Sunday, July 31, 2011

Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose? - En siitä piittaa

Markku Karjalainen recorded "En siitä piittaa" (I don't care about it) in 1973. It was released as a single but it flopped. Kari Tuomisaari wrote the Finnish lyrics.  The original song "Say, Has Anybody Seen My Sweet Gypsy Rose?" was performed by Dawn featuring Tony Orlando (b. Michael Anthony Orlando Cassavitis), and released as the lead single from the 1973 album "Dawn's New Ragtime Follies". The song became the group's fourth top ten single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at 3. It's written in the style of the early 1900s.'

Here's the pair:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weekend - Viikonloppuheila

Yup - it's weekend, and this is a song to go with it. Mona Carita recorded "Viikonloppuheila" (Weekend lover) in 1980 for her album "Soita mulle". The finnish lyrics were provided by Pertsa Reponen. The original song called "Weekend" was performed in 1979 by a group named Earth and Fire It wa a progressive rock group formed in the Netherlands in the end of 60's by brothers Chris and Gerard Koerts. It was most popular in the 1970s,  Though their massive success in the Netherlands, their music never quite made it to England or the Americas. Their biggest international hit was just this "Weekend", number one in many Eupean countries. The lead vocalist Jerney Kaagman later had a short solo career and she also appeared in the Netherlands edition of Playboy magazine. You can see the band perform "Weekend" here.

Here'a the pair:

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Happening - Mä heräsin

Sirkka Keiski  had a short career as a pop singer in the latter part of the 60's. She recorded only three singles as a solo artist and two more as a member of female vocal trio Kolmiapila. In 1969 the pop music press labeled Sirkka as 'Miss Soul'. And from the same year is this recording "Mä heräsin" (I woke up). On this record Sirkka is backed by the group Soulset, one of the rare Finnish soul groups of the era. The arrangements were done by group member Seppo Paakkunainen. On the B-side of the single was another Supremes cover "Ei vieläkään" (Baby Love). So, the original song was performed by The Supremes and it was called "The Happening".  The song was the theme song of the 1967 comedy film "The Happening". The film was only a minor success, and is most notable today both as one of Faye Dunaway's earliest films and for this theme song. "The Happening" became a number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. You can see Supremes perform the song, here.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Peacemaker - Rauhanhieroja

Seppo Närhi released the album "Närhi" in 1975. One of the tracks was this "Rauhanhieroja" (Peacemaker). Probably record company doubted its potential as a single and it remained only an album track. The original "Peacemaker" was the work of British singer-songwriter Albert Hammond.  The song was on the 1973 album "Free Electric Band", whose title track was finnpicked here.  You can see Albert perform the song live in television studio, here.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sail on - Muisto kaunis jää

Tuulikki Eloranta started her recording career in 1968. In the 70' she joined record company Love Records, famous for producing Finnish rock and progressive music. In this company, Tuulikki, however was some kind of oddball. She sang mostly schlagers and chansons. In 1978 she released album called "Niin lähellä" and one of it's tracks was this "Muisto kaunis jää" (A beautiful memory stays on). The original tune was called "Sail On" and it was written and performed by Warren Harry, a British songwriter and frontman of the group called Yum Yum Band. He had never hit with this beautiful song (or any other song for that matter), but some of his songs were hits for other artists, notably for Bucks Fizz. 

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blame It On The Pony Express - Pony Express

This song is one of Kisu's lesser known efforts. He recorded "Pony Express" in 1970 for his album "Sinulle", to the Finnish lyrics written by Chrisse Johansson. The original "(Blame It) On The Pony Express" was written by our old songwriring friends Tony Macaulay, Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. It was a number 7 hit 1970 in UK for a US soul vocal group called Johnny Johnson and His Bandwagon. Although the group originated from America they had their most successful moments in UK, and in the 70's they were based in London. They had their first hit in 1968 with "Breakin' Down the Walls of Heartache". At the time the band had a slightly different name: Johnny Johnson and The Bandwagon. The original  'Pony Express' was fast mail service that carried messages by horseback riders in relays to stations across the prairies, plains, deserts, and mountains of the Western United States in 1860-61. There was no 'Pony Express' in Finland, although horses of course were used in mail carrying in the old days.

Here's the pair:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yellow Moon - Puolikuu

Vilperin Perikunta (see earlier entry) recorded "Puolikuu" (Half Moon) in 1992. It was released on their album "Gloria Vilperum". The Finnish lyrics (by band member Arvid Vilperi, a.k.a Ari Varjus) tell about a man's insomnia and his cheating wife. The original "Yellow Moon" was the title track of the 1989 album by the Neville Brothers. It was also released as a single and was one of the groups biggest hits. The song was written by two of the brothers, Aaron and Joel. The main theme of the lyrics was: "Yellow moon, can you tell me, if the girl's with another man?". You can see the band perform the song, here - with Herbie Hancock and John Hiatt.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mustapha - Mustapha

The song "Mustapha" was very popular in Finland in 1960. Jussi & Eero Raittinen made a version for their debut single, but we present here the 'female version' by Brita Koivunen. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Kari Tuomisaari. The original song was an Egyptian traditional folk song adapted by Bob Azzam & His Orchestra (finnpicked before, see here).  The song was number 1 in France in 1960 and was popular all around Europe.

Here's the pair:

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Was Made For Loving You - Eero Eros

Well, it's now time for Frederik Friday again! Frederik recorded "Eero Eros" in 1991 for his album "Killeri". For this - and for the majority of the other tracks - the lyrics were provided by Jaana Rinne. She is probably best known for her work as a lyricist in many Clifters' albums. The original song was the classic rock anthem "I Was Made For Loving You", a smash hit for Kiss. It was originally recorded for their 1979 album "Dynasty" and released as the A-side of their first single from that album. The song is written in the disco style that was popular in the US at the time. Kiss guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley, who co-wrote the song, has stated that it was a conscious effort on his part to prove how easy it was to write and record a hit disco song. You can see Kiss perform the song, here.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Temma Harbour - Rantaan, rantaan

Now is the season for the beach life - eagerly awaited by many, many Finns for 7 months. Päivi Paunu recorded "Rantaan, rantaan" (To the beach, to the beach) in 1970 scoring a minor hit with it. The original song "Temma Harbour" was written by a British singer-songwriter named Philamore Lincoln, who also recorded the song  for his sole album “The North Wind Blew South” in 1970. But earlier that year Mary Hopkin  had hit the charts with it, peaking at number 6 in the UK Singles Chart. "Temma Harbour" locates in Tasmania, Australia, but the song is not about that location. The songwriter, Philamore Lincoln, states the name was selected randomly from a map while looking for a place name that sounded romantic ;-).

Here's the triplet:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

In Summer - On lämmin

As the heatwave is catching up us Finns again, this song suits just well in the mood. And it has 'summer' written all over it. Markku Salo recorded "On lämmin" (It is warm) in 1965. I'm afraid I don't know anything about Markku Salo. He recorded three unsuccesful singles in 1964-65 and was never heard of since. Which is kind of pity, becouse at least this song shows that he would have got some potential. The original summer song was called "In Summer" and it was performed by Billy Fury, (b. Ronald William Wycherley).  Billy was a successful British singer from the late 50's to the mid 60's. Fury's Elvis Presley -influenced, hip-swivelling, and at times highly suggestive stage act contributed to his popularity. He never had number one UK hit, but this "In Summer" reached as high as number 5 in 1963.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ra-ta-ta - Ra-ta-ta

It's been a while since we last finnpicked Fredi. Well - now it's the time. He recorded a song named "Ra-ta-ta" in 1971. It was released on the B-side of his big hit "Rakkaustarina" (cover of "Love Story Theme"). Te Finnish lyrics were written by Fredi's friend and co-member in vocal group Kivikasvot, Georg Dolivo. The original "Ra-ta-ta" was a continental hit in 1970 for German studio group called Rotation. The composer of the song was Leipzig-born Chris Juwens (b. Uwe Stelzmann), who wrote a couple other light-weight hits for a.o. Joe Dassin. Some of those have been covered also in Finland, and maybe we can present them here one day ...

Here's the pair:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lasse liten blues - Pikku-Lassen blues

Eija Merilä recorded "Pikku-Lassen blues" (Blues for little Lasse) in 1974. Eija was primarily known as schlageer singer, but this little number demonstrate her abilities as a r&b -singer. The Finnish lyrics to this - kind of sad - story were crafted by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The original tune "Lasse liten blues" (Blues for little Lasse) was written and performed by Swedish troubadour, Dutch-born Cornelis Vreeswijk. He emigrated to Sweden with his parents in 1949 at the age of twelve, and taught himself to sing and play guitar in the fifties. His first album in 1964 was a hit and created a large following among the emerging radical student generation. Vreeswijk was a controversial figure in the 60'2 and early 70's and was disapproved by many for his rude language and persistent interest in people like prostitutes and criminals.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

You're My Heart, You're My Soul - Ota kii

This song was recorded in Finnish in 7 different versions in 1985. So it must have been a ultra-popular song. Well - it was, but actually none of the Finnish covers - all titled "Ota kii" (lyrics by Chrisse Johansson) - were charted hits. The most played one was done by Meiju Suvas, but I prefer the one by Seija Simola. Alas, I present them both here.  The original "You're My Heart, You're My Soul" was performed by was a German dance pop duo Modern Talking  It consisted of Thomas Anders and Dieter Bohlen, anf they were Germany's most successful pop act of the 80's. They had several hit singles reaching the top 5 all over the world. The studio vocal line up of Rolf Köhler, Michael Scholz and Detlef Wiedeke produced the high choruses characteristic of Modern Talking, but were never credited on their albums, and eventually went to law over the matter."You're My Heart, You're My Soul" was Modern Talking's first hit single and sold eight million copies world-wide. You can see them perform the song, here.

Here's the triplet:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bimbombey - Bimbombey

Tuula-Anneli Rantanen (see earlier entry)  recorded "Bimbombey" in 1959. It was released on the B-side of her successful single "Unhoita menneet". The original "Bimbombey" was performed by American singer Jimmie Rodgers (b. James Frederick Rodgers).  He is not related to the famous country singer of the same name. Jimmie is best known for his hit "Kisses Sweeter than Wine" .

Here's the pair:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Denn Ich Liebe Die Welt - Mikä meidän nyt on

Katri Helena recorded "Mikä meidän nyt on" (What it is with us now) in 1972. It was the final track on her album "Lauluja meille kaikille". It was also released on the B-side of a single. The Finnish lyrics were written by Pertsa Reponen. The original song was composed by our old friend Giorgio Moroder, and there were several succesful versions recorded around Europe during the year 1972. The first one however was done in 1971 in Germany sung by Uschi Glas and produced by Moroder. In original German lyrics, it was called "Denn Ich Liebe Die Welt" (Then I love the world). The English language version "Everybody Join Hands" it was a hit for Debbie (b. Ria Schildmeyer) in Netherlands. But the version that inspired Katri Helena probably was the French one, done by Mireille Mathieu and titled "En frappant dans nos mains" (Clapping our hands). You can see Uschi's performance here , Debbie's here  and Mireille's here.

Here's the bunch:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Angie Baby - Angie baby

Cascade was an ambitious pop group - active in years 1974-1977 - performing mainly soul- and rhythm & blues numbers. The founding members and main vocalists were Ami Aspelund (see earlier entry), Aimo Jaara, (see earlier entry), Marjo-Riitta Kervinen (see earlier entry) and Kari Kuusamo. Cascade released "Angie baby" on the B-side of their second single in 1975. The song earned another Finnish version - using same Finnish lyrics by Chrisse Johansson - by Päivi Paunu, who recorded it in 1976. The original "Angie Baby", was written by American songwriter Alan O'Day and it was a number one US hit for Australian singer Helen Reddy. It hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart at the end of December of 1974. The song depicts somewhat 'crazy' girl living in a dream world of lovers, inspired by the songs on her radio.

Here's the triplet:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Angel of the Morning - Kaipuu

Pepe Willberg (see earlier entry)  recorded "Kaipuu" (Yearning) for his first solo single in 1968 and had a modest hit with it. The Finnish lyrics were done by Pertsa Reponen. Another fine version (non-hit) of the song was done by Katri Helena in 1971. There are dozens of different Finnish songs with the title "Kaipuu". This only shows how we Finns like always to yearn for something. The original song, "Angel of the Morning", was written by American songwriter Chip Taylor (brother of actor Jon Voight and uncle of actress Angelina Jolie). It was originally offered to Connie Francis to sing, but she thought that it was too risqué for her. Taylor then produced a recording of the song with singer, songwriter and guitarist Evie Sands  in 1967. Despite the single being one of the most-requested radio songs wherever played, the financial troubles of the record company prevented its release and distribution at the time. It finally became a hit in 1968 via a recording by Merrilee Rush & the Turnabouts. The song hit the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number 7.

Here's the bunch:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Horse With No Name - Päättömällä pollella

For some reason, this song represents a classic 'summer song' for me, although there's nothing particularly 'summery' in the lyrics. Well, it's the mood and the feeling, I guess ... Petri & Pettersson Brass had a sizeable single hit with "Päättömällä pollella" (On a headless horse) in 1972. BTW, on the B-side was early Anderssson-Ulvaeus cover (of "She's My Kind of Girl"). The crucial factor in the success of the song were the nonsense lyrics crafted by Jukka Virtanen. The original song was the first single - and smash hit - of the group America and called "A Horse With No Name", written by group member Dewey Bunnell. The song was banned by some US radio stations because of supposed drug references. This comes from the fact that “horse” is a common slang term for heroin. Actually in Finnish slang, the word 'polle' also stands for heroin. But there was no commotion about the Finnish lyrics at the time. You can see America perform the song live, here.

Here's the pair:

Monday, July 11, 2011

I Get Around - Kuljeksija

Rahapula was a short-lived pop group in the 70's with a peculiar name (it translates to "Lack of Money"). It released only one album in javascript:void(0)1974. The title of which was "Lempiaihe". In addition to some own material the album contained also altogether 4 covers of songs made popular by Beach Boys. This "Kuljeksija" (The Drifter) was one of those (the three others were covers of "I Can Hear Music", "Cotton Fields" and "You Still Believe In Me"). It was released only as an album track and sunk into oblivion. Beach Boys had a hit with the original "I Get Around" in 1964. The song was written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love and features Mike on lead vocal for the verses, and Brian for the chorus. The single was their first number 1 in USA. You can see the band perform the song here.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Was A Sunny Day - Aurinkoinen maa

The five weeks vacation is now over. Since the most days of vacation were sunny ones, this is a proper way to re-start Finnpicks. Reijo Karvonen & Ikaros (see previous entry) "Aurinkoinen maa" (Sunny country) in 1978 for their album "Ikaros". The Finnish lyrics were done by another Finnpicked artist, Ami Aspelund, who also sang backing vocals. The original song was from the famous Paul Simon songbook. It was called "was A Sunny Day" and it was released in 1973 on Paul's classic "There Goes Rhymin' Simon" album.

Here's the pair: