This blog will feature Finnish pop music covers and their original versions mainly from '60s and '70s.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother - Ilman ystävää et jää
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.