Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Sing, Sing, Sing - Musta Pekka

Today Brita Koivunen turns 80. To honour her birthday we now present her wonderful rendition of "Musta Pekka" (Black Peter). It was released in 1957 on the B-side of a 78-rpm single. Maybe that's why this song has been largely forgotten. The Finnish lyrics were crafted by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The original song, the swing classic "Sing, Sing, Sing" was first recorded (1936) by Louis Prima, who als wrote the tune. The original name was "Sing, Bing, Sing" - referring to Bing Crosby - but it was later adjusted to be more general expression. The song became big orchestral hit in 1937, when adapted by Benny Goodman's Orchestra. And the tune has since been the very emblem of the swing era.

Here's the triplet:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tu Sei L'unica Donna Per Me - Jos sinäkin tahdot

Danny & Armi (Armi = Armi Aavikko) were a hugely popular vocal duo in the mid-70's. Danny was already established pop star and Armi was the freshly appointed Miss Finland. They had several big hits, and most of them were written by Veikko Samuli. They did also some covers and this "Jos sinäkin tahdot" (If you want it too) is an example of those. It was released in 1979 on the B-side of a less successful Veikko Samuli -written single. This might have fared better as an A-side. It was also included in their second album. The Finnish lyrics were by Raul Reiman.  The original song was Italian. "Tu Sei L'unica Donna Per Me" (You are the unique woman for me) was written and performed by Alan Sorrenti. The song was very big hit in Italy in 1979 and was 22 consecutive weeks in the Italian Top Ten.

Here's the pair:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Pinewood Rally - Kimma kaasun avaa

Let's hear another Björn Skifs cover. Leo Luoto recorded the oddly named "Kimma kaasun avaa" (The girl twists the throttle) in 1974, and it was released on his album "Leo Luoto". The Finnish lyrics (about motorcycling girlfriend) were done by Raul Reiman.  Björn Skifs & Blåblus released the original song "Pinewood Rally" in 1973 on the B-side of their Top Ten US hit "Never My Love", which was the follow-up to their number one hit "Hooked On A Feeling". As yesterday's finnpick, this too was written by Björn Skifs together with producer Bengt Palmers.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Lonely Sunday Afternoon - Viimeinen iltapäivä

Kisu recorded "Viimeinen iltapäivä" (The last afternoon) in 1974 and while being a good song, it's sadly one of his lesser known songs. It was released on the B-side of his big home-made hit "Juustossa löytyy". The Finniah lyrics were done by Chrisse Johansson. The original was of Swedish origin and called "Lonely Sunday Afternoon". It was performed by Björn Skifs & Blåblus and co-written by Björn Skifs. At the time the group had just had a breakthrough in USA (as Blue Swede) with the number one hit "Hooked On A Feeling". So it's no wonder their records were sought-after cover material.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hallo Bimmelbahn - Gotta go home - Kotia päin

Here's another artist I know nothing about. Meiju (real name Meiju Laine) recorded several cover songs for budget hit compilation albums, and also a couple of singles. This "Kotia päin" (Homebound) appeared on one of those singles (on the flipside was her version of Blondie's "Sunday Girl"), released in 1979. The original was a German song "Hallo Bimmelbahn" released in 1973, performed by a group called Nighttrain andf written by the brothers Heinz and Jürgen Huth. It was later re-written by Frank Farian anf Fred Joy in 1979 and It became the lead single off Boney M's fourth album "Oceans of Fantasy" The song was the group's eighth and final number 1 single in the German charts.

Here's the pair:

One Way Wind - Ikuinen tuuli

A singer named Heino Mara recorded only one single, in 1972. And that's about all I know of him. On the A-side of his sole recording product was this "Ikuinen tuuli" (Eternal wind). The Finnish lyrics were written by Chrisse Johansson and the arrangement was done by Heikki Laurila, better known as a top guitarist. Needless to say, this single went nowhere. The original song came from Netherlands. It was performed by The Cats, who were a rock band from the city of Volendam. They were key figures of what came to be called the "Palingsound" (eel-sound), label for the music from artists residing in Volendam (the country's top seafood city). This "One Way Wind" was composed by band member Arnold Muhren, and the song became The Cats' biggest ever hit. The song was inspired by the divi-divi trees of the Windward Islands. The growth of the trees is often contorted by the trade winds at coastal sites where it often grows. Hence the title "One Way Wind" ...

Here's the pair:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear - Nalle-karhu

The "Finnish King Of Rock'n Roll" Pekka Loukiala (see earlier entry) kept quite a low profile in the latter part of the 60's playing mainly in the dance music bands. In the 70's during rock'n roll revival, he started recording again and did some Elvis covers. This "Nalle-karhu" (Teddy Bear) was first one of those, released in 1974. The single, on whose flipside was cover of "Baby I Don't care" failed to make charts. Elvis Presley recorde the original "(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear" in 1957, and it became a number one hit in the summer of that year. BTW, as you all know, the teddy bear is a stuffed toy bear, but did you know the story behind the name. You can read it here.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Wonder Of You - Sä ihmeitä teet

Arto Sotavalta released "Sä ihmeitä teet" (You're working wonders) in 1970 as a single, but it flopped. The song was also on his "Arto Sotavalta" album, released in the same year. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Pertsa Reponen. The original song "The Wonder Of You" was a big hit for Elvis Presley in 1970, but the first version was done by Ray Peterson already in 1959. The song became a Top 40 hit for him on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 25. But Ray's breakthrough happened in the following year when his "Tell Laura I Love Her" was a worldwide smash hit.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Long Time Comin' - Liian monta päivää

Well, it's been a long time coming, but now meet Ann Christine (see earlier entry) again. She was most active musically in the mid-60's but made some records later, too. In 1969 she joined forces with Ulla & Tiina, who were a vocal duo that consisted of twins Ulla and Christina Rif. They recorded a single on whose B-side was this "Liian monta päivää" (Too many days). The song was not a success, nor was the A-side. The original was written and performed by Ellie Greenwich. Ellie was a famous songwriter who together with her husband and songwriting partner Jeff Barry wrote numerous hits for other artists. But she also released some records as a solo artist. This "A Long Time Comin'" was from the first ("Composes, Produces & Sings" in 1968) of her two albums.

Here's the pair:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rainy Days And Mondays - Eksyä saa emme

It's cloudy weather at the moment , and some rain is forecast this evening. Well, I guess this is the right time to present this particular song in Finnpicks. Anne Mattila has been several years one of the most popular Finnish contemporary female singers. In 2008 she released the album "On Siitä Aikaa Kun Radiota Kuunneltiin" (It's been a long time since we listened to the radio). On it, she versioned songs from the Carpenters repertoire, including many of their greatest hits. One of those, and the final track of the album was this beautiful rendition of "Eksyä saa emme" (We shall not go wrong). The original song was Carpenters' "Rainy Days And Mondays".  It was released in 1971 and went to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. You can see them perform the song, here.
Here's the pair:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Far Far Away - Tie kauemmas vei

Danny recorded "Tie kauemmas vei" (The road took me farther away) in 1976 and it was released only as a track on a compilation album. The song was arranged by Veikko Samuli and the Finnish yrics were written by Pertsa Reponen. The original song "Far Far Away" was a big hit for Slade in 1974. It appeared on the album "Slade in Flame" and as a single it peaked at number 2 in the UK. The single was released to promote their upcoming film, also titled "Slade in Flame". There's also a newer Finnish version performed by group Miljoonasade as "Tie tiettömään". You can hear it, here.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Carolina - Carolina

Let's hear another song about a girl named Carolina. Eddy (b. Tapani Lehikoinen) recorded "Carolina" in 1972 and it was released as the B-side of the single "Pappa Joe", finnpicked earlier (see here).
The Finnish lyrics to "Carolina" were done by Vexi Salmi. The original "Carolina" came from Sweden. The song was a minor hit for Hep Stars in 1972. At the time the group had gone a long way from their mid-60's heydays. Only one original member remained, and eventually the band folded in 1973. This "Carolima" song was written by the Indonesian-born member of the 70's Hep Stars, Kookie Tian.

Here's the pair:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Carolina's Coming Home - Parin vuoden tauot

Kisu released an album called "Kun paljon antaa" in 1973, and one of the tracks was this "Parin vuoden tauot" (The breaks of a couple of years). The hit single from the album was "Uneen aika vaipuu", finnpicked earlier (see here). The somewhat odd Finnish lyrics for today's finnpick were written by Chrisse Johansson. The original song was co-written by Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway and it was minor hit for the British pop group Vanity Fare three years earlier. They are of course best remembered of the smash hit "Early In The Morning" released in 1970.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Do It Over Again - Tee kaikki tuo uudelleen

Pirkko Mannola recorded "Tee kaikki tuo uudelleen" (Do that all over again) in 1963. This was one of the records she was accompanied by vocal group Four Cats. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. Although Pirkko was very popular singer at the time, this particular single was not a hit for her. The original song came from Sweden. Jerry Williams (b. Sven Erik Fernström) and The Violents was a very popular beat group in Scandinavia in the beginning of the 60's and they had a hit with the song in 1963. Jerry - "The Swedish King Of Rock'n'Roll" - was the lead singer in the Violents before going solo. We have already presented Jerry and the band in Finnpicks, see here.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Un Amore Inutile - Voitko unohtaa

Tuire Lehtimäki is a songstress that I don't know anything about. She recorded just one unsuccessful single in 1969. On the B-side was the third Finnish version of "Ma Che Freddo Fa" (see the other two here) and on the A-side was this "Voitko unohtaa" (Can you forget), another cover of an Italian hit. It's a shame that Tuire didn't continue her recording career, becouse she had that something special in her voice. The original song was named "Un Amore Inutile" (Love in vain) and it was a 1968 hit for Italian singer Isabella Iannetti (b. Carmela Jannetti).  She released about 20 singles in the 60's and was a frequent sight at a variety of song contests. We have met her before in Finnpicks, see here.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Copper Coloured Years - Jäi talo tyhjilleen

Hector did not usually do any covers, but this "Jäi talo tyhjilleen" (The house was left empty) is one rare example of those. It was released as a single in 1970, but was not successful chartwise. The Finnish lyrics were, of course, done by Hector himself. The original song was called "Copper Coloured Years". It was performed by British harmony pop group West Coast Consortium. The band released only two singles under that name, and the rest were released as Consortium. They had one minor hit under the latter name, the Baroque -style "All the Love in the World", which you can hear here. Today's finnpick was composed by the band's lead guitarist Geoff Simpson.

Here's the pair:

Monday, August 15, 2011

To All The Girls I've Loved Before - Te rakkaat, luotain lähteneet

This finnpick is to honor Topi Sorsakoski, who sadly passed away last Saturday. Topi and Reijo Taipale recorded an album called "Kulkukoirat" in 1992. This "Te rakkaat, luotain lähteneet" (You loved ones, who have left me) was the final track of the album and it was also released on the B-side of the "Kulkukoirat" single. The song "To All The Girls I've Loved Before" was a 1984 Top 10 hit for duo Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson, and it was a breakthrough for Iglesias in the English language market. Youn can see them perform the song live, here.  However, we present here the original version by our old friend Albert Hammond

Here's the pair:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rock'n Roll Love Letter - Serenadi beijareille

In the 70's Bay City Rollers was as popular in Finland as everywhere else. However, I don't know if this kind of tribute serenade was made anyplace else. Anna Babitzin's (Kirka Babitzin's little sister) single "Serenadi beijareille" (A serenade to beijarit ("beijarit" was the Finnish nickname for the band)) was released in 1977. It wasn't a sellout, but I guess all the die-hard BCR bought it. The arrangement as by Veikko Samuli and the Finnish lyrics by Kari Tuomisaari. It was cover of Bay City Rollers' Rock'n Roll Love Letter". which was one of their singles not released in UK. In USA, in 1976 it went to number 28 in Billboard Chart.  You can see the band perform the song, here. The original song was written an performed by American singer and songwriter Tim Moore.  It was on his 1975 album "Behind The Eyes". BTW, Moore's guitar work on "Rock'n Roll Love Letter" drew the attention of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and the two became friends.

Here's the triplet:

Friday, August 12, 2011

Song sung blue - Mitä sisälläni on

Dave (see earlier entry) recorded "Mitä sisälläni on" (What's inside me) in 1972. It was released on eponymous album and also as a single. The latter one was a flop. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Chrisse Johansson. The original song was from the the productive pen of singer-songwriter Neil Diamond. He released "Song sung blue" in 1972, and it turmed out to be his second number 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song was nominated for two Grammy Awards - "Record of the Year" and "Song of the Year - but won neither of those. You can see Neil perform the song live, here.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Just My Imagination - Pelkkää kuvitelmaa

Let's listen to another Finnish soul cover - and a good one at that.  Aki Sirkesalo recorded "Pelkkää kuvitelmaa" (Just imagination) in 1995 and the single was a modest hit for him. Aki has already been as a "bonus artist" in Finnpicks (see here). But this is his first official entry here.  Sirkesalo started his musical career in 1980's in rock- and soul -orientaded groups, most notably Veeti & The Velvets, and launched his solo career in 1992. He released several succesful and critically acclaimed records before his untimely death in 2004. The original song of today's finnpick was called "Just My Imagination" and it was a  hit single for The Temptations. It was featured on the group's 1971 album "Sky's the Limit" and released as a single becaming the 3rd Temptations song to reach number 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100. You can read song's interesting background story, here.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Boogie On Reggae Woman - Kun tulin stadiin

The soul-, funk- or reggae hits were rarely covered in Finland. This one song is an example of actually all of those. The group Uranus recorded the song "Kun tulin stadiin" (When I arrived in the city) in 1975 for their one and only album "Aamun hauta". Uranus was short-lived soulfunk/prog -group in 1970's. One can surely label them as an album group, becouse they never released any singles ;-). The original song was called "Boogie On Reggae Woman" and it was a 1974 single by Stevie Wonder, taken from the album "Fulfillingness' First Finale". It reached number 3 in Billboard Hot 100 Chart. The song features Wonder's distinctive harmonica, and is also notable for Wonder's pulsating Moog synthesizer bassline.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Le Stagioni dell' Amore/Seasons Of Love - Käymään vain

One of the biggest hits of Kai Hyttinen was "Käymään vain" (Just dropping in). It was the best selling single in Finland in the autumn of 1968. Juha Vainio's catchy Finnish lyrics and Jaakko Borg's arrangement contributed to the success. The original song was called "Le Stagioni dell' Amore" (The seasons of love) and it was a small hit in Italy for songstress Milva (b. Maria Ilva Biolcati).  She was also known as 'La Rossa', (Italian for 'The Red'), due to the colour of her hair. Milva was one the most populra female Italian singers of the 60's. This original Italian version of the song has been very hard to find, and since I don't have it, I'll present the - even rarer - English language version. Apparently Milva was trying to reach the vast English -speaking audience and become a truly international star. The song was released in UK on the B-side of a single in 1967, with the title "Seasons Of Love". However, it failed to draw any attention.    

Here's the pair:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Truck Driving Man - Rekkakuski

Kari Tapio (or Kari Jalkanen, as he was called at the time) recorded the song "Rekkakuski" (Truck driver) in 1974. It was released on an album called "Aikapommi". The album consisted of country songs performed by Kari and Erkki Liikanen. Both artists were friends of country music and Erkki was already a star at the time, but Kari was just starting his career. The Finnish lyrics for this song were made by Liikanen. The original "Truck Drivin' Man" was an old popular country song written and recorded by American country musician Terry Fell in 1954.  One of his band members, Buck Owens, sang harmony with him on this original recording, and in 1965, Owens recorded the song himself. Several other versions exist.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Without Love - Lapsuuskesät

One of the hidden treasures of Katri Helena can be found on the B-side of her smash hit "Katson autiota hiekkarantaa" in 1979. There was this song "Lapsuuskesät" (The summers of childhood). Besides Katri, there were two Veikko's involved: Veikko Samuli did the arrangement and Veikko "Vexi" Salmi the Finnish lyrics,  The original "Without Love" was weitten by South African musicisan John Kongos, who had a couple of worldwide hits as an artist in the 70's - e.g. "Tokoloshe Man". Today's finnpick was performed by another South African act, Clout. They were an all-girl pop/rock combo, who had several hits in Europe in the end of 70's.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Paradiso - Paradiso

Rauni Pekkala recorded "Paradiso" in 1962. This happy song became quite popular at the time. Rauni still performs the song frequently. The original "Paradiso" was of German origin. The song was composed by Werner Scharfenberger, who wrote many international hits in 60's. including the original of "Viimeinen mohikaani" (finnpicked here). The hit version of "Paradiso" in Germany was done by Connie Francis. Francis was the first American artist to regularly record in other languages. As a result, she enjoyed her greatest successes outside of the United States. In fact - in 1960, she was named the most popular artist in Europe,

Here's the pair:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Hard Luck Woman - Nainen kaataa

Two weeks ago we presented a Kiss cover (by Frederik), and this Friday we present another - a completely different one. The short-lived rock group Tries recorded only 3 singles and 2 albums. This "Nainen kaataa" (A woman knocks you down) was their second single and released in 1979. The Finnish lyrics were provided by master of rock poetry, Juice Leskinen. However, it was no success, nor were the other recordings. The Kiss original was called "Hard Luck Woman" being a very atypical Kiss song. Rumour has it that Kiss member Paul Stanley wrote it for Rod Stewart, but after he turned it down, Kiss themselves recorded it, with drummer Peter Criss in lead vocals. And he sounds very, very much like Stewart on this. The song was the lead single from their 1976 album "Rock and Roll Over", and peaked at number 15 in Hot 100 Billborad chart.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

That's Living Alright - No näinhän se on

The British TV drama comedy series "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet" ("Näkemiin vain, muru" in Finnish) was very popular in Finland in the 1980's. Also the theme songs of the series were popular. The group Seitsemän Seinähullua Veljestä recorded one version as "No näinhän se on" (Well, so it is) in 1985. It was released only as a single at the time and the Finnish lyrics were crafted by Juha Vainio. The original song "That's Living Alright" was performed by British singer-songwriter Joe Fagin. The single peaked at number 3 on the UK Singles Chart in 1984. Youcan see Joe perform the song, here. For the 2006 Football World Cup, the song was re-written by Fagin with alternate lyrics to create the song "That's England Alright".

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No Help From Me - Kellon soiton kuulla saan

Kirka recorded "Kellon soiton kuulla saan" (I'll hear the bell ring) in 1968 and it was released on the B-side of his modestly successful single "Okolona River Bottom Band". It was arranged by Jaakko Salo and the Finnish lyrics were from the pen of Pertsa Reponen. The original song was called "No Help From Me" and it was the B-side to Lemon Pipers' smash hit "Green Tambourine" (finnpicked before, see here). The song represents the 'true' Lemon Pipers, who were basically blues, hard rock and rock'n roll group, but they got labeled as psychedelic bubblegum band. The song featured lead vocals by guitarist Bill Bartlett and did not appear on either of the group's two albums.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Johnny Angel - Johnny Angel

On the B-side of Mirumaru's 1978 disco single "Sun vain oon" (finnpicked before, see here) was this "Johnny Angel". The Finnish lyrics were written by Pertsa Reponen. The original "Johnny Angel" was co-written by Lee Pockriss - an American, who wrote or co-wrote many smah hits in the end of 50's and in the 60's most notably "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini". This teen ballad about "Johnny Angel" was number one hit for TV actress and singer Shelley Fabares (b. Michele Ann Marie Fabares) in  1962. The song premiered on an episode of Fabares' popular sitcom, The Donna Reed Show. Another famous singer Darlene Love with her group, the Blossoms, sang backing vocals on this. You can see the afore-mentioned Donna Reed Show -clip, here. However, Shelley wasn't the first to record the song. It was originally recorded (in 1962) by musch less-known singer named Georgia Lee. Let's hear her version, too.

Here's the triplet:

Monday, August 1, 2011

No charge - Ilman palkkaa

Well - this is a tearjerker of a song. Vocal duo Annika ja Maikki sung "Ilman palkkaa" (Without charge) in 1977. It wasn't actually a hit, but the song has become an 'underground classic'. Annika and Maikki were real-life daughter and mother Annika and Maija-Liisa ("Maikki") Metsäketo. Annika later became a popular broadcaster in Finnish private radio. The Finnish lyrics for "Ilman palkkaa" were done by the master himself, Juha Vainio. The lyrics were almost one-to-one translation of the original, a country classic "No Charge" from the year 1974, originally performed by Melba Montgomery. You can see Melba perform the song in 1998, here. Here  you can hear a 'male version' of the same song by Johnny Cash (in 1975). You might also want to see a tongue-in-cheek Finnish version from 1988, here

Here's the pair: