Dicci come fini
Back in the 1960s, long before Tuscany became the second home of many Brits, Scots lass Norma Green headed off to Italy and teamed up with four other singers to form The Honeybeats. The group also recorded for the German market – issuing Frag’ nicht soviel in 1966 – but it is their Italian discs that interest us, particularly this fab take on US girl group The Ikettes’ Peaches ‘n’ cream. And you can watch them perform it on YouTube too.
Je ris et je pleure
On a recent holiday in rural France, we found ourselves in desperate need of a heroine fix. On a trip to the nearest big town one day, we eagerly sought out a dealer to ease our withdrawal symptoms. Going by the name of Fnac, all he could offer were a couple of albums by Sheila. Now, she may have been class A in terms of her sales, but we’d always found her material a little, well, weedy. But we have been converted, particularly by this little gem from 1965, written by Jean-Jacques Debout, the man behind the career of the much cooler singer/actress Chantal Goya.
It’s everybody’s day
Dutch singer Bojoura – or to use her full name, Raina Gerardina Bojoura Cleuver van Melzen – hailed from The Hague. Her mother was Bulgarian, hence the not-overly-Dutch name. In 1967, at the age of 20, she was discovered by George Kooymans of the group Golden Earring and went on to issue this delightful number. The song became a hit in her homeland and she carved a bit of a career for herself as both a singer and as a TV presenter. Her biggest success came in 1969 with her version of Frank Mills from the musical Hair.
Male nicht den Teufel an die Wand
What’s a girl to do when her career in her US homeland is all washed up before she’s even 16? Why, pack up her mascara and mini-skirts and head for Germany, of course. That’s the story of Pennsylvania’s princess of pop, Peggy March. She scored a string of big hits in Germany from 1964. Sadly, not all her material was of the quality of this thumping 1967 release. Translated into English as This heart wasn’t made to kick around, it was one of a number of songs she re-recorded for the US in an attempt to resurrect her career at home, but to no avail. By the end of the decade, she’d moved to Germany to capitalise on her success.
Something I’ve got to tell you
Glenda Collins was the chief girl singer for independent British producer Joe Meek. Between 1963 and 1966, London-born Glenda released a string of singles she’d recorded with him, including the cult gem I lost my heart at the fairground and our pick, Something I’ve got to tell you. The latter had previously been recorded by The Honeycombs, but for us, Glenda’s is by far the superior version. However, it failed to chart upon its release in 1966 and Meek’s untimely death the following year had the effect of cutting short her career.
El es distinto a ti
Spanish group Pic-Nic featured teenager Jeanette (Dimech) on lead vocals. Born in London in 1951, she moved to the US as a child and later, after her parents divorced, to Barcelona in Spain. After learning the guitar she formed the group Pic-Nic. In 1967, the five piece enjoyed a hit with their debut disc, Cállate nina, penned by Jeanette herself, but our choice is the flip of their third single, issued later that year. It’s a gentle folk number that builds to hit the spot. After leaving the group, Jeanette enjoyed a solo career and is best known for 1971’s Soy rebelde.