two up and coming disco songstresses - British Kelly Marie in 1976 and Dutch Patricia Paay in 1977. We of course present here the first version by Kelly Marie (b. Jacqueline McKinnon). Kelly Marie was an early bird, appearing in singing competitions at age twelve and made her television debut at age fifteen. At age 16 as Keli Brown she appeared on the television talent show Opportunity Knocks winning four times. This exposure led to her debut single "Who's That Lady With My Man" in 1976. It reached #1 in France and earned a gold disc for sales in excess of 500000 copies. The song that Kelly Marie is best known for is of course the classic disco anthem "Feels Like I'm in Love" released in 1977.
The third Finnpicks Disco Week song is "Mulle suostuthan Maria" (Would you be mine, Maria). Hard to believe it's performed by famous Finnish balladeer Juhani Markola, who was nothing BUT a disco artist. But this is an excellent version of the song. For my taste, I would even consider it to be better than the original. The song appeared on the other side of the "Ääni puhelimessa" -single (see previous entry) in 1977. The original was called "Todo passara Maria" (Maria passes all). It was a modest disco hit for the Mozambique-born Afric Simone, who has been previusly finnpicked (see and listen here). Like Afric's smash hits "Hafanana" and "Ramaya", the song was collaboration of Stanislav Regal and Afric Simone.
The second contribution in Finnpicks Disco Week comes from a man that's not usually known for doing disco. Kari Tapio (real name Kari Jalkanen) is a Finnish singer legend. And perhaps the most popular of today's Finnish male singers. He has made a long long career in music business, starting in the 60's and recording his first single in 1972. However, his final breakthrough didn't happen until in the latter part of 70's. Kari's "Villi nainen" (Wild woman) was released in 1977 on the B-side of his mega hit "Viisitoista kesää" (the cover of Smokie's "Living Next Door to Alice"). The original was done by our old friend Joe Dolan (see previous entry). The son of a bicycle-shop owner, Joe Dolan was one of the most successful vocalists in Ireland. He's the only Irish singer to reach the top ten in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. His biggest hit was "Make Me an Island" in 1969 which topped the music charts of 14 countries. Later, in the 70's, he was collaborating and scoring hits with Italian songwriter and producer, Robert Danova, who wrote this "Crazy Woman".
It's a time for another Finnpicks Disco Week. We start with "Vetonaula" (Attraction) which was a hit single for Eini (real name Eini Orajärvi) in 1979. Eini was herself an attraction with not-so-typically-Finnish looks - raven dark hair and voluptuos body. She was acting Finnish Disco Queen in the end of 70's and beginning of the 80's. Eini made her breakthrough with Baccara's "Yes Sir I Can Boogie" -cover in 1977. This "Vetonaula" single was culled from second album "Laululintunen" (songbird). The original was a big disco hit for Dutch girl group Luv (Marga Scheide, José Hoebee and Patty Brard) and called "You're The Greatest Lover". The group was formed in 1976 by Dutch music producers Hans van Hemert and Piet Souer and manager Han Meijer, inspired by the German disco trio Silver Convention. This song was the fourth single of the group, released in the summer of 1978. It was Luv's international breakthrough and is often considered as their signature song.
Johnny released "Pikku Belinda" (Little Belinda) as a single in 1970. It was a little hit, but Johnny's popularity was somewhat diminishing at this point. This upbeat number has however remained one of his most requested tunes. The original song "Pretty Belinda" was written and performed by Chris Andrews in 1969. Chris started in the show business already in 1959 making his UK television debut, performing on the "Oh, Boy!" show. Later he gained success as a songwriter writing a string of hits for Sandie Shaw, our finnpicked artist from yesterday. Andrews cut also some hits as solo artist and had chart topping success in mainland Europe, particularly in Germany. "Pretty Belinda" was one of those continental hits.
Anita Hirvonen (see previous entry) recorded "Itke vaan jos helpottaa" (Just cry if it makes you feel better) in the spring of 1967. It turned out to be her first big hit. BTW, on the B-side of the single was Anita's version of Hollies' "Tell It To My Face". I will add her version on this old Finnpick -page in the near future. The original song "Tell The Boys" was one of Sandie Shaw's entries in the UK national preliminaries for Eurovision Song Contest 1967. The rumour has it that Sandie herself preferred this song to the winner "Puppet On A String". But - eventually - she won the contest hands down (and barefooted), so I guess she had no hard feelings ...
Just when you thought it was safe to browse this blog, the Frederik Friday strikes again! Frederik recorded "Tyttö kuin tiikeri" (A girl like tiger) on his album "Alta pois" in 1981 and it was also released as a single. It was not one his big successes, but kept up with the proven standard of Frederik. The original song was called "Avec les filles je ne sais pas" "With the girls, I dont know" and performed by French singer Philippe Lavil (real name Philippe Durand de La Villejégu du Fresnay). He was born in Martinique but emigrated to France at early age. He was introduced to singing by his English teacher, and the young man bought a guitar and decided to become a singer. He recorded his first single in 1969. This 'filles' -song was one of his biggest hits and released in 1970.
Paula Koivuniemi (see previous entry). released the song "Kapteeni Aika" (Captain Time) on her "Lady Sentimental" -album in 1978. It was also released as a single and it was a big hit turning out to be some kind of come-back for Paula at the time. The original song was called "Captain Sky" and was performed by Egyptian/Italian/French singer Dalida (see previous entry). The song was on her 1977 album "Femme est la nuit" and released as a successful single.
Cumulus was a sort of Finnish super group. It was born in 1969 and included former 60's folk music greats, like Anki (see previous entry) and Hector (see previous entry). The members met in the Finnish production of the musical "Hair" and decided to form a folk group. Their breakthrough came in 1970 with their debut single "Puuvillapellot" (Cotton fields), a cover of a well-known American folk song "Cotton Fields". The excellent but largely forgotten gem "Tulta isken missä taula on" (I'll strike the firestone when there's tinder) was on the groups 1978 album "Uskokaa tai älkää" (Believe it or not). At this point Hector had already left the band for solo career. The original song was written and performed by American country music singer-songwriter Hoyt Axton, whose songs are surprisingly often 'finnpicked'. This song "Flash of Fire" was on his 1976 album "Fearless".
Kristiina Hautala (see previous entry) recorded "Divarin helmi" (Pearl of the antiques shop) in the summer of 1966. It was on the B-side of her big hit "En koskaan". The song portrayed Kristiina as a budding cabaret singer. This subsequently lead her to doing successful tv- and night club shows. The original song was called "Second Hand Rose", which is an old vaudeville number that surfaced first time in the Broadway show "Ziegfried Follies" in 1921. In the show it was performed by Fanny Brice but - as solo singers were not hitmakers those days - it was recorded and made into hit by Ted Lewis Jazz Band. Ted Lewis was a clarinetist, singer and entertainer (He even was called 'Mr. Entertainer'). The song and the success was reborn in 1965, when Barbra Streisand performed it in a Broadway stage act "Funny Girl" telling the story of afore-mentioned Fanny Brice.
As I have stated before Danny was brilliant in finding hidden gems to record. "Yhä virta venhettä kantaa" (The boat still rolls on the river) was one of those. It was released as a single in 1970. The original tune was called "I Still Believe In Tomorrow" and perfomed by a duo called John & Anne Ryder. Unfortunately I know nothing about them. The song was a minor hit for the couple in UK in 1969. The song still gets plenty of requests, described as "flower pop/psych" and as "a breakup song with rather anguished male-female vocal harmonies and a great horn arrangement." BTW, the song was co-written by Marty Wilde, father of Kim Wilde.
We end this 5-day Finnpicks rock spree the same way we started it. It's time for Kontra again. The group recorded "Kuulen ruohon kasvun" (I hear the grass grow) in 1978. The song was on their album "Kontran toinen puoli" (The other side of Kontra). It was a truly remarkable album, covering songs from Rogers & Hammerstein to Frank Zappa. The original "Grass" -song was written by Roy Wood and of course performed by his group The Move in 1967. It was the second single by the group and the song itself was psychedelic rock song referring to the synesthetic effects of hallucinogenics. Moog Konttinen's Finnish lyrics even go beyond that and appear to be written under influence ... ;-9
Freeman (real name Leo Friman) broke through in 1976 with his smash hit 'Ajetaan me tandemilla" (Lets ride on a tandem bike). At first Freeman was guitarist in a group called Waterloo, but later went solo. His early hits were all his own compositions and lyricist was our old Finnpicked friend Hector (se previous entry). In the 80's Freeman was music jourmalist in Finnish National Radio, and from the 90's until present days he's been very active with the retro group Menneisyyden Vangit (Prisoners of the Past). Freeman recorded "Mutsi täytti viiskyt" (Momma turned fifty) in 1976 and it was released as a B-side to his another hit single "Osuuskaupan Jane". Lyrics were again done by Hector. The original song was performed by The Who and was called "Squeeze Box". It was on their "Who By Numbers" -album and released as a single in 1975. The dictionary tells us that "The term Squeezebox is a colloquial expression referring to any musical instrument of the general class of hand-held bellows-driven free reed aerophones such as the accordion or concertina. The term is so applied because such instruments are generally in the shape of a rectangular prism or box, and the bellows is operated by squeezing in and drawing out." Of course lyrics both in Finnish and original version, song contain sexual innuendo.
Pepe Willberg has been active in the Finnish pop and rock scene for nearly 50 years. Between 1962 and 1975 he worked in groups like Islanders, Jormas and Pepe & Paradise. After that mainly as a solo artist. He recorded "Mennään Rööperiin" (Lets go to Rööperi) in 1977 on his album "Lady Madonna". Rööperi is a shady neighborhood in Helsinki City. And it was not the first time Pepe sang about it. Jormas recorded ten years earlier a very successful cover of Beatles' Penny Lane called "Rööperiin" (to Rööperi). The later 'Rööperi' -song was also released as a single, but didn't exactly cause a commotion. Which is a pity, becouse it is a good cover of the original. And the original is no less than "Blinded By The Light" made famous by Manfred Mann's Earth Band in the start of 1977. If Pepe's version was a good cover of Earth Band's version then their cover was an excellent cover of the original written and performed by Bruce Springsteen in 1973. It was the first song on, and first single from, Springsteen's debut album "Greetings from Asbury Park N.J". Springsteen's version was unsuccessful, and failed to appear on the music charts. But thanks to Manfred Mann the song has become a classic.
Muska (real name Marija Babitzin), the younger sister to Kirka recorded several rocking pieces in the 70's. She was about the only Finnish female pop artist at the time to own a 'rocker' image. She cut her first single in 1971 and has been recording and gigging ever since releasing a new album even this year. In 1973 she released "Paha tyttö" (Bad girl) as a single. The original song was written and performed by the members of UK rock group Nazareth. It was very popular in Finland in the 70's with their own singles and albums. For some reason this "Bad Bad Boy" seems to be only Nazareth song that has been covered with Finnish lyrics. There's another one with different lyrics done by the famous Eläkeläiset -group with the original title "Mä humppapappa oon" (I'm an Humba Papa). Perhaps the extraordinary voice of Nazareth's lead singer Dan McCafferty have intimidated Finnish hopefuls. But not Muska ...
The next five days Finnpicks is rocking! We present some covers from the rockier side of Finnish pop. And we start with a bang. Kontra has been finnpicked before (see previous entry). The group - led by legendary Mauri "Moog" Konttinen - was famous for its almost word-for-word covers of UK/US rock singles. One of those is "Kilpa-ajot perkeleen kanssa" (Race with the devil) released in 1977 on the group's "Ei kontrollia" (No control) album. The original song was done by UK band called The Gun . The title was also "Race With The Devil" and was written by the group's lead guitarist/singer Adrian Gurvitz. "Devil" was issued as a single already in 1968. A fan of this hard rocking song, Jimi Hendrix performed it at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, although no recordings exist. The Gun was originally billed as a "psychedelic/crossover" band, and "Race With The Devil" was just an experiment, with a mixture of orchestration and hard rock and roll. Gurvitz later teamed up with Ginger Baker to form The Baker Gurvitz Army. But perhaps Gurvitz is mostly remembered for his 1982 worldwide hit ballad "Classic".
Yesterday was Friday, this day is Fredi Day. Even if for no other reason that here Fredi performs two songs with a word 'day' ('päivä' in Finnish) in its title. There are also other similarities; both are international hits and originate from Italy. "Onhan päivä vielä huomennakin" (There's a day tomorrow, too) was recorded in 1968 and "Se päivä tulee kerran" (The day will once come) in 1969. The first one was originally called "Piangi con me" (Cry with me) and performed by band called Rokes. They were a British band that moved to Italy in 1963 and became very popular there. The song is better known with its Englis title "Let's Live For Today" which was a big hit for US band Grass Roots. The second cover was originally performed by our old Italian friend Jimmy Fontana (see previous entry). But we remember it of course as "The Way It Used to Be" sung by Engelbert Humperdinck.
The Frederik Friday strikes again! Frederik recorded "Tuu jo tangoon" (Come and do the tango) in 1978. It was released as single and was a considerable success. The original song "It Takes Two To Tango" was performed in 1978 by an almost-forgotten British singer and musician Richard Myhill. The song was co-written by him and the famous producer Phil Wainman. The title of the song is an English idiom. A conflict is not the fault of just one person or the other; they are often both to blame, because "it takes two to tango".
We conclude this series of Finnish duet covers with an extraordinary duet. Juhani Markola and Lilli performed the song "Ääni puhelimessa" (Voice in the telephone) in 1977. Juhani is a singer and educator in singing. He's especialy known for his high-pitched tenor voice. He started his career in the 60's and his hey-day was in the 70's. The girl voice of Lilli in this song is unfortunately a mystery to me. As appropriate for the theme of the song (lyrics by Juha Vainio), she appears to be very very young. She might have been Juhani's own daughter, who knows ... The original song "Le telephone pleure" (The telephone cries) was done 1974 by the French singing legend Claude Francois. The girl in his song is probably named Frederique Bankrofft. You can see them singing together on this page. A little bit of trivia on Claude: he died in 1978 while standing in a filled bathtub, tried to straighten a light bulb that wasn't straight, and was accidentally electrocuted. On March 11, 2000, on the 22nd anniversary of his death, Place Claude-François in Paris was named in his memory, right in front of the building where he died.
Updated on 11.10.2009: added US version (1974) by country star George Jones and his daughter Tina.
We continue this series of Finnish duet covers with the song "Se on rakkautta oikeaa" (It is real love) recorded by Arja Koriseva and Tapani Kansa (see previous entries here and here) in 1991. It was released on Arja's 2nd album "Me kaksi vain". Arja was very popular artist at the time and the album went platinum. This song was never released as a single, which is a pity becouse it's one of those hidden gems of love songs, and should be played in all weddings :-). The original song is called "Perhaps Love" and is written by late John Denver (b. Henry John Deutschendorf) . Denver originally recorded it in 1975 as a duet with Placido Domingo. It was not expected to be a commercial success, but as one radio station played it on the air, and the call-in response from listeners was overwhelming, they were convinced to release it. Annie, Denver's first wife and the Annie of "Annie's Song" once said that "Perhaps Love" was her favorite of all of the songs John wrote. So there must be something special about it ... Here we present John Denver duetting with - not Placido Domingo - but Danish songstress Lene Siel. This is perhaps how it should have done in the first place ...
Jarkko and Laura was a succesful pop duo in the end of the 60's. Jarkko (Jarkko Antikainen) and Laura (real name Laura Antikainen, b. Ruotsalo). They first had their break in 1966, with Laura's composition "Meidän laulumme". They were Finnish representatives in the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Kuin silloin ennen". They released many singles, along with a few covers of international hit songs. One of them was "Kuin pieni tyhmä" (Like a little fool) in 1967. The covered song was "Something Stupid", a smash hit for Nancy and Frank Sinatra. The original version was however done by the author of the song Carson C. Parks (brother of country singer Van Dyke Parks) together with his wife Gaile on their album "San Antonio Rose" (credited to Carson & Gaile) in 1966. It earned little attention, but a friend of Parks played the song for Frank Sinatra, who in turn played it for daughter Nancy's record producer, Lee Hazlewood. "I love it, and if you don't sing it with Nancy, I will," Hazlewood reportedly responded, and the father-daughter duet went on to top the charts all over the world. Here we present the rarely heard ORIGINAL "Something Stupid".
Danny and Eija Merilä (see previous entry) joined forces in recording one single track in 1972. It was called "Vai niin vai niin" (Oh really, oh really) and was put in the B-side of Danny's single 'Maantieltä taloon' (see previous entry). The original song "How do you do" was a big Euro-hit for Dutch duo Mouth & McNeal. They were formed in 1971 when record producer Hans van Hemert brought together Mouth (b. Willem Duyn) and Maggie MacNeal (b. Sjoukje van't Spijker). Mouth had previously sung in a number of 1960s bands and MacNeal had had an unsuccessful career as a solo artist. The launched a succesful - but short - career and one their biggest hits was "How Do You Do" penned by producer van Hemert. In 1974 Mouth & MacNeal represented the Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest placing third.
Lea Laven was very productive in the recording studio in the 70's and 80's. As I've been stated before the major part of the recordings were covers. But it dooesn't really matter if the covers are good. As is this "Kortit kertoo kohtalomme" (Cards tell our fortune) recorded in 1988. The original was called "Zingarella" and performed by Enrico Macias (b. Gaston Ghrenassia). He was born in Constantine, then French Algeria but when the Algerian War of Independence was raging, Gaston (Macias) went into exile in mainland France. Arriving in Paris, he decided to pursue a career in music. He appeared on French television and became an overnight sensation. In 1964, he was transformed into Enrico Macias. From that time on, he has toured throughout the world, recorded hit songs in Spanish and Italian, and met great success on every continent.