Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stop The Music - Soitto seis

Yesterday we presented the last waltz in Finnpicks. Well, today is the Last Tango in Finnpicks. The Finns have for long time been a 'Tango Nation'. This was especiaklly true in the first part of the 60's. There was even some bad conflicts between the fans of tango and fans of the aspiring beat anf pop music. Here's an example how a pop tune was turned to a Finnish tango. Eino Grön recorded "Soitto seis" (Stop playing) in 1964 to the Finnish lyrics of Saukki Puhtila. Since then this song has been versioned in Finnish many many times. But the most popular version, which also was a big hit Finland, was done by the Swedish pop group Lenne & The Leekings in 1965. Of the numerous Finnish beat covers we present here the latest one, done by Anza Mertaranta All Stars, featuring our famous sports commentator Antero Mertaranta in drums. The original "Stop The Music" was hard to find. And I'm not sure if this one from 1963 by British pop singer Dick Jordan is the original one. Dick released several cover somgs in the end of 50's and in the beginning of 60's on a budget record label. This was his first attempt to break through with original material. Well, he didn't do it in UK, but.was it was a number one hit in Turkey ...

Only 3 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Last Waltz - Viimeinen valssi

Thia ia the last waltz in Finnpicks. Harri Haka (real name Stig Hagström) recorded "Viimeinen valssi" (Last waltz) in 1967 but didn't succeed chartwise with it. It was the A-side to "Peltipurkki", finnpicked earlier, see here.  The Finnish lyrics were done by Jyrki Lindström, who was a popular lyricist and translator especially in the 60's, but his career as a lyricist was quite short. Pasi Kaunisto (see earlier entry) recorded the same song two years later for his debut album. The original song, "The Last Waltz", was written by English sonqwriers Batty Mason and Leslie Reed and it was s smash hit for Engelbert Humperdinck (b. Arnold George Dorsey) in 1967. You can see him perform the song, here.

Only 4 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, January 27, 2012

The Shape of Things To Come - Epitafi

Lea Laven recorded "Epitafi" (The Epitaph) in 1972 to somewhat obscure Finnish lyrics by Chrisse Johansson. It was released on her "Vuisikertaa" album. The original song was called "The Shape of Things To Come" (not to be confused with the Yardbirds' 1966 song "Shapes of Things"). It was written by famous songwriting duo Cynthia Weill and Barry Mann for the 1968 US exploitation movie "Wild in the Streets" and performed by a fictional band named Max Frost and the Troopers. Actually the song was performed by a studio group called The 13th Power. The song became a number 22 hit on the US Billboard charts. You can see the song performed in the movie, here

Only 5 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Goodbye Girl - Jos yksin nyt jäät

Kari Tapio recorded "Jos yksin nyt jäät" (If you now are left alone) in 1979 for one of his many "Kari Tapio" -named albums. The Finnish lyrics were crafted by Pertsa Reponen. Kari's interpretation is easily on a par with the original. The original song "Goodbye Girl" was the title song for the 1977 movie "The Goodbye Girl". It was written and performed by American singer-songwriter David Gates. (perhaps best known as the lead singer of the group Bread). The song hit number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. BTW, Richard Dreyfuss won a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in this romatic comedy film directed by Herbert Ross.

Only 6 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

First Hello Last Goodbye - Alku jäähyväisien

As the Finnish title of today's finnpick says - this is the start of goodbyes. Only one week left for new entries in Finnpicks blog. Danny recorded "Alku jäähyväisien" (The start of goodbyes) in 1992 and it was released on his album "Tämä taivas tämä maa". The Finnish lyrics were provided by Turkka Mali. The original song was called "First Hello Last Goodbye" and it was co-written and performed by Roger Whittaker. It was released in 1975. The song was not a big hit at the time, but considered by many to be one of the Whittaker's best.

Only 6 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Reykjavkurborg - My Hometown - Kiitos sulle

With this finnpick I want to thank you all 200-300 regulars who have visited this blog on daily basis. Added up with those random visitors we have come up to about 120000 visits from 132 countries during blog lifetime.
This finnpick is called "Kiitos sulle" (Thank you) and it was recorded by Armi Aavikko in 1981 to the Finnish lyrics by Raul Reiman. This song will also be the first (and only) cover of an Icelandic song presented here. The original title was "I Reykjavkurborg" and it was composed by Icelandic pop singer Johann Helgason and tells about Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. It was performed by Johann himself and Helga Möller under the moniker Du og Eg (You and I). The discofied song became a hit in Iceland and also in Europe when covered in English by Judy Jackson. Judy's version was perhaps the one that inspired Armi. 

Only 7 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Magic Moments - Kauniit muistot

I hope that my blog has re-created some beautiful memories and magic moments. Today's finnpick is called "Kauniit muistot" (Beautiful memories). It was recorded by Olavi Virta (see earlier entry)   in 1958. This is one of Olavi's lesser known songs, even if the original is widely-known evergreen. It was titled "Magic Moments" and performed orignally by Perry Como in 1957. It was written by Burt Bacharach (music) and Hal David (lyrics) and was one of the first collaborations by that duo. The song was only a moderate chart hit in USA, but a smash in UK, where it spent 8 weeks at number one.

Only 8 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Special Finnpicks Request Mix II

Here's a special Finnpicks Request Mix Chapter II presenting songs that have been requested recent months.
Songs in the Mix:

Fredi - Ota Ja Omista / Joe Dolan - Make Me An Island
Markku Aro - Hyvännäköinen / Joe Dolan -  You're Such A Good-looking Woman
Jouko, Kosti Ja Paavo - Näin on marjat / The Four Seasons - Bye Bye Baby / Bay City Rollers - Bye Bye Baby
Markku Aro - Oma kultasein / Rubettes - Sugar Baby Love
Kari Peitsamo Revival - Rock and roll / Led Zeppelin - Rock n' Roll

Only 9 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Special Finnpicks Request Mix I

Here's a special Finnpicks Request Mix presenting songs that have been requested recent months.
Songs in the Mix:

Markku Aro - Loit Elämälle Pohjaa / Demis Roussos - My Only Fascination
Lea Laven - Niin Paljon Rakkautemme Kestää / Raffaella Carra - E salutala per me
Paula Koivuniemi - Sanoja vaan / Raffaella Carra - A Parole
Neumann & Albion Rockers - Kettujen yö / Sweet - Fox on the Run
Toinen Kierros - Huoletonta aikaa - Zucchero - Una orgia de anime perse

Only 10 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

La La La Te Quiero - Mä kuuman naisen sain

Actually this would have been the place and time for the last Frederik Friday. But as I have no Frederik song available at the moment, here's Kari Tapio to fill in. And in deed, the song "Mä kuuman naisen sain" (I got a hot woman) would have suited well for Frederik.  Kari recorded it in 1977, and the Finnish lyrics were written by Pertsa Reponen. The arrangement was provided Veikko Samuli. The original song "La La La Te Quiero" (La la la I love you) was made popular in 1977 by Spanish beat group Los Diablos. They were obviously quite 'finnpickable' band, becouse we have finnpicked them twice before, see here and here.

Just 11 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thunder In My Heart - Voidaan lamput sammuttaa

Well, after a few more days, it will be the time to turn out the lights in Finnpicks. But before that, let's listen to "Voidaan lamput sammuttaa" (We can turn out the lights) performed by the group ELF. It was released in 1978 as an album track on their "Mitä missä milloin vaan" album. The original song was called "Thunder In My Heart" performed by  English singer-songwriter Leo Sayer. It was released in 1977 on an eponymous album and as single, which was a modest hit at the time for Leo, but it became a number one in the UK charts when released in 2006 as a remix by an artist called Meck, with a slightly changed title "Thunder in My Heart Again". You can hear (and see) that remake, here.

Just 12 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Space Oddity - Kapteeni Tom

Arto Sotavalta was perhaps a bit underrated artist in the 70's. In addition to his own material, he did several decent cover versions that for some reason sank without a trace. One of those was "Kapteeni Tom". (Captain Tom). It was released in 1973 on the flipside of "Siirryn leikkimaailmaan", finnpicked here.  The Finnish lyrics were made by Arto himself, following closely the theme of the lyrics of the original song. Which was "Space Oddity", the first big hit for David Bowie, released in 1969. This tale of unfortunate astronaut reached number 5 in UK chart and has became a classic. It was on the album "David Bowie" (his second), but the rest of the album was not so commercial, and it didn't sell vast quantities at the time, but later re-releases did. BTW, keyboardist on this album was one Rick Wakeman.

Just 13 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Stormy - Myrsky

Let's hear another cover of a Classics IV song. Beni Siltala (real name Pentti Siltala) recorded "Myrsky" in 1972. It was released only on a budget compilation album, and therefore quite hard to find. It might have been the first song that at the time 19-year old Beni recorded. He subsequently continued his career as a schlager singer and songwriter releasing 3 albums. The Finnish lyrics for "Myrsky" were provided by our old acquaintance Kari Kuuva. The original song "Stormy" was written by Classics IV guitarists Buie and Cobb, and - understandably - resebled a lot their previous smash hit (and yesterday's finnpick) "Spooky". You cans see Classics IV perform the song, here.

Just 14 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Spooky - Hamppu-aave

Lea Laven recorded very-oddly-named "Hamppu-aave" (Weed ghost) in 1970 for her album "Lea Laven - Se jokin". Considering drug associated title, it's perhaps understandable that the song was never released as a single, even if the original one was an international hit. The Finnish lyrics - obscure but quite innocent - were provided by Chrisse Johansson. The original was originally an instrumental jazz tune, composed and performed by saxophonist Mike Sharpe. It was picked up by a pop rock group Classics IV, and band's guitarists J.R. Cobb and Buddy Buie added lyrics to it. Subsequently, the single "Spooky" went up to number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100. The lead singer of Classics IV, Dennis Yost, has been credited as the creator of the "Southern Soft Rock" sound. He was known as "the singer's singer" and "The Classic One" because of his smooth, unique voice, and was described as singing "with a tear in his voice".

Just 15 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Many Moons Ago - Kaikki entinen

As I have noted before, Danny had an uncanny habit to pick up obscure - but good - songs to cover. This "Kaikki entinen" (All that was before) was an early example of those. It was released in 1964 on Danny's first single as a solo artist. Prior to that he had cut a couple of singles under "Danny & The Islanders" moniker. It was also his first recorded song sung in Finnish. The original song was performed by a Canadian teen rocker Bobby Curtola in 1964 and was titled "Many Moons Ago". Bobby was a 60s rock'n roll legend in Canada creating even 'curtolamania' when touring. However he was largely unknown outside his home country, except for one song, "Fortune Teller", that became a moderate international hit. Today's finnpick was a track on his "12 Tickets to Cloud 9" album.

Just 16 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Can I Do - Nyt mitä teen

Theresa (b. Theresa Rosenius), released only two singles during her short recording career. The first one we have finnpicked earlier (see here) and here's the second one, very rare piece of music indeed. "Nyt mitä teen" (What shall I do now) was released in 1966. Despite the big success of her first single, this went nowhere. Perhaps the lyrics, even if they were crafted by Juha Vainio, weren't catchy enough - telling the tale of a damsel in distress with her bath towel... The original "What Can I Do" came from Denmark and it was a single's B-side of the beat group The Cliffters. (Theresa's first single was the cover of same single's A-side!). Their story started in 1960, when Cliff Richard and The Shadows were the name of the day. The Cliffters made music very much like Cliff & Co, and even the groups name is inspired by Cliff. The Cliffters were very popular in Finland and their lead guitarist Mogens Pedersen, who has written today's finnpick, became the idol for many aspiring Finnish beat guitarists.

Just 17 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Wight Is Wight - Kuunnelkaa uutta sanomaa

Simon Scott (real name Veikko Salonen, see earlier entry) recorded "Kuunnelkaa uutta sanomaa" (Listen to the new message) in 1970. It was released on the B-side of his debut single "Vain ulkopuolelle jään". Both failed to make the charts, but they're still remembered by Finnish schlager aficionados. The lyrics for "Kuunnelkaa uutta sanomaa" were made by another performing artist Jukka Kuoppamäki with his familiar manifesto style.  The original song was somewhat oddly titled "Wight Is Wight" and it was a product of French songwriting partners Roland Vincent and Michel Delpech (who also performs the song). The most known of their songs is "Pour Un Flirt" (covered in Finnish as "Flirtaten"). Released in 1969,  the hippie influenced "Wight Is Wight" sold over one million copies in in France, and was recorded the following year in English by Sandie Shaw (non-hit). You can see Michel perform it live with Demis Roussos (and with pathos), here.

Just 18 Finnpicks to go.

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mendocino - Iivantiiraan

The original of today's finnpick was one my absolute favourites in the 60's. The Finnish version "Iivantiiraan" was made in 1997 by a group called Highway, and released on their mini-CD "Seitsemättä päivää ...". It contained also another Doug Sahm cover ("She's About A Mover"). Not much is known about the group Highway, but Iivantiira is a tiny village (50 households) in the eastern-most Finland, in Kuhmo commune. The original of today's finnpick was called "Mendocino" and it was moderate hit for tex-mex band Sir Douglas Quintet in 1968. The song was written by the band's leader Doug Sahm, who is considered as one of the most important figures in Tejano music (or Tex-Mex music). After Sir Douglas Quintet he formed, together with Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez, the famous Texas Tornados. Mendocino is a small town in California. The town's name comes from Cape Mendocino, named by early Spanish navigators in honor of Antonio de Mendoza, who commissioned the expedition of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo to explore the western coastline of California in 1542-43. You can see Doug Sahm perform "Mendocino" live, here.

Just 19 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

James Dean - James Dean

Vicky Rosti recorded "James Dean" in 1976 for her album "1-2-3-4 Tulta!". It was released only as an album track. A very professional team was responsible for production (Jaakko Salo), arrangement (Veikko Samuli) and Finnish lyrics (Juha Vainio). The original was one of the Eagles' classics, titled also (of course) "James Dean". On the morning of September 30th, 1955, 24-year-old actor James Dean rode his silver Porsche 550 Spyder (purchased just a few days earlier) from Hollywood to Salinas, and had a head-on collision, dying instantly. Hence the lyrics in the Eagles' song: "Along came a Spyder and picked up a rider. And took him down the road to eternity". You can see Eagles perform the song live, here.

Just 20 Finnpicks to go.

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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Your Kiss is Sweet - Suukkosuma

Ami Aspelund recorded "Suukkosuma" (Wealth of kisses) in 1975. It was released as B-side of a single that sadly flopped. Responsible for the Finnish lyrics and production was Chrisse Johansson. The original song "Your Kiss is Sweet" was co-written and performed by Syreeta (b. Syreeta Wright). The song was released on the 1974 album "Stevie Wonder Presents Syreeta". This song "Your Kiss Is Sweet" was released also as a single and presented her with a chart success. Stevie Wonder, who co-wrote the song and produced the album, was also doing background vocals on this reggae-flavoured song.

Just 21 Finnpicks to go.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Everybody Knows - Alusta mä kaiken alkaisin

This time I'm presenting a requested song. Jormas (see earlier entry) was for a short period of time the most popular pop band in Finland. In 1968 they recorded "Alusta mä kaiken alkaisin" (I would begin the all from the start). It was released as a B-side on a single that fared quite well, aided by the popularity of the A-side's Beatles cover (Hello Goodbye). The Finnish lyrics were written by Juha Vainio. The original song "Everybody Knows" was witten by famous British songwriters/producers Barry Mason and Les Reed. It was a big hit for Dave Clark Five in 1967 reaching number 2 in UK charts. Uncharacteristically, the lead vocals were done by Lenny Davidson, instead of Mike Smith. You can see the band perform the song, here.

Just 22 Finnpicks to go.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Nickels and Dimes - Lantteja vain

Katri Helena recorded "Lantteja vain" (Nickels and dimes only) for her album "Sydämeni tänne jää" in 1980. Katri had very good company with this; the arranger was Veikko Samuli and the Finnish lyrics were provided by Juice Leskinen. The original song "Nickels and Dimes" was co-written and performed by Dolly Parton. It was released on her 1978 album "Heartbreaker". It was her 20th solo studio album and released following the huge pop crossover success of "Here You Come Again". Heartbreaker was designed as an even more direct aim at the pop charts, but this finnpicked song was pure country.

Just 23 Finnpicks to go.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reflections - Kipinä

Anja Niskanen (see earlier entry) recorded "Kipinä" (The Spark) in 1991 for her album "Ikkuna". It was released only as an album track, although the song might have had hit potential. The original was one of the Supremes' greatest hits titled "Reflections" released in 1967. At this point the group had already been re-christened as Diana Ross & The Supremes. It was one of their last hits written and produced by Holland–Dozier–Holland team. The song was influenced by the psychedelic rock sounds of the time. You can see Supremes perform the song, here.

Just 24 Finnpicks to go.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Morningtown Ride - Matka aamun kaupunkiin

Erkki Liikanen started his recording career in the 60's, but his single releases were not very succesful at the time. This "Matka aamun kaupunkiin" (The ride to morningtown) was his 6th single and was released in 1967. The Finnish lyrics were done by Jussi Raittinen, a popular pop/rock artist, and the arrangements by Aarno Raninen, also a singing artist in his own right. The original song was a lullaby written by American folk legend Malvina Reynolds (finnpicked earlier, see here) in 1957. However she didn't record it herself until 1970. The first recording was made by the folk group Limeliters in 1962 for their live album "Through Children's Eyes". It was later recorded by The Seekers and released on their 1964 album "Hide and Seekers". For some reason, it wasn't released as a single until 1966, when it became international hit for them. You can see them perform the song, here.

Just 25 Finnpicks to go.

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Monday, January 2, 2012

Never Ending Song Of Love - Mun on niin hyvä olla

Well, Finnpicks has made it to Anno Domini 2012 - and that makes me feel fine :-). So, the first entry for this new year is "Mun on niin niin hyvä olla" (I feel so fine) by Lea Laven. She recorded it in 1973 and it was released as a B-side to "On ja ei" (cover of Suzi Quatro's "Can he Can"), finnpicked earlier, see here. The Finnish lyrics were provided by Lea's standard lyricist Chrisse Johansson. The original song was performed rock & soul conglomeration called Delaney & Bonnie & Friends.  It was fronted by husband-and-wife singer-songwriters Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. This "Never Ending Song Of Love" is credited to Delaney only. The song was a single taken from largely acoustic 1971 album "Motel Shot", and it was Billboard's number 67 single of the year 1971. In UK, the group New Seekers made a version that rose all the way to number 2 in the UK Charts and became one of the biggest selling singles of that year. You can see them perform the song, here
Just 26 Finnpicks to go.
Here's the pair: