Schenk’ der Andern deine Rosen
This fabulous track was issued in 1967 on the Metronome label. On it, young Birgit tells her man not to bother giving her flowers – instead he should give them to that other girl, the one he’s in love with. But she’s all feisty about it, and you get the feeling that if he didn’t take note of what she was saying, she would willingly show him where else he could put his flowers. It remains Birgit’s only solo release, though she recorded Hey Jean, hey Dean as half of duo Herbert und Birgit with her boyfriend, Herbert Hildebrandt, of The Rattles, Germany’s answer to The Beatles. Sadly, Birgit Sommer (or Birgit Schmidt, to use her real name) died in an accident shortly afterwards, cutting short a promising career.
No lo quiero
Spain’s Soledad Miranda was better known as an actress than as a singer. She was born on 9 July 1943 in Seville and made her film debut in 1960. Over the course of her career she moved from playing bubbly young things to brooding killers in erotic horror films such as Vampyros lesbos. Some of her earlier roles required her to sing, so it was perhaps no surprise when she was offered a contract with Belter records in 1964. Our pick is taken from the second of the two discs she cut with the label, issued a year later. It’s her almost unrecognisable take on one of our favourite US girl group numbers, the Cake’s You can have her.
Twinkle’s disappointment when this record flopped is almost palpable – even 40 years after its release. The posh bird from Surrey officially retired from the music business in 1966 but a chance meeting with Andrew Loog Oldham in 1969 led to her joining the Instant label, an offshoot of his fledgling Immediate records. The first release of her comeback was this self-penned pop corker. The intro is so great it makes you want to pick up the needle and start playing the song over again… and again. It looked set to become a hit – until the record label folded within a week of its issue.
Non mi cambierai
Anna Identici was at the top of her game in 1968. At the start of the year she enjoyed a big hit with her San Remo entry, Quando m’innamoro. Just a few months later she took Non calpestate i fiori to the final of the Disco per l’estate contest, but the song failed to provide a big hit for the singer. If the record-buying public had only realised what lay hidden on the B-side of the release, it might have been a different story. They would have found this gem. With lyrics by future legendary soul singer Barry White, the song was also issued in the US by Felice Taylor as I feel love comin’ on.
Sandra Barry and the Boys
Really gonna shake
Having graduated from St Trinian’s, the one-time Sandra Aldred teamed up with the Boys for this 1964 release, issued on the Decca label. Parting ways with the Boys, she moved to Pye the following year, where she cut three further singles, including the excellent Question and Stop! Thief. (Meanwhile, the Boys morphed into cult Mod group the Action.) Things didn’t really take off for our Sandra, sales-wise, and after touring Germany in the early 1970s, she reappeared on London’s pub circuit, this time under the name Alice Springs, performing with the band Slack Alice.
Le temps a passé
In the days of disco, we loved the 1977 hit Black is black by La Belle Epoque. So imagine our joy when we first discovered that the group featured French yé-yé girl Evy. Turning back the clock to 1963, here we have a song from the then 17-year-old singer’s debut release, La rentrée. The sleeve includes a rather charming note from Evy on how she’s off to the recording studio while her friends are returning to school (hmmm, bet that went down a treat with her former classmates…). Born Evelyne Verrechia, she went on to issue a string of top-notch EPs in France before moving to Italy. And if you like this track, check back because we’ll be publishing a full page on her very soon.