Anki (see previous entry) recorded "Elän yhä muistoissain" (I still live in my memories) in 1969. It was released as a single but didn't get much attention. Anki's solo career as a folk singer in the 60's was waning and she soon joined in the highly succesful group Cumulus. The original song was done in the USA already in the beginning of 1930's. It was called "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and it is said to be one of the 100 most important American musical works of the 20th century. The first recording of the song was made by Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra with vocals by Ozzie himself, in 1931. Ozzie Nelson was famous orchestra leader but he is best known for the popular TV series 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet' ... and for being the daddy of Ricky Nelson. The song was later recorded by such artists as Frankie Laine, Doris Day, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. But of course the best known version was done by "Mama" Cass Elliot of The Mamas & the Papas, in 1968, which sold over a million copies. And undoubtedly this was the version that Anki covered.
Pasi Kaunisto (see previous entry) was extremely popular Finnish schlager singer in the beginning of 70's. His first hit was "Koskaan et muuttua saa" in 1969. It is also a song that Pasi is best remembered by. A true Finnish schlager classic. The original tune is quite extraodinary case, becouse theres' so little information about it. It was (as far as I know) an instrumental composition called "Adagio Cardinal" that was composed by Guy Boyer and Michael Vasquez. And that's about all I know of this tune. Guy Boyer was a French musician, mainly playing the piano and vibraphone in pop/variety groups in the 60's. He has also composed music for film sound tracks, radio and television. Michael Vasquez is quite a mystery. I have not found any information on him, which is peculiar, becouse if he has composed this most beautiful song, he should have been famous. This track I've found in the net bears the Michael Vasquez name label, but I'm not sure if it really is he (and his orchestra) - or Paul Mauriat who allegedly has made a version of it. But anyhow, it's really worth to listen!
Updated on 12.07.2009: added Raymond Lefevre's version. Updated on 21.07.2009: added Danielle Licari's version (Sorry about the glitches).
We Finns have always been very proud of our rallye drivers. Ever since the 60's the Finns have won several championships in rallye racing. (But today they are mostly seeing the tail lights of one Mr. Loeb). I didn't know until recently that there was a song made in honour of those rallye masters. Anita Hirvonen sang about "Rallimestari" (Rallye Master) in 1968. It was on the B-side of "Those Were The Days" -cover "On nuoruus haihtuva" so maybe therefore it has been long forgotten. The original song was called 'Harlekin" (Harlequin). It was written by famous German singer and composer Hans Blum and performed by equally famous Swedish singer Siw Malmkvist. See previous finnpick of Siw here and here. She made a hugely successful career in Germany in the 60's and with this song she won the Baden Baden Schlager Festival in 1968.
Eddy (real name Tapani Lehikoinen) was a promising new pop star in the end of 60's. His biggest hit "Ei itkut enää auta" (It's no use of crying anymore) was recorded in 1967. Eddy was the lead singer for the beat group Eddy & The Lightnings but went solo in 1966. For some reason his career as a solo singer didn't last long and in 1972 he stopped recording. The original song 'The Days of Pearly Spencer' was written and sung by Northern Ireland singer-songwriter David McWilliams. It was released in 1967 and was a huge radio hit but inexplicably failed to chart in UK, but was number one in France. It's ''psychedelia' vibe and the combination of McWilliams' heartfelt lyrics and song style ((distorted vocals were produced by using megaphone) with Mike Leander's evocative arrangements of the simple melodies still sound fresh and captivating today. The song was based on a homeless man who was befriended by David McWilliams. The song reflected the writer's deep humanity and his empathy with those who live on the margins of society.
Seppo Närhi (see previous entry) recorded "Kuulut taivaalle vain" (You just belong to the sky) in 1979 on his 4th album "Vieraat huoneet" (Strange rooms). It was also released as a single in the same year, however failing to hit the top of the charts. The original song "If You Can't Give Me Love" was performed by Suzi Quatro (b. Susan Kay Quatrocchio). Suzy is Detroit-born singer-songwriter, musician, radio personality and actress. In the 60's she played bass in the all-female bands Pleasure Seekers and Cradle with her sisters. In 1971, after being discovered in Detroit by record producer Mickie Most, Quatro moved from USA to the UK. After teaming up with songwriters Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman she finally made big breakthrough with the song "Can The Can" in 1973. "If You Can't Give Me Love" was a sort of come-back in 1978 after two flopped singles. BTW, I bet you didn't know that Suzi is aunt of the actress Sherilyn Fenn ...
One of the abolute classics of Finnish pop music is "Vanha holvikirkko" (Old church). It was recorded 1968 by Eero Raittinen (see previous entry). It was Eero's by far biggest hit and he never gets out of stage without singing it. It's quite difficult to understand why this song about church organist's son playing alone in a church has so much attracted Finns. But perhaps the mood of the song and the melody line represent something that the Finns yearn for ... The original song "Mälarökyrka" (Church on Mälaren) is a Swedish one, written by Swedish TV man Sven Lindahl. The inspiration to the lyrics came from the romanesque 12th century Adelsö Church located on the Lake Mälaren. The song was originally recorded by Lenne Broberg. Lenne fronted popular Swedish beat group Lenne and the Leekings, but went solo and this was his biggest hit. This 'church song' has a similar chord progression to Pachelbel's Canon.
Kristiina Hautala (see previous entry) recorded only 22 songs during her short but successful pop singer career in the end of sixties. One of those was "Kysyn vain" (I just ask), a single released in 1968. The original song "Me, The Peaceful Heart" was a biggish hit in 1968 for Scottish songstress Lulu (real name Marie MacDonald McLaughlin Lawrie) and written by Tony Hazzard who has been finnpicked before, see here. Lulu's first hit was "Shout" in 1964, when she was only 15 and performing with his backing group The Luvvers. She later launched a solo career and was joint-winner of the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest with "Boom-Bang-a-Bang". Lulu also sang the title song for the James Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun" in 1974. In recent years we have seen Lulu on television, e.g. in the 'Absolutely Fabulous' -series.
Petri & Petterson Brass was very popular Finnish pop group in the 70's. What made the group exceptional was the extensive use of horns - not quite common in those days. The lead vocalist was Petri Petterson (real name Ilkka Petterson) and the group included also three older Petterson brothers. Later in the 70's Petri went solo for awhile releasing highly acclaimed "Nuoruus" (The Youth) -album. In the 80's he left the stage and worked as an music editor in Finnish National Radio. Petterson Brass reunited in 2007 and made a new album. This "Sait pelkkää sympatiaa" was released in 1973 on the B-side of their cover of "Angie". The song originated from Belgium and was performed and written by a singer called Ignace (real name Ignace Baert). Ignace was lead singer in a band called Lilac Street Band, but this "More Than Sympathy" was his first solo effort in 1973. Ignace was at the time in love with a girl who studied violin at the Conservatory of Ghent, but they both wanted to keep that relationship secret, thus the lyrics "I can give you more than Sympathy - I can give it to you secretly".
Kurre (real name Kurt Westerlund) had a short career as a successful pop singer in the beginning of the 90's. He won the popular TV - song contest 'Syksyn Sävel' (Autumn Tone) in 1991 and subsequently recorded couple of albums and several singles. On his 1995 album "Askel ajassa" (A step in time) was this song "Sun äänes mua kaipaa", which was a cover of worldwide hit song "I'd Love You To Want Me" written and performed by US singer-songwriter named Lobo. Lobo's real name was Roland Kent LaVoie and he was successful in the early 1970s, scoring several Top 10 hits. "I'd Love You To Want Me" was Lobo's biggest hit, climbing all the way to number 2 on the Billboard charts in 1972.
Update on 02.08.2009: Added the first Finnish version (in 1973) by Marion with the title "Rakkain" (Darling).
Kristian (see previous entry) did several covers of Italian beat schlagers. On of those was "Ai ai ai ai ai" that was released in 1969. It was on the B-side of a single and has been long forgotten. But it is a nice tune, worth to hum along. The original Italian song was called "Luglio"(July), and it was performed by the man that also co-wrote the song - Riccardo del Turco. We have met Riccardo before - see this entry. As the title suggests, this was a summer sog. It won first prize in "Un disco per l'estate" (A Disc for the Summer) -contest in 1968 and remained in the Italian Top 10 for fifteen weeks. Later the same year famous English group Herman's Hermits took the English version "Something Is Happening" into Bristish Charts reaching number 6. We present here also Herman's version.
Lea Laven recorded "Älä pelkää" (Don't be afraid) in 1980. It was released on her album "Määränpäänä tähdet" (Destination stars). The album was made in the wake of the success of her mega-hit "Ei oo ei tuu". This track has been sadly forgotten. It is a fine composition and Lea's interpretation is of high quality. The original song "Lady Laura" was performed and co-written by Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos (real name Roberto Carlos Braga). Roberto has achieved a great deal of success and recognition in South AMerica and worldwide in his 50 year old career. Most of his songs - like this "Lady Laura" are written in partnership with his friend, the singer and songwriter Erasmo Carlos. Roberto Carlos has sold over 100 million albums around the world.
Pirkko Mannola (see previous entry) recorded "Nasta mesta" (Groovy place) in 1964. It wasn't such a big hit for her. Maybe becouse Pirkko's activities were already more on acting side (on TV and on stage) at the time. The original song was called "Sugar Shack" and was performed by US group Jimmy Gilmer and The Fireballs. The Fireballs were at first an intrumental group but in the early 60s, they added solo vocalist, singer, and pianist Jimmy Gilmer in the line-up. "Sugar Shack" reached #1 on the Billboard chart and earned the group a Gold Record Award for "Top Song Of 1963". BTW - by definition a 'sugar shack' is a small cabin or shack where sap collected from sugar maple trees is boiled into maple syrup.
p.s. I'm taking a Holiday trip, so no Finnpicks for 10 days.
Jarkko & Laura (see previous entry) released "Rakkain Rokkefeller" (Rokkefeller dearest) as a single in 1968. The success of this and other singles helped the duo to win Finnish preliminaries for Eurovision Song Contest in 1969. The original song was worldwide hit for another female-male duo - Esther and Abi Ofarim. Esther Ofarim (b. Esther Zaied) is an Israeli female vocalist, who met Abi Ofarim (b. Abraham Reichstadt), a guitarist and dancer, in 1959 and subsequently married him. With her husband and without him she began to sing Hebrew and international folk songs. In 1963 Esther placed in the 2nd place at the Eurovision Song Contest with "T'en vas pas", representing Switzerland. From then on, her duo with Abi began take off. And in 1968 the Ofarims had their international breakthrough with this "Cinderella Rockefella", which hit the top of the charts in several countries.
Eino Grön (see previous entry) recorded "Aurinkoon" (To the sun) in 1969 and it was released as a single. It has been steadily requested summer song ever since. The original song was called "Mexico" and it was hit for our covered friend from yesterday - Long John Baldry. It was written by the same man as yesterday's 'Heartaches' -song, Tony Macaulay, but this time using his real name Anthony Instone. "Mexico" was the theme song for the British Olympic Team in the 1968 Mexico Olympic Games. Once when asked about the song John replied: ".. in 1968 it was constantly on the radio. I wanted to scream every time I heard the damn thing. Talk about overkill ..."
"Olen yksin" (I'm alone) was released on the B-side of Eero Raittinen's 'Uhkapeluri' -single (see previous entry) in the beginning of 1969. This bluesy pop song is custom-made for Eero's kind of voice and interpretation. The original song was called "Let the Heartaches Begin" and it was big hit for UK singer Long John Baldry (real name John William Baldry). The song was written by Pye Records producer/songwriter Tony Macaulay in collaboration with John Macleod. These guys wrote also the majority of the hits of the Foundations. Long John was a blues singer, who worked with several British blues and r&b -groups in the 60's. In 1966 he formed a group called Bluesology featuring one Reg Dwight on keyboards and Elton Dean as saxophonist. Dwight later adopted the name Elton John, his first name from Dean and his surname from Baldry. In 1967 Long John recorded this "Let the Heartaches Begin" that went all the way to number one in Britain.
Lea Laven recorded "Sun ulkoa luin" (I read you by heart) in 1979. It was released on the B-side of her hit "Rotunainen". Maybe therefore this hidden gem of a song has been generally neglected. I myself hadn't heard it before this year - 20 years after it was first released. However the song is worth listening even today. The original song "Wet Day in September" was performed by Dutch group Pussycat. It was country and pop music group, fronted by the three Kowalczyk sisters: Tonny, Betty and Marianne.The three girls had been telephone operators and first came to the public's attention as Zingende Zusjes (the Singing Sisters). After recruiting backing band and changing the name to Pussycat in 1976 they scored big with the song "Mississippi", which climbed to number one in the UK Singles Chart. It is estimated that "Mississippi" sold over five million copies worldwide. It was penned - as was this "September" -song - by John Theunissen, band's guitarist. Pussycat's hallmark is the extraordinary voice of Tonny who takes the lead on most of their songs.
One of Vicky Rosti's (see previous entry) absolute classics is "Näinkö aina meille täällä käy" (Is that the way it always goes for us) that she recorded in 1976. The melody and lyrics (by Pertti Reponen) are strong as is the interpretation of Vicky. The original song broke through when Finns saw the Sheriff McCloud TV series episode "Park Avenue Pirates" where the song was delivered with utmost sincerity by Barbie Benton (playing the part of aspiring country singer Shannon Forbes). Barbie (real name Barbara Klein) was of course best known for being the long-time girlfriend of Playboy-guru Hugh Hefner. But she was also a relatively good country singer - as you can hear of this song ... she even recorded 8 country albums.
This is the last of Frederik Friday for now. One of Frederik's biggest hits has been "Ramaya" that he recorded in 1976. The song fits very well Frederik's style of singing and performing. The original "Ramaya" was performed by our old Finnpick friend Afric Simone in 1975. This was not the first time Frederik covered Afric (see previous entry). The song is extremely catchy and perhaps the song that most people remember Simone by. The song was instant worldwide hit and was - as usual - collaboration of Stanislav Regal and Afric Simone himself.
Kai Hyttinen (see previous entry) recorded "Vie vain" (Just take me) as a single in 1973. It was a reasonable hit for Kai and has been in considerable demand ever since. The original song was called 'Rain Rain Rain" and was written and performed by German singer Simon Butterfly. Simon's real name was Bernd Simon and he is the son of famous German schlager composer Hans-Arno Simon. Bernd was working in one recod company and tried to release this song under his own name. But after the company refused releasing it he swithed to another company and released it using pseudonym Simon Butterfly. The song turned out to be a massive worldwide hit. But Simon more or less fell out of fame after that and became one of many 'one hit wonders'.
Updated on 08.10.2009: Added Marie Laforet's version, that actually was the first recording of this song.
Since today is the April Fools' Day I present song that has a title well suited for occasion. Laila Kinnunen (see previous entry) recorded "Pajunköyttä" (literally 'wicker rope'; 'giving someone wicker rope' is a finnish idiom for fooling others) in 1960. It was released as a single, but it was shadowed by the success of the A-side "Pikku pikku bikinissä" (In wee wee bikinis), which in turn was the cover of "Itsy-Bitsy Teenie-Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini". The original 'Fooling' -song was called "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" and was performed by our finnpicked artist of yesterday - Connie Francis. The song was written by professional songsmiths Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller. It was a big hit for Connie and went all the way to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1960. It was Francis' first number-one single in the United States.