Monday, May 31, 2010

To Love Somebody - Kun yksin kulkee

Danny recorded "Kun yksin kulkee" (When you're going on your own) in 1968 for his "Danny" album. It was released as a single, but it turned out to be one of the rare non-hit singles for Danny at the time. The original was a Bee Gees classic "To Love Somebody". The song was written in 1967 by Barry and Robin Gibb and it was originally meant to be a soul song for Otis Redding to record. Redding died in a plane crash before he could record it. So the Bee Gees decided to record their own version of the song with Barry taking the lead and the result was a pop classic. We present here a live performance of the song.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Somebody to Love - Kaipaan sinua vaan

From the Eurovision songs we now move to something completely different. Virve "Vicky" Rosti (see earlier entry) recorded "Kaipaan sinua vaan" (I'm just longing for you) in 1978 for her album "Tee mulle niin". It was only an album track but might have been a hit as a single. The lyrics were by Pertti Reponen and the arrangements by Veikko Samuli. This is surprisingly good version of the original, which was the legendary 60's hippie anthem "Somebody To Love". The song that was written by Darby Slick and originally recorded and first performed by his folk rock band the Great Society. The band which included Darby's then-sister-in-law Grace Slick on vocals. The song initially went nowhere when it was released in 1966. But when Grace Slick took it with her as she moved in another San Francisco rock band called Jefferson Airplane and they recorded it with a more rockier approach, it became one of the absolute classics of rock. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Jefferson Airplane's version #274 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. We present both these early versions, the one by Great Society is a live version.

Here's the triplet:

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Une Petite Francaise - Oon tyttö maalta

Tonight is the night of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest Final. And we end our musical countdown with Merja Rantamäki's (see earlier entry) recording of "Oon tyttö maalta" (I'm a girl from country) from the year 1977. It was released on a single. on the other side of which was the cover of the winning song of that year "L'oiseau et lenfant". The original song "Une petite française" (A little French girl") was the Monegasque entry in the ESC 1977 (placed 4th), performed by French singer Michèle Torr. We have met Michele before, see here. Torr recorded this song in altogether five languages, the English Version being called "I'm Just a Simple Country Girl from France" You can see Michele perform the song. here.

Here's the pair:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Chansons pour ceux qui s'aiment - Kun rakastaa

The year 1976 was very productive year when it comes to Finnish covers of Eurovsion Song Contest entries. There was an whole compilation album made consisting solely of ESC songs. One of those was this "Kun rakastaa" (When one is in love) by Matti Asla. This is one those forgotten songs that deserved something better, if only for the magnificent voice of the singer Matti Asla. Unfortunately Matti never reached the fame and fortune which shoulfd have been destined for him. The original song was called "Chansons pour ceux qui s'aiment" (Songs for those who love each other), the Luxembourgish entry in 1976 ESC (placed 14th). It was performed by Jürgen Marcus (b.Jürgen Beumer) a German schlager singer who was most successful during the 1970s. You can see him perform the song here.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ik zie een ster - Nään täysikuun

Päivi Paunu and Kai Hyttinen joined forces and recorded "Nään täysikuun" (I see a fullmoon) in 1974. The lyrics were provided by Vexi Salmi, who changed the original 'star' for rhyming reasons into 'fullmoon'. The original was the Dutch entry in 1974 Eurovision Song Contest. It was called "Ik zie een ster" (I see a star) and it was performed my popular male/female duo Mouth & MacNeal. Mouth's real name was Willem Duyn and Maggie MacNeal's Sjoukje van't Spijker. MacNeal returned to the ESC as a solo artist in 1980 with "Amsterdam".The brightly-coloured performance of "I See A Star" (It was sung in English) has become a favourite among ESC fans, with the song being selected as one of the non-winning "classics". You can see the performance here.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Un, deux ,trois - Niin se käy

Niin se käy, so it goes - Finland is out of this year's Eurovision Song Contest ...

Lea Laven recorded "Niin se käy" (So it goes) in 1976. There were altogether 7(!) Finnish versions recorded of the song that year - all to the lyrics written by Veikko "Vexi" Salmi. The original was the "Un, deux, trois" (One, Two, Three) was the French entry in the ESC 1976, performed by Catherine Ferry. It was ranked 2nd in a field of 18 with 147 points, the highest score of any French entry to date. The winner was "Save Your Kisses For Me" (by Brotherhood of Man) and Finland placed 11 the with "Pump pump". Ferry recorded the French entry also in English, German, Spanish, under the titles "One, Two, Three", "Eins, zwei, drei" and "Un, dos, tres" respectively.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Si - Niin

Today is the 2nd birthday of Finnpicks! And we continue with our Eurovision Song Contest countdown ...

Lea Laven has never represented Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest, but she has covered many of the international entries. In 1974 she had a big hit and breakthrough with "Niin" (So), to the lyrics by Chrisse Johansson. It was the cover of Italy's entry of that year "Si" (Yes), performed by Gigliola Cinquetti. Gigliola had won in 1964 but now she finished second just behind Abba. And here's a piece of ESC trivia: the live telecast of her song was banned in Italy by the national broadcaster RAI, as the event partially coincided with the campaigning for the 1974 Italian referendum on divorce which was held a month later in May. It was censored because of concerns that the name and lyrics of the song (which constantly repeated the word 'Sì') could be accused of being a subliminal message and a form of propaganda to influence the Italian voting public to vote 'Yes' in the referendum.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ey Sham - Sain muiston

Marion has represented Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1961 with "Tipi-tii" and in 1973 with "Tom tom". In 1973 she also recorded an Euro-cover, "Sain muiston", which was the Israeli entry in that year. This was Israel's first time in ESC, and the performer was famous Israeli singing star Ilanit (b. Hanna Drezner-Tzakh). The success was great for a first-timer. Israel placed 4th with this song called "Ey Sham" (Somewhere). The second participation by Ilanit was in London in 1977 with a song entitled "Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim".

Here's the pair:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pomme pomme pomme - Viettelyksen omena

Satu Markuksela recorded "Viettelyksen omena" (Apple of temptation) in 1971 to the lyrics by Chrisse Johansson. As far as I know, Satu recorded only this one single, with the cover of Jack Scott's "What In The World's Come Over You" on the flipside. The original apple song was called "Pomme, pomme, pomme" (Apple, apple, apple) was the Luxembourgish entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1971 in Dublin, performed in French by Luxembourgish singer Monique Melsen. Melsen was only the second native Luxembourgian to represent the country. The first one was Camillo Felgen in the 1960 and 1962 Contests. The song took the 13th slot in the final score. Finland's representative in that year was Markku Aro with Koivistolaiset performing "Tie uuteen päivään" and placing 8th.

Here's the pair:

Friday, May 21, 2010

Knock Knock Who's There - Kop kop ken lie

It seems that when an artist has been representing one's country in ESC she or he is destined later to be covering other ESC songs. As did Kristiina Hautala. She took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968 with the song "Kun kello käy". In 1970 she recorded "Kop,kop, ken lie" (Knock knock who's there) which was a cover of UK's entry in the ESC of that year. Mary Hopkin () performed "Knock Knock Who's There" in ESC Amsterdam and took the second-place slot with 26 points. The winner was Ireland's Dana with "All Kinds Of Everthing". Finland did not take part. After Eurovision, the "Knock Knock" -song placed at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart. You can see Mary performing the song, here.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Boom Bang-a-Bang - Boom bang-a-bang

Lisbeth was a young girl who recorded "Boom bang-a-bang" in 1969. Nothing more is known about her. She recorded just this one single, with a cover of Beatles' "Your Mother Should Know" on the flipside. "Boom Bang-a-Bang" was the United Kingdom entry to the ESC 1969, performed by Lulu (b. Marie Lawrie) It was the joint winner with three other entries; Spain, Netherlands and France. The single made number 2 in the UK singles charts and was a major hit throughout Europe. BTW, for some reason, the song was included on a blacklist of banned songs issued by the BBC during the 1991 Gulf War.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ce Soir Je T'Attendais - Odotin sinua

Marion represented Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1963 with "Tipi Tii" and in 1973 with "Tom Tom". In 1966 she recorded "Odotin sinua"" (I waited for you). The original was the Luxembourg's own entry in contest held in Luxembourg in 1966, called "Ce Soir Je T'Attendais" (I waited for you tonight). It was performed by French singer Michele Torr (b. Michelle Cléberte Tort). Lyrics can be found here. It placed 10th, sharing that position with Finland's "Playboy" (performed by Ann Christine). The winning song in that year came from Austria; "Merci Cherie". Eleven years later, in 1977, Michele Torr again took part in Eurovision, this time representing Monaco with the song "Une petite française". That was also covered in Finnish, perhaps we will present it here in the future.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dansevise - Tanssilaulu

Laila Kinnunen (see earlier entry) was the first artist to represent Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest. That was in 1961 with the song "Valoa ikkunassa". In the year 1963 Laila made a cover version of the winning song as "Tanssilaulu" (Dance song). The arrangement was by Jaakko Salo and the lyrics by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The ESC winner in 1963 in London was another Scandinavian country, Denmark, with "Dansevise", performed by husband and wife duo Grete & Jörgen Ingmann. Finland got 'zero points' for the first time with "Muistojeni laulu". Danmark's winning entry was perhaps the first pop song to win ESC, although it wasn't pure pop, only jazz waltz with guitar in major role (Jörgen Ingmann was a famous guitarist). You can see the duo's performance, here.

Here's the pair:

Monday, May 17, 2010

Zwei kleine Italiener - Tina ja Marina

The Eurovision Song Contest 2010 is just around the corner. As last year, we in Finnpicks count down to the event by presenting some Finnish covers of past Eurovision Song Contest entries. We start from the year 1962, when vocal duo Tuula & Paula (see also here) recorded "Tina ja Marina" (Tina and Marina). Tuula and Paula were sisters, with Karppanen as their last name. They had some pop hits in the beginning of the 60's. Paula re-surfaced later in the 70's as a member of vocal group Mirumaru (see earlier entry, here) The original song was called "Zwei kleine Italiener" (Two little Italians) and it was the German entry in 1962 ESC in Luxembourg. It was performed by schlager star Conny Froboess and placed 6th. The song describes the plight of two "gastarbeiters" from Italy, who wish to return to their homeland to be with their girlfriends, Tina and Marina.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Step Into A Dream - Onnen maa

Johnny recorded "Onnen maa" (Land of happiness) in 1973 for his "Jonglööri" album. It was also released as a single but was put on the B-side and sunk without a trace. It's a pity becouse the song is absolutely and definitely a pop classic. Sorry about the poor sound quality. The song was written by master songwriter Roger Cook and the original version was recorded by UK pop group White Plains. The group evolved from the Flower Pot Men (featured in Finnpicks, here) and the lead singer on most of their hits was Tony Burrows The band's material was mostly provided by their producers - the two Rogers, Cook and Greenaway. This song "Step Into A Dream" was their last hit in 1973. The song is light-weight equipped with a charming melody line and string arrangement reminiscing classical minuets.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Take Good Care Of My Baby - Hän On Ollut Rakkain

Markus (see earlier entry) recorded "Hän On Ollut Rakkain"(She's been the dearest) in 1978 for his "Sydän yhtyi sydämeen" album. It was not released as a single and the album was not a big seller. But anyway this is a good rendition of the classic song- Lyrics were written by old war horse Veikko "Vexi" Salmi. The original song "Take Good Care Of My Baby" was a massive hit for Bobby Vee (b. Robert Velline) in 1961. It was written by songwriting partners Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and this was one of their greatest achievements reaching number 1 on the Billboard chart and number 3 in the UK Singles Chart. Bobby Vee was the epitome of a teenage idol in the pre-Beatles era USA. Vee had 38 Hot 100 chart hits, 10 of which hit the Top 20.

Here's the pair:

Friday, May 14, 2010

I Just Don't Understand - Sitä ymmärrä en

Maria Lessig recorded only 2 singles. On the second one of those was this "Sitä ymmärrä en" (I don't understand it) in 1961. Maria's real name was Marja-Leena "Tutta" Lajamo and she was among the Finish artists to record music that one might call 'r&b'. The original song was called "I Just Don't Understand" and it was recorded by the Swedish-American actor/singer/dancer Ann-Margret (b. Ann-Margret Olsson) in 1961. It was produced by Chet Atkins and a TOP 40 hit, peaking at 17 in the Billborad Hot 100. Ann-Margret had a sexy throaty singing voice and her record company attempted to capitalize on the 'female Elvis' comparison by having her record a version of "Heartbreak Hotel" and other songs stylistically similar to Presley's. She played in the Elvis movie "Viva Las Vegas" in 1964.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Abracadabra - Abrakadabra

Kirka recorded "Abrakadabra" for his 1983 album "Täytyy uskaltaa". Kirka's popularity was at the time temporarily waned, and the album was not such a big seller, nor the singles culled from it. This was one of the better tunes, not released as a single. The original was "Abracadabra", a big hit for Steve Miller Band. Released as the main single from the album Abracadabra in 1982, it became a number one hit in USA, and also hit number two on the UK charts. The song is said to have been inspired by Diana Ross with whom the band met filming TV shows in the 1960's. Abracadabra is an incantation used as a magic word in conjuring tricks that historically was believed to have healing powers when inscribed on an amulet. The word stems from the Aramaic language "Ahbra Kedahbra", which translates to "I will create as I speak".

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Speedy Gonzales - Hiiri Gonzales

Per-Erik "Pärre" Förars (see earlier entry) recorded "Hiiri Gonzales" (Gonzales the Mouse) in 1962 (on the flipside of the single was a cover of Shadows' "Guitar Tango"). The humorous lyrics were provided by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The original song was the worldwide smash hit for Pat Boone in 1962, "Speedy Gonzales". Boone's version was however not the original one. That was recorded in 1961 by a singer named David Dante (b. David Francis Hess), who also co-wrote the the tune. It was not hit in his native USA, but went all the way to top three in the Philippines. David was singer and actor who recorded many demos for Elvis under the name "David Hill". He also wrote "I Got Stung" for Elvis. Later David starred in, co-wrote and scored the cult B-movie "Last House On The Left". As everybody has heard the Pat Boone rendition, we present here the rarely heard original version.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A quoi pensent les tziganes - Jostain vielä laulun kuulen

In our sporadic series of "Both Sides Now" we now present the A-side to yesterday's 1969 Finnpick "Armonaikaa". It was a song called "Jostain vielä laulun kuulen" (I still here a song from somewhere). It is one of the lesser known Carola songs, even if the melody line is beautiful, similar to the one of "Partisaanivalssi" (a popular song in Finland, telling about Polish partisans in WWII). The original song "A quoi pensent les tziganes" (What the gypsies think) has been labeled "traditional", but it was made to pop hit in French-speaking Europe in 1968 by the Belgian singer named Luigi. Luigi Verderame, usually known just as Luigi, was popular internationally in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He sang mainly in French, but made also a succesful career in Israel with Hebrew songs.

Here's the pair:

Monday, May 10, 2010

Oneero - Armonaikaa

"Armonaikaa" (Grace time) was released on the B-side of Carola's 1969 single that was a follow-up to her big success "Rakkauden jälkeen" (featured earlier in Finnpicks, here). It was not a hit at the time, but it showcases very well Carola's extraordinary voice and it is frequently requested song even today. The original song was called "Oneero" and it was performed by Nana Mouskouri. The song was composed by Manos Hadjidakis, the famous Greek songwriter., who in 1960 he received an Oscar for Best Original Song for his song "Never on Sunday" from the film of the same name (featured earlier in Finnpicks, here). Hadjidakis can be credited with the introduction of bouzouki music into mainstream culture.

Here's the pair:

Friday, May 7, 2010

Partners - Toverukset

Tapio Rautavaara (see earlier entry) recorded "Toverukset" (Comrades) in 1960 with vocal group Neloset (see earlier entry). The song suits well to Tapio's manly voice, and the lyrics, too. It tells about the search of gold, partnership and greediness. As did the original, a country song named "Partners" (lyrics here), that was a lesser known song of famous US pop and country singer Jim Reeves. Known as Gentleman Jim, his songs have continued to chart again and again after his death at the age of 40 in a airplane crash in 1964.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh Sheriff - O'sheriff

This is one of those 60s' songs that you haven't heard for ages, but when you hear it you recall it instantly. Finnish girl group (on eof the very rare breed) Go-Go tytöt (Go-Go Girls) redorded "O'sheriff" in 1966, and as far as i know, it was their one and only single. It was played a lot at the time, but not much has been left to tell about Go-Go tytöt. I don't even know their names, but it's quite possible that they were the early encarnation of Koivistolaiset (see earlier entry). Why? Becouse a) they really made later career as singers b) they were the 'official' go-go girls of Finland in the 60's. But, this is just a hunch. The original song was from the French catalog of Petula Clark. She had a continental hit with it, but the song is, however, very obscure, and omitted from most of Petula's compilations. The composer of the song is one Serge Gainsbourg (b. Lucien Ginsburg). You can see Petula perform this song in the "proper environment", here.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Honey Come Back - Luoksein jää

I recall this song from the 70's, and I remember liking especially it's fine and beautiful melody line. Ossi Ahlapuro's (see earlier entry) "Luoksein jää" (Stay by me) was released in 1970 on the B-side of his big hit "Azzurro", and maybe therefore it's nowadays largely forgotten. No wonder the song has it's moments in the melody department, becouse it's written by master songwriter Jimmy Webb. The man who performed the song and made it a major hit in USA in 1970, was Glenn Campbell. You can see him perform the song live on Johnny Cash Show, here. The song was also versioned in that same year at least by country singers Patti Page and Lynn Anderson, whose version you can hear, here.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe - Kuti kuti kultasein

Mona Carita recorded "Kuti kuti kultasein" (Koochie koo my darling) in 1979 and it was released as a single,backed with cover of "Then He Kissed Me" on the flipside. The lyrics were again provided by Chrisse Johansson. The single was, however, not very succesful chartwise. The original song was called "Eeny Meeny Miny Moe" and it was major European hit for Dutch girl group Luv' . It was their 7th single and it's bouzouki and balalejka -theme is highly inspired by Boney M.'s "Rasputin". You can see them perform the song, here. "Eeny Meeny Miny Moe" is a children's counting rhyme, used to select a person to be "it" for games and similar purposes. The rhyme has existed in various forms since the 1850s, and is common in many languages, with similar-sounding nonsense syllables. In Finland the corresponding rhyme would be "Entten tentten teelika mentten" (of German origin).

Here's the pair:

Monday, May 3, 2010

La sai troppo lunga - Tiedät aivan liikaa

It's a long time since we finnpicked with Katri Helena. Now is the time. She recorded "Tiedät aivan liikaa" (You know way too much) in 1966. It was released as a single but for some reason it was not a such big hit as would be expected from Katri Helena. This song was clearly an attempt to duplicate the success of "Lui" in the previous year. That's becouse the song was again a cover of Rita Pavone's (the original performer of "Lui") song. It was called "La sai troppo lunga" ("You know too much"), and the single it was on, was a sizeable hit in Italy, although this song was on the B-side. You can see Katri perform his version on a TV show, here.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Don't Do It Baby - Ethän tee niin

Today's finnpick is similar to the one we presented yesterday; a song from international hit act whose Finnish cover for some reason was not at all successful. Aaron (see earlier entry) recorded "Ethän tee niin" (Don't do it, won't you) in 1975 together with a mystery lady called Chrisse. I suspect that the she was Chrisse Johansson, who provided also Finnish lyrics sor the song. If so, this should have been the one and only recording that she contributes as a singer. As a lyricist she is one of the most productive in Finland, lyics of hundreds and hundreds of Finnish pop songs are credited to her. The original song that Aaron and Chrisse covered was performed by famous UK pop group The Rubettes. "Don't Do It Baby" was on their 2nd album"We Can Do It". Rubettes was assembled in 1973 by the songwriting team of Wayne Bickerton and Tony Waddington, after their 1950s American pop-influenced songs had been rejected by a number of existing acts. The trademark of the band was wearing white suits and cloth caps on stage.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Coo Ca Choo - Mun lauantai

Leo Luoto (see earlier entry) recorded "Mun lauantai" (My Saturday) in 1974. As was the case with majority of Leo's recordings at the time, it sadly sunk without a trace. Even if the original was a big hit, in Top 20 also in Finland. The original "My Coo Ca Choo" was released under the name Alvin Stardust and it launched a short but glamorous career for one Shane Fenton (b. Bernard Jewry). He had couple of minor hits in the 60's with his group the Fentones, the most memorable of which was "I'm A Moody Guy". Shane/Alvin was really designed to be 'moody guy' with his menacing looks, side-burns and black leather suit and gloves. The man behind Alvin's records was Peter Shelley, so much so that he wrote, produced and even sang this first one. He didn't want to be Alvin Stardust as he recorded other kind material under his own name, and subsequently Shane step into Alvin's boots, just in time to present the hit single in BBC's Top of the Pops -TV show. You can see it, here.

Here's the pair: