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Marisa Sannia: Non è questo l’addio
Many female singers of the 1960s relied on male svengalis for their success. In the case of Italian singer Marisa Sannia, established star Sergio Endrigo took her under his wing. He gave her guidance and plenty of songs to record – including our choice, Non è questo l’addio. The track was issued in 1968 as the B-side of the hit Sono innamorata (ma non tanto), and gives a clear nod to America’s girl groups. Marisa enjoyed her biggest hit less than a year later with her San Remo entry, Casa bianca. But it wasn’t long before Disney voiceovers and even a dabble with country ‘n’ western beckoned.
Beverley Jones: The boy I saw with you (I know him well)
This is the debut disc from Coventry’s Beverley Jones. Issued in January 1963, the song had been written by Clive Westlake, who achieved greater notoriety (and royalties) for his work with the likes of Dusty Springfield. The disc wasn’t a hit, but it did make enough of an impression with bosses at HMV to warrant a follow up just two months later. For that – a take on Bob B Soxx and the Blue Jeans’ Why do lovers break each other hearts – and subsequent 45s, Beverley looked to the US for inspiration. Mind you, one of our favourites is her 1964 B-side, the original Hear you talking. When her solo career failed to take off, she joined the Mad Classix and went touring in Germany.
Anita Traversi: Meine Welt bist du
Poor old Umberto Bindi. He wrote the beautiful ballad Il mio mondo, but his role in the song has almost been airbrushed from history. Here, for example, is Swiss singer Anita Traversi singing Meine Welt bist du, which the sleeve gives as a cover of Cilla Black’s You’re my world. Not a hint of Bindi in sight. Mind you, in all fairness, his recording reached only number 34 in the Italian charts, while Cilla took hers to the top spot in Britain. No wonder Anita was tempted to cut a version. Internationally, the singer is probably best known for her two entries to the Eurovision song contest, in 1960 and 1964, both of which she performed in Italian. Neither fared terribly well, however. By the mid-1960s, she was recording more frequently in German, such as here or on her take on Marianne Faithfull’s As tears so by (Es ist so schön, verliebt zu sein).
Marie-Blanche Vergne: Au risque de te déplaire
Few things are guaranteed to excite more than the postman offering you a large package. (Ooh, matron!) Which is why we were delighted when a box of CDs and LPs arrived from Ace Records last month. In it were copies of the brand new Très chic compilation. (Read our review or simply treat yourself to a copy from Amazon.co.uk – they’re practically giving it away.) One of the rarer numbers included on the album is this 1967 release from Marie-Blanche Vergne. The song had been penned by Marie-Blanche’s mari, Jean-Christophe Averty, with Serge Gainsbourg. It wasn’t a hit, but Marie-Blanche didn’t mind too much. Recording was only ever a distraction from her proper job as an actress.
Brigitte & the Fire Strings: Een droom
Brigitte was, in fact, Gita Roessingh from The Hague. She encouraged some of her brothers and her friends to form a band, the Firestrings, with her in 1961. Together, they earned themselves some local appearances, and by 1964, they had landed a contract with the CBS label. There they would release just two singles, Waarom vertrouw je me niet meer, and its follow up, our pick, Een droom. Sadly, success proved elusive and Brigitte and the boys threw in the towel not long afterwards.
Mandy Rice-Davies: You got what it takes
It’s not often that one of the singers we feature on Ready steady girls! helped to bring down a government. But in Mandy Rice-Davies’ case, it’s true. Fifty years ago this year, she hit the headlines for her part in the Profumo affair, which discredited Harold Macmillan’s conservative government. Perhaps surprisingly, then, her stab at a pop career a year later didn’t prove more successful. Mind you, her take on Marv Johnson’s You got what it takes sounds rather as though it had been recorded at the far end of a tunnel. Like Mandy, the song courted controversy, with blues musician Bobby Parker insisting he wrote it and that Motown chief Berry Gordy simply took songwriting credits.