The Saari brothers Jouko,and Kosti have been presented frequently here. In the 70's they were joined by their kid brother, and as Jouko, Kosti ja Paavo they recorded several singles and an album. The success avoided them as trio, but nevertheless they made good music. This song "Romeo" is one example. It was recorded in 1977. The original "Romeo" was performed by a British pop rock band Mr Big. The band, originally called Burned Oak, was formed in the end of 60's. They were fronted by guitarist and lead singer Jeff Pain (aka Dicken). Their only claim to fame was this 1977 Top 5 hit, but the band and their songs written by Dicken, were excellent. It's a shame that they didn't became as big as their name. They really should have deserved it. You can see them perform "Romeo"; in promotional video here, and live, here.
Muska (see earlier entry) "Tarve rakastua" (The need for falling in love) in 1993 It was released on her album "Pienet suuret pojat". Muska was in long hiatus after her success years in the 70's. She did come-back in the 90's and made two albums. This song is from the latter one of those. The original song called "Bad Case of Loving You (Doctor, Doctor)" was originally written and performed by Moon Martin (real name John David Martin) and it appeared on his 1978 album "Shots From A Cold Nightmare". The song was picked up by English rocker Robert Palmer in 1979, and he made it to a Top 20 hit. Moon Martin was originally a rockabilly artist, but he gained his fame for writing this song and "Cadillac Walk" for Willy DeVille. He was given the nickname "Moon" because many of his songs had the word "moon" in the lyrics. We present here the original version of "Bad Case", which I consider to be the better one. However, you can see Robert perform a good live version, here.
This a song that always puts me in the real summer mood. Sadly, the Finnish versions are rarely played. The beat group Frankies recorded "Tuuleen kadonnut" (Lost in the wind) in 1968. It was the B-side of their only single. On the A-side was their cover of Monkees' Daydream Believer. Frankies was the backing group of Johnny, but he was not involved in this recodding. The lyrics were provided by Pertsa Reponen and the song was arranged by Esa Helasvuo, subsequently a big name in Finnish jazz. In 1984 Riki Sorsa (real name Esko Richard Sorsa) recoded another Finnish version, with different lyrics, called "Kulkee" (It grooves) for his album "Kellot ja Pelit". Riki is a popular pop Finnish singer, starting his career in 1975 with the band Zoo. After that he launched a successful solo career. In Eurovision Song Contest 1981 he represented Finland with the entry "Reggae OK". Today's finnpicked original song was "Groovin'" and it was a smash hit for American pop and rock group Rascals (at the time it was still called Young Rascals) The song was written by group members Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, and legend has it they wrote it after realizing that because of their work schedule, they could see their girlfriends only on Sunday afternoons. You can see them perform the song, here.
Timo Jämsen (see earlier entry) was one of the pioneers of Finnish rock'n roll. In 1963 he caught on the 'Twist Craze' by recording "Yyterin twist" (Twisting in Yyteri) together with his backing group The Strangers (the famous arranger Jaakko Salo played the organ) . It was the A-side to earlier finnpicked "Eilen vasta Liisan näin" (see here). Yyteri is located in the Finnish city of Pori and it is known for it's sand beach area, that is one of widest in Scandinavia. The original twist "Twist A Saint-Tropez" was of French origin. A group called Les Chats Sauvages (The Wild Cats) had a big hit with it in 1961. The band was among the first outfits to perform rock and roll music in France. Their lead singer at the time, Dick Rivers (real name Hervé Forneri), has since built himself a very successful solo career.
Gulliver (see earlier entry) recorded "Playa Blanca" in 1977. It was released as a single and it was also included in the album "Paraisilla ollaan". Gulliver was the stage name for Markku Laamanen as a solo artist and also for his group. This song was credited for the group Gulliver. The Finnish words into song were put by Vexi Salmi. The original "Playa Blanca" was the product of Afric Simone, whose songs usually were covered in Finnish by Frederik. Playa Blanca, meaning "White Beach" is the southernmost town of the island of Lanzarote. It is the newest, yet fastest growing tourist resort on the island. Of course, this song might just be paying a generic homage to beaches of white sand; in the Finnish lyrics the location is said to be "west from the Equator";-).
This song has been requested. Frederik recorded "Kotiinpäin äiti" (Homeward Bound, Mama) in 1976 for his album "Ramaya" and it was also released as a single. It was a minor success at the time, and it has become one of the Frederik's absolute classics. That's no wonder, becouse I think Frederik here clearly beats the original. The touching lyrics were done by Juha vainio. The original song was written and performed by the German pop singer Simon Butterfly (real name Bernd Simon), who we have finnpicked before, see here. That "Rain, Rain, Rain" was Simon's biggest hit (in 1973) and this "Mama" -song was his come-back hit after some leaner years.
Seija Simola recorded "Voi tätä tunnelmaa" (Oh, what an atmosphere) in 1985, trying to jump in the disco bandwagon. Although the recording is quite good, it did not attract record buying public. The lyrics were provided by Vexi Salmi under the pseudonym of "Antero Ollikainen". The original song was called "Atmosphere" and it was written by British producer and songwriter Ben Findon, who worked especiallkly with Billy Ocean. This disco song, however, was performed by Russ Abbott. He was best known as a TV comedian, winning the British "Funniest Man On Television" award five times. "Atmosphere" was the most successful of his music singles peaking at number 7 in the UK charts. You can see him perform the song, here.
After weeks of hot and dry spell we now have clouds and freshening rain. So, it's about time to listen to this song. Three drummers and aspiring singers Vesa Enne, Erkki Liikanen and Timo Tervo (real name Timo Tervomaa) got together and made two singles. On the first of those - recorded in 1971 - was this "Taas päivän pilvisen eessäni nään" (I see a cloudy day ahead of me again), Although being a very good song and a good interpretation by the the trio, it went unnoticed. And it is very hard to find these days. Vesa Enne was some kind of teen movie star in the beginning of 60's, acting and singing rock'n roll in in 4 films. Erkki Liikanen (see earlier entry) had started his career in the 60's but made it big as a solo singer in the 70's. Timo Tervo made also several solo records in the 70's, but his destiny is to be remembered by being father to pop and rock starlet Jonna Tervomaa. The original song "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling Again" was written by the two famous Rogers - Cook and Greenaway, this time collaborating with Tony Macaulay. And it was made hit in 1971 by the British pop harmony group The Fortunes.
Markku Aro recorded "Taivaallinen nainen" (Heavenly woman) in 1974 for his album "Oma kultasein". The lyrics for this track were provided by Jussi Tuominen, who is famous for scripting and producing several popular Finnish TV sitcoms, for example "Tankki täyteen" and "Reinikainen" (both in collaboration with Neil Hardwick). The original song was called "Summerlove Sensation" and it was one of the many hits for 'teen sensation' Bay City Rollers. You can see them perform this UK Top 3 hit, here.
If yesterday's Finnpick was the definitive summer pop tune, this must be the definitive summer waltz. Reijo Salminen recorded "Taas on aika auringon" (It's sunshine time again) in 1968 and it was the most requested and played summer song in the end of the 60's and in the 70's (at least). Reijo Salminen was not primarily a singer but a comedian and an entertainer, whose specialty was doing impressions of famous people. This song however was a smash hit for him. The words were put in by lyrics master Jukka Virtanen. The original tune originated from Sweden. The waltz "Jag tror på sommaren" (I believe in summer) was written by Stig Olin and performed in 1967 by Mats Olin. Stig was a multi-talented man; actor, movie director, screenwriter and songwriter. But perhaps he's best known for being the father of the famous movie star Lena Olin. Mats, who sang this song, was his son (and Lena's brother ;-)).
Many people consider this song as the definitive summer pop song. Well, maybe it is. But the Finnish version is not played so much anymore. Kai Hyttinen recorded "Kesäaikaan" (In the summertime) in 1970 for his album "Tuulen tie". The recording was done in tongue-in-cheek style, as you can hear. In the fake ending was inserted an adapted version of an old Finnish song "Mökin laittaja" (Cottage builder) written by famous Finnhish composer P.J. Hannikainen. Perhaps Kai was building his summer cottage at the time ... In the same year was recorded also the more popular Finnish version by pop group Ernos. It used the same lyrics (done by Tuula Valkama, who wrote also lyrics to yesterday's finnpicked summer song) as Hyttinen's version. It was released as a single and had considerable success at the time. Ernos was quite popular band in the end of the 60's and in the beginning of 70's. It made 3 albums and handful of hit singles. Major part of their material was written by the band leader Erno Lindahl, who also published solo records. The original summer song was of course "In The Summertime" by British rock group Mungo Jerry. The song was written by the lead singer and front man Ray Dorset. It was released in 1970 and at some point many years later, it became the world's most-played radio song and the most successful summer song ever. You can see a rare promotional video of the song, here.
This song has been discussed a while back in the Finnpicks comments (see ealier entry). Now it is a suitable time to present it here. Susanna Nio (real name Susanna Lönnberg) sung "Kun kesä on" (When it is summer) in 1971. As you can hear from her voice she was quite young and in deed she was a some kind of child star at the time. She's still in the music business, doing gigs as a singer fronting the dance orchestra DozenBeat. The "Kun kesä on" song has become a classic summer song, both for children and adults. The original song "La Golondrina" (The Swallow) has been versioned in Finnish by several artists, with at least 4 or 5 different lyrics. The lyrics for Susanna's song were made by famous female lyricist Tuula Valkama. The song was written by a Mexican composer Narciso Serradell Sevilla alreay in 1883. The first recording with Spanish lyrics was done by Mexican singer Carlo Francisco in 1906, and we are proud to present it here. The lyrics of "La Golondrina" the image of a migrating swallow to describe sentiments of longing for one's homeland. In 1961 the American songwriter duo Felice & Boudleaux Bryant provided the English lyrics, and the song got the title "She Wears My Ring". The original version with these lyrics was recorded by a Canadian country singer Jimmy Bell (real name Jimmy Sweeney). It has since been recorded by many famous artists and Solomon Burke got a big hit with it in 1968. The tune has widely been used as a wedding song.
Updated on 17.01.2011: added the first Finnish version "Pääskynen" (The swallow) in 1960 by Seija Lampila.
Don't know if we now have the best summer of all times, but definitely we're really experiencing some kind of a summer. This awkward introduction leads us to today's Finnpick, Berit's (see earlier entry) "Kesistä parhain" (The best summer). Berit recorded it in 1975 for her album "Sattuma kuljettaa". The lyrics were provided by old stalwart Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The original song "Some Kind Of A Summer" was performed by 70's teen idol David Cassidy, and it was included in his 1972 album "Rock Me Baby". It was released only as an album track. The lyrics can be seen at his fansite.
Greek songs have often been popular targets for musical finnpicking. Päivi Paunu recorded "Maria lapsi auringon" (Maria the child of the sun) in 1976. However, it was not the first Finnish version of the song. Titti Jonsson had made her version in 1975 and also wrote the original Finnish lyrics. The original Greek song "Maria me ta kitrina (Maria in yellow) was written by Vassilis Dimitriou. This song belongs to the category of "classic laïkó " songs and it is a traditional folk song adapted in its modern form by Dimitriou in 1972. Classic laïkó was the mainstream popular music of Greece during the 60s and 70s. I'm not absolutely sure if this Dimitra Galani's version is the original one. But at least it dates back to 1972. Dimitra has been one of the leading ladies in Greek popular music for over 30 years.
Johnny recorded "Kun aurinko polttaa" (When the sun heats up) in 1966. It was not the first Finnish version of the song. Matti Heinivaho had made his version already in 1963. But that I don't have. So we present here Johnny's interpretation. The original song "Cuando calienta el sol" (When the sun heats up) was recorded by a Cuban group Los Hermanos Rigual in 1961 and it quickly became a smash hit all over Latin America and eventually in the rest of the world. The composition is usually credited to group members Carlos Rigual and Carlos Martinoli, but actually the song was writtem by the Nicaraguan trombonist Rafael Gastón Perez in the late 50's. The theme was originally named "Cuando calienta el sol en Masachapa". Masachapa is a beach in the Pacific ocean some 30 miles from the capital of Nicaragua, Managua. Los Hermanos Rigual picked up the song while touring through Nicaragua. The song has been recorded by many artists in English with the title "Love Me with All Your Heart".
Jokke Seppälä (real name Jorma Seppälä) started his recording career in the 70's in a rock group called Session. After that has worked in the backing groups for Kisu and Vicky Rosti, and as a backing singer in Finnish ESC entries, but also made a short recording career both as solo artist and as a duo with his kid brother Jakke. Seppälä has also produced other artists and written songs for them. In 1984 Jokke recorded "Sunshine Reggae". It was released as a single and was a modest hit. The original "Sunshine Reggae" was written and performed by a Danish group Laid Back. Laid Back was founded in 1979 and the band actually comprised of only two members; Tim Stahl (keyboards) and John Guldberg (guitar). Their greatest international hit was this "Sunshine Reggae" in 1982. You can see a music video of the song, here.
Pirjo Lehti is a Finnish schlager singer who was active mostly in the 1970s and 1980s. However she released her first single in 1969 and it was called "Auringonpistos" (Sunstroke). It didn't do anything chartwise, but anyway, launched a long career for Pirjo. The original song "Think It All Over" was written by Chris Andrews, whom we have met earlier as a performer (see here). The song was performed by British Pop Princess Sandie Shaw and it was the single number 22 for Sandie, and the last one to be written by Andrews. The song was influenced by the German oompah bands that were popular at the time. The single peaked just outside the UK Top 40.
Ritva Oksanen had her first solo hit with "Säde auringon" (Ray of the sun) in 1970. In that same year the multi-talented actor/singer also scored big with Ossi Ahlapuro and "Maria Isabel" (see earlier entry) . The original song was composed by our old French friend Daniel Vangarde. This is already 7th finnpicked Vangarde composition. I don't have the original French version (called "Fernando") of the song, but the version that Ritva covered was done in Spain. The group Los Diablos had a massive hit with the spanish version called "Un rayo de sol" (The ray of the sun). The song earned the first Gold Record for this Barcelona band and was THE summer hit of 1970, as the the afore-mentioned "Maria isabel" was in 1969. You can Los Diablos perform the song in early promotional video, here.
More music from under the scorching sun. Seidat (see earlier entry) recorded "Polttaa polttaa" (Burning, burning) in 1973 for their "Seidat" -LP. It remained only as an album track, but - who knows - it might have had it's chances as a single. BTW, the lyrics were provided by another Finnish recording artist Arto Sotavalta. The original title wasn't so 'hot', it was a song called "Mama Papa" and performed by Dutch/Italian group Cardinal Point. The group was formed in 1964 in Sicily, Italy, originally under the name of I Cardinali. In 1966, under the leadership of their blind organist, they came to The Netherlands and settled in Alkmaar, touring the North Holland pop club circuit extensively. In 1972 they had a considerable hit with this "Mama Papa" song. You can see them perform the song, here.
We now have in Finland a rare opportunity to 'enjoy' temperatures well above 30 degrees celsius. For a week or so I'm now going to finnpick songs that some way are connected with summer and hot summer in particular. I begin with "Alla polttavan auringon" (Under the burning sun" by the group Bon Bon (see earlier entry). The original rastafarian song "Rivers of Babylon" was written and recorded by the Jamaican reggae group The Melodians in 1970. However, it only became popular outside Jamaica in 1978 when Boney M did a disco version of it and it became a worldwide hit. The Melodians' original versions of the song appeared in the sound track to the 1972 movie "The Harder They Come". The song is based on the Biblical hymn Psalm 137, a hymn expressing the yearnings of the Jewish people in exile following the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in 586 BC. For Rastafarians the Babylon river is the Atlantic sea and Zion is Africa, where their fathers were taken into captivity to become slaves in America (i.e. Babylon).
I've been five weeks on vacation and out of this blogworld. Now Finnpicks is back on and perhaps it's appropriate to re-start with this Kirka's song from 1979 - "Nyt maistuu elämä taas" (Now the life tastes good again). It was a modestly successful single with lyrics by Pertsa Reponen and arrangement by Veikko Samuli. The original song called "Back To The City Again", was written and performed by French superstar Jean-Jacques Goldman. Jean-Jacques abandoned his classical music studies in 1968 for "American Rock & Roll" and it really paid off, because since 2003 he has been the second-highest-grossing French living pop singer, after Johnny Hallyday.