One of Kai Hyttinen's biggest hits was his 1970 single "Tuulen tie" (The way of the wind). The driving up-beat melody, Juha Vainio's lyrics and Kai's pleasant delivery made this song an instant hit. The original song was of German origin. It was a small hit in 1969 for a German pop- and schlager star Peter Rubin (b. Peter Kohlhuber), who was born in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Because of his height, Peter was given the ironic nickname "The Greatest Pop Singer of Germany".
Lemon was a modestly successul Finnish pop group in the beginning of the 70's. It's main claim to fame was the cover of Uriah Heep's "Lady In Black" in 1972, but on their second single in 1970 they covered an even more famous song. This "Ilman ystävää et jää" (You won't be left without a friend) didn't however win many friends at the time, and is still largely forgotten. The Finnish lyrics were done by Chrisse Johansson. Prior to and after Lemon, the band was known as The First (see earlier entry). The original song "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" was collaboration between veteran US songwriters Bobby Scott and Bobby Russell. The title came from the motto for "Boys Town", a community for troubled and homeless boys, formed in 1917 by a priest named Father Edward Flanagan in Omaha, Nebraska. Father Flanagan found a drawing of a boy carrying a younger boy on his back, with the caption, "He ain't heavy Mr., he's my brother." Father Flanagan thought the image and phrase captured the spirit of Boys Town, so he got permission and commissioned a statue of the drawing with the inscription, "He ain't heavy Father, he's my brother." The statue and phrase became the logo for Boys Town. In 1938, Spencer Tracey portrayed Father Flanagan in the movie "Boys Town". The song has of course become known as the mega-hit for Hollies, but it was originally recorded by Kelly Gordon, mainly known for his production work for Glen Campbell, Bobbie Gentry, Aretha Franklin, a.o. This slow and soulful original version was on Kelly's 1969 album "Defunked". We present here the original version, but you can see Hollies performing the song, here.
In the early 60's when Anki Lindqvist (see earlier entry) was starting her singing career, the record company decided to make her a teen starlet. For that purpose, the songs for her first single in 1962 were chosen accordingly. "Neiti yksinäinen" (Miss Lonely) was cover version of the hit (number 8 in UK chart) by England's own teen sensation of the time, Helen Shapiro. Her "Little Miss Lonely" hit the charts in 1962 and told story of a teenage girl crying over being left alone by his boyfriend. Teenage angst at its best ...Helen was only 15 years old at the time, but her voice sounded like a mature woman. BTW, on the flipside of Anki's single was a cover of another Shapiro song, "I Don't Care". When I get hold of that, I will of course present it here.
Now that we - after many 'black' years - have experienced a real winter in Southern Finland with lots of snow and freeze, it is only appropriate to present "Lumikenttien kutsu" (Call of the snowfields), a song that was a big favourite in the seventies. The song was recorded in 1976 by at least 7(!) Finnish artists, and here is the version by Matti Esko (real name Matti Eskonniemi). Matti has always been predominantly a schlager singer and his career began already in 1969. He is still performing actively and is still among the most popular singers of his genre. The lyrics to this epic tune were written by Pertsa Reponen. The original song was the signature of the television series ""Jack London - L'avventura del grande Nord". It was produced by the Italian national TV network RAI and shown on the Italian TV in 1973-74 and in 1975 also on the Finnish TV, with the title "Lumikenttien kutsu". This "I Wanna Go" was performed by Italian singer and actor Orso-Maria Guerrini, who also played leading role in the series.
Almost all the famous carols have been covered in Finnish - hundreds of times over. Every generation of Finnish singers seems to be obliged to do their own versions. Well, here we have 5 Finnish interpretations of well-known Christmas songs. The first one of these originally had nothing to do with Christmas. It was only a beautiful Italian tune "Soleado" performed by Daniel Santacruz Ensemble. In the Christmas 1976 it was a worldwide success for Johnny Mathis as "When A Child Is Born". Before this it was already covered in Finnish by Kisu with the title "Lähdit taakse pilvien" (You went behind the clouds). The other 4 of these seasonal songs are performed by the Finnish 'cover girls' of the 50's and 60's; Laila Kinnunen (Petteri Punakuono/Rudolph The Red-Nosed Raindeer), Brita Koivunen (Hei Kuuraparta/Frosty The Snowman) and Vieno Kekkonen (Rekiretki/Sleighride). In the last song the three ladies join forces and present "Tonttuparaati", which originally was a German military march called "Heinzelmännchens Wachtparade" (Parade of the Brownies). I'm not sure if this tune has been 'christmasized" anywhere, outside Scandinavia.
Robin had a small hit with the "Jäähyväiset" (Goodbyes) released as a single in 1970. The orginal was written and performed by British Roger Whittaker (born in Kenya). He is best known for his baritone singing voice and trademark whistling ability. This "Durham Town" became Whittaker's first Top 20 hit in Britain in the spring of 1970.
Petri Pettersson (see earlier entry) had successful but short solo career as a singer after he parted ways with the group Petri & Pettersson Brass. In 1978 he recorded "Ei enempää voi pyytää" (One can't ask for any more). The lyrics were - again - by Chrisse Johansson, who was extremely active lyricist in the 70's. The original song was called "You To Me Are Everything" and this mellow disco tune was a big hit for the Liverpudlian group Real Thing. It was the debut single by the group and it was co-written by their producer Ken Gold. It became number-one single in the UK, spending three weeks at the top in July 1976. It was some kind of a landmark, becouse it was the first single by a black British band to top the singles chart.
Kari Tapio (see earlier entry) recorded "Romanella" in 1976 for his album "Klabbi" ("Klabbi" is Kari's nickname). It remained just as an album track, but is a fine example of Tapio's delivery. The lyrics are from one of the top female lyricists of Finland, Chrisse Johansson. The original song of the same name was of French origin, but it was made popular by Gianni Nazzaro, an Italian singer and actor. His career has focused mainly in the seventies after he won the Festival di Napoli in 1970. You can see Gianni perform the song live, here.
Rexi (see earlier entry) recorded "Cherry Baby" in 1977 for his album "Puhtaat purjeet". It wasn't released as a single. The lyrics were done by a fanous lyricist (we have many of those in Finland) Raul Reiman. The original song with slightly different name "Cherry, Cherry" was performed by one and only Neil Diamond. About a dozen of his songs have been versioned in Finnish, but for some reason none of them was a hit - at least not a big one. But this original song was a great success gor Neil. It reached number 6 in US Charts in 1966. Worldwide sales are said to have reached over one million copies. The song was produced by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry, and they also sang background vocals. But the song was written by Neil himself.
Today is the Independence Day of Finland. In the spirit of the day we present "Sotilaat, kansat, maat" (Soldiers, nations, countries) recorded by Pepe & Paradise (see earlier entry) in 1972. The lyrics of the song (by Vexi Salmi) tell about a childhood in the bomb shelter, and all countries, nations and soldiers are begged to "put their cannons away" for not to have wars anymore. The original song "Joy to the World" was written by Hoyt Axton and made famous by the band Three Dog Night. The song went to number one on the pop music charts in February 1971 and was the top single of the year in Billboard Magazine. The song was released on the band's album "Naturally". The group never really wanted to record the song, but they needed one last track for this album. Later they were greatly surprised that the song they didn't want to record ended up being a big hit.
"Pienet Kirjeet" was the B-side of the 1967 single of Robin. The A-side was earlier finnpicked (see it here) "Ei se pelaa joka pelkää". The A-side was a big hit, but this flipside is long forgotten. The original song "The Letter" was written by Wayne Carson Thompson, an American country musician, songwriter and producer. But the song is not a country tune, but as a superb pop rock piece made by the group Box Tops. It was released in 1967 and reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The record, produced by Dan Penn, sold over four million copies and even received two Grammy awards nominations. The band Box Tops was headed by then-16-year-old Alex Chilton . The composer Thompson played guitar on the recording and he didn't like the Chilton's singing, believing the lead vocal was too husky ... You can see and hear the husky Alex here.
Barbara Helsingius was the first Finn to record "Neljä vahvaa tuulta" (Fours strong winds). She did it in 1966 on her debut album "Barbara". Barbara Helsingius is folk singer, composer and lyricist. She has recorded music in Finnish, Swedish, English and Norwegian. Prior to his career as a musician Barbara graduated as a teacher of gymnastics and participated in the Rome 1960 Olympic Games in the Finnish floret fencing team. The original "Four Strong Winds" was written by Canadian Ian Tyson and he recorded it with his wife Sylvia as a duo Ian & Sylvia. (see earlier entry). It was on an album of the same name released in 1964. The first version was done by US vocal group Brothers Four in 1963. The song has sometimes described as the other Canadian national song and it has been versioned by hundreds of artists all around the world.
Markku Suominen (see earlier entry) recorded "Muuta tehdä en voi" (I can't do anything else) in 1969. It was released as a single, but didn't do much chartwise. But it's a good song, and the little extra curiosity in this case is that the lyrics are done by Kari Kuuva, another famous Finnish singer. The original song was a considerable hit for the Israeli duo Esther and Abi Ofarim (see earlier entry). This was the 1968 follow-up single for their smash hit "Cinderella Rockafella". It wasn't nearly as successful, but still worth to remember. You can see the couple singing the song live here.
The Ruohonen brothers Matti & Teppo have been on the top of Finnish pop music for 40 years. Since they have almost excusively written their own songs, this is their first appearence in Finnpicks. Matti & Teppo recorded "Sait mitä hait" (You got what you wanted) in 1977. It was released on their eponymous 4th studio album. The duo is one of the most succesful Finnish pop acts. It has sold about 1,5 million records, and gained 2 double platinum , 7 platinum and 27 gold records. The original song originated from Netherlands. A pop group named The Classics had a hit with "My Russian Lady" in 1975. The Classics was formed in 1967 as a showband, but had some pop hits in the seventies. This slavic-flavoured song was written by their producer Fred Limpens.
The single "Viimeiseen mieheen" (To the last man) was a big hit for Kirka in 1969. The remarkable lyrics were from the pen of Pertti Reponen,and the fine arrangement by Esko Linnavalli. The original song was written by the Gibb brothers Barry, Robin and Maurice, better known as Bee Gees. The song became a smash hit for another Brithish rock duo The Marbles in 1968. The duo consisted of Graham Bonnet and Trevor Gordon, who were cousins. Trevor grew up in Australia where he met the Gibb brothers. Subsequently they wrote six songs for the Marbles and provided some background vocals. The Marbles were typical one-hit wonders because "Only One Woman" became their one and only major hit. After the group broke up in 1969, Bonnet started a lengthy solo career. From 1978 to 1980 he was the lead singer with Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow.
Kari Tapio recorded "Elää sain kesän vain" (I lived for one summer only) in 1978. It was released as a single, but for some reason turned out to be a miss. Even if Kari's interpretation was immaculate and the lyrics by Juha Vainio and arrangements by Veikko Samuli were first class. The original song was called "A Rose Has To Die". It was big hit (number 11 in charts) for UK pop group The Dooleys in 1978. The group comprised eight members at their peak, six of them members of Dooley family. They achieved several UK chart hits between 1977 and 1981. This song was written by Ben Findon, who was their songwriter and producer all through their hit-making period. You can see the group perform the song in Top of the Pops, here.
From Bach to Mozart we go ... In 1971 Päivi Paunu had a big success with a vocal version (lyrics by Juha Vainio) of Mozart's 40th Symphony simply called "Mozart 40". On this recording Päivi shares vocals with the arranger of the song, Aarno Raninen. Aarno did solo career as a singer, but he's better known as songwriter, arranger and conductot. In 1977 his composition "Lapponia" represented Finland in ESC. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote his Symphony No. 40 in G minor, in 1788 and the work was completed on 25 July. The composition occupied an exceptionally productive period of just a few weeks, during which time he also completed the 39th and 41st symphonies. The version that Päivi ja Aarno covered was of course the famous one by Waldo de los Rios done in 1971. Waldo had ability to transform European classical music into pop music. And this arrangement of Mozart's No. 40 recorded with the Manuel de Falla orchestra, reached the top spots in charts of several European countries. Apart from this Finnish one, I have not heard of any other vocal version of this classic.
Kai Lind (see earlier entry) recorded "Aamukonsertto" (Morning concerto) in 1966. It was the B-side to little hit single "Kristiina, Kristiina". Kai was recording freqently in the beginning of the 60's - this was his single number 27 - but his popularity was already fading. The original song was called "A Lovers Concerto" and it was a huge hit in 1965 for US girl group The Toys. It was written by American songwriters Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell and it was based on the familiar "Minuet in G major" from Johann Sebastian Bach's "1725 Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach" (the composition is today usually attributed to Christian Petzold). One key difference is that the "Minuet in G major" is written in 3/4 time, whereas "A Lover's Concerto" is arranged in 4/4 time.
Jarkko & Laura recorded "Cherokee-heimo" (Cherokee tribe) in 1971. As a single it wasn't a great success, but the song has remained as an extraordinary artifact of the Golden Cover Era. The original song was written in the 50's by the famous songsmith John D. Loudermilk. It was first recorded (as "The Pale Faced Indian") in 1959 by an American country and rockabilly singer Marvin Rainwater (b. Marvin Karleton Percy), himself 25 percent Cherokee. The song went unnoticed at the time, but became a hit in 1968, when covered by English pop singer Don Fardon (b. Don Maughn). It reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song went all the way to number one in 1971, when recorded by US rock group Paul Revere and The Raiders. The song refers to the forcible removal and relocation of Cherokee people from southeastern states of the United States to territories west of the Mississippi River. This removal in the 1830s is often referred to as the "Trail of Tears".
Tapio Heinonen wasn't the first on to cover this song but his delivering of the song is by far the best. He recorded "Kaunein aamuisin" (Prettiest in the morning) in 1974 for his album "Lämmöllä". Tapio made his first record in 1968 and had a breakthrough with the song "Julian Grimau" in 1969. His dark manly voice was suited well for the interpretation of chanson -style songs for which he is famous of. The original song "Mary in the Morning" was written by 'Mr. Base Man' Johnny Cymbal, but the first hit version was done by Al Martino. Al was the smooth-voiced baritone who had a string of hits in the '50s and ’60s with sentimental ballads like “Spanish Eyes”. His career spanned five decades.
The second single of the group New Joys (see earlier entry) l was "Kuuluthan mulle Windy" (Windy, you do belong to me, don't you) recorded in 1967. BTW, on the B-side was a rare Monkees -cover of "Words" (I hope I'm able to present it here sometimes). The song "Windy" that New Joys was covering, was a big worldwide hit for US group The Association. You can see their rare live performance of the song here, but we present here the rarely heard version from the songwriter Ruthann Friedman. Ruthann is an American folk singer, who was part of the growing 60's musical scene of Los Angeles and San Francisco. This is what she had to say about the song: "In 1967, thanks to his kindness, I was living in a spare room in David Crosby's home in Beverly Glenn Canyon. It was while living there that I wrote the song Windy. The Association recorded it and my life changed forever. The success of that simple tune gave me the freedom to do whatever I wanted."
p.s. that's Ruthann herself in upper left corner pic posing as "Windy"...
On the flipside of Eija Merilä's 1965 single "Ei ajatella huomispäivää" (finnpicked here) was another song from a movie soundtrack. It was called "Tuuli kuiskaa sen" (That's whispered by wind) and it is one of Eija's finest. Also Juha Vainio's lyrics are abound to touch your heart. The original song was "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" from the 1964 Richard Aldrich movie of the same name, superbly starred by Bette Davis. The song was written for the movie by Frank DeVol. The song was recorded by Patti Page and became one of her last Top 10 hits, reaching number 8 on the Billboard charts.
This song was first covered in Finnish by Markku Aro in 1976, but we present here the heart-felt female interpretation by Lea Laven from the year 1978 It's the version that was a bigger hit and also better has stood the test of time. The original song "Avant de nous dire adieu" (Before we say goodbye) was of French origin, performed in 1976 by beautiful Jeane Manson (b. Jean Manson). Jeane is an American model, singer and actress, who was Playboy magazine's Playmate of the Month in August 1974. Her entertainment career really started when she moved to France soon after she appeared in Playboy. Performing under the name Jeane Manson, she became a major recording star in Europe, with record sales exceeding 20 million copies. You can see Jeane perform the song, her first hit, here.
Here's one quick one in our series "Both Sides Now". On the B-side of Danny's "Se eikö todista että muutuin" was a song called "Kuin filminauhaa" (Like a movie reel). This one was originally an Italian song called "Une aquilone" (A kite), composed and performed by a singer, guitarist and composer Ricky Gianco (real name Ricardo Sanna). He began his career in the late fifties, and is sometimes called as the Italian "Pete Seeger". He was one of the forerunners of guitar rock and roll in Italy. This "Une aquilano" was on his 1968 album "Ricky Gianco special".
Danny had number 1 hit in Finland in 1969 with "Se eikö todista että muutuin" (Doesn't it prove that I've changed). The song that Danny covered was probably the one on Tom Jones' 1968 album "Help Yourself", but the original was written and performed by Jerry Reed (b. Jerry Reed Hubbard). Jerry was an American country music singer, country guitarist, session musician, songwriter, and actor who appeared in over a dozen films. Most may remember hin from "Smokey and the Bandit". This "If I Promise" was on his first album (1967) "The Unbelievable Guitar and Voice of Jerry Reed". The same album included two other famous Jerry Reed -originals "U.S. Male" and "Guitar Man", both successfully covered by Elvis.
Kirka recorded several songs with another members of Babitzin family. In 1977 he joined forces with little sister Anna, and as Kirka & Anna they cut single "Cindy", which also a was minor hit for the duo. The original song was also called "Cindy" and was the biggest hit (1977) for Swiss pop trio Peter, Sue & Marc. The song was written by the group member Peter (Reber). P, S & M were came from Bern, consisting of Peter Reber , Sue Schell and Marc Dietrich. Stylistically, the group is hard to classify, becouse their songs combine elements of rock, pop, folk, country and chanson. Peter, Sue & Marc are the only participants in the Eurovision Song Contest in four different languages (1971-French, 1976-English; 1979-German; 1981-Italian) for their country.
In these flu-ridden times we need a doctor. Here comes "Doctor kiss kiss". Lea Laven recorded this disco song in 1976. It was a medium-size hit for her when released as a single. Song text - as nearly always on Lea's records - was written by Chrisse Johansson. The original - with the same title - was a big European hit for earlier finnpicked (see here) group 5000 Volts. These both stompers were written by the groups producer Tony Eyers. You can see them perform the "Kiss" song in the Top of the Pops TV show, here. At this stage, Tina Charles had already left for solo career, and Linda Kelly was fronting the group.
"Runkomäen iltamat" (Dance ball in Runkomäki) was the song that put brothers Mali in the spotlight and in the top of charts in 1978. Mika ja Turkka Mali was vocal duo from Forssa, Finland and often used local ingredients in their songs. Like in this "Runkomäen iltamat". Runkomäki was the most popular place for dancing in Forssa region in the 50's and 60's, and the song tells about the atmosphere and events in those Runkomäki dance balls. The lyrics in the original song "Wine with Dinner" are somewhat different, and actually I wonder why Turkka Mali (who was the Finnish lyricist, and written over 2500 song texts since!) didn't copy the idea of excessive drinking, and the results of it, into the Finnish version. Becouse it would have suited very well for Finns ... The writer of the original song and text was Loudon Wainwright III, an American songwriter, folk singer, humorist and actor. The song is from his 1976 album "T Shirt". BTW, Loudon is the father of musicians/singers Rufus, Martha and Lucy Wainwright.
Once again it's time for The Clifters (see earlier entry). The group recorded "Latva Bee" (approximate translation: Class B brain) in 1987. It was a track on their album "Kuningas". The street-talk lyrics were done by Jaana Rinne. It wasn't single material, but the performance compares very well with the original. Which was a song called "One Track Mind" performed by a lesser known US group The Knickerbockers. The band was formed in 1962 but they didn't break until they had a Top 20 hit in 1966 with "Lies." This song has been said to be "the most accurate early-Beatles imitation". It boldly imitated John Lennon on the lead vocal and the Paul McCartney-style vocal whoops before the guitar solo and later in the song. The follow-up to the "Lies" was this "One Track Mind" and it was "nearly a hit", reaching number 46 in Billboard chart.
Yesterday we had a new mooon. So it's a long way to the full moon that is the theme of today's finnpick cover. Marion recorded "Syy täysikuun" (Blame it on the full moon) in 1977. It was released on the b-side of his big hit single "Rakkaus on hellyyttä" and maybe that's why it sunk without trace. The eerie song is quite surprising one for Marion to record, but a very good interpretation. I even like it more than the original which was a song called "I Dig You", written by Robert Fitoussi (better known as F.R. David, of "Words" fame). It was made popular by Demis Roussos (b. Artemios Roussos). The song was on his 1977 album "The Demis Roussos Magic". Demis was born in Alexandria, Egypt, but during the Suez Canal crisis of 1961 his family moved to Greece where Roussos played trumpet and base in various bands until he in 1968 co-founded the group Aphrodite’s Child, which became a major act worldwide. In 1971 Roussos went to solo, and made a hugely succesful career. On this "Magic" -album he was re-united with his bandmate Vangelis (b. Evangelos Odysseas Papathanassiou) , who was responsible for the arrangements. And Vangelis also did the original version of this "I Dig You" using the title "Who". It was released released as a single in 1974 by his one-off band project called Odyssey. Robert Fitoussi, the composer, was member of that band at the time.
Here's one more of those songs that have been forgotten, but should be remembered. Markus (real name Markku Tranberg) recorded "Mennään salaa" (Let's go secretly) in 1972, with lyrics done by Juha Vainio. Markus was one of the most popular male pop artists in Finland in the beginning of the 1970's, after breaking through big time with the cover of "El Condor Pasa" in 1970 (perhaps we are destined to hear also that song in Finnpicks). The original song was performed in 1971 by French vocal duo Stone & Eric Charden, and it was called "L'Avventura" (Adventure). The song was written by Eric Charden (b. Jacques Puissant), who, BTW, was born in in Haiphong, Vietnam. The "Stone" was the female part of the duo and her real name was Annie Gautrat. She took the stage name "Stone" in 1966 when she was elected as Miss Beatnick. She got this nickname from her friends, who called her 'small stone' because her resemblance to Brian Jones of Rolling Stones (you can see the reason here). Annie and Eric met in 1966 and got married and at first made separate careers as solo artists. But in 1971 they decided to try as a duo. Their second single was this "L'avventura", and it became a massive hit in France and in Europe, making the couple the most popular artists of the 1970s in France. You can see them perform this song live, here.
Let's hear another forgotten gem from Kai Hyttinen (and it is requested, too). He recorded "Eikö Muonio vastaa" (Can't you reach Muonio) on the b-side of his 1972 single "Oi rakkain" (A cover of "Hello-A"). The witty lyrics were done by Vexi Salmi. Muonio is a city in Lapland, and Kai is knownt to be ardent Lapland fan. . The original song was called "California Calling" and it was small hit in Holland for obscure British band called Fickle Pickle. Fickle Pickle were a North-West London-based studio band, made up of producers, engineers and sessionmen, including a couple of ex-members of the legendary '60s Psych combo The Smoke. In 1970 they cut a cover of Paul McCartney’s ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ Although it failed to register in the UK it made the charts in Holland, as did their follow-up, this "California Calling", which was penned by band members Geoff Gill and Denny Beckerman.
This is an example of a song that was quite popular in its day. but now largely forgotten. Kai Hyttinen released "Entten tentten" (Eenie meenie) as a single in 1973. It became a Top 10 hit, but no-one seems to remember it today. The original song was not a charted hit in Finland, but very popular around Europe. It was called "Ela Ela" and was the only hit for Greek group Axis. They were a progressive rock band and this song may have been their only mainstream pop song. You can see them performing "Ela Ela" live, here.
Danny recorded "Täytyy jotain yrittää" (I must try something) in 1969 and it was a modest size hit for him. The arrangement was done - as the rule was in Danny's recordings - by Jaakko Salo. The original song was an Italian tune called "Che male t'ho fatto" (What I have done wrong). It was performed by our, and Danny's, old friend Little Tony (see earlier Finnpick here) . It is one of the lesser known Little Tony -songs, becouse it was on the b-side of his 1969 Italian Top 20 -hit "Solo per te". But somehow it found its way to Finland and became a part of Finnish pop song heritage.
At the time this song was recorded nobody would call it "bubblegum", but that's what it was. Kai Lind was a member in the most famous Finnish vocal group Four Cats (see earlier entry). In the beginning of 60's he launched also a succesful solo career. "Putti putti" was released as single in 1961. The originals song was written and performed by New Zealand -born Jay Epae (b. Nicholas Epae). He emigrated to USA in 1957 and tried to make it as a professional boxer. But after some injuries he turned to pop music. "Putti Putti" was on the b-side of his first single released in 1960. It didn't sell in USA but became big hit in Scandinavia, mainly becouse the freshly started (March 1961) pirate radio station Radio Nord kept playing it, and, of course, becouse the lyrics (in maori language) sounded so funny. Here you can see Vesa-Matti Loiri (see earlier finnpick) performing a parody version of the song in TV.
Here's another bubblegum classic ... The group Kontra (see earlier entry) recorded "Enok" in 1977 on an EP called "Kontravirtanen". The lyrics (made by Moog Konttinen) are based on a Robert Bloch's classic horror short story from 1946 called "Enoch", which tells a story about a psycopath Enoch, inside whose head is a voice that tells Enoch what to do. The storyline in the original song is, to put it mildly, something else ("Chewy" is a girl, who loves "so sweet"). "Chewy Chewy" was a big hit for bubblegum pop group Ohio Express. This group, along with the 1910 Fruitgum Co., was among the leading bubblegum pop groups in late 60's. Both these bands were produced by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeff Katz, and both recorded for Buddah Records. The songwriter and producer Joey Levine took the vocals on Ohio Express early hits, like on this "Chewy Chewy".
Now we move from lollipop to bubblegum. Robin recorded "Simo sanoo sen" (Simo says that) in 1968. It was on the b-side of his single "Mua onnitelkaa" (see it finnpicked, here) The original song "Simon Says" was a huge bubblegum pop hit for American group 1910 Fruitgum Company. It was their first successful single, reaching number 4 in the US charts, and subsequently becoming one of the bubblegum anthems. "Simon says" is actually a classic children game. One of the people is "it" (i.e. Simon). The others must do what Simon tells them to do when asked with a phrase beginning with "Simon says". If Simon says "Simon says jump", the players must jump (players that do not jump are out). However, if Simon says simply "jump", without first saying "Simon says", players do not jump; those that do jump are out. Well, it's not exactly rare, in action movies, to hear the bad guy saying "I didn't say 'Simon says'" and "outing "the victim ...
On the flipside of yesterday's Finnpick by Marion was "My boy lollipop". Instead of that we present a rare version of the song by Laila Kinnunen (see earlier entry) recorded in 1965, but only just recently released. The original "My Boy Lollipop" was written in the 50's and was originally recorded by an American singer Barbie Gaye (only 15 year old at the time). It became a minor r&b -hit in late 1956, with spelling "My Boy Lollypop" used. Of course the most famous version is the one recorded in 1964 by Jamaican singer Millie Small. Millie's version was recorded in a ska/bluebeat-style and this is considered to have been the first international ska hit. We present here the rarely heard original r&b -version. However, you can see Millie Small perform the song in TV, here.
Here's one example of a Finnish vocal cover of a song that is better known as an intrumental. Marion recorded "Haaremin ruusu" (The rose of harem) in 1964. The lyrics were done by prolific lyrics writer Tapio Lahtinen, who, under pseudonym Kullervo, has made Finnish lyrics to several songs fondly remembered by all Finns, like "Yellow Rose of Texas" and "Jingle Bells". The original instrumental tune was called "The Harem" and it is an American composition, but it was made to a hit song by a British clarinettist and bandleader Mr. Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band. However, for some reason, its was a hit down under in Australia in 1964 but failed to chart in the UK.
I couldn't resist the temptation to put Maria Magdalena to follow Jesus Christ, like, as we have been told, she did in real life. Frederik (yes, HIM again!) recorded "Maria taikka Leena" (Maria or Leena) in 1979 on his "Tsingis Khan" -album. The original song was called "Maria Madelena" and it was one of the lesser hits (1977) for our old friend from Mozambique, Afric Simone. This was the third Afric Simone -cover from Frederik, and one more was to come. The afro-disco song - which is not of religious nature - was once again written by Afric himself in collaboration with Stan Regal.
p.s. I'm on holiday trip for a week, so no finnpicking for a while.
We end our religious spree with a powerful song by a powerful singer - Frederik. It could be surprising to find out Frederik grabbing a song with a religious theme. But anyway, his "Jeesus Kristus" (Jesus Christ), a single from 1972 - with lyrics by Vexi Salmi - beats the original 6 to 0. And the original "Jesus Cristo" (Jesus Christ) was performed by the Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos (finnpicked before, see here). The song was written by Roberto himself together with Carlos Erasmo. It was a huge hit in South America at the time. You can see him present the song live, here.
Tapani Kansa was bold enough to record "Isäni mun" (Father of mine) in 1971. It was on the flipside of a cover of "Proud Mary" (I guess we are about to hear also that one in the future ...) and didn't get much attention. The lyrics are done by Staffan Folk, which, I guess, is just another pseudonym for Tapani himself. It's quite peculiar, in Finland, to hear a chorus sing 'Hare Krishna' while the singer is trying to find his Father (=God). Well, it was not so peculiar in the original song "My Sweet Lord", becouse it was written by George Harrison, and we all are familiar with George's fling with the eastern religions. However, it is generally not known that George wrote the song for his friend Billy Preston (another "5th Beatle"). It was included in his album "Encouraging Words" and was a minor hit for Billy in early 1970. George himself covered his own song on his album "All Things Must Pass", and it was released as a single in November 1970. And it became a worldwide hit. Later, as we well remember, a court decision was made that Harrison was unintentionally copied an earlier song - "He's So Fine" by The Chiffons. He was ordered to surrender the majority of royalties from "My Sweet Lord". Eventually, Harrison later bought the rights to "He's So Fine" ...
Here's the triplet:
You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in tuberadio.fm.
Jussi & Boys & Friends (see earlier entry) released an album called "Kehä kaartuu" in 1975. It was an ambitious record recorded in Sweden. The "Friends" were The Wigwam legends Jukka Gustavsson (organ) and Pekka Pohjola (base) and Swedish session men (horns). One of the tracks was "Herran huosta kaiken kantaa" (Lord bears it all). The lyrics were not done by Jussi himself this time, they were written by Mats Hulden (also ex-Wigwam man). The original song is an old American country/folk song "Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)" reworked by Carter Family in 1935. It is based on the hymn "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?", whose lyrics deal with the death, funeral, and mourning of the narrator's mother. The song has been versioned by many, many artists, but perhaps the most known version (and the one that inspired Jussi & Boys) was done by American country-folk-rock group, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1971. The song is officially credited to the band but it was done (like the eponymous album) with collaboration from many famous bluegrass and country -artists, including Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis and others. The song reflects how the NGDB was trying to tie together two generations of musicians.
Here's the pair:
You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in tuberadio.fm.
Marion released "Dominicus" as one of her first singles and it resulted a minor hit in 1964. The lyrics were done by old stalwart Reino Helismaa. The original "Dominique" (Dominique was "great singing traveller who talks only of the Good Lord") was written and recorded in 1963 by Belgian singer Jeanine Deckers. As she was a nun in the Dominican Fichermont Convent in Waterloo, Belgium, she actually was Sister Luc-Gabrielle. But she performed with the stage name of Soeur Sourire (Sister Smile). The song was an international hit and even reached the first place in the Billboard Top 100 chart after it was released in the USA with the artist name 'The Singing Nun'. In 1966, a movie called The Singing Nun was made about her, starring Debbie Reynolds. In 1967, Jeanine recorded a song entitled "Glory Be to God for the Golden Pill" - a pro-contraception song - under the name Luc Dominique. It is easy to understand that it was a commercial failure ...
Kirka recorded "Ilon laulu" (Song of joy) in 1970. The lyrics were done by Pertti Reponen, and the arrangement by a famous Swedish producer and musician Bengt Palners. The original was called "Himno de la alegría" (Hymn of joy) and it was a single by Spanish singer and actor Miguel Ríos released in 1969. The single was enormously popular in many countries in 1970 reaching #1 on music charts in Australia, Canada, Germany and Switzerland and selling over four million copies worldwide. The arrangement was done by Osvaldo Nicolás Ferrara, better known as Waldo de lo Rios. The song borrows heavily from the final movement of the Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven. This symphony - completed in 1824 - was the first example of a major composer using voices in a symphony. The words are sung during the final movement by four vocal soloists and a chorus. They were taken from the "An die Freude," (To joy), a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1785. The poem is ode to joy, "beautiful spark of Gods".
Here's the pair:
You can see a selection of some hand-picked Youtube videos of today's Finnpick song by playing my shared playlist in tuberadio.fm.
Lea Laven recorded "Uskon ihmiseen" (I trust in mankind) in 1971. It was released as a single, but the song on the flip-side "Manolito" had more success. The positive lyrics were done by Chrisse Johansson and they tell about man searching his Creator. The original song was the smash hit called "Put Your Hand In The Hand" for a one-hit-wonder group named Ocean. Ocean was a Canadian gospel rock band formed in 1970. They are best known just for this record, that sold over one million copies at the time (1971). You can see the group performing the song, here. The song was penned by Gene MacLellan, a singer-songwriter, who was also a Canuck. Another well-known song of his is "Snowbird", made famous by Anne Murray.
Updated on 21.02.2010: added the other Finnish version by Lasse Mårtenson and Seija Simola, "Iske kourasi kouraan".
Now it's time to present a song that tells about the oldest ship in the world - the Noah's Ark. Finnish actor and singer Tapani Perttu recorded "Nooakin arkki" (Noah's ark) in 1970 and had a minor single hit with it. Perttu started his singing career already in 1962 performing schlager under pseudonym Perttu Kari. His breakthrough happened in 1969, when he recorded a cover of Gilbert Beccaud's 'Nathalie". For the most of his career, Tapani has been resident actor in the Theater of Tampere and he is often used as a voice-over artist in animations. This song is not religious or biblical, but treats Noah's Ark as a symbol for change and hope for better times. As did the original, that was written and performed by Italian Sergio Endrigo and called "L'Arca Di Noé" (Noah's ark). In the lyrics the protagonist comperes his ship to Noah's ark becouse it's manned by "dog, the cat, me and you". Sergio was among the most popular and appreciated songwriters of Italy. He won the 1968 Sanremo Festival and finished third in 1970 with this 'Ark song'.