Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finnpicks Christmas Special III

This is the third and (probably) the last Finnpicks Christmas Special. Just as twice before, we present Finnish Christmas Song covers and their original versions.

1. Lasse Mårtenson: "Pikku rumpalipoika" (Little drummer boy) 1964, Harry Simeone Chorale: "Little Drummer Boy" 1958. Trapp Family: "Carol of the Drum" 1955
2. Vieno Kekkonen, Laila Kinnunen & Brita Koivunen: "Tuttu vieras varmaankin" (Surely a familiar guest) 1961 - Mitch Miller: "Must Be Santa" 1960
3. Metro-tytöt & Henry Theel: "Valkea Joulu" (White Christmas) 1952  -  Bing Crosby: "White Christmas" 1942
4. Arja Koriseva: "Joululaulu" (Christmas song) 1991 - Nat King Cole Trio: "The Christmas Song" 1946
5. Vieno Kekkonen: "Joulupukki matkaan jo käy" 1959 - Harry Reser Orchestra: "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" 1934
6. Turo's Heve Gee: "Turo's Xmas Everybody" 1989 - Slade "Merry Xmas Everybody" 1973

Just 27 Finnpicks to go.

Finnpicks wishes you all MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Here's the bunch:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - Vuoden vaan saan Joulua odottaa

Let's present another track from Timo T.A. Mikkonen's Christmas Album "Joulusydän" (Christmas Heart). "Vuoden vaan saan Joulua odottaa" (It's only a year till next Christmas). The Finnish lyrics for this one were provided by famous Finnish poet and writer Tarleena Sammalkorpi. The original carol was called "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" written in 1963 and recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The "Andy Williams Christmas Album".

Just 28 Finnpicks to go.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Let It Snow!, Let It Snow!, Let It Snow! - Lunta saa tuiskuttaa

As we all know so very well, Christmas is near. There's been quite exceptional weather conditions in Finland - especially in Southern Finland - this winter. No snow, but water everywhere. Finnpicks sends now this Christmas Wish to weather gods: "Lunta saa tuiskuttaa" (Let the snow fall). Timo T.A. Mikkonen recorded the song with that title in 1989 for his Christmas Album "Joulusydän". Timo has many years been a prominent figure in Finnish entertainment - in various ways. This album was his one of his rare attempts in singing. For it, he selected many famous Christmas songs not covered in Finnish before. The original version of today's Finnpick was "Let It Snow!, Let It Snow!, Let It Snow!". It was written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne already in 1945. It was first recorded by baritone singer Vaughn Monroe (sometimes called "the Baritone with Muscles") and has since been covered countless times by many artists. It is commonly regarded as a Christmas song - but despite the song's winter holiday feel, it is a love song that never mentions Christmas.

Just 29 Finnpicks to go.

Here's the pair:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stupid Cupid - Tuttu juttu

Arja Koriseva (see earlier entry) recorded "Tuttu juttu" (A familiar story) for her debut album in 1990. This particular track was not released as a single, but the album was very popular and the sales earned her platinum in 1991. The Finnish lyrics were written by Turkka Mali, a finnpicked artist himself (see here). It's somewhat peculiar that this famous song was not covered in Finnish prior to Arja's version. The original was namely "Stupid Cupid", a massive pop hit for Connie Francis already in 1958. The song was composed by Neil Sedaka and it was chosen (by Connie herself) to be Francis' single as it was in contrast to her preceding ballad hits (most notably "Who's Sorry Now").

31 Finnpicks to go.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Washington Square - Washington Square


The vocal group Neljä Penniä ("Four Pennies") recorded in 1964, in the wake of folk music boom the song "Washington Square". This was their one and only single, but they sang backing vocals in many Finnish records at the time. The group onsisted of Ritva Mustonen, Heikki Laurila, Rauno Lehtinen and Raimo Henriksson. They all were renown singers/musicians. This song continued the fine Finnish tradition of doing vocal covers of instumental hits. The original "Washington Square" was a number 2 US hit for The Village Stompers. They were a dixieland music group originating from Greenwich Village, New York. Washington Square Park is one of the best-known of New York public parks. It is the landmark of Greenwich Village and since the end of World War II, folksingers had been congregating on Sunday afternoons in the park.

31 Finnpicks to go.

Here's the pair:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Poor Side Of Town - Tämän kaupungin yöt


Inga Sulin is a first-timer in Finnpicks. She started her recording career in 1965 and ended it in 1980. She recorded 4 albums and several singles but never really broke through as a singer. But she's done a remarkable career in theater and television. On her second album "Feelings (1976) were many covers of such diverse originals as Van McCoys "Hustle" and Hoagy Carmichaels's "Stardust", and this "Tämän kaupungin yöt" (The nights of this town). It's quite an extraordinary version of "Poor Side Of Town", which is the most known song of Johnny Rivers (b. John Henry Ramistella). Johnny's been finnpicked before, see here. This song was written by Rivers himself, together with his producer Lou Adler.

32 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Daughter of Darkness - Pettävä nainen

Well, well - it's time for another Frederik Friday. And this song nicely fits in the dark season we now live in here in Finland. Frederik recorded "Pettävä nainen" (Cheating woman) in 1970. It was on Frederik's debut album and also released as a single, but it wasn't such a great success. Again, the original was an international success for Tom Jones. "Daughter of Darkness". The song reached number 5 in UK Charts in 1970. It was written by Les Reed, who also arranged it, and another prolific songwriter Geoff Stephens. This duo wrote also "There's A kind Of Hush", finnpicked here.  You can see Tom perform "Daughter of Darkness", here.

33 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hollywood - Hollywood

Mona Carita recorded "Hollywood" for her debut album "Mona Carita" in 1979. The Finnish lyrics were - again - provided by Raul Reiman. We seem to have - purely by coincidence - a "Raul Reiman Week" now. The arrangement was done by Esa Nieminen. The original "Hollywood" was done by a Dutch group called Dingo. (not to be confused with the Finnish group of the same name). This disco combo had a modest hit with it in 1978. The song was written by famous Dutch songwriting duo Janschen & Janschens. Their real names were Hans van Hemert and Piet Souer, respectively. Hans also produced this song and Piet arranged it.

34 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Gimme Dat Ding - Gimme Dat Ding

We leave now the 'death songs' and here's something completely different. The group Finlanders recorded "Gimme Dat Ding" in 1986 for their album "Haave nainen". Finlanders is a very popular Finnish dance band, formed in the 80's and still going strong. They're playing mainly Finnish schlager songs but some pop covers fit in nicely in their repertoire. The original "Gimme Dat Ding" was a novelty hit for the duo The Pipkins. They were Roger Greenaway (the 'dirty-old-man' voice), best known as a songwriter, and Tony Burrows (the high-pitched voice), a singer who at time fronted such groups as Edison Lighthouse, The Flower Pot Men and The White Plains. The song reached number 6 in the UK Singles Charts and number 9 on the US charts in 1970. The song was written by another famous duo Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood. You can read more of the background of the song, here.

35 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Don't Fear The Reaper - Kuin Romeo ja Julia

In some respect, today's finnpick "Kuin Romeo ja Julia" (Like Romeo and Juliet) shares the theme with yesterday's "Nuori kuolemaan" (Too young to die). In deed, Romeo and Juliet died so very young.  The group Pelle Miljoona & Rockers feat. Andy McCoy recorded the song in 1995. Andy was the former member of the famous Finnish rock group Hanoi Rocks and made a short stint with - almost as famous - Pelle Miljoona & Rockers in 1995-1997, making some recordings and one tour. This "Kuin Romeo ja Julia" was released on a Finnish rock compilation album in 1995. The lyrics (by Pelle Miljoona, real name Petri Tiili)) contain references to Andy and his wife Angela, as if depicting them as modern-day Romeo and Juliet. Andy McCoy (real name Antti Hulkkonen) takes the lead vocals on this one. The original song was the biggest hit of the US rock group Blue Oyster Cult. "Don't Fear The Reaper" was released on the group's 1976 album "Agents of Fortune" and when released as a single, reached number 12 in Billboard Hot 100. The song was written by lead guitarist Donald Roeser and it's about the inevitability of death that one shouldn't be afraid of.

36 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, December 12, 2011

Wanted - Nuori kuolemaan

Jukka Raitanen recorded "Nuori kuolemaan" (Too young to die) in 1979. It was released on the B-side of the single "Keikka Ouluun" (cover of Marty Robbins' "El Paso"). Jukka made his breakthrough in 1970 with self-written "Vangin toive" (Prisoner's wish). He had written it while doing time in Konnunsuo prison. Raitanen was quite succesful schlager artist throughout the 70's and is still active in performing. The Finnish lyrics for today's finnpick were written by Raul Reiman, who himself died too young ... The original song "Wanted" became known in Finland when it was played as signature tune in a popular radio morning show. The original name of the tune was "Wanted" and it was performed by Italian group Doogy degli Armorium. Doogy was a guest artist (the whistler?) for this one and a follow-up single. But Armonium was a rock group formed 1975 and still active today. The "Wanted" song was written by Armonium's keyboardist Franco Zulian and guitarist Vincenzo Stavolo. 

37 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Walk With Me - Päivän vain

Anki Lindqvist recorded "Päivän vain" (For only a day) for her album "Sateen jälkeen" in 1967. For some reason the song was never released as a single. Two other Finnish versions of the same song were released in that same year. But none of those became a hit. The Finnish lyrics (used by all three) were provided by Juha Vainio. The original song "Walk With Me" was written by singer-songwriter and producer Tom "Dusty's Brother" Springfield. The Seekers had a big hit with it in 1966. It peaked at 10 in the UK and at 31 in Australia in October of 1966. In January 1967 The Seekers achievements were recognised at the highest level in their homeland when they were named Australians of the Year, becoming the first popular musicians to be so honoured.

37 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Snowbird - Lumilintu

Now that major part of Finland has finally been covered with snow, I find it appropiate to present this song. Päivi Paunu released "Lumilintu" (Snowbird) in 1971 as a single. It was arranged by Rauno Lehtinen and the Finnish lyrics were written by Chrisse Johansson. The original song "Snowbird" came from Canada, It was written by Gene MacLelland, who wrote also "Put Your Hand in the Hand" (finnpicked here)  and made popular by Anne Murray. The song was on her second studio album "This Way Is My Way" issued in 1969. In 1970 the song reached number 8 on the US pop singles chart. You can hear Gene perform his version of the song, here.

38 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

National Brotherhood Week - Valtakunnallinen toveruusviikko

We presented Vesa-Matti Loiri's "Voi saasta" song here. On the B-side of this 1970 single was "Valtakunnallinen toveruusviikko" (National brotherhood week). The Finnish lyrics (by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila") referenced to some real then-day Finnish celebrities by their real name. The idea of the song was of course the same as in the original: there should be one designated week of the year when even the most bitter enemies would be friends/brothers. The original song was the namesake "National Brotherhood Week", and it is one of the most famous songs of the American satirist Tom Lehrer. Lehrer does not name names, with one exception: The line "Lena Horne and Sheriff Clark are dancing cheek to cheek" refers to singer and civil rights activist Lena Horne and to Sheriff Jim Clark, of Selma, Alabama, who was responsible for a violent attack on civil rights marchers. You can see Tom present the song - with oral introduction - here.In this live concert version "Cassius Clay dances cheek to cheek with Mrs (Lurleen) Wallace", the Governor of Alabama, who strongly opposed to racial desegration in Alabama.

39 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Una Favola Blu - Tuuli kääntyköön

Kari Tapio passed away excatly one year ago. To commemorate this late great singer, Finnpicks presents Kari's first solo single "Tuuli kääntyköön" (May the wind turn) from the year 1972. The Finnish lyrics were written by Pertsa Reponen and the arrangements were done by Esko Linnavalli. Kari's manly voice was already blooming. The original song was called "Una Favola Blu" (A blue fairytale) and it was the debut single and a modest Italian hit for Italian singer/songwriter Claudio Baglioni in 1970. The song was again riding the charts in 1971 when covered by Jose Feliciano. You can hear his interpretation here. In my humble opinion, Kari Tapio's version is best of these three ...

40 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Die Rose War Rot - Ruusu on punainen

Today is the 94th Independence Day of Finland. Finnpicks gives this musical birthday rose to Finland. Tauno Palo was probably the most popular Finnish male actor ever. In addition to acting he recorded several songs, of which this "Ruusu on punainen" (The rose is red) is most famous. It was released in 1967 and became a well-deserved hit. The Finniah lyrics were provided by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila and the arranghement was done by Aarno Raninen. The anti-war lyrics depict the various wars the Finns have been involved in. And reminds us that bloodshed has not been in vain, however, Finland being now independent country. The original song - or chanson - was of German origin and was called "Die Rose War Rot" (The rose was red). It was released in the then-day DDR in 1966 and interpreted by German TV- and film actor Gerry Wolff. You can see Gerry perform the song at the Polish Sopot Music Festival, here.

41 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Under Fire - Retkussa on meidän Meikkis

Mona Carita recorded the song with an odd name, "Retkussa on meidän Meikkis" (Our Meikkis is tied up in love), in 1980 and it was released as a track on her "Soita mulle" album. The Finnish lyrics were from the pen of Raul Reiman, and the arrangement of the song was in the capable hands of Veikko Samuli. The original song was called "Under Fire" and it was a 1979 Euro -hit for the South African all-girl band Clout.  The song was written by songwriting duo Brian Robertson and Terry Britten. Robertson did some succesful records as a singer under name B. A. Robertson and Britten wrote some of the Tina Turner's biggest hits. You can see Clout perform "Under Fire", here.

42 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Oh Lonesame Me - Tänään on sunnuntai


This Finnpick is very 'up-to-date', simply because it's called "Tänään on sunnuntai" (Today is Sunday). Tuula Siponius recorded the song on 1960, and it was released on the B-side of her hit single "Tom Pillibi". The arranger and the conductor of the backing orchestra was Jaakko Borg. The Finnish lyrics were written by Reino Helismaa using one of his many pseudonyms, Rauni Kouta. The original song "Oh Lonesame Me" was written and performed by country legend Don Gibson, with Chet Atkins producing in 1958. The song topped the US country chart and reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. The single was one of the all-time greatest, because on the B-side was "I Can't Stop Loving You", that became massive success for Ray Charles 4 years later. You can see Don perform "Oh Lonesame Me", here.

43 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Valentino - Teen niin kuin teen

This Finnpick should have published yesterday, as a part of Frederik Friday -series. But I didn't have time to post it, so here it is somewhat belated. Frederik recorded "Teen niin kuin teen " (I'll do as I please) in 1978 for his album "Tuu jo tangoon". The Finniah lyrics - taylor-made for Frederik - were provided by Chrisse Johansson. The original song was also performed by Frederik, i.e. a Belgian–Italian singer Frederic Francois (b. Francesco Barracato), who wrote and sang "Valentino" in 1978. You can see him perform the song, here.

44 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Honesty - Rehellisyys

Yesterday we presented a song that told about friendship ("Ystävyys"). Today follows a song that deals with honesty, the base of all in friendship. The group ELF (Eric Lars Four) (see earlier entry) recorded "Rehellisyys" (Honesty) in 1979 for their album "Tarantella Joe". The Finnish lyrics were written by Raul Reiman.  The original song was also called "Honesty" and it written and performed by Billy Joel, who had a worldwide hit with it in 1979. It was the third single from his album "52nd Street", and it reached number 24 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Phil Ramone was responsible for the production. For some reason the song was especially popular in japan and Korea. You can see Billy perform the song, here.

45 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Harmony - Ystävyys

Tuulikki Eloranta (see earlier entry) recorded "Ystävyys" (Friendship) in 1974. It was released on her album "Hymni rakkaudelle". The Finnish lyrics - brilliant as always - were provided by Juha Vainio. The original song was called "Harmony" and was initially made popular by US musician Artie Kaplan. Artie is a saxophonist and flutist that has played on over 150 Top Ten records, for example on "Sunny" by Bobby Hebb and "Locomotion" by Little Eva. In 1973 he released his debut solo album called "Confessions Of A Male Chauvinist Pig". This "Harmony" -song was one of the tracks, and when released as a single, it hit the charts in Italy and achieved popularity alse elsewhere in Europe.

46 Finnpicks to go.

 Here's the pair:
 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Good Morning Little Schoolgirl - Hei pieni joko mennään

Rauli "Badding" Somerjoki (see earlier entry)  covered numerous r&b/rock'n roll classics and this "Hei pieni joko mennään" (Hei little one, lets go) was one of those. It was released as the opening track on his "Sydän lämpöä täys" album in 1975. In the following year it was released also as a single (on the B-side was Rauli's cover of Elvis' "Kiss Me Quick"). Neither the album nor the single sold in great quantities. The original song "Good Morning, School Girl" or "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" is an old blues standard that has been covered countless times.It was first recorded by blues legend John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson in 1937. In 1961, the R&B duo Don & Bob (Don Level and Bob Love) recorded a different version of "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" with different chord changes and lyrics, including references to popular dance styles of the time. The majority of subsequent versions (like the one by Badding) took on to Don & Bob's version and the present copyright owners of the song are in deed misters Level and Love.

47 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Bad Time - Ei ole aikaa

Bikini recorded "Ei ole aikaa" (There's no time) in 1986. It was released as a single, but, undeservedly, it went nowhere. I don't know much about Bikini. It was a three-piece group (judging by the cover picture on the sleeve of the single), who released this one single and one subsequent album in 1987. Most of their material was self-written, but apart from today's finnpick, they covered also Jay Ferguson's "Thunder Island". The original version of "Ei ole aikaa" was called "Bad Time" and it was a smash hit for the American band Grand Funk Railroad. GFR was a highly succesful rock group in USA in the 70's. The band's name is a word-play of the railroad line "Grand Trunk Western Railroad",that ran through their home town of Flint, Michigan. "Bad Time" was on their 1975 album "All the Girls in the World Beware!!!", and when released as a single, became their last Top 10 hit. The song was written by group's lead vocalist Mark Farner. 

48 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Here Comes the Dawn - Jään ikkunaan

Katri Helena recorded "Jään ikkunaan" (I'll stay by the window") in 1973. It was released on the B-side of her big success "Anteeksi suo" (presented in Finnpicks earlier, see here). It was released also on her album "Kun kohdattiin". The Finnish lyrics were made by Pertsa Reponen. The original song was called "Here Comes the Dawn" and it was co-written and performed by Bob Azzam (b. Wadih George Azzam). This Lebanese-at-birth singer and musician made it big with "Mustapha" (finnpicked here), but this is his 70's material, a track on his album "Garden Of Love".

49 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dancing And Drinking - Lisää vodkaa

Like Irishmen, the Finns have a reputation to be heavy drinkers. Well I don't know if that's true today, but in the 70's it might have been. So, in the spirit (;-)) of that era, we present "Lisää vodkaa" (More vodka), performed by the group Rolf Bergström & Pyhimykset from the year 1971.  It was released as a single, but failed to hit the charts. The group's claim to fame was their version of "Rock Your Baby", which was a hit in 1974. The original song, titled "Dancing And Drinking", originated not from Ireland but from Netherlands. There's not much info on the performing artist, the group Plastic People. They were a four-piece band from Amsterdam, and this was probably their only Top 20 hit in Netherlands. It reached number 14 in 1970, and the single was released also in UK, but went unnoticed there. But the Finns picked it up ...   

50 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Rock and Roll Is Back - Rock and roll taas soi

OK, we present now a second Vanity Fare -cover in a row. The group Karma recorded "Rock and roll taas soi" (Rock and roll plays again) in 1973 and had a minor hit with it during the 70's rock and roll revival. Many of the youth of those days still remembers the chorus line of the song. The Finnish lyrics were crafted again by Vexi Salmi (it seems we have had quite a few of those lately, but just by coincidence). The original song was called "Rock and Roll Is Back" and it was the last hit for Vanity Fare, and not a big one at that. You can see the them perform the song here.

51 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Hitchin' A Ride - Liftari oon

We Finns have accustomed to Paula Koivuniemi being mostly as a schlager singer. Well, some 40 years ago she recorded pure pop songs, too. This "Liftari oon" (I'm a hitchhiker) is a fine example of Paula's poppier side. It was released in 1972 on the B-side of his come-back hit "Jos konduktöörin nait" (cover of Shocking Blue's "Never Marry A Railroad Man"). As often is the case, the B-side of a bigger hit is completely forgotten. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Vexi Salmi and the arrangement by Rauno Lehtinen. The original song "Hitchin' A Ride" was written by songwriting duo Peter Callander and Mitch Murray (they wrote also "The Night Chicago Died" and "Billy Don't Be A Hero") and it was a massive worldwide hit for UK pop group Vanity Fare.  It reached number 16 on the UK Singles Chart in 1970, but was surprisingly a bigger hit in the US, reaching number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. You can see the band perform the song in BBC's Top of the Pops -programme, here.

52 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

View From A Bridge - Kuin roskakertomus

Meiju Suvas recorded oddly titled "Kuin roskakertomus" (Like pulp fiction) in 1982 for her debut album "Meiju". The Finnish lyrics were made by Vexi Salmi. The original song was called "View From A Bridge". It was the 5th consecutive UK Top 20 hit for Kim Wilde in 1982. The song told the story of a girl committing suicide by jumping off a bridge.  The siblings who wrote the song, were the same as with most of Kim's hits; Marty Wilde (father) and Ricky Wilde (brother).

53 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sadness of a Summer's Afternoon - Uskon päivään kauniimpaan

Päivi Paunu recorded "Uskon päivään kauniimpaan" (I believe in a more bautiful day) in 1971 for her album of the same name. The Finnish lyrics were made by Vexi Salmi. I coukd see hit potential in the song, and it was released as a single, but only on the B-side to her cover of Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down". The original version of today's finnpick "Sadness Of A Summer's Afternoon" is quite a rare song, and I apologize of the inferior quality of the recording. But that's the only version I found. The performer is called James Horne, and the song was released on the UK RAK label in 1971. I don't know anything about James Horne, but the composers of the song are familiar (finnpicked before) - Alan Blaikley and Ken Howard.

54 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Give Me Hope Jo'anna - Toivotaan Jo'anna

Arja Saijonmaa (see earlier entry) recorded this "Toivotaan Jo'anna" (Let's hope Jo'anna) in 1989. It was released just as an album track on his album "Yhteinen taivas ja maa". The original song "Give Me Hope Jo'anna" was written and performed in 1984 by Eddy Grant. Eddy was the founder and leader of the beat pop group The Equals in the 60's and 70's and later launched a successful solo career. He often wrote songs with openly political tendencies, especially against the then-current apartheid regime of South Africa. And this 'Jo'anna' -song is the anthem amongst all those. "Jo'anna" stands for Johannesburg, and as one might guess, the song was banned in South Africa. In UK, it became a Top Ten hit, and in Netherlands it hit number one.

55 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mama Packed A Picnic Tea - Miten olis pienet teet

Let's present another one from Marco I, or Markku Härkönen. He used his real name when releasing this "Miten oli pienet teet" (How about a cuppa tea) in 1971. Of his recorded out of 8 songs this song was most close to be a hit . It has become some kind of 'underground classic'. The finnish lyrics were provided by Chrisse Johansson. The original song was called "Mama Packed A Picnic Tea". It was one of the lesser known Matt Monro singles, released in 1971.  The song tells about an English family, who made it their Sunday picnic to go to see different kind of accidents and nature disasters. And one day they apparently met their destiny in a similar kind of accident. An odd story, it is ... The producer of the record was the one and only George Martin and in deed you can hear some familiar beatles-que elements in the production.

56 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Man kann nicht alle mädchen kûssen - Jos vielä kerran hetken verran suudellaan

In the 50's and still in the beginning of the 60's Finnish singers did frequently covers of German schlagers. After the pop revolution (i.e. Beatles e.a.) there were fewer and fewer of those. And in the 70's it was quite a rarity. So, this "Jos vielä kerran hetken verran suudellaan" (If we still kiss for awhile one more time) is one of the rare breed. It was recorded by a singer named Marco I (real name Markku Härkönen) in 1970. Marco I released only 4 singles in the years 1968-1971, using also his real name on some. Sadly, the big success avoided him. The original German song was called song was called "Man kann nicht alle mädchen kûssen". (One can not kiss all the girls). It was first mad national hit by an artist named Bernd Apitz. Bernd was a singer and a disc jockey, who had a couple of hits 40 years ago and is still active and touring today. BTW, his present road show is called "Reiner Wahnsinn" (Pure Madness).

57 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Delta Queen - Tule kotiin

Jetit (see earlier entry) recorded "Tule kotiin" (Come home) in 1973. It was released on the flipside of their cover of Seals & Crofts "Funny Little Man". This "Tule kotiin" clearly had some hit potential, but it never realized. The Finnsih lyrics were done by Vexi Salmi. The original song was called "Delta Queen". It was first recorded by a South African group called Proudfoot. I don't know if it ever was a hit for them outside South Africa, but the song, sounding not unlike the 1971 smash hit 'Mamy Blue', was at least moderate hit in Germany (see it here), and in France (see it here) in local cover versions. Well, the song could have another "Mamy Blue", but wasn't ... 

58 Finnpicks to go.

Here's the pair:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Emotion - Sua tarvitsen niin

Bon Bon (see the earlier entry) recorded "Sua tarvitsen niin" (I need you so) in 1979. It was released on the B-side of their cover of Blondie's "Heart Of Glass". Both sides, however, failed to cause any action chartwise. The Finnish lyrics for today's finnpick were (again) done by Chrisse Johansson. The original song "Emotion" originated from the pens of Gibb brothers Barry and Robin, who wrote it in 1977 for the Australian songstress Samantha Sang (b. Cheryl Lau Sang) while she was visiting Bee Gees in France, where they were recording songs for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. The recorded song featured backing vocals by Barry, and in 1978 it became a major hit worldwide. In USA, it reached number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100. You can see Samantha perform the song, here.

59 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Papa - Isä

Today is Father's Day. Many countries celebrate it in June but we in Scandinavian countries celebrate it in the middle of darkest autumn. There are much less songs of fathers than mothers (I wonder why ...). But here's one, to honor all the fathers. Kari Tapio (yes, him again) recorded "Isä" (Father) in 1975. The Finnish lyrics were made by a woman, Chrisse Johansson. For some inexplicable reason it was at the time released only on a compilation album. The original version of this beautiful song was written and performed by Paul Anka, bearing the title "Papa". So here's to you all 'isät', 'papas', 'fathers', 'grandpas', etc,

60 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shang-a-lang - Shang-a-lang

Upon researching the Finnpicks I have come up with many surprises and amazing facts. Today's finnpick is one example of those. Well, I couldn't have imagined Kari Tapio ever covering Bay City Rollers. But he really did it, in 1974, when he released single with "Shang-a-lang" on it. Perhaps understandably, it was not a hit and the song has not been included in any of Kari's compilation albums. But nothing wrong with the song, though ... The original "Shang-a-lang" was written by top songwriter duo Phil Coulter and Bill Martin and was the 3rd UK Top Ten hit for Bay City Rollers  reaching number 2 in 1974. You can see them perform it, here.

61 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

The Way - Hillitön hopeinen kuu

On the trail of yesterday's 'full moon' we today present another moon -themed song. Heikki Hela recorded "Hillitön hopeinen kuu" (Uncontrollable silvery moon) in 2007. You can see him perform the song live, here. Heikki was going to be a teacher, but he started a career as musician in the 80's, first in a gospel group and then in the 90's as a solo artist. He's also known for his work with the comedy act Kummeli and for several appearences in TV shows, TV plays and movies. The original song "The Way" was a sizeable hit in 1998 for the American rock group Fastball . This song is based on the true story of an elderly couple, who drove to a local festival and then just kept on going. She had Alzheimer's disease and he was recovering from brain surgery. When they disappeared, there was a series of newspaper articles about the missing couple and after reading the articles Fastball bassist Tony Scalzo came up with the idea for the song. You can see the official music video of the song, here.

62 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Under The Moon Of Love - Meidän on täysikuu

Today we all can see - clouds permitting - the full moon. So it's also precisely right moment for presenting this song. Kisu recorded "Meidän on täysikuu" (The full moon is ours) in 1977. It was released as a single, but proved out to be a non-hit. The original song "Under The Moon Of Love" was minor hit in the U.S. reaching number 46 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1961. It was performed and co-written by Curtis Lee  and produced by Phil Spector. The best-known song of Curtis Lee is "Pretty little Anger Eyes", which reached US Top 10 in 1961. The "Moon" -song was revived in 1976, when Showaddywaddy, a popular British teddy-revival band of he 70's hit number one in UK and it reached the Top 20 also in Finland. You can see the band perform the song, here.

63 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

I Can't Get Enough - Loppumaton ikävä

Mona Carita usually sang fast-paced discofied songs. But perhaps her voice would have been better suited for slower ballads. At least this "Loppumaton ikävä" (Endless yearning) is a nice example of that kind of delivery. She recorded in 1981 for her album "Nykyaikainen", Raul Reiman wrote the lyrics and Veikko Samuli did the arrangements. The original song "I Can't Get Enough" was the B-side to Kelly Marie's (b. Jacqueline McKinnon) great 1980 disco hit "Feels Like I'm In Love". As with Mona Carita, this song showcases the often overlooked, more sombre, side of Kelly Marie. The song was co-written by our old acquaintance Peter Yellowstone - together with his pals Steve Voice and Mike Tinsley.

64 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hooked On A Feeling - Pahuksen tunteet

Leo Luoto recorded "Pahuksen tunteet" (Damn these feelings) in 1974. For some reason it remained only an album track on the "Leo Luoto" LP. The first Finnish version was done a year ealier by Dave, but that recording I don't have. So we listen to Leo's interpretation, which is no bad at all. The Finnish lyrics were written by Chrisse Johansson. The original song was named "Hooked On A Feeling" and it was a smash hit on two occasions. In 1969 the original version performed by B. J. Thomas (b. Billy Joe Thomas)  reached number 5 in Billboard Top 100 chart. The song featured the distinctive sound of the electric sitar. In 1971, the Englishman Jonathan King  produced his own version, adding the famous "ooga chaka" chants. King described it as "a reggae rhythm by male voices". His version reached number 23 on the UK Singles Chart. In 1974, the Swedish pop group Blue Swede (with Björn Skifs as lead singer) did a cover, which included their own version of King's "ooga chaka" introduction, and their version reached number 1 in the US. BTW, the song was written by Mark James, who also wrote such monster hits as "Suspicious Minds", "Moody Blue" and "Always On My Mind".

p.s. This blog has today exceeded 100 000 visits (counted from the start). Thank you!

65 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Give Me Your Heart Tonight - Enemmän kuin nainen

Jarmo "Jamppa" Tuominen had an absolute pitch (a.k.a. perfect pitch). He mastered seven instruments - saxophone being the main istrument - and started his career as musician already at the age of 11 in youth orchestras. His recording career as a singer began in 1976, when he had a massive hit with the song "Aamu toi, ilta vei". We have already presented Jamppa before - as a "guest artist" - here. He recorded this "Enemmän kuin nainen" (More than a woman) in 1985 for his album "Onnenpoika". It was also released as a single, but received not the popularity it deserved. The original song came from UK. "Give Me Your Heart Tonight" was a big hit for Welsh rock/pop singer Shakin' Stevens (b. Michael Barratt)  in 1982. It reached number 3 in the UK chart. Surprisingly perhaps, the writer of the song, Billy Livsey, was American, a Nashville songwriter and producer. You can see Shaky perform the song, here.

66 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Games People Play - Leikit ihmisten

Seija Simola released the album "Tunteen sain" in 1976. One of the tracks was "Leikit ihmisten" (The games of the people) Pertti Reponen's lyrics depicted the various vanities of the man. As did the original "Games People Play", whisch was written and performed by singer and songwriter Joe South in 1968. The lyrics and title are thought to be a direct reference to Dr. Eric Berne's bestselling book of the same name released in 1964. It deals with the "games" human beings play in interacting with one another. Joe South's song won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Song and the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. The distinctive guitar at the opening is played on a Danelectro Guitar Sitar.

67 Finnpicks to go.

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