My summer vacation starts today, so there will be no new Finnpicks for several weeks!
It's quite a shame that we have come this far in Finnpicks without presenting Rauli "Badding" Somerjoki, the late great Finnish rock'n roll legend. Badding was one of the pioneers of Finnish rock. Even if his records did not sell in vast wquantities at the time (in the 60's and 70's) his influence on Finnish music is unquestionable, and many of his recordings have become absolute classics. His own composition "Paratiisi" (Paradise) is the most played record ever in Finland. He recorded many cover songs (most notably of Elvis) and one of them was "Sydän lämpöä täys" (Heart full of warmth) from his 1975 eponymous album. The original "Heart Full Of Soul" was one the 60's hits for the famous UK r&b group the Yardbirds. The song makes an early use of the fuzz box by guitarist Jeff Beck during the guitar solo. The song was written by Graham Gouldman who later in the 70's became famous with the group 10 CC.
Kisu became popular largely by his two Santabarbara covers (presented in Finnpicks earlier, here and here), but he did also some rockier stuff. This "Mahtava mies" (Mighty man) was recorded for his album 1973 "Kun Paljon Antaa" to the lyrics of Chrisse Johansson. Kirka, on the other hand was the definitive Finnish rocker. He recorded "Valloittaja" (Conqueror) for his album "Kaksi puolta" in 1977 to the lyrics of Juha Vainio. These both song cover - in their respective mood - the same song, "Conquistador" by Procol Harum. It became a hit when Procol Harum recorded it live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Procol Harum's lyricist Keith Reid has told about this song: "... before we formed Procol Harum, Gary Brooker had been working on a tune. He said, 'What does this sound like to you?' And I said, 'Oh, conquistador.' It had a little bit of a Spanish flavor to it. I went into another room and started writing the words there and then. 99 out of 100 of those Procol Harum songs were written the words first, and then were set to music. But that particular one, the words hadn't existed before he had the musical idea." We present here rarely heard studio version of the song. Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers who set out to conquer the Americas after their discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
Some sources say that this was the first true rock'n roll song in Finland recorded by a female artist. Well that may be, but the song was obviusly meant to be children's song at the time. Mirja-Liisi Soininen recorded "Mustasulka tanssii" (Blackfeather's dancing) in 1961 on the flipside of a cover of traditional song "Clementine". We don't know much about Mirja-Liisi, except that she recorded some children's song in the beginning of the 60's, some of them together with Finnish 'father of children's songs' - Georg Malmsten. In spite of Mirja-Liisi's young and un-trained voice, this song has some appeal with it's irresistible background rhythm of Indian drums. The original song was a minor hit for US rockabilly musician Sammy Masters in 1960. The song first became a regional hit in Los Angeles and when picked up for national distributions, it reached number 64 on the Billboard Hot 100. The lyrics told the story about how rock'n roll conquered Indians via a young Indian maid listening to her radio.
Updated on 17.07.2010: added Ernie Freeman's version
Popeda was and still is one of the greatest and most popular Finnish rock groups. In 1992 they recorded "Mää ja Tapparan mies" (Me and the Tappara supporter) for their album "Svoboda". Tappara is a famous icehockey team from Tampere, Finland. And Popeda's members are all resident in Tampere and it's neghborhood. Lyrics (see here) were provided by another famous Tampere celebrity, Juice Leskinen. The original song "Tomahawk Kid" was written and recorded by popular UK rock group the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (SAHB). It appears on their 1974 album "The Impossible Dream". The lyrics (see here) are far from the world of icehockey, telling about pirates and their treaseure chest.