Sunday, February 27, 2011

Petite femme - Et saa sitä miettiäkään

Kai Hyttinen recorded "Et saa sitä miettiäkään" (You shall not even think about it) in 1975 for his album "Saanhan olla hän". It was not released as a single, being perhaps something else that public expected from Kai. The lyrics were crafted by Kai's (and ours) old friend Veikko "Vexi" Salmi. The original song was called "Petite femme" (Little woman) and it was a 1974 hit for French singer named Santiana. His real name was Jean-Pierre d'Amico, and he was born in Tunisia but made his career in France. He was popular singer in the 70's and later moved to broadcasting business being the the first program director of French youth radio station NRJ (broadcasting nowadays also in Finland).

Here's the pair:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

(Love is) The $ 64,000 Question - Ota tai jätä

It's "Both Sides Now" again. On the flipside of yesterdays Stig Fransman Finnpick was this "Ota tai jätä" (Take it or leave it). The song was more popular in Seija Lampila's version that ws released in the same year 1958. The title was referencing the popular 50's radio quiz show of the same name, hosted by legenadary quiz show host Tauno Rautiainen., The original song was also based on similar theme. It was namely the theme song for "The $64,000 Question" which was a very popular American game show, broadcast from 1955-1958. It had its roots in the CBS radio quiz show, "Take It or Leave It" (on which the Finnish "Ota tai jätä" was also based). The tune was first purely instrumental, but it was put in words in 1956, and several versions of the song was released. We present here the one by Tony Travis. Tony was an actor and singer from the 50's and 60's who had a great voice but litlle success..

Here's the pair:

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Story Of My Life - Elämäni tarina

Stig Fransman makes now his debut in Finnpicks. Stig recorded some singles in the end of 50's and in the beginning of 60''. But he preferred acting to singing and after becoming professional actor he eventually quit recording. He made his first single in 1958, and on the A-side was this "Elämäni tarina" (The story of my life). Nice song and performance, but no chartbuster, however. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The original song "The Story Of My Life" was one of the first collaborations by US songwriting team Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (words). The song was country and cross-over hit for Marty Robbins (finnpicked earlier, see here) in 1957. The song stayed at number 1 on the country chart for four weeks and reached number 15 on the Billboard Top 100. In the UK, Michael Holliday recorded a version that went all the way to number 1 in 1958. You can see Marty perform the song in this rare clip.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Please Don't Touch - Ei koskettaa saa

Methinks, this is one of the best rock songs ever (at least in it's original version). The group Amulet recorded "Ei koskettaa saa" (No touching allowed) in 1976 for their album "Caddy By Amulet". This hard rocking band was founded in 1968 and was most active in the 1970s. The band had no big hits but it enjoyed steady fan following. The same song was re-finnpicked with different lyrics in 1988, when Pate Mustajärvi released it as "Helvetistä taivaaseen (... ja takaisin)" (From hell to heaven (... and back)) on the B-side of his "Boulevard de la Madeleine" single. Pate Mustajärvi (real name Pauli Mustajärvi) is a Finnish rock legend, both with his band Popeda and in solo, going strong for over 30 years since the end of 1970's. The original of today's finnpicked song was titled "Please Don't Touch" and it was the debut single and first hit (number 25 in UK) for British rockers Johnny Kidd and The Pirates. Johnny Kidd (b. Frederick Heath) also wrote the song. In 1959, when rock music was only just emerging, this must have been really hard stuff, And it still is ...

Here's the triplet:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Far L'Amore Comincia Tu - Potki potki sä vain

Kari Tapio recorded "Potki potki sä vain" (You just kick all you can) in 1977 for his album "Kaipuu". Kari's big breakthrough hit "Viisitoista kesää" was also on this album, but today's finnpick was not released as a single. The lyrics were crated by Pertsa Reponen, and Veikko Samuli did the arrangement. The original song was of Italian origin. "A Far L'Amore Comincia Tu" (To make the love start you) was a big hit for Raffaella Carra in 1977 all over Europe. You can see 'La Carra' perform the song here.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Did What I Did For Maria - Tein mitä tein vuoks Marian

Kristian Jernström aka Kisu, recorded "Tein mitä tein vuoks Marian" (I did what I did for Maria) in 1971 and it was released as a single, but received no greater attention. As far as I know, it has never been released on any of Kisu's albums. The lyrics were provided by Chrisse Johansson. The original song was a worldwide hit for Tony Christie. "I Did What I Did For Maria" was written by two successful British songwriters Peter Callander and Mitch Murray (b. Lionel Stitcher). The duo is perhaps best known for their collaboration in "The Night Chicago Died" and "Billy Don't Be A Hero". This "Maria" -song is thematically like the other famous murder and revenge ballad "Delilah". You can see Tony Christie perform the song here. BTW, on the other side of Kisu's single was another Tony Christie cover, "Las Vegas".

Here's the pair:

Monday, February 21, 2011

La Pioggia - Mä aurinkoon jään

Matti Esko released his first, eponymous, album in 1971. This "Mä aurinkoon jään" (I'll stay in the sun) was on it and it was also released as a single, however failing to create any chart action. Matti's breakthrough was still some years away. The original song did not tell about sun, in fact the lyrics dealt with rain, "La Pioggia" in Italian, and how the love conquers it; "... rain does not exist if you look at me". The song was was performed in 1969 San Remo music festival by Gigliola Cinquetti, and it became a deserved hit for her. You can see the performance, here. Gigliola is of course best remembered by being the Eurovision Song Contest winner in 1964.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

They're Coming To Take Me Away Hahaa! - Ne tulee ja hakee mut pois ha-haa

The second of our 60¨s comedy song classics is a special case - it was never released on record! In 1966 there was a popular Comedy series "Kuten haluatte" (As you wish) running on Finnish television. In one of the episodes actor Esko Salminen presented this song "Ne tulee ja hakee mut pois ha-haa". (They'll come and take me away, ha-haa). The perfomance was so captivating that people still remember it after almost 50 years. The song was not released as a single, although it would have been a sure-fire hit. We present here the audio tape recording extracted from that show. Esko Salminen was, and still is, one of the most prominent and populat Finnish actors. He has recorded some songs (mainlychildren songs) but not tried to make any pop records. For some reason the song never got covered in Finnish, until our old friend Moog Konttinen made his own version in 2000 for his solo album "Rock'n roll vuonna 0". We present it here, too. The original song is of course one of the novelty songs' abolute classics, "They're Coming To Take Me Away Hahaa! ! by Napoleon XIV, Napoleon XIV was the 'alter ego' of the American singer-songwriter and record producer Jerry Samuels. The song was Top 5 hit in USA in 1966, and if this A-side wasn't strange enough, on the B-side was the same song played backwards ...

Here's the triplet:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Blah, Blah, Blah - Jäkäti jäk

This weekend we present two classic humour songs from the 60's. The first one is performed by Ismo Kallio, who recorded "Jäkäti jäk" (Yakety yak) in 1963 together with vocal group Four Cats. The original song is in the Database of The Finnish Institute of Recorded Sounds erroneously credited as being "Yakety Sax" (also known as the Benny Hill Theme) by Boots Randolph, but it is in fact a novelty record called "Blah, Blah, Blah" recorded by Italian-American singer, songwriter and restaurateur Nicola Paone in 1958. The song was ranked No. 1 on the US charts by Cash Box magazine in January 1959. Paone was very popular in the US in the 50's, especially among his 'paesanos' (countrymen). He was even called "the Italian Bing Crosby," The "Blah, Blah, Blah" presented here is probably the single version, becouse it misses the second verse, which is present in the Finnish version.

Here's the pair:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dangerous Happiness - Vaarallista onnea

On the B-side of Eino Grön's 1963 single "Seinillä on korvat" (see earlier entry) was this "Vaarallista onnea" (Dangerous happiness). Both sides of the single became very popular and built up Eino's career. The Finnish lyrics for today's finnpick were written by Sauvo Puhtila. Despite of the title of the original being in English, the song originated from Sweden. It was a big Scandinavian hit for Jerry Williams & The Violents. Jerry has been finnpicked before (see here). Soon after this success Jerry launched a solo career. In pre-Jerry Williams days The Violents had a great success with the instrumental tune "Alpens ros", but after his departure the star days were soon over and the band faded out around 1965.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Cindy, Oh Cindy - Cindy, oi Cindy

Per-Erik "Pärre" Förars (see earlier entry) recorded several calypso -influenced songs. This "Cindy, oi Cindy" was one of those and released in 1958. At the time calypso had become popular dance rhythm via many hit songs by Harry Belafonte. This finnpicked calypso was originally recorded in 1956 by Vince Martin and The Tarriers, and quickly covered by Eddie Fisher. Both versions made the charts that year. I guess it was the one by Fisher that got covered by Pärre. The Tarriers were an American vocal group specializing in folk music and folk-flavored popular music. One of the groups original members was Alan Arkin who later became famous actor. Vince Martin was originally one of the many American "Singing Cowboys", but later gained fame in the folk music circuit. Eddie Fisher who was one of the world's most famous and successful singers in the 1950s, selling millions of records and hosting his own TV show. He was also known as being the husband of both Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor. The "Cindy" song was not originally from Caribbean, but written by US songwriters Robert Nemiroff and Burt D'Lugoff under the pseudonyms of Robert Barron and Burt Long.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boom Boom Boomerang - Bum bum bumerang

Tuula-Anneli Rantanen was one of the new generation Finnish female pop singers in the latter part of the 50's. After winning a singing paget in 1956 she had a couple of big hits, but her career waned in the 60's. She recorded "Bum bum bumerang" in 1958 and it was released on the B-side of a 78 rpm record as well as on an EP. It wasn't one of her big hits and this joyful song has been largely forgotten. The original song was a big hit for US female vocal group The DeCastro Sisters. Their biggest hit single was "Teach Me Tonight", in 1954 hitting number 2 in the US. This follow-up single "Boom Boom Boomerang" hit number 17. The bass vocals were provided by Thurl Ravenscroft. Thurl was an American voice actor and singer known for his deep, booming voice. He was best-known as the voice of Tony the Tiger in more than 500 television commercials for Kellogg's Frosted Flakes.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I'll Take The Money And Run - Mä ryöstän pankin

I don't know if today anyone dared to write lyrics like in this song "Mä ryöstän pankin" (I'll rob a bank). It might not be 'politically correct' to write a song about plans to rob a bank. Even if it's done for love ... Markku Karjalainen (see earlier entry) recorded the song in 1974 for his album "M.m.m.". And the lyrics were crafted by Pertti "Pertsa" Reponen. The original song "I'll Take The Money And Run" was written by British songwriting duo John Carter and Geoff Stephens. John was once a member of the pop group Ive League and later sang lead in Stephens-penned "Winchester Cathedral" and co-lead in Flower Pot Men's "Let's Go To San Francisco". In 1970 the duo wrote the UK entry for ESC, "Knock Knock Whose There". This 'robbing song' was their collaboration for Joe Dolan, and it was released in 1974 as a follow-up to his hit "Sweet Little Rock'n Roller", but did not fare as well.

Here's the pair:

Monday, February 14, 2011

This Ole House - Torppavanhus - Seiska

Kipparikvartetti ("Skipper Quartet") was the father of all Finnish vocal groups. It's heyday was in the 50's and at the time it was one of the most popular entertaining acts in Finland, doing radio- and TV shows, movies and recording a wealth of good music. Like this "Torppavanhus" (Old cottage) that was released in 1955 on a 78 rpm record. The lyrics were provided by Sauvo Puhtila. Puhtila did also a modernized version of the lyrics and Ismo Kallio (see earlier entry) recorded "Seiska" (Seven) in 1965, scoring a medium-size hit with it. The original song originated from the US country scene. "This Ole House" was written in 1954 by Stuart Hamblen, one of American radio's first singing cowboys. The version by Rosemary Clooney, featuring bass vocals by Thurl Ravenscroft, reached number 1 on the Billboard chart, but we present here the writer's version. There's a (non-verified) story behind the song. Hamblen was on a hunting expedition with his fellow hunter, actor John Wayne, when they came across a old hut in the mountains, many miles from civilization. They went into the hut and there, lying amongst the rubbish and rubble of a crumbling building, was the body of a dead man. This inspired Hamblin to write "This Ole House", an epitaph for a mountain man.

Here's the triplet:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

There's A Kind Of Hush - Tulla uudelleen ei voi hetki tää

Taiska Sunday once more... Taiska recorded "Tulla uudelleen ei voi hetki tää" (This moment will not come back) in 1976. It was released on the B-side of our first ever Finnpick "Moi moi vain" and also on the album "Mombasa". Berit recorded this song in that same year, and I'll present also her version here if I ever get hold of it. The original song "There's A Kind Of Hush" was the collaboration of two renowned British songwriters Les Reed and Geoff Stephens. Stephens formed in 1966 The New Vaudeville Band, writing and recording songs in a 1920s musical style, best known for their Stephens-penned debut single "Winchester Cathedral". This "There's a Kind of Hush" was one of their later recordings and did not get much attention. But a little later, a cover version done by Herman's Hermits was a monster hit. But most probably Taiska's and Berit's versions were inspired by The Carpenters' rendition released in 1976.

Here's the triplet:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Brasilero - Brasilero

Katri Helena recorded "Brasilero" in 1977. It was released on the B-side of her Top 10 hit, the Finnish version of that year's Eurovision winner "L'oiseau et l'enfant". Katri herself wrote the Finnish lyrics for "Brasilero". Also Frederik released a version of that in the same year, using Katri's lyrics. The original "Brasilero" was - again - written by hitmakers Roberto Danova and Peter Yellowstone. There are about 30 Finnish version of their songs of which we have already presented quite a few, and there's more to come. The original performer was called Roberto Montecristo. Roberto was in the 70's a successful producer of various artists like Kelly Marie, Mungo Jerry and Joe Dolan. In 1976 he released this song "Brasilero", which broke out in Europe and established him also as a singer.

Here's the triplet:

Friday, February 11, 2011

L'amour c'est la musique de la vie - Leikin tein

Let's listen to a second Shuky & Aviva cover in a row. Tuulikki Eloranta (see earlier entry) recorded "Leikin tein" (I made it to a play) in 1978 for her album "Niin lähellä". The lyrics were made by veteran wordsmith Sauvo Puhtila. The original Shuky & Aviva song was titled "L'amour c'est la musique de la vie" (Love is the music of the life), and it was co-written by Shuky Levy. The duo made also an english version called "Love Is Like", but it went nowhere. They also tried to be big in Japan and made a Japanese´version (You can hear it here).

Here's the pair:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Signorina Concertina - Vain rakkaus sen aikaan saa

Monica Aspelund recorded "Vain rakkaus sen aikaan saa" (Only love can do it) in 1973. It was released as a single (and single only), but it gained no greater attention. Even if it should have been a hit! Monica wrote the Finnish lyrics herself. The original song "Signorina Concertina" was an euro-hit for Israeli duo Shuky & Aviva (Shuki Levy and Aviva Paz). It was their flagship song and sold more than two million copies across Europe. But the two artists experienced the most success in France. The song was written by hitmakers and our old friends Peter Yellowstone(under pseudonym Peter Papini) and Roberto Danova. You can see Shuky and Aviva perform the song, here.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sister Golden Hair - Voi mua poika rukkaa

The group Gulliver (see earlier entry) recorded "Voi mua poika rukkaa" (Oh, me the poor boy) in 1978 for their album "Gulliver ou jee". Not releasd as a single, though it might have had the hit potential. The lyrics were provided by Vexi Salmi. The original song was written by Gerald Beckley, who was the founder member of the group America. They had a number 1 hit in USA in 1975 with this "Sister Golden Hair". With another band member, Dewey Bunnell, Beckley still continues touring worldwide as "America". The title of the song was initially inspired by the mothers of all three members of the group, all of whom were blondes. You can see the band perform the song, here.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Randy - Ändy

As Reijo Karvonen yesterday, the pop group Kalmar Union is a newcomer to Finnpicks. The group released this "Ändy" in 1973 as a single together with the cover of Tremeloes' "Hello Budy". The single was not a commercial success, neither the band. Two members of the band later enjoyed some success as solo artists, and have been presented frequently in Finnpicks; Leo Luoto (bass, lead vocals) and Seppo Närhi (keyboards, vocals) The original Kalmar Union (Kalmarunionen) was a series of personal unions, that united the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden (including Finland) under a single monarch in 1397–1523. The original "Ändy" was "Randy", and it was the last hit for British pop group Blue Mink in 1973. Blue Mink was quite popular in UK in the start of 70's scoring 6 Top 20 hits. Most of their hit songs were written by our old friends Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway. Cook was also a singer in the group. The lead singer was, however, Madeline Bell, who later made also a successful solo career.

Here's the pair:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Israelites - Mistä sais

Reijo Karvonen is a Finnish singer and musician who was active in recording business from the mid 70's to early 80's. He recorded a solo album called "Tulossa" in 1975 and in 1978 another one with his backing group Ikaros. On this latter album "Ikaros" was this song "Mistä sais" (Where would I get (a job)). This was one of many reggae-style recordings Reijo made. The lyrics were written by band's keyboardist Anssi Tikanmäki, who later became famous as musician, arranger and songwriter in his own right. The original song "Israelites" was written and performed by a Jamaican singer and songwriter Desmond Dekker (b. Desmond Adolphus Dacres). It was released in 1968 and topped the UK Singles Chart, and it was the first reggae hit to do so. The song combined the Rastafarian religion with Jamaican rudeboy concerns on unemployment. "The Israelites" is a Rastafarian concept of black race being the Lost Children of Israel. You can see Desmond perform the song, here.

Here's the pair:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ibo Lele - Mombasa

It seems that we have Taiska Sunday again. This time we present the definitive Taiska song. She recorded "Mombasa" in 1975. It became top 10 hit in 1976 and it has since been one of the most popular Finnish records of all time. Therefore it's quite extraordinary that very few have heard the original tune called "Ibo lele". Well it was of Italian origin and composed by Fabio Frizzi, best known for his horror film scores, which have become some of the most widely known in the genre. But this song was from the score written for a 1974 erotic movie called "Amore Libero" (Free Love), directed by Pier Ludovico Pavoni. It features erotic movie star Laura Gemser ("Black Emmanuelle") in her first role. The movie is not set Mombasa, Kenya, but in the island of Seychelles. Then, what is "Ibo Lele"? Well, having not seen the movie, I don't know. I guess it's a location in Seychelles, becouse there's another tune in the soundtrack called "Ibo Lele at Night".

Here's the pair:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Kitty - Mickey - Miki

Now we have come to the final entry of our 3rd Finnpicks Chinnichap Week (only 6 days this time). Leena Vanamo recorded "Miki" in 1984 for her only album "Sua kaipaan". Leena did several recordimgs and TV appearences in the 80's, but never quite made it to the front fow of Finnish female singers. BTW, the lyrics for "Miki" were provided by another 80's popper, Pave Maijanen.. The song that Leena covered was called "Mickey" and it was a worldwide smash hit for American Toni Basil (b. Antonia Christina Basilotta) in 1982. Toni cas actually a choreographer and this was her sole pop hit, making her one of the "One Hit Wonders". The original song was, however, recorded in 1979 by British pop rock group Racey. It was titled "Kitty" and was included in their albun "Smash And Grab", which included also their biggest hit "Some Girls" (also written by Chinnichap). You can see Toni Basil perform the famous cheerleader video of "Mickey", here.

Here's the triplet:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Four Letter Words - Tule juttelemaan

"Tule juttelemaan" (Come and talk to me) was on Mona Carita's 1980 album "Soita mulle". It was also released as a single but to no greater succes. The lyrics and the arrangement were done by professionals, Raul Reiman and Veikko Samuli respectively. The original Chinnichap -penned tune was called "Four Letter Words" and it was an album track on Suzi Quatro's Mike Chapman -produced 1979 album "Suzi... And Other Four Letter Words". The phrase "four-letter word" refers to a set of English-language words written with four letters which are considered profane, including common popular or slang terms for excretory functions, sexual activity and genitalia.

Here's the pair:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stumblin' in - Kompastuttiin

Berit (see earlier entry) recorded an album called "Rakkauden jälkeen" in 1980. On one of the tracks she was teamed up with Matti Esko (see earlier entry) and they performed the song "Kompastuttin" (We stumbled). It was also released as a single, but didn't succeed chartwise. The original song was a Chinnichap composition called "Stumblin' in" and it was performed by Smokie's lead singer Chris Norman and Suzi Quatro. The song was included in Quatro's album "If You Knew Suzi" (US version). It was released as a single, and it went all the way to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1979. It's quite extraordinary, that this song was Quatro's ONLY US Top 40 hit.

Here's the pair:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

It's Your Life - Siitäs sait

Brother and sister duo Kirka ja Anna (Babitzin) released one album, in 1978. "Siitäs sait" (There you have it) was one of the album tracks, and it was also released on the B-side of their single "Sinut haluan vain" (finnpicked earlier, see here) The Finnish lyrics were written by Pertti "Pertsa" Reponen. The original song "It's Your Life" was Smokie's follow-up single to "Lay Back ..." and became another UK Top 10 hit in summer of 1977. You can see Smokie perform the song here.

Here's the pair:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Lay Back in the Arms of Someone - Tunteitaan ei voi estää

Karma released "Tunteitaan ei voi estää" (You can't turn down your feelings) as a single in 1977, and on the album "Morjens, Karma" in the same year. The group was already scored two minor hits with Chinnichap rocker songs for Sweet (see "Blockbuster" here and "Wig Wam Bam" here . This was the third one, but the group didn't fare so well with this pop ballad. The original song "Lay Back in the Arms of Someone" was the follow-up single to Smokie's biggest hit "Living Next Door to Alice" in 1977 and it was equally successful. You can see them perform the song here.

Here's the pair: