Danny was master of picking up good unknown songs for himself to cover. One of those was "Pistolero" that he recorded in 1968. It was Mexican -flavoured western song that originated from the movie "The Fastest Guitar Alive" (1967) It was a MGM motion picture starring singer Roy Orbison in his only starring role as an actor. A musical western, the story is set near the end of the American Civil War with Orbison portraying a Southern spy with a bullet-shooting guitar given the task of robbing gold bullion in order to help finance the Confederacy's war effort. The film features Orbison performing several original songs which appeared on his 1967 album of the same name. "Pistolero" is one of the best tracks.
Here comes the Frederik Friday again! Frederik recorded "Hafanana" in 1976. It was truly popular song in those days in Finland, becouse 3 other versions of it were recorded in that same year! But the one by Frederik is by far the most famous - and perhaps the best. The original "Hafanana" was written and performed by Afric Simone, a singer, musician and entertainer originating from Mozambique. When he arrived in Europe in the 70's he gained massive popularity with his unique disco sound. Afric's songs are written in the mixture of Swahili and few words from other languages. "Hafanana" was his big European hit in 1975.
Anki (see previous entry) recorded "Paha tyttö" (Bad girl) in 1964. Anki was in those days in close collaboration with Österberg Brothers, Bosse and Robert (see previous entry), and the Finnish lyrics in this song are by Bosse. The song is quite different from the original, with an exciting arrangement and magical performance by Anki, which is miles away from her folk song offerings. The original was the first smash hit for The Kinks , "You Really Got Me" . It was released as the group's third single, in August 1964, and reached Number 1 on the UK singles chart. This song was heavily influential on later rock and roll musicians, particularly in the heavy metal genre. It even has been said that this track "invented heavy metal".
Pirkko Mannola (see previous entry) released "Paha poika" in 1961 in the B-side of a Paul Anka cover. "Paha poika" (Bad boy) was an extraordinary title for a pop song those days, but the lyrics (by Kari Tuomisaari) of course were quite innocent. Pirkko and his male colleague Lasse Liemola were practically the only singers in Finland those days doing POP COVERS, targeting the youth. The rest of the singers were into 'schlager' format that attracted the adult people. The original song "Little Devil" was a product from Greenfield-Sedaka song factory and performed by Neil Sedaka himself. It was a modest hit for him in 1961.
Robin (see previous entry) got a big hit in 1968 with the song he recorded in 1967, "Ei se pelaa joka pelkää" (The one who fears does not gamble). Clean sails). The song he covered was also popular allover Scandinavia - "Somebody's Taken Maria Away" by the Swedish group Tom & Mick and The Maniacs. However it was not the original version of this Chris Andrews composition. The original with slightly different title "Someone's Taken Maria Away" was done by Britain's early 60's favourite Adam Faith with his backing group the Roulettes in 1965. For some reason the song re-surfaced in Sweden 2 years later and became massive hit and instant classic, which it never was in UK. Tom was Tommy Körberg and Mick was Michael Johansson. The couple parted ways soon after this hit and Mick has since gone in oblivion but Tommy Körberg became famous worldwide for his role in the Benny Andersson–Björn Ulvaeus–Tim Rice musical Chess. He also represented Sweden in the 1969 and 1988 Eurovision Song Contests. Adam Faith (real name Terence Nelhams-Wright) was an English singer, actor and financial journalist. At first he was a teen idol, but eventually turned to top actor and then financial wizard. He was also one of the first UK acts to regularly record original songs, not US covers.
Rexi (real name Raimo Kero ) started his career as a musician in the 60's. He released his first (non-hit) album in 1974 with the peculiar name "Parhaat" (The Best of ..). He finally broke through in 1977 with the song "Puhtaat purjeet" (Clean sails), but it basically remained his only hit. However, he has recorded nine albums. Major part of his songs are his own compositions, but he did also many covers. Like this one - "Parasta maailmassa" (Best in the world), that was recorded in 1983. The original song "Even The Nights Are Better" is a hit from 1982 by the Australian group Air Supply. The song was especially popular in USA and reached number 5 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Air Supply was a soft rock band who had hits worldwide through the late 1970s and early 1980s. The group's line-up was ever-changing but the permanent members were the British guitarist and vocalist Graham Russell and Australian lead vocalist Russell Hitchcock.
Both Hector (see previous entry) and Päivi Paunu (see previous entry) were 'products' of the folk movement. As they at the time (1969) shared the same record company, it was no wonder that they eventually recorded together. "Liian paljon liian vähän" (Too much, too little) was the A-side of their one-off single, B-side being the cover of Beatles' "Fool On The Hill". It was not a big success, so there was no future for them to release further duets. The song that Päivi and Hector were covering was "Less of Me" performed by another duo - Glenn Campbell and Billie Gentry. Both were superstars as solo artists so this joint effort was sure to be a hit. And so it was. But not this song but the other side of the single - "All I Have To Do Is Dream", an Everly Brothers cover. "Less of Me" was Glenn's own composition and his own version is somewhat different. We present it here, too.
Four Cats (see previous entry) released "Kaikki muuttuu" (Everything is changing) in 1962 as a single, and it was very popular song at the time. Thr excellent arrangement was done by Jaakko Salo. The contemporary Finnish lyrics were by Kari Tuomisaari. The original song was called "You Can Have Her" and it was performed by US singer Roy Hamilton, who achieved major success in both the R&B and pop charts in the 1950s. This was his last hit record, reaching number 6 in R&B- and number 12 in pop charts in 1961.
Whether you want it or not, the Frederik Friday is here again! Frederik recorded "Voi Maija" in 1975 in his 3rd album "Se jokin minulla on" (I've got that something). The song is done in the usual tongue-in-cheek Frederik style. The song is originally the famous "Oh Carol" written and sung by Neil Sedaka in 1959. It has become one of the true classics of the pop genre. At the time, Sedaka was already a professional songwriter and after studying hit records in several countries, Sedaka incorporated common factors like a certain drum beat and the use of a girl's name. "Oh Carol" was the result. Sedaka wrote this for the songwriter colleague Carole King, who was his girlfriend while studying in Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York. Using the same melody line, Carole King write a funny answer song 'Oh Neil' in 1960. As it's rarely heard we present it here as a "bonus track".
Laila Kinnunen was the female pop artist most in demand, in the end of 50's and in the first half of the 60's. In addition to recordings she appeared in numerous TV shows performing songs that never were released on record. Fortunately some of those TV Show appearances have been recorded and restored, and have been recently published on CD. The song "Rakkauteni" (My love) was one of those (probably from the year 1966). One can only wonder why it was never released as a single at the time, becouse it certainly would have been worth it. The original "My Love" was penned by Tony Hatch and sung by Petula Clark. It was released in 1965 and eventually went all the way to number one in USA. Petula was initially a British child star. During World War II she became known as "Britain's Shirley Temple" and a mascot for the British Army, whose troops plastered her photos on their tanks for luck as they advanced into battle. Later in the 60's she of course became an international pop superstar.
I have made a couple of (hopefully) interesting updates. I have added the sweet Swede Doris's version of "Kicsit szomorkas / "Ihana aamu" in this entry, and Matt Monro's English language version of "Was ich dir sagen will" / "Rakkauden jälkeen", here.
Finntrio was one of the prominent groups in Finnish folk movement in the 60's. The original members were Vesa Nuotio, Pertti Reponen and Tapio Kyöstilä. They did their first public performance and first single in 1964. The first recordings of the group were pure folk, but after 1967 they cut mainly pop sides. Pertti Reponen left the group already in 1964 and became later one of the Finlands leading pop lyricists. Finntrio recorded "Hiljaa vain ollaan" (We're just being silent) in 1967. The song was the cover of "Silence Is Golden", a worldwide hit for the British band The Tremeloes. The original was however done by the US masters Four Seasons as the B-side of their number one hit "Rag Doll" in 1964. The song was co-written by Bob Gaudio of the band, and their producer Bob Crewe. The phrase "Silence Is Golden" is an encouragement to silence, which comes from a Swiss German inscription "Sprechen ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden" (speech is silver, silence is golden).
Johnny (see previous entry) released "Pillipiipari" (Pied Piper) as a single in 1966. It was quite popular tune at the time, but not of Johnny's greatest. The original song "Pied Piper" was written and performed by Steven Duboff and Arthur 'Artie' Kornfeld. They released this very dylanesque song in 1965 under band name "Changin' Times" (undoubtedly taken from Dylan, too). This was their only hit, but later the couple also wrote The Cowsills' smash hit song "The Rain, the Park and Other Things." 'Artie' Kornfeld was later one of the producers of Woodstock music festival. A cover version of "Pied Piper" by British Crispian St. Peters was a number one hit all over Europe in 1966. The song is based on the ancient legend of The Pied Piper of the town of Hamelin (Hameln), Germany . In 1284, while the town of Hamelin was suffering from a rat infestation, a man dressed in pied (pied = having patches of two or more colors, as various birds, especially magpie (black and white)) garments appeared, claiming to be a rat-catcher. He played a musical pipe to lure the rats with a song into the Weser River, where all of them drowned. The towns-people refused to pay the rat-catcher, and he left the town angrily, but returned some time later, seeking revenge. On Saint John and Paul's day while the inhabitants were in church, he played his pipe again, this time attracting the children of Hamelin. They followed him out of the town, where they were lured into a cave and never seen again.
Seitsemän Seinähullua Veljestä (see previous entry) recorded "Banaania poskeen" (Banana into the mouth) in 1977. It was released as a single and was a big novelty hit. In fact it was one of their biggest hits. The sexually insinuating lyrics done by Pertti Reponen, helped, no doubt about that. The original song "Gimme dat banana" was recorded by a one-off UK band called Black Gorilla in 1977. The single was in the UK charts, but it's highest position was only number 29. The band released on follow-up single and an album, but they didn't sell and no-one has heard of them since. A classic example of one-hit wonders ...
Lea Laven (see previous entry) recorded "Sun käsivarsilles" (To your arms) in 1979 on her album "Rotunainen". The song went unnoticed at the time, but it has something ... The original song was called "Tell Me To My Face" and it appeared on the Hollies album "For Certain Becouse" in 1966. It was the fifth UK album by The Hollies and the first Hollies album in which all the songs were written by members Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, and Tony Hicks. This album track has surfaced up at least in two notable cover versions. Dan Fogelberg did it with Tim Weisberg doing the essential flute parts. But a most intriguing version was done by US singer Keith (best known for his "98.6" hit). It has an eerie oriental flavour as the prominent solo instrument is oboe. We hear now that version as a bonus track, along with the original.
Update: On the 27th of March, 2009 I added the FIRST Finnish version done by Anita Hirvonen in 1967, with different lyrics and with the title "Tulet kuitenkin uudelleen". For my pleasure I found out that here has been adopted the oriental flavour of Keith's version. That's a good one, Anita!
As today is Valentines Day, which in Finland is called "Ystävän Päivä" (Friends Day), I think it's a perfect time to present a song that depicts the theme of the day very well. Meiju Suvas (see previous entry) recorded "Ystäväsi aina" (Always your friend) in 1993. The original song "Amigos para siempre" (Friends forever) was no less than the Official Barcelona Olympic Theme composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and performed at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain in 1992 by Sarah Brightman and José Carreras. The lovely voice of Sarah's blends well with Jose's. Later a music group from Barcelona, called 'Los Manolos' made a driving rumba version of this majestic song and had a huge pop hit with it. And this was the version that Meiju covered.
It's Frederik Friday again! Frederik was very active in recording all the way through the 70's, making an album per year. On of the greatest hits for him in those years was "Taka-takata" in 1972. The song was originally recorded by a Spanish group Paco Paco in 1972, and it was a great summer hit in Spain and Europe, the lyrics describing summer fun on the beach. Later in the same summer the song was successfully versioned by Joe Dassin, who also got a smash Euro-hit with it. The title of the song in Joe's version is a bit longer; "Taka Taka (La femme du torero), and it tells a story of a man's escapades with a bullfighter's wife, and his heart going "Taka takata kata kata kata ". We hear both Paco's and Joe's versions here.
Arto Sotavalta (see previous entry) recorded "Rock & roll (sait parhaat vuodet)" (Rock'n roll, you got the best years) in 1975. It was not the only Finnish cover of this song but perhaps the most touching and sincere. The original song was written and performed by an Australian singer and songwriter Kevin Johnson in 1973. This is by far Kevin's best known song. It charted in several countries. According to him "the song reflected his frustration with his own stagnation, and the futile attempts of Australian artists trying to break into America or England". US singer Mac Davis had a big hit in USA with the song in 1975 (charted in Billboard at number 15).
Lea Laven (see previous entry) was the "Queen of Covers" in the 70's and 80's. Many - if not all - of her hits were cover versions. One of them was "Sovitaaks näin" (Let's agree this way). It was released as a single in 1984. As on many of Lea's recordings the arrangement was done by Kari Litmanen. The original song "Mind Your Love" was performed by US duo Captain & Tennille. The duo consisted of "Captain" Daryl Dragon and Toni Tennille. They achieved chart success in 1975-80 with a bunch of romance and novelty hit songs. Probably best known is their single "Love Will Keep Us Together". Daryl used to play in the backing band of Beach Boys, and Toni has appeared as a backing singer on several Elton John albums and most prominently on the powerful single "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me". She also performed backing tracks on Pink Floyd's "The Wall" album.
Urpo (real name Urpo "Upi" Sorvali) was a man of many occupations; musician, drummer, composer, arranger, producer and distinguished musical scholar and educator. He was also a collector and built up a collection of hundreds of different percussive instruments. Upi was also present in magnitude of recordings as a studio musician. The stage name "Urpo" was used when he toured and recorded as a solo artist in the 70's. He recorded "Stidi" (Urban slang for 'Matchstick') in 1976 as a b-side of his biggest hit "Teryleeniä". The original song was written and performed by a British guy called Dave Dundas, and was called "Jeans On". The song originally appeared as a television advertising jingle for Brutus Jeans. It was subsequently - by public demand - expanded to a single and was an instant hit reaching number 3 in the UK Chart in 1976. The words used in the jingle - "I pull my Brutus Jeans on" - were replaced with "I pull my old blue jeans on" for the single release. Dave Dundas is also 'Lord David Dundas', becouse he is the son of the 3rd Marquess of Zetland. Dundas is a one-hit wonder in pop music but he is better known as a musician and for his score writing for film and television.
Danny released "Yksinäinen ilta" (Lonely evening) in 1972 as a follow-up single to "Maantieltä taloon" (see previous entry). It was not one of Dannys biggest hits, but this song has got something magical ... The original song "Trop Belle Pour Rester Seule" (Too beautiful to be left alone) was performed by our old friend Ringo (see previous entry) in 1972. Ringo was French and his real name was Guy Bayle. This song was co-written by our old friend, too - Daniel Vangarde.
Anna Hanski is the daughter of Seppo Hanski (see previous entry). She had her first great hit with "Tule poika uimaan" (Boy, come on and swim) in 1989. Anna was very popular in the first years of 90's having many big hits and best-selling albums. She has a special intimate style of singing not quite insimilar to Nancy Sinatra's and eventually she did several covers of Lee Hazlewood songs, which got her into collaboration with Lee. They even recorded an album together in 1993. I'm sure we hear a lot of more of Anna in future Finnpicks. The original song came from former Soviet Union. It was called "Bylo no proshlo" (It was, but it is gone) and was performed by Sofia Rotaru (full name Sofia Mikhaylivna Yevdokymenko-Rotaru). Sofia was born in Soviet Ukraine and is a singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, film producer, fashion designer, dancer, author and actress (person of many talents, isn't she!). She is known for combining a lyrical deep rich voice, sex appeal, and social or religious themes in her songs. In 2000 she was named "The Singer of the XXth Century" - that must be in the Eastern Europe, I guess ...
Matti Heinivaho (see previous entry) had a big hit with "Pikku neiti porvoolainen" (Little Miss from Porvoo) in 1965. The song is a tribute to that year's Miss Finland, Virpi Miettinen, who's home town was Porvoo. Virpi was a runner-up in both Miss Europe and Miss Universe Paget. The original song originated from Sweden and was called "Fröken fräken" (Miss freckles). It was written and performed by a Swedish singer, composer, lyricist, actor and musician, Thore Skogman in 1963, and was a tribute to beauties of Värmland. He got an idea of the song while reading a magazine and spotting a picture of red-haired girl with freckles. (no, it wasn't Pippi Longstocking). The song became smash hit in Sweden in 1964 when performed by pop group Sven-Ingvars.
Johnny (see previous entry) sang about "Amarillo" 1972. It was a big hit in Finland and has grown up to be a cult classcic. The original "Amarillo" -song was recorded by Tony Christie and released in the UK in 1971, initially reaching number 18 in the UK Charts. However, it was a bigger hit at that time across Continental Europe, notably in Germany and Spain. In Germany, the song's chorus is widely adapted as a chant by football and hockey fans even today. When it was re-issued in 2005 to raise money for the Comic Relief charity, it reached number 1 in the UK. Tony was subsequently being given the freedom of Amarillo by this Texan city's mayor. The song is written by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield. It is about a man travelling to Amarillo to find his fiancée. The reason that Amarillo was chosen for the song was because it was the only place name that Sedaka could think of that rhymed with "willow" and "pillow". We present here also Sedaka's own - a bit different - version of this classic.
Ann Christine released "Olen yksinäinen" (I'm lonely) in 1964 on the flip side of a former Finnpick "Odota en" (see previous entry). The tune has become very popular and versioned many times since. The original song was performed by Cliff Richard. "I'm The Lonely One" gave Cliff a Top 10 success in 1964. Gordon Mills, songwriter and later also succesful manager, wrote the song.