Well, now it's the Holy Week, the week before Easter. In addition to religious annotations, Easter is in Finnish folklore tightly connected with witches and trolls. And now it's the right time to present THIS song. Danny recorded "Noita" (The Witch) in 1972 for his album "Käärme". The lyrics were written by Pertsa Reponen. The original song "The Witch Queen Of New Orleans" was one of the biggest hits for US rock group Redbone in 1971. The band was formed in 1969 in Los Angeles by the brothers Patrick and Lolly Vasquez (aka Pat and Lolly Vegas). The name Redbone is a joking reference to a Cajun term for a mixed-race person,"half-breed", the band's members being of mixed blood ancestry. The song was written in honor of Marie Laveau, who was a renowned practitioner of Voudou (i.e Voodoo) in New Orleans in the 19th century. You can see the group perform this song, here.
This song is one those rare forgotten gems. Päivi Paunu (See earlier entry) recorded "Joku päivä onnistaa" (Someday I'll be lucky) in 1976 for her album "Ja rakkaus jää". It was aslo released as a single, but failed to get the attention it deserved. The melody line is haunting and Päivi's delivery impeccable as always. The optimistic lyrics were done by Chrisse Johansson. The original song "Rivers Are For Boats" was written by two famous songwriters Hal David (words) and Albert Hammond (music). It was performed by Albert Hammond himself and it was released in 1976 on his album "99 Miles from L.A.". The original song has the same theme than the Finnish version: some day we'll get lucky and our dreams and hopes come true ("Rivers are for boats to take us sailing. One day we will").
Let's hear another Glenn Campbell cover in a row. Greger (see earlier entry) recorded "Kuumat yöt" (Hot nights) in 1978. Again, the first Finnish version was done by Kari Tapio in the previous year, but I present here the rarely heard Greger's version. The lyrics in both versions were provided by Chrisse Johansson. The covered song was Glenn Canmpbell's mega hit "Southern Nights". The original, however, was written and recorded in 1975 by Allen Toussaint, the famous American musician, composer and record producer. "Southern Nights" was Toussaint's tribute to evenings spent with his family on a porch in Louisiana looking up in the clear nighttime, star-filled sky. The song became Toussaint's signature song and it was brought to the attention of Glen Campbell by Campbell-collaborator Jimmy Webb. Campbell recorded it in 1977, and the song spent four weeks at the top of the country, pop and adult contemporary charts. You can ee Glenn perform the song here, and Allen here.
Rexi (see eaarlier entry) recorded "Muukalainen oon kai" (I may be a stranger) for his album "Parasta maailmassa" in 1983. It was released only as a album track. As was the first Finnish version by Kari Tapio. Both versions had the same arranger; Veikko Samuli. I will present Kari's version here when I get it. The original song was the Glenn Campbell classic "Rhinestone Cowboy". It was written and recorded in 1974 by songwriter/singer Larry Weiss, who had earlier written the hit "Bend Me, Shape Me". It appeared on his album "Black and Blue Suite". Neither that version, nor a cover by Neil Diamond made it in the charts. Glenn Campbell's version was released in May 1975 and later that same year it topped both the country and Hot 100 charts simultaneously. "Rhinestone Cowboy" served as the basis for the 1984 movie "Rhinestone", starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton. You can see Larry perform the song here and Glenn here.
Updated on 10.01.2011: added the original Finnish version by Kari Tapio
Petri And Pettersson Brass (see earlier entry) recorded "Sano löinkö lempesi laimin" (Say whether I neglected your love) in 1973. At the time it was released only as a single, but failed to get any attention. It has been re-discovvered on a later compilation of the band. And why not, it's a nice song, The original was called "Should I (Have Loved You) " and it was recorded by former Hermans Hermits lead singer Peter Noone. Peter left Hermits in 1971 for a solo career and this was his fourth anf last single for Mickie Most's RAK label in 1972. It was a minor hit in Europe.
For some time we have spend time with ladies and women in general. But now - something completely different... It's time for the return of Frederik Friday! Frederik recorded "Olen Dracula" (I'm Dracula) for his eponymous album in 1977. The 'scary' lyrics were done by Raul Reiman. It was released as a single, but it didn't have any greater success. The original song was called "Soul Dracula" and it was the first single released in 1975 by the group Hot Blood, and a big hit in the discos all over the world. Hot Blood was a German studio act comprised of Stefan Klinkhammer, Penny Duke, May Ambruster and many others, including Munich Philharmonic(!). Stefan, who may have been the Dracula in the song, is German producer, songwriter and arranger, who has written many songs for Boney M. The band was purely a recording act and did not do any live appearances. The follow-up single in the same vein (;-)) "Terror On The Dance Floor" wasn't nearly as successful; you can hear it here.
This is the last in our line of Baccara covers. Maisa Tammi recorded "Tartu käteen ja tykkää vähän" (Take my hand and love a little) in 1980. It was released as a single and on some compilation album, but never received the attention it should have deserved. Also Meiju (see earlier entry) recorded a version of this song, but it didn't fare any better. Unfortunately there's nothing to tell about Maisa Tammi. She recorded four songs in 1980-81 and one more in 1986. But the singer has been buried in oblivion. The original song "Ay Ay Sailor" was the original Baccara's last big international hit. You can see them perform it live, here. BTW, "ay" is in English an alternative spelling of aye ("yes"), and in Spanish an interjection, meaning something like "ooh". So, the song title can be interpreted as "Yes Yes Sailor" and "Ooh Ooh Sailor".
Yesterday we praised Granada, today we do the same for Madrid. However, Mami (i.e. Maarit and Irina Milan) did not expicitly sang about the city in their 1978 Finnish version called "Si Si senjor". But as the title suggests, they had a very positive attitude towards Spain and Spaniards (and it all happens in Madrid). In the original song "Mad In Madrid" Baccara sings 'Madrid is paradise'. The lyrics were - as in almost all Baccara hits - done by German songwriter and producer. Frank Dostal. The song was on the B-side of their 1978 hit "Darling" in at least Dutch and Japanese pressings, but it was not released on their regular albums. So it's kind of a rare track, but of course available on many Baccara compilations.
Granada is a province in the autonomous community of Andalusia, in Southern Spain. This 'land of dreams' is praised in the song "Granada" written in 1932 by the Mexican composer Agustín Lara. The song has become a standard and covered by Frankie Laine, Mario Lanza, Frank Sinatra and numerous others. Mami recorded "Granada" in 1978 for the disco compilation album "Disco Shock". And of course they didn't cover the original "Granada", but the version by Baccara, which was released as their 3rd single in 1977. You can see them perform the song live, here.
The first Baccara -singles were aptly covered in Finland - both A-sides and B-sides. Mami (see earlier entry) recorded "Sulle ainiaan" (To you forever) for their one-off project album "Disco Shock" in 1978. The Finnish lyrics were done by Pertsa Reponen. Another version to the same lyrics was done by Taiska; this cover was released on the B-side of Taiska's big hit single "Miksi näin". I will add this version here in the very near future. The original "Love You Till I Die" was the B-side of Baccara's second single "Sorry I'm A Lady" (finnpicked here). You can see Mayte and Maria perform the song, here.
Eini covered both sides of Baccara's first single. But they were released here as separate singles. The first one "Yes Sir, alkaa polttaa" was the bigger seller and Eini's breakthrough song. But this second one "Rakastua voisit aivan pikkuisen" (You could fall in love, just a little) climbed also to Top 10 in Finland in 1978. There were also three other covers made in Finland in the same year, to the same lyrics ,made by Pertsa Reponen. The original song "Cara Mia" was, as stated , the B-side of Baccara's first single "Yes Sir I Can Boogie". It was composed, as always, by Ralf Soja. This happens to me my personal favourite of Baccara songs. You can see them perform it live, here.
On the B-side of Mirumaru's yesterday's finnpick "Tää me osataan" was another Baccara -cover "Haavein" (With dreams), but we don't pick that version now. There were three versions of that song made in 1978; By Mirumaru, Mami and Bon Bon. We present here the Bon Bon version. They were a female vocal duo (of course) and consisted of Nina Keres and Outi Lindgren. Their career as Bon Bon was very short. They cut one album and single and that was it. Their record company planned to make them "The Baccara of Finland", but no major breakthrough came, and they called it quits. This "Haavein" was not released as a single, instead an other Baccara -cover "Koochie Koo" (as "Yksi yö"). There was an abundance of Baccara cover singles at the time! The original "Haavein" was called "Darling" and it was Baccara's fifth single, not as massive hit as the previous ones, but it definitely is one of their classics. you can see them perform the song, here.
We continue our "Baccara Week" with the song recorded by all-girl vocal group Mirumaru in 1978 with the title "Tää me osataan" (Now, this we know). Mirumaru consisted of singers Titta Kokkonen (b. Leena-Maija Jokinen), Paula Nurminen (b. Paula Karppanen) and Päivi Paunu. We have presented Päivi before (see earlier entry). Titta is famous comedienne, who has performed in various TV- and stage shows and movies. She also participated in Eurovision Song Contest 1976 as a chorus girl in Fredi's "Pump Pump". Paula was one half of the 60's vocal duo Tuula ja Paula, who had couple of hits back then. Mirumaru recorded two albums and some singles, without any bigger success. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics for "Tää me osataan" are provided by Kari Tuomisaari. The original Baccara song was "Parlez-vous francais". It represented Luxembourg in the in ESC 1978, placing 7th in the contest, but becoming one of the best-sellers in that year. You can see the performance, here.
We slide away from 'Ladies' to Baccara with this song. Lea Laven recorded "Sorry, jos oon leidi" in 1978 for her album "Aamulla rakkaani näin". In the same year also Vicky Rosti and Mami versioned the song with the same lyrics (by Pertsa Reponen). Mami was an interesting group. It was a vocal duo of Maarit (see earlier entry) and Irina Milan (see earlier entry) formed for making the "Disco Shock" album in 1978. They recorded 9 tracks for the album, mainly Baccara covers. It's a pity that this dynamic duo has not made any further recordings. But of course they both have individually made brilliant careers in the music biz. The original song "Sorry, I'm A Lady' was the second single of Spanish duo Baccara (Mayte Mateos and María Mendiola) in 1977 and big hit all over the world. This song, as all their hits was written by Dutch producer and composer Rolf Soja. You can see Mayte and Maria perform the song, here.
Hector recorded his album "Hotelli Hannikainen" in 1976 and he himself has described it as an urban country album. One example of that is the track "Hei, leidi hei" (Hey lady hey). The use of pedal steel guitar and harmonica bring in some country flavours all right. The original song was one of Bob Dylan's greatest, "Lay Lady Lay". It was released in 1969 on his "Nashville Skyline" album. It became one of Dylan's top US hits, peaking at number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was originally written for the soundtrack of the movie 'Midnight Cowboy', but wasn't submitted in time to be included in the finished film.
Well, here's one true classic, covered many times all over the world. Lasse Mårtenson and Marjatta Leppänen were the first to cover this song in Finnish. They recorded "Leikiten" (Easy as a child's play) in 1968 and it was minor hit. Lasse we have met many times before but now we hear Marjatta's voice for the first time. She began her recording career already in 1961, had some hits in the 60's and 70's but she gradually turned more and more into performinmg in stage shows and doing televison work. The song was re-covered in 1989 when Anna Hanski (see previous entry) with Pekka Kaasalainen (singer/guitarist from the group Vilperin Perikunta) recorded it with different lyrics titled as "Leppäkerttu" (Ladybird). The original song "Ladybird" was written by Lee Hazlewood and performed by him and Nancy Sinatra. It was a smash hit for them worldwide even if the song stayed at number 20 in the US charts in 1967. As a bonus we present the 1993 version by Anna Hanski and Lee Hazlewood from their album "Gypsies And Indians".
Marion Rung recorded "Turhaan siipi maassa astelin" (I was feeling down, in vain) in 1972 on her album "Tom tom tom" and it was released also as a single, but with modest success. The lyrics were written by Pertti "Pertsa" Reponen and the arrangements by Rauno Lehtinen. The original song "Lady Love Bug" was the last charted hit (it only reached number 28 in the UK charts) for Clodagh Rodgers. She was best known for her 1971 Eurovision Song Contest entry "Jack In The Box" (finnpicked earlier, here)
Arto Sotavalta recorded "Lady Hoi" in 1972. His popularity wasn't established yet at this point, and so this nice little ditty has been left in obscurity. Hard to find stuff, that is. The original song was of French origin. The vocal duo Les Costa had a hit with "Lady Hi Lady Ho" in continental Europe. The group consisted of brothers Georges and Michel Costa, who had a couple of other minor hits in the seventies. Since the 80s they've been busy with their production company, e.g. producing a very large number of jingles for French FM radio stations.
Anita Hirvonen recorded "Lady Bump" in 1976 and it was released as a single on the flip side of Abba cover "Mamma Mia". The lyrics were provided by Chrisse Johansson. In the same year also vocal duo Koivistolaiset made their version of the song, and interestingly, it was on the flip side of another Abba cover "S.O.S". The original "Lady Bump" came from German disco scene. Penny McLean (born Gertrude Wirschinger, in Austria) had a smash hit with it in 1975. Penny was at the time also a member in the succesful German vocal trio Silver Convention. The song was produced by Michael Kunze, who wrote also the lyrics (as pseudonym Stephan Prager) and arranged by Sylvester Levay, who in turn composed "Lady Bump". You can see Penny perform the song, here.
Markku Aro recorded "Lady Lady Lady" in 1984. It was released only as a single and inexplicably the song has not appeared on any of Markku's collection albums. The single didn't receive much attention chartwise. But the song is good. The original eponymous song became famous in connection with the movie "Flashdance". It was written by our old friend Giorgio Moroder who wrote the score for the movie. It was performed by Joe Esposito, aka "Bean". Esposito is a Grammy winning American singer/songwriter, who was a member of the band Brooklyn Dreams, best known for their collaboration with Donna Summer. You can see the scene from Flashdance with the "Lady" -song playing, here.
As the girls, women, senoritas and senoras sooner or later evolve into ladies, we move with them. The next entries are dedicated to these ladies. At first, perhaps the most beautiful song written about a lady, that for some reason got Finnish title "Yksin" ("Alone"; lyrics made by Raul Reiman)) when Matti Esko (see previous entry) recorded it in 1981. The original song "Lady" was made famous by Kenny Rogers. Kenneth Ray "Kenny" Rogers is a well-known American country music singer-songwriter, but also a photographer, record producer, actor and entrepreneur. In his long career he has charted more than 70 hit singles across various music genres. This particular song went all the way to number one in 1980. It was written and produced by another American legend, Lionel Richie. You can see Kenny perform the song live in 1980, here.
So, today is the International Women's day. To celebrate it we present truly international song about a woman. Marion Rung recorded "Senorita por favor" in 1978. It was a big hit in Finland and a minor hit in Germany (with the version in German that we present here). Marion recorded the song also in English. You can hear it, here. The song was written by the Italian singer and songwriter Toto Cutugno. As far as I know he didn't record the song himself, but the original recording was made by El Pasador, who is famous for his mega hit "Amore mio, amada mia" (finnpicked earlier, here). The song was on his 1977 album and was called "Senorita". El Pasador was the stage name of Italian singer, composer and conductor Paul Zavalloni. His characteristics were hoarse voice and a trucker's mustache. If he didn't sing many words on "Amore mio", his vocals are even more sparse on this "Senorita". The major part of the vocals is done by background singers and it's interesting to find out that the 1979 European hit for disco group Chocolat's is almost one-to-one to El Pasador's original version. Listen to it yourself ...
You may have thought that I had gorgotten about the most definitive song about Nathalie. No way! Here's the one, entitled of course "Nathalie", interpreted in Finnish in 1969 by Tapani Perttu. This is the song Tapani is best known for. The original was written and sung by French superstar Gilbert Bécaud. He was known as "Monsieur 100,000 Volts" for his energetic performances. His best-known hit probably is this "Nathalie". Becaud has been finnpicked earlier, see here.
Danny recorded "Toivon niin" (I hope so) in 1973 for his album "Mentävä on". It was also released as a single, but it didn't hit the charts. The original song about the girl named "Nathalie" originated from Netherlands. George Baker Selection had a hit with it in 1971. The song was written by the band's leader Hans Bouwens (aka George Baker). The song reached number 11 in Dutch charts. The group was still four years away of hitting really big with "Paloma Blanca".
The actor and singer Tapani Perttu (see earlier entry) recorded "Isabelle" in 1974. It was never released as a single (a pity), and it was just a track on his album "Ootko yksin sä nyt". Tapani was kind of "specialist" in recording covers of powerful French ballads. This was one of those, a song written and originally performed by Charles Aznavour. Aznavour calls "Isabelle" "a lyrical song about a girl with a very sweet name". He recorded it for his album Aznavour 65 and it has become one of his most popular love songs. In 1998, Charles Aznavour was chosen as "Entertainer of the Century" by CNN and users of Time Online from around the globe. He was recognized as the century's outstanding performer, with nearly 18% of the total vote, edging out Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.
Anneli Pasanen had a short career as a singer in the 70's and 80's. She had a good voice, particularly suitable for chansons, but she never quite had the success she deserved. One of his rare hits was this "Rakkaus jää" (Love will stay) in 1979. The original song became known around the world as it was the theme of the legendary erotic movie "Emmanuelle". It was co-written and sung by French singer-songwriter Pierre Bachelet. Pierre wrote a lot of film scores, and in the wake of the success of "Emmanuelle" in 1974, he scored another erotic movie "Story of O" in 1975. Interestingly, the theme song of this movie, "Je ne suis que de l'amour" was also covered in Finnish in 1975 (by Päivi Paunu) with the title "Jos rakkaus jää" (If love will stay). I.e. almost the same title that the Finnish "Emmanuelle" -cover would get four years later.
This is the song about Brandy (aka Mandy) who was re-christened (by lyricist Vexi Salmi) to "Leena" in the Finnish version. It was done by a singer named Aaron (real name Aaro Laukkonen). He has made a long career in pop business, but has never really broken through. That's kind of shame, because he has voice talent, as you can hear in this song from the year 1975 from his album "Miten ois?". The song song was also versioned by Kai Hyttinen in the same year (I present it here, if I got hold of it). The original lady was "Brandy" by name and a American singer-songwriter Scott English co-wrote and sung the song in 1971, and it was a minor hit in UK (perhaps due to his sirname ;-)) climbing to number 12 in UK Charts. But the worldwide fame for the song came when Barry Manilow recorded in 1974 as a slow tempo ballad. In the three years between English's 1971 recording and Manilow's, Looking Glass had a hit song with "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" in 1972. Therefore, to avoid confusion, Manilow changed the title to "Mandy". It turned out to be Barry's first hit.
The second in the line of songs about women, is the song about "Angie". Although the name Angie is not used in Finland as a first name, a band that in the 60's was called Heikki Pettersson Sextet, but raised to fame in the 70's as Petri & Pettersson Brass, decided to dedicate this song to her in 1973. It was the A-side to "Sait pelkkää sympatiaa", finnpicked earlier, here. The original "Angie" was of course the one that The Rolling Stones sang about in 1973. The song was one of the rare acoustic ones by Stones. There has been many speculations over who was "Angie" in the song. It's been suggested that it was David Bowie's wife Angela, or Mick Jaggers former girlfriend Marianne Faithful. But the author of the song (Jagger) says that it was written for Angela "Dandelion" Richards (pictured above), daughter of Keith Richards and Anita Pallenberg, born in April 1972.
As we are today one week away from International Women's Day, I thought it would be appropriate to spend this preceding week with the songs about women. We start with "Angelica", a song that Danny recorded and released as a single in 1968. The lyrics were done by Pertsa Reponen. The song was written by famous songwriting duo Cynthia Weill and Barry Mann. The first recording of the song was done by Gene Pitney and it was released on his album "Backstage" in 1966. It was not released as a single. Which is, "Angelica" being such a wonderful piece of music, quite odd. Also Scott Walker recorded a fine version of the song on his debut album in 1967; you can listen to it, here.