One of unknown, unsung Finnish pop singer heroes in the 60's was Martti Koskimo. He was the founding member of the group Ernos, but soon went solo, and recorded a couple of singles in the latter part of the decade, but his imminent breakthrough never realized. In 1967 he released "Malaika", with backing by the orchestra of Rauno Lehtinen and to the lyrics by Juha Vainio. The original song came from Kenya, Africa. It was written and first performed by Kenyan musician Fadhili William Mdavida. It has been said that Fadhili and this song "Malaika" put Kenya on the International music map. In the 50's Fadhili served as a session musician and arranger playing second guitar on many recordings. He was among the first in East Africa to use an electric guitar. In 1959, he created the band Jambo Boys, with whom he recorded the legendary "Malaika" in 1963. The song has been versioned by many international stars. We present here one of the most popular versions done by Miriam Makeba and Harry Belafonte.
Tapani Kansa recorded "Mee pois" (Go away) for his 1977 album "Mistä rakkaus alkoi". It was also released on the B-side of his big hit "Aidin pikkupoika". The original song was written and performed by Sherbet (a.k.a. The Sherbs) that was one of the most successful Australian rock bands of the 1970s. Their biggest single was this "Howzat" (1976), reaching number one in Australia and also a top 5 hit in the UK. "Howzat" is often used as a cricket anthem The word "Howzat" is a catchcry used by cricketers when appealing to the umpire.
Cat Cat is a duo consisting of sisters Katja and Virpi Kätkä. Group's name is a sort of anglicization of the plural of their last name (Kätkät = Cat Cat). Their biggest claim to fame was in 1992, when tthey represented Finland in Eurovison Song Contest. Their entry "Bye Bye Baby" placed 22nd. Also in 1992, Cat Cat recorded this "Mun beibi ei haluu" (By baby doesn't want to). It was on the B-side of their minor hit "Chicabum". However, it was not the first Finnish version of this song. Koivistolaiset and Vicky Rosti released their versions in 1976, both using the same lyrics and title "Saisinpa vain". I present here Vicky's version (simply becouse I don't have the Koivistolaiset's version). The name of the original song was "I Love To Love" and it was a smash disco hit (the single spent three weeks at number 1 on the UK chart in March 1976) hit for English singer Tina Charles. Prior to her solo career Tina was a session singer and member in studio group 5000 Volts, who struck big with "I'm On Fire" (finnpicked here)
We have met Kössi Härmä once before (see earlier entry) . He released several singles and one album in 70's, but never achieved any great success with any of those. This song "Huulet huulia on" (Jokes are just jokes) was released as a single in 1971, on the flipside of that earlier finnpick of his. The lyrics were written by Vexi Salmi. The original song was called "Il mare in cartolina" (The sea in postcard) was a modest hit for Italian singer Isabella Iannetti, after faring well in the RAI Television's popular song contest "Un disco per l'estate" (A record for the summer) in 1970.
Ernos (see earlier entry) was led by Erno (Lindahl), who also wrote most of their songs. He released some singles as a solo artist, and this song "Ei hätää" (No worry) was on the B-side of his 1969 hit single "En elämältä halua enempää" (cover of Beatles' "Ob-la-di Ob-la-da"). The lyrics on both sides were crafted by Juha Vainio. The original song "Elenore" was a Top 10 hit for US pop group The Turtles. The song was included in their album "The Battle of the Bands", which featured performances in a wide variety of different musical styles. "Elenore" was meant to be a parody of the type of happy-go-lucky pop songs they themselves had been performing, with deliberately clichéed lyrics. I wonder if anyone noticed ... ;-).
Tuula Amberla (see earlier entry) recorded "Kuun poika" (Son of the moon) in 1992 for her album that also was titled "Kuun poika". This track was, for some reason, not released as a single (it would have been a hit ...). The lyrics, as in most of Tuula's songs, were provided by Jukka Alihanka. The original song "Hijo de Luna" (Son of the Moon) was of Spanish origin. It was written by José María Cano and performed originally by his band Mecano. It appeared on their 1986 album, "Entre el cielo y el suelo", and had an enormous success all over the Spanish speaking world. The lead vocal were performed by the female member of the group, Ana Torroja. The lyrics depict a gypsy woman praying to the Moon for a husband. In the end, the moon says that she shall have her man, but in return she wants her first-born child to be turned over to her. BTW, this song was also submitted by the band as a potential Eurovision Song Contest Entry in 1986, however Spanish Telvison (TVE) selected the group Cadillac ...
Mona Carita's first album in 1979 was also called " Mona Carita". One of the album tracks was this "Voi mikä Casanova!" (Oh, what a Casanova"). It was a typical disco dance tune with lyrics by Chrisse Johansson. The original song "Casanova" was one of the several hits written by Dutch producer Hans van Hemert for pop/disco girl trio Luv'. The song's arrangements were inspired by Flamenco, Latin American music and 1970s Europop, making it a smash hit in Benelux, the German speaking countries and Denmark. Van Hemert and his songwriting/producing partner Piet Souer were also known as "Janschen & Janschens". You can see Luv' perform "Casanova", here.
Still one more Chinnichap cover from Marjo-Riitta & Savannah. Their sole album in 1974 included this "Saat mut rokkaamaan" (You get me rocking). The lyrics were provided by pseudonym "Kersamo", which undoubtedly refers to Marjo-Riitta (Kervinen) and Savannah's keyboardist Kari Kuusamo. The original song "Tiger Feet" was the first UK number one single for Mud, spending four weeks at the top of the chart in 1974. It was also the best-selling single in Britain that year. You can see Mud perform this rocker, here
This is the A-side of yesterday's finnpick. Marjo-Riitta & Savannah has a minor hit with this "Kaupungin kauhein" (The worst in the city) in 1974. As on the B-side, the lyrics were done by Pertsa Reponen. The original "Daytona Demon" was the 3rd consecutive Chinnichap hit for Suzi Quatro (b. Susan Kay Quatro) in 1973. The song climbed up to number 14 in the UK Singles Chart. You can see Suzi and his backing band in the action with "Daytona Demon", here. BTW, the "Daytona" refers to city of Daytona Beach in Florida, USA. It is historically known as having a beach where the hard packed sand allows motorized vehicles to drive on the beach in restricted areas. This hard packed sand subsequently made Daytona Beach a mecca for motorsports.
Marjo-Riitta (b. Marjo-Riitta Kervinen) & Savannah (see earlier entry) recorded "Dynamiitti" (Dynamite) in 1974. It was released as a B-side of a single (I'll present the A-side tomorrow...) and went largely unnoticed. The lyrics were done by Pertsa Reponen. Another version of this same song (with same lyrics) was done by a group called Kosmos in that same year. Their version sunk without a trace, butI present it here just to give you a chance to compere female and male renditions of the same song. Kosmos' version was on their sole album, which included covers of songs from a large variety of artists, like Beatles, Osmonds, Uriah Heep and James Taylor. I guess we will hear of Kosmos again here in Finnpicks ;-). The original "Dyna-mite" was the 3rd hit for Mud. The song was originally rejected by The Sweet. It reached number four in the UK Singles Chart. You can see the group performing "Dyna-mite", here.
Usually the Finnish Chinnichap covers have not been as successful as their original counterparts. Well, this one is a notable exception. Markku Aro recorded "Jestas sentään" (Goodness gracious) in 1973. The lyrics by Vexi Salmi were a bit naughty, and contributed to record's success. The song became a classic and Markku has to perform it in his every gig even today. The original song "Crazy" eventually launched big chain of UK chart hits for group Mud in 1973. Lead singer of the Mud, Les Gray was also known for his distinctive vocal impersonation of Elvis Presley. You can see the group performing "Crazy", here.
Now it's the time for our second Finnpicks Chinnichap Week. We explore the Finnish covers of songwriting duo Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. The first week was dedicated to The Sweet, now enter Suzi Quatro and Mud. Lea Laven recorded "On ja ei" (It is and it isn't) in 1973 and it was released as a single. And it was a minor hit for her. The lyrics were, as nearly always in Lea's songs at the time, by Chrisse Johansson. The original song "Can The Can" was the second single and the breakthrough hit for Suzi Quatro. The somewhat agressive lyrics tell the girls to put their man in cage, so that other girls won't get him. You can see Suzi perform the song, here.
The Finnish power duo Matti ja Teppo (the Ruohonen brothers) have not recorded many cover songs, but this is one of those. This song, "Cara mia", discofied version of the original, was very suitable for their voices and style. It was released in 1976 as an album track on their eponymous album. The lyrics were done by Vexi Salmi. The song was also culled as a single and it hit the Finnish Jukebox Chart (number 5) in 1977. This was some kind of a come-back for the boys, after some leaner years. The "Cara Mia" song was big hit in 1965 for US vocal group Jay and The Americans. You can see the group perform the song, here. But "Cara Mia" was already a hit in 1954 for English singer David Whitfield who recorded the song with the Mantovani Orchestra. The record spend ten consecutive weeks in the number one slot on the UK Singles Chart and was one of the biggest selling British records in the pre-rock days. The song was co-written by Tulio Trapani, which was the pseudonym for Mantovani.
This song is again one of those forgotten gems I've come across while editing Finnpicks. Fredi recorded "Rakkaus" (Love) in 1976 for his album "Laula kanssain". The lyrics were provided by Chrisse Johansson. The same song was finnpicked by Kirka in 1981 sung with different lyrics, titled "Sinuun minä luotan (I trust you). The original song was of German origin. Composer Hans Meyer wrote the song and Austrian born songstress Elfi Graf (b. Elfriede Sepp) made it a big hit in Germany in 1974. You can see her perform "Herzen haben keine Fenster" (Hearts don't hve windows), here. Later in USA, Bobby Vinton got hold of the song and made a big US and international come-back hit with it under title "My Melody Of Love". Bobby, being of Polish origin, sings it partly in Polish. This same song titled as "Don't Stay Away Too Long" was a hit for duo Peters and Lee in UK.
Now, this song will put you in a happy mood. Berit (see earlier entry) recorded "Diridonda" in 1979 and it was a minor hit for her. The song was also included in her album "Kerro tunteesi ääneen" released in that same year. The song was of Croatian (part of Yugoslavia at the time) origin. It was performed by one of the most popular Croatian groups Novi Fosili. The group represented Yugoslavia n 1987 Eurovision Song Contest in Brussels, faring very well with the song "Ja Sam Za Ples" and placing 4th in the final results. You can see them perform "Diridonda", here.
Kirka recorded several songs with his brothers and sisters. Together with his kid sister Anna Babitzin he recorded an album "Anna & Kirka" in 1978. One of the tracks was "Öiseen aikaan" (At nighttime). The lyrics were by Pertsa Reponen and the arrangement by Kalervo "Kassu" Halonen. The original song "Nighttime (I'm A Lover)" was made popular by American pop-rock group Tommy James (b. Thomas Gregory Jackson) and The Shondells . The band was initially formed in 1959 as Tom and the Tornadoes, with the then only 12-year-old Tommy Jackson as lead singer. In 1963, Jackson re-named the band The Shondells because the name "sounded good". "Nighttime" was on their 1968 album "Mony, Mony", whose title track was monster hit for the group.
Meiju Suvas (see earlier entry) released "Hei hei näkemiin" (Hey, hey, bye bye) as an album track on her second album "Pidä musta kiinni" in 1983. The lyrics were provided by Raul Reiman. The original song was performed by US one-hit-wonder band called Steam, who had a smash hit with "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye". The song was co-written by Paul Leka. who has written several other finnpicked songs. Somehow, we Finns seem to like Paul's songwriting. Other writers were Leka's old band mates Gary DeCarlo and Dale Frashuer, and they recorded the song under fictitious band name "Steam" with Gary in lead vocals. It became a number one pop single on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1969. The song's chorus remains well-known, and is frequently used as a crowd chant at many sporting events.
Anki Lindqvist's second single (see the first one finnpicked, here) was this "Teinitytön blues" (Teenage girl blues). It was released in 1963, and Anki was 17 at the time. The lyricist who tried to depict teenager's problems was a 35 year old man Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The artist, who Anki covered was the same that she covered with her first single, Helen Shapiro. Helen's "A Teenager Sings The Blues" was on her 1962 EP. Also the 3rd and 4th singles by Anki were Shapiro covers ("No Trespassing" and "Fever" respectively). The record company really tried to make Anki to Finland's Helen Shapiro!
Kivikasvot (see earlier entry) released "Jos näin on" (If it is so) on the B-side of their Beatles cover single "Michelle" in 1966. The lyrics were provided by band member Ismo Sajakorpi. The original song was from the hit roster of Four Seasons. "Let's Hang On!" reached number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1965. The popularity of the song has been attributed to the use of two fuzz guitars (one guitarist playing low notes, another playing high notes on a fuzz bass), a chorus loaded with hooks and sung in falsetto, and backing vocals giving counterpoint with Valli's lead vocals.
The opening track of Kirka's 1983 album "Täytyy uskaltaa" was this "Lauantai on yhtä rautaa" (Saturday is just super). It was also released as a single but failed to make the charts. The lyrics were done by Raul Reiman under pseudonym Pyry Lunden. The original song was written by professional songwriter duo Cynthia Weill and Barry Mann and performed by another professional combo, The Drifters. The song "Saturday Night at the Movies" was a Top 20 hit in USA in 1964, when it was first released, but when re-issued in 1972 in UK, it became an even bigger hit and revived Drifters' career in UK and Europe. You can see the group perform the song in 1964, here.
It's not Frederik Friday, it's Fredi Friday - for a change. Fredi recorded "Voinko luottaa" (Can I trust) in 1980. It was released only as a single, and it was not a hit, so it it's become quite a rare collector's item. The song was put into Finnish words by Vexi Salmi. The original, called "Can I Reach You", was of German origin, as the name of the performer and composer Drafi Deutscher implies. Drafi however released this song under pseudonym Jack Goldbird. The song was hit in Euro-discos in 1978-79. Drafi has been finnpicked (and covered by Fredi) before, see here.
Mirumaru (see earlier entry) recorded "Sun vain oon" (I'm only yours) in 1978. It was on their eponymous album and was released as a single, but didn't hit the charts. Lyrics were written by Pertsa Reponen. The original song "U.O.Me" was the third single, and first real mainstream success for Dutch girl group Luv', released in 1978. This record is also credited as "U.O.Me (Theme from Waldolala)", becouse it was originally composed (by producer Hans Hemert) as a theme for a popular Dutch TV series "Het is weer zo laat" (a.k.a Waldolala). You can see the group perform the song, here. Luv' has been finnpicked twice before, see here and here.
Yesterday we had a Finnpick named "Jet", today we present Finnish performer named Jetit. It was a pop duo of two young men (whose names I didn't find anywhere) formed obviously to challenge at the time the other Finnish power pop duo Jouko & Kosti. However they had only one hit, this "Eteenpäin" (Forward), in 1972. The lyrics were done by Vexi Salmi under pseudonym "Leo Länsi". The original song "Iron Horse" was third and final hit for UK pop combo Christie. Christie was led by Jeff Christie, who also wrote most of their material. You can see the band performing "Iron Horse" on a rare promotional film, here. As a bonus I have added a newer (1994) Finnish version by Tuulikki Eloranta, called "Soitellaan" (Let's call), simply becouse I like it ...
We have three previous Finnpicks entries for Leo Luoto; the fist one you can find here. In 1974 he recorded "Jet" for his "Leo Luoto" album. It remained only an album track. For some reason it was not seen as a potential single, even if the original song was world hit. The original "Jet" was the single by The Wings, culled from their famous 1973 album "Band On The Run". The song was of course written by Paul McCartney, in collaboration with his wife Linda. It has been said that the song was inspired by McCartney's Labrador Retriever puppy. If so, it's not the first time McCartney wrote about a dog: when with The Beatles, he wrote the song "Martha My Dear" about his sheepdog. Well, the lyrics are a bit odd, and leave much room for speculations, some think that this song was about David Bowie and John Lennon. Bowie allegedly called John as "Jet" ... The Finnish lyrics told about jet airliner named "Jet". Might be the only Finnish pop song devoted to an aeroplane.:-)
Pasi Kaunisto had one of his greatest and most loved hits with "Maa muuttukoon" (May the world change) in 1970. The immaculate lyrics were provided by Veikko "Vexi" Salmi. The original song "Je t'attends" (I am waiting for you) was written and performed by French legend Gilbert Becaud (b. François Silly). "Monsieur 100000 Volts" wrote many worldwide hits, of which the best-known are perhaps "Et Maintenant" (What Now My Love), "Je t'appartiens" (Let I Be Me) and "Nathalie" (finnpicked here).