Monday, November 30, 2009

A Rose Has To Die - Elää sain kesän vain

Kari Tapio recorded "Elää sain kesän vain" (I lived for one summer only) in 1978. It was released as a single, but for some reason turned out to be a miss. Even if Kari's interpretation was immaculate and the lyrics by Juha Vainio and arrangements by Veikko Samuli were first class. The original song was called "A Rose Has To Die". It was big hit (number 11 in charts) for UK pop group The Dooleys in 1978. The group comprised eight members at their peak, six of them members of Dooley family. They achieved several UK chart hits between 1977 and 1981. This song was written by Ben Findon, who was their songwriter and producer all through their hit-making period. You can see the group perform the song in Top of the Pops, here.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mozart Symphony No.40 - Mozart 40

From Bach to Mozart we go ... In 1971 Päivi Paunu had a big success with a vocal version (lyrics by Juha Vainio) of Mozart's 40th Symphony simply called "Mozart 40". On this recording Päivi shares vocals with the arranger of the song, Aarno Raninen. Aarno did solo career as a singer, but he's better known as songwriter, arranger and conductot. In 1977 his composition "Lapponia" represented Finland in ESC. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, in 1788 and the work was completed on 25 July. The composition occupied an exceptionally productive period of just a few weeks, during which time he also completed the 39th and 41st symphonies. The version that Päivi ja Aarno covered was of course the famous one by Waldo de los Rios done in 1971. Waldo had ability to transform European classical music into pop music. And this arrangement of Mozart's No. 40 recorded with the Manuel de Falla orchestra, reached the top spots in charts of several European countries. Apart from this Finnish one, I have not heard of any other vocal version of this classic.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Lovers Concerto - Aamukonsertto

Kai Lind (see earlier entry) recorded "Aamukonsertto" (Morning concerto) in 1966. It was the B-side to little hit single "Kristiina, Kristiina". Kai was recording freqently in the beginning of the 60's - this was his single number 27 - but his popularity was already fading. The original song was called "A Lovers Concerto" and it was a huge hit in 1965 for US girl group The Toys. It was written by American songwriters Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell and it was based on the familiar "Minuet in G major" from Johann Sebastian Bach's "1725 Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach" (the composition is today usually attributed to Christian Petzold). One key difference is that the "Minuet in G major" is written in 3/4 time, whereas "A Lover's Concerto" is arranged in 4/4 time.

Here's the pair:

Friday, November 27, 2009

(Lament of) Cherokee Reservation - Cherokee-heimo

Jarkko & Laura recorded "Cherokee-heimo" (Cherokee tribe) in 1971. As a single it wasn't a great success, but the song has remained as an extraordinary artifact of the Golden Cover Era. The original song was written in the 50's by the famous songsmith John D. Loudermilk. It was first recorded (as "The Pale Faced Indian") in 1959 by an American country and rockabilly singer Marvin Rainwater (b. Marvin Karleton Percy), himself 25 percent Cherokee. The song went unnoticed at the time, but became a hit in 1968, when covered by English pop singer Don Fardon (b. Don Maughn). It reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song went all the way to number one in 1971, when recorded by US rock group Paul Revere and The Raiders. The song refers to the forcible removal and relocation of Cherokee people from southeastern states of the United States to territories west of the Mississippi River. This removal in the 1830s is often referred to as the "Trail of Tears".

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Mary in the Morning - Kaunein aamuisin

Tapio Heinonen wasn't the first on to cover this song but his delivering of the song is by far the best. He recorded "Kaunein aamuisin" (Prettiest in the morning) in 1974 for his album "Lämmöllä". Tapio made his first record in 1968 and had a breakthrough with the song "Julian Grimau" in 1969. His dark manly voice was suited well for the interpretation of chanson -style songs for which he is famous of. The original song "Mary in the Morning" was written by 'Mr. Base Man' Johnny Cymbal, but the first hit version was done by Al Martino. Al was the smooth-voiced baritone who had a string of hits in the '50s and ’60s with sentimental ballads like “Spanish Eyes”. His career spanned five decades.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Windy - Kuuluthan mulle Windy

The second single of the group New Joys (see earlier entry) l was "Kuuluthan mulle Windy" (Windy, you do belong to me, don't you) recorded in 1967. BTW, on the B-side was a rare Monkees -cover of "Words" (I hope I'm able to present it here sometimes). The song "Windy" that New Joys was covering, was a big worldwide hit for US group The Association. You can see their rare live performance of the song here, but we present here the rarely heard version from the songwriter Ruthann Friedman. Ruthann is an American folk singer, who was part of the growing 60's musical scene of Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is what she had to say about the song: "In 1967, thanks to his kindness, I was living in a spare room in David Crosby's home in Beverly Glenn Canyon. It was while living there that I wrote the song Windy. The Association recorded it and my life changed forever. The success of that simple tune gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted."

p.s. that's Ruthann herself in upper left corner pic posing as "Windy"...

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte - Tuuli kuiskaa sen

On the flipside of Eija Merilä's 1965 single "Ei ajatella huomispäivää" (finnpicked here) was another song from a movie soundtrack. It was called "Tuuli kuiskaa sen" (That's whispered by wind) and it is one of Eija's finest. Also Juha Vainio's lyrics are abound to touch your heart. The original song was "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" from the 1964 Richard Aldrich movie of the same name, superbly starred by Bette Davis. The song was written for the movie by Frank DeVol. The song was recorded by Patti Page and became one of her last Top 10 hits, reaching number 8 on the Billboard charts.

Here's the pair:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Avant de nous dire adieu - Hän mennyt on

This song was first covered in Finnish by Markku Aro in 1976, but we present here the heart-felt female interpretation by Lea Laven from the year 1978 It's the version that was a bigger hit and also better has stood the test of time. The original song "Avant de nous dire adieu" (Before we say goodbye) was of French origin, performed in 1976 by beautiful Jeane Manson (b. Jean Manson). Jeane is an American model, singer and actress, who was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month in August 1974. Her entertainment career really started when she moved to France soon after she appeared in Playboy. Performing under the name Jeane Manson, she became a major recording star in Europe, with record sales exceeding 20 million copies. You can see Jeane perform the song, her first hit, here.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Une aquilone - Kuin filminauhaa

Here's one quick one in our series "Both Sides Now". On the B-side of Danny's "Se eikö todista että muutuin" was a song called "Kuin filminauhaa" (Like a movie reel). This one was originally an Italian song called "Une aquilone" (A kite), composed and performed by a singer, guitarist and composer Ricky Gianco (real name Ricardo Sanna). He began his career in the late fifties, and is sometimes called as the Italian "Pete Seeger". He was one of the forerunners of guitar rock and roll in Italy. This "Une aquilano" was on his 1968 album "Ricky Gianco special".

Here's the pair:

If I Promise - Se eikö todista että muutuin

Danny had number 1 hit in Finland in 1969 with "Se eikö todista että muutuin" (Doesn't it prove that I've changed). The song that Danny covered was probably the one on Tom Jones' 1968 album "Help Yourself", but the original was written and performed by Jerry Reed (b. Jerry Reed Hubbard). Jerry was an American country music singer, country guitarist, session musician, songwriter, and actor who appeared in over a dozen films. Most may remember hin from "Smokey and the Bandit". This "If I Promise" was on his first album (1967) "The Unbelievable Guitar and Voice of Jerry Reed". The same album included two other famous Jerry Reed -originals "U.S. Male" and "Guitar Man", both successfully covered by Elvis.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cindy - Cindy

Kirka recorded several songs with another members of Babitzin family. In 1977 he joined forces with little sister Anna, and as Kirka & Anna they cut single "Cindy", which also a was minor hit for the duo. The original song was also called "Cindy" and was the biggest hit (1977) for Swiss pop trio Peter, Sue & Marc. The song was written by the group member Peter (Reber). P, S & M were came from Bern, consisting of Peter Reber , Sue Schell and Marc Dietrich. Stylistically, the group is hard to classify, becouse their songs combine elements of rock, pop, folk, country and chanson. Peter, Sue & Marc are the only participants in the Eurovision Song Contest in four different languages (1971-French, 1976-English; 1979-German; 1981-Italian) for their country.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Doctor Kiss Kiss - Doctor kiss kiss

In these flu-ridden times we need a doctor. Here comes "Doctor kiss kiss". Lea Laven recorded this disco song in 1976. It was a medium-size hit for her when released as a single. Song text - as nearly always on Lea's records - was written by Chrisse Johansson. The original - with the same title - was a big European hit for earlier finnpicked (see here) group 5000 Volts. These both stompers were written by the groups producer Tony Eyers. You can see them perform the "Kiss" song in the Top of the Pops TV show, here. At this stage, Tina Charles had already left for solo career, and Linda Kelly was fronting the group.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wine with Dinner - Runkomäen iltamat

"Runkomäen iltamat" (Dance ball in Runkomäki) was the song that put brothers Mali in the spotlight and in the top of charts in 1978. Mika ja Turkka Mali was vocal duo from Forssa, Finland and often used local ingredients in their songs. Like in this "Runkomäen iltamat". Runkomäki was the most popular place for dancing in Forssa region in the 50's and 60's, and the song tells about the atmosphere and events in those Runkomäki dance balls. The lyrics in the original song "Wine with Dinner" are somewhat different, and actually I wonder why Turkka Mali (who was the Finnish lyricist, and written over 2500 song texts since!) didn't copy the idea of excessive drinking, and the results of it, into the Finnish version. Becouse it would have suited very well for Finns ... The writer of the original song and text was Loudon Wainwright III, an American songwriter, folk singer, humorist and actor. The song is from his 1976 album "T Shirt". BTW, Loudon is the father of musicians/singers Rufus, Martha and Lucy Wainwright.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One Track Mind - Latva Bee

Once again it's time for The Clifters (see earlier entry). The group recorded "Latva Bee" (approximate translation: Class B brain) in 1987. It was a track on their album "Kuningas". The street-talk lyrics were done by Jaana Rinne. It wasn't single material, but the performance compares very well with the original. Which was a song called "One Track Mind" performed by a lesser known US group The Knickerbockers. The band was formed in 1962 but they didn't break until they had a Top 20 hit in 1966 with "Lies." This song has been said to be "the most accurate early-Beatles imitation". It boldly imitated John Lennon on the lead vocal and the Paul McCartney-style vocal whoops before the guitar solo and later in the song. The follow-up to the "Lies" was this "One Track Mind" and it was "nearly a hit", reaching number 46 in Billboard chart.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who - I Dig You - Syy täysikuun

Yesterday we had a new mooon. So it's a long way to the full moon that is the theme of today's finnpick cover. Marion recorded "Syy täysikuun" (Blame it on the full moon) in 1977. It was released on the b-side of his big hit single "Rakkaus on hellyyttä" and maybe that's why it sunk without trace. The eerie song is quite surprising one for Marion to record, but a very good interpretation. I even like it more than the original which was a song called "I Dig You", written by Robert Fitoussi (better known as F.R. David, of "Words" fame). It was made popular by Demis Roussos (b. Artemios Roussos). The song was on his 1977 album "The Demis Roussos Magic". Demis was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but during the Suez Canal crisis of 1961 his family moved to Greece where Roussos played trumpet and base in various bands until he in 1968 co-founded the group Aphrodite’s Child, which became a major act worldwide. In 1971 Roussos went to solo, and made a hugely succesful career. On this "Magic" -album he was re-united with his bandmate Vangelis (b. Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou) , who was responsible for the arrangements. And Vangelis also did the original version of this "I Dig You" using the title "Who". It was released released as a single in 1974 by his one-off band project called Odyssey. Robert Fitoussi, the composer, was member of that band at the time.

Here's the triple:

Monday, November 16, 2009

L'avventura - Mennään salaa

Here's one more of those songs that have been forgotten, but should be remembered. Markus (real name Markku Tranberg) recorded "Mennään salaa" (Let's go secretly) in 1972, with lyrics done by Juha Vainio. Markus was one of the most popular male pop artists in Finland in the beginning of the 1970's, after breaking through big time with the cover of "El Condor Pasa" in 1970 (perhaps we are destined to hear also that song in Finnpicks). The original song was performed in 1971 by French vocal duo Stone & Eric Charden, and it was called "L'Avventura" (Adventure). The song was written by Eric Charden (b. Jacques Puissant), who, BTW, was born in in Haiphong, Vietnam. The "Stone" was the female part of the duo and her real name was Annie Gautrat. She took the stage name "Stone" in 1966 when she was elected as Miss Beatnick. She got this nickname from her friends, who called her 'small stone' because her resemblance to Brian Jones of Rolling Stones (you can see the reason here). Annie and Eric met in 1966 and got married and at first made separate careers as solo artists. But in 1971 they decided to try as a duo. Their second single was this "L'avventura", and it became a massive hit in France and in Europe, making the couple the most popular artists of the 1970s in France. You can see them perform this song live, here.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

California Calling - Eikö Muonio vastaa

Let's hear another forgotten gem from Kai Hyttinen (and it is requested, too). He recorded "Eikö Muonio vastaa" (Can't you reach Muonio) on the b-side of his 1972 single "Oi rakkain" (A cover of "Hello-A"). The witty lyrics were done by Vexi Salmi. Muonio is a city in Lapland, and Kai is knownt to be ardent Lapland fan. . The original song was called "California Calling" and it was small hit in Holland for obscure British band called Fickle Pickle. Fickle Pickle were a North-West London-based studio band, made up of producers, engineers and sessionmen, including a couple of ex-members of the legendary '60s Psych combo The Smoke. In 1970 they cut a cover of Paul McCartney’s ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ Although it failed to register in the UK it made the charts in Holland, as did their follow-up, this "California Calling", which was penned by band members Geoff Gill and Denny Beckerman.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Ela ela - Entten tentten

This is an example of a song that was quite popular in its day. but now largely forgotten. Kai Hyttinen released "Entten tentten" (Eenie meenie) as a single in 1973. It became a Top 10 hit, but no-one seems to remember it today. The original song was not a charted hit in Finland, but very popular around Europe. It was called "Ela Ela" and was the only hit for Greek group Axis. They were a progressive rock band and this song may have been their only mainstream pop song. You can see them performing "Ela Ela" live, here.

Here's the pair:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Che male t'ho fatto - Täytyy jotain yrittää

Danny recorded "Täytyy jotain yrittää" (I must try something) in 1969 and it was a modest size hit for him. The arrangement was done - as the rule was in Danny's recordings - by Jaakko Salo. The original song was an Italian tune called "Che male t'ho fatto" (What I have done wrong). It was performed by our, and Danny's, old friend Little Tony (see earlier Finnpick here) . It is one of the lesser known Little Tony -songs, becouse it was on the b-side of his 1969 Italian Top 20 -hit "Solo per te". But somehow it found its way to Finland and became a part of Finnish pop song heritage.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Putti Putti - Putti putti

At the time this song was recorded nobody would call it "bubblegum", but that's what it was. Kai Lind was a member in the most famous Finnish vocal group Four Cats (see earlier entry). In the beginning of 60's he launched also a succesful solo career. "Putti putti" was released as single in 1961. The originals song was written and performed by New Zealand -born Jay Epae (b. Nicholas Epae). He emigrated to USA in 1957 and tried to make it as a professional boxer. But after some injuries he turned to pop music. "Putti Putti" was on the b-side of his first single released in 1960. It didn't sell in USA but became big hit in Scandinavia, mainly becouse the freshly started (March 1961) pirate radio station Radio Nord kept playing it, and, of course, becouse the lyrics (in maori language) sounded so funny. Here you can see Vesa-Matti Loiri (see earlier finnpick) performing a parody version of the song in TV.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Chewy Chewy - Enok

Here's another bubblegum classic ... The group Kontra (see earlier entry) recorded "Enok" in 1977 on an EP called "Kontravirtanen". The lyrics (made by Moog Konttinen) are based on a Robert Bloch's classic horror short story from 1946 called "Enoch", which tells a story about a psycopath Enoch, inside whose head is a voice that tells Enoch what to do. The storyline in the original song is, to put it mildly, something else ("Chewy" is a girl, who loves "so sweet"). "Chewy Chewy" was a big hit for bubblegum pop group Ohio Express. This group, along with the 1910 Fruitgum Co., was among the leading bubblegum pop groups in late 60's. Both these bands were produced by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, and both recorded for Buddah Records. The songwriter and producer Joey Levine took the vocals on Ohio Express early hits, like on this "Chewy Chewy".

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Simon Says - Simo sanoo sen

Now we move from lollipop to bubblegum. Robin recorded "Simo sanoo sen" (Simo says that) in 1968. It was on the b-side of his single "Mua onnitelkaa" (see it finnpicked, here) The original song "Simon Says" was a huge bubblegum pop hit for American group 1910 Fruitgum Company. It was their first successful single, reaching number 4 in the US charts, and subsequently becoming one of the bubblegum anthems. "Simon says" is actually a classic children game. One of the people is "it" (i.e. Simon). The others must do what Simon tells them to do when asked with a phrase beginning with "Simon says". If Simon says "Simon says jump", the players must jump (players that do not jump are out). However, if Simon says simply "jump", without first saying "Simon says", players do not jump; those that do jump are out. Well, it's not exactly rare, in action movies, to hear the bad guy saying "I didn't say 'Simon says'" and "outing "the victim ...

Here's the pair:

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Boy Lollypop - My boy lollipop

On the flipside of yesterday's Finnpick by Marion was "My boy lollipop". Instead of that we present a rare version of the song by Laila Kinnunen (see earlier entry) recorded in 1965, but only just recently released. The original "My Boy Lollipop" was written in the 50's and was originally recorded by an American singer Barbie Gaye (only 15 year old at the time). It became a minor r&b -hit in late 1956, with spelling "My Boy Lollypop" used. Of course the most famous version is the one recorded in 1964 by Jamaican singer Millie Small. Millie's version was recorded in a ska/bluebeat-style and this is considered to have been the first international ska hit. We present here the rarely heard original r&b -version. However, you can see Millie Small perform the song in TV, here.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Harem - Haaremin ruusu

Here's one example of a Finnish vocal cover of a song that is better known as an intrumental. Marion recorded "Haaremin ruusu" (The rose of harem) in 1964. The lyrics were done by prolific lyrics writer Tapio Lahtinen, who, under pseudonym Kullervo, has made Finnish lyrics to several songs fondly remembered by all Finns, like "Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Jingle Bells". The original instrumental tune was called "The Harem" and it is an American composition, but it was made to a hit song by a British clarinettist and bandleader Mr. Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band. However, for some reason, its was a hit down under in Australia in 1964 but failed to chart in the UK.

Here's the pair: