Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Harmony - Ystävyys

Tuulikki Eloranta (see earlier entry) recorded "Ystävyys" (Friendship) in 1974. It was released on her album "Hymni rakkaudelle". The Finnish lyrics - brilliant as always - were provided by Juha Vainio. The original song was called "Harmony" and was initially made popular by US musician Artie Kaplan. Artie is a saxophonist and flutist that has played on over 150 Top Ten records, for example on "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb and "Locomotion" by Little Eva. In 1973 he released his debut solo album called "Confessions Of A Male Chauvinist Pig". This "Harmony" -song was one of the tracks, and when released as a single, it hit the charts in Italy and achieved popularity alse elsewhere in Europe.

46 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - Hei pieni joko mennään

Rauli "Badding" Somerjoki (see earlier entry)  covered numerous r&b/rock'n roll classics and this "Hei pieni joko mennään" (Hei little one, lets go) was one of those. It was released as the opening track on his "Sydän lämpöä täys" album in 1975. In the following year it was released also as a single (on the B-side was Rauli's cover of Elvis' "Kiss Me Quick"). Neither the album nor the single sold in great quantities. The original song "Good Morning, School Girl" or "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" is an old blues standard that has been covered countless times.It was first recorded by blues legend John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson in 1937. In 1961, the R&B duo Don & Bob (Don Level and Bob Love) recorded a different version of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" with different chord changes and lyrics, including references to popular dance styles of the time. The majority of subsequent versions (like the one by Badding) took on to Don & Bob's version and the present copyright owners of the song are in deed misters Level and Love.

47 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Bad Time - Ei ole aikaa

Bikini recorded "Ei ole aikaa" (There's no time) in 1986. It was released as a single, but, undeservedly, it went nowhere. I don't know much about Bikini. It was a three-piece group (judging by the cover picture on the sleeve of the single), who released this one single and one subsequent album in 1987. Most of their material was self-written, but apart from today's finnpick, they covered also Jay Ferguson's "Thunder Island". The original version of "Ei ole aikaa" was called "Bad Time" and it was a smash hit for the American band Grand Funk Railroad. GFR was a highly succesful rock group in USA in the 70's. The band's name is a word-play of the railroad line "Grand Trunk Western Railroad",that ran through their home town of Flint, Michigan. "Bad Time" was on their 1975 album "All the Girls in the World Beware!!!", and when released as a single, became their last Top 10 hit. The song was written by group's lead vocalist Mark Farner. 

48 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Here Comes the Dawn - Jään ikkunaan

Katri Helena recorded "Jään ikkunaan" (I'll stay by the window") in 1973. It was released on the B-side of her big success "Anteeksi suo" (presented in Finnpicks earlier, see here). It was released also on her album "Kun kohdattiin". The Finnish lyrics were made by Pertsa Reponen. The original song was called "Here Comes the Dawn" and it was co-written and performed by Bob Azzam (b. Wadih George Azzam). This Lebanese-at-birth singer and musician made it big with "Mustapha" (finnpicked here), but this is his 70's material, a track on his album "Garden Of Love".

49 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dancing And Drinking - Lisää vodkaa

Like Irishmen, the Finns have a reputation to be heavy drinkers. Well I don't know if that's true today, but in the 70's it might have been. So, in the spirit (;-)) of that era, we present "Lisää vodkaa" (More vodka), performed by the group Rolf Bergström & Pyhimykset from the year 1971.  It was released as a single, but failed to hit the charts. The group's claim to fame was their version of "Rock Your Baby", which was a hit in 1974. The original song, titled "Dancing And Drinking", originated not from Ireland but from Netherlands. There's not much info on the performing artist, the group Plastic People. They were a four-piece band from Amsterdam, and this was probably their only Top 20 hit in Netherlands. It reached number 14 in 1970, and the single was released also in UK, but went unnoticed there. But the Finns picked it up ...   

50 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rock and Roll Is Back - Rock and roll taas soi

OK, we present now a second Vanity Fare -cover in a row. The group Karma recorded "Rock and roll taas soi" (Rock and roll plays again) in 1973 and had a minor hit with it during the 70's rock and roll revival. Many of the youth of those days still remembers the chorus line of the song. The Finnish lyrics were crafted again by Vexi Salmi (it seems we have had quite a few of those lately, but just by coincidence). The original song was called "Rock and Roll Is Back" and it was the last hit for Vanity Fare, and not a big one at that. You can see the them perform the song here.

51 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Hitchin' A Ride - Liftari oon

We Finns have accustomed to Paula Koivuniemi being mostly as a schlager singer. Well, some 40 years ago she recorded pure pop songs, too. This "Liftari oon" (I'm a hitchhiker) is a fine example of Paula's poppier side. It was released in 1972 on the B-side of his come-back hit "Jos konduktöörin nait" (cover of Shocking Blue's "Never Marry A Railroad Man"). As often is the case, the B-side of a bigger hit is completely forgotten. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Vexi Salmi and the arrangement by Rauno Lehtinen. The original song "Hitchin' A Ride" was written by songwriting duo Peter Callander and Mitch Murray (they wrote also "The Night Chicago Died" and "Billy Don't Be A Hero") and it was a massive worldwide hit for UK pop group Vanity Fare.  It reached number 16 on the UK Singles Chart in 1970, but was surprisingly a bigger hit in the US, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. You can see the band perform the song in BBC's Top of the Pops -programme, here.

52 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

View From A Bridge - Kuin roskakertomus

Meiju Suvas recorded oddly titled "Kuin roskakertomus" (Like pulp fiction) in 1982 for her debut album "Meiju". The Finnish lyrics were made by Vexi Salmi. The original song was called "View From A Bridge". It was the 5th consecutive UK Top 20 hit for Kim Wilde in 1982. The song told the story of a girl committing suicide by jumping off a bridge.  The siblings who wrote the song, were the same as with most of Kim's hits; Marty Wilde (father) and Ricky Wilde (brother).

53 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sadness of a Summer's Afternoon - Uskon päivään kauniimpaan

Päivi Paunu recorded "Uskon päivään kauniimpaan" (I believe in a more bautiful day) in 1971 for her album of the same name. The Finnish lyrics were made by Vexi Salmi. I coukd see hit potential in the song, and it was released as a single, but only on the B-side to her cover of Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". The original version of today's finnpick "Sadness Of A Summer's Afternoon" is quite a rare song, and I apologize of the inferior quality of the recording. But that's the only version I found. The performer is called James Horne, and the song was released on the UK RAK label in 1971. I don't know anything about James Horne, but the composers of the song are familiar (finnpicked before) - Alan Blaikley and Ken Howard.

54 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Give Me Hope Jo'anna - Toivotaan Jo'anna

Arja Saijonmaa (see earlier entry) recorded this "Toivotaan Jo'anna" (Let's hope Jo'anna) in 1989. It was released just as an album track on his album "Yhteinen taivas ja maa". The original song "Give Me Hope Jo'anna" was written and performed in 1984 by Eddy Grant. Eddy was the founder and leader of the beat pop group The Equals in the 60's and 70's and later launched a successful solo career. He often wrote songs with openly political tendencies, especially against the then-current apartheid regime of South Africa. And this 'Jo'anna' -song is the anthem amongst all those. "Jo'anna" stands for Johannesburg, and as one might guess, the song was banned in South Africa. In UK, it became a Top Ten hit, and in Netherlands it hit number one.

55 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mama Packed A Picnic Tea - Miten olis pienet teet

Let's present another one from Marco I, or Markku Härkönen. He used his real name when releasing this "Miten oli pienet teet" (How about a cuppa tea) in 1971. Of his recorded out of 8 songs this song was most close to be a hit . It has become some kind of 'underground classic'. The finnish lyrics were provided by Chrisse Johansson. The original song was called "Mama Packed A Picnic Tea". It was one of the lesser known Matt Monro singles, released in 1971.  The song tells about an English family, who made it their Sunday picnic to go to see different kind of accidents and nature disasters. And one day they apparently met their destiny in a similar kind of accident. An odd story, it is ... The producer of the record was the one and only George Martin and in deed you can hear some familiar beatles-que elements in the production.

56 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Man kann nicht alle mädchen kûssen - Jos vielä kerran hetken verran suudellaan

In the 50's and still in the beginning of the 60's Finnish singers did frequently covers of German schlagers. After the pop revolution (i.e. Beatles e.a.) there were fewer and fewer of those. And in the 70's it was quite a rarity. So, this "Jos vielä kerran hetken verran suudellaan" (If we still kiss for awhile one more time) is one of the rare breed. It was recorded by a singer named Marco I (real name Markku Härkönen) in 1970. Marco I released only 4 singles in the years 1968-1971, using also his real name on some. Sadly, the big success avoided him. The original German song was called song was called "Man kann nicht alle mädchen kûssen". (One can not kiss all the girls). It was first mad national hit by an artist named Bernd Apitz. Bernd was a singer and a disc jockey, who had a couple of hits 40 years ago and is still active and touring today. BTW, his present road show is called "Reiner Wahnsinn" (Pure Madness).

57 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Delta Queen - Tule kotiin

Jetit (see earlier entry) recorded "Tule kotiin" (Come home) in 1973. It was released on the flipside of their cover of Seals & Crofts "Funny Little Man". This "Tule kotiin" clearly had some hit potential, but it never realized. The Finnsih lyrics were done by Vexi Salmi. The original song was called "Delta Queen". It was first recorded by a South African group called Proudfoot. I don't know if it ever was a hit for them outside South Africa, but the song, sounding not unlike the 1971 smash hit 'Mamy Blue', was at least moderate hit in Germany (see it here), and in France (see it here) in local cover versions. Well, the song could have another "Mamy Blue", but wasn't ... 

58 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Emotion - Sua tarvitsen niin

Bon Bon (see the earlier entry) recorded "Sua tarvitsen niin" (I need you so) in 1979. It was released on the B-side of their cover of Blondie's "Heart Of Glass". Both sides, however, failed to cause any action chartwise. The Finnish lyrics for today's finnpick were (again) done by Chrisse Johansson. The original song "Emotion" originated from the pens of Gibb brothers Barry and Robin, who wrote it in 1977 for the Australian songstress Samantha Sang (b. Cheryl Lau Sang) while she was visiting Bee Gees in France, where they were recording songs for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The recorded song featured backing vocals by Barry, and in 1978 it became a major hit worldwide. In USA, it reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100. You can see Samantha perform the song, here.

59 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Papa - Isä

Today is Father's Day. Many countries celebrate it in June but we in Scandinavian countries celebrate it in the middle of darkest autumn. There are much less songs of fathers than mothers (I wonder why ...). But here's one, to honor all the fathers. Kari Tapio (yes, him again) recorded "Isä" (Father) in 1975. The Finnish lyrics were made by a woman, Chrisse Johansson. For some inexplicable reason it was at the time released only on a compilation album. The original version of this beautiful song was written and performed by Paul Anka, bearing the title "Papa". So here's to you all 'isät', 'papas', 'fathers', 'grandpas', etc,

60 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shang-a-lang - Shang-a-lang

Upon researching the Finnpicks I have come up with many surprises and amazing facts. Today's finnpick is one example of those. Well, I couldn't have imagined Kari Tapio ever covering Bay City Rollers. But he really did it, in 1974, when he released single with "Shang-a-lang" on it. Perhaps understandably, it was not a hit and the song has not been included in any of Kari's compilation albums. But nothing wrong with the song, though ... The original "Shang-a-lang" was written by top songwriter duo Phil Coulter and Bill Martin and was the 3rd UK Top Ten hit for Bay City Rollers  reaching number 2 in 1974. You can see them perform it, here.

61 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Way - Hillitön hopeinen kuu

On the trail of yesterday's 'full moon' we today present another moon -themed song. Heikki Hela recorded "Hillitön hopeinen kuu" (Uncontrollable silvery moon) in 2007. You can see him perform the song live, here. Heikki was going to be a teacher, but he started a career as musician in the 80's, first in a gospel group and then in the 90's as a solo artist. He's also known for his work with the comedy act Kummeli and for several appearences in TV shows, TV plays and movies. The original song "The Way" was a sizeable hit in 1998 for the American rock group Fastball . This song is based on the true story of an elderly couple, who drove to a local festival and then just kept on going. She had Alzheimer's disease and he was recovering from brain surgery. When they disappeared, there was a series of newspaper articles about the missing couple and after reading the articles Fastball bassist Tony Scalzo came up with the idea for the song. You can see the official music video of the song, here.

62 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Under The Moon Of Love - Meidän on täysikuu

Today we all can see - clouds permitting - the full moon. So it's also precisely right moment for presenting this song. Kisu recorded "Meidän on täysikuu" (The full moon is ours) in 1977. It was released as a single, but proved out to be a non-hit. The original song "Under The Moon Of Love" was minor hit in the U.S. reaching number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961. It was performed and co-written by Curtis Lee  and produced by Phil Spector. The best-known song of Curtis Lee is "Pretty little Anger Eyes", which reached US Top 10 in 1961. The "Moon" -song was revived in 1976, when Showaddywaddy, a popular British teddy-revival band of he 70's hit number one in UK and it reached the Top 20 also in Finland. You can see the band perform the song, here.

63 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Can't Get Enough - Loppumaton ikävä

Mona Carita usually sang fast-paced discofied songs. But perhaps her voice would have been better suited for slower ballads. At least this "Loppumaton ikävä" (Endless yearning) is a nice example of that kind of delivery. She recorded in 1981 for her album "Nykyaikainen", Raul Reiman wrote the lyrics and Veikko Samuli did the arrangements. The original song "I Can't Get Enough" was the B-side to Kelly Marie's (b. Jacqueline McKinnon) great 1980 disco hit "Feels Like I'm In Love". As with Mona Carita, this song showcases the often overlooked, more sombre, side of Kelly Marie. The song was co-written by our old acquaintance Peter Yellowstone - together with his pals Steve Voice and Mike Tinsley.

64 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hooked On A Feeling - Pahuksen tunteet

Leo Luoto recorded "Pahuksen tunteet" (Damn these feelings) in 1974. For some reason it remained only an album track on the "Leo Luoto" LP. The first Finnish version was done a year ealier by Dave, but that recording I don't have. So we listen to Leo's interpretation, which is no bad at all. The Finnish lyrics were written by Chrisse Johansson. The original song was named "Hooked On A Feeling" and it was a smash hit on two occasions. In 1969 the original version performed by B. J. Thomas (b. Billy Joe Thomas)  reached number 5 in Billboard Top 100 chart. The song featured the distinctive sound of the electric sitar. In 1971, the Englishman Jonathan King  produced his own version, adding the famous "ooga chaka" chants. King described it as "a reggae rhythm by male voices". His version reached number 23 on the UK Singles Chart. In 1974, the Swedish pop group Blue Swede (with Björn Skifs as lead singer) did a cover, which included their own version of King's "ooga chaka" introduction, and their version reached number 1 in the US. BTW, the song was written by Mark James, who also wrote such monster hits as "Suspicious Minds", "Moody Blue" and "Always On My Mind".

p.s. This blog has today exceeded 100 000 visits (counted from the start). Thank you!

65 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Give Me Your Heart Tonight - Enemmän kuin nainen

Jarmo "Jamppa" Tuominen had an absolute pitch (a.k.a. perfect pitch). He mastered seven instruments - saxophone being the main istrument - and started his career as musician already at the age of 11 in youth orchestras. His recording career as a singer began in 1976, when he had a massive hit with the song "Aamu toi, ilta vei". We have already presented Jamppa before - as a "guest artist" - here. He recorded this "Enemmän kuin nainen" (More than a woman) in 1985 for his album "Onnenpoika". It was also released as a single, but received not the popularity it deserved. The original song came from UK. "Give Me Your Heart Tonight" was a big hit for Welsh rock/pop singer Shakin' Stevens (b. Michael Barratt)  in 1982. It reached number 3 in the UK chart. Surprisingly perhaps, the writer of the song, Billy Livsey, was American, a Nashville songwriter and producer. You can see Shaky perform the song, here.

66 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Games People Play - Leikit ihmisten

Seija Simola released the album "Tunteen sain" in 1976. One of the tracks was "Leikit ihmisten" (The games of the people) Pertti Reponen's lyrics depicted the various vanities of the man. As did the original "Games People Play", whisch was written and performed by singer and songwriter Joe South in 1968. The lyrics and title are thought to be a direct reference to Dr. Eric Berne's bestselling book of the same name released in 1964. It deals with the "games" human beings play in interacting with one another. Joe South's song won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. The distinctive guitar at the opening is played on a Danelectro Guitar Sitar.

67 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Popcorn - Sumu

We have had a couple of foggy mornings and we need no further excuse to present this song called "Sumu" (The fog). The girl group Seidat released it in 1972, as the A-Side to "Kuinka Voit Sä Kaukomailla" (finnpicked earlier, see here).  this somg is again fine example of how we Finns like to vocalize instrumental hits. Well, this wasn't a hit for the girls. The original "Sumu" was called "Popcorn", and it was originally released in 1969 on the album "Music To Moog By" by the early German American moog synthetisizer pioneer Gershon Kingsley (b. Götz Gustav Ksinski). He actually made the tune out of listening to a popcorn machine. "Popcorn" became an international hit in 1972 for UK instrumental cover band Hot Butter, fronted by the keyboard player Stan Free. The record sold over two million globally.

68 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Day I Met Marie - Kun taas tavattiin

Erkki Pohjanheimo (see earlier entry) recorded "Kun taas tavattiin" (When we met again) in 1967. but, sadly, no hit for Erkki. The original song "The Day I Met Marie" was a hit in 1967 for Cliff Richard. It reached number 10 in the UK Singles Chart and some consider it to be the quintessential summer hit, due to its summery nature. Cliff has told that this is one of his own favourites. It's written by Shadows guitarist Hank Marvin. You can see Cliff perform the song, here.

69 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Andremo in citta/Oltre la notte - Kaiken kauniin rinnalla

Jari Lappalainen was a true Finnish One Hit Wonder. This 1970 recording "Kaiken kauniin rinnalla" (In reference to all the beautiful) was his only hit, and a big one at that. Jari is one of the most famous Finnish session musicians and his main instrument is violin, but he also masters mandolin, guitar and bass. In the 70's he also released some solo records as a singer. The Finnish lyrics for this song were provided by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila and the arragements by Jaakkko Salo. The original song "Oltre la notte" (Beyond the night) was the one of the two main themes in the 1966 Italian movie "Andremo in citta" (We're going to the city). The movie starred Geraldine Chaplin and it was a story of a woman, his blind kid brother and a partizan during the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia in World War II. The score for the movie was composed by Ivan Vandor, partner of Ennio Morricone. We present here the song as published in the soundtrack of movie. The Italian singer Iva Zanicchi later made a minor hit with the vocal version of "Oltre la notte". And that version was probably the one that inspired Jari.

70 Finnpicks to go.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Menina - Menina

Since this blog is going to be past it's lifetime when the next Eurovision Song Contest takes place, there will not be the traditional ESC Countdown Week next spring. So here's one song that would have been included in that countdown. Mimmi Mustakallio recorded "Menina" in 1971. Sadly, it was no hit. The original was an excellent song, also called "Menina" (a.k.a  "Menina do alto da serra", meaning something like "The high ridge girl"). It was the Portuguese entry in the 1971 ESC in Dublin. It was performed by songstress named Tonicha (b. Antónia de Jesus Montes Tonicha Viegas), and placed 9th, which was the best result for Portugal in ESC up to that point. You can see Tonicha present the song live in Dublin, here. BTW, this is the first song of Portuguese origin in Finnpicks.

71 Finnpicks to go.