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Girl group Ellas comprised Laura, Sonia and Tulia. Laura had enjoyed a solo career before the three singers joined forces in 1967. The group’s first release was an EP that led with La banda, a song by Brazil’s Chico Buarque da Hollanda that also gave Mina a hit in Italy and France Gall a hit in Germany. Just two further 45s followed – Pulpa de tamarindo and Sola en la ciudad. Our pick was the B-side of the latter, issued in 1968. We love its Hawaii Five-O feel, and we’re at a loss to understand why it proved their last.
Moroccan-born Ann Sorel came to Britain in her teens and spent three years in London. The lure of a recording contract in France saw her head for Paris, where she joined Decca for the release of this great single in June 1966. The talented 20-year-old penned both the tune and the lyrics of this gentle track. Its subtlety belies Ann’s joie de vivre, which PR material from the label made much of at the time. However, when it failed, she switched to the Relax label for the better-known Je n’attends rien du hasard EP, issued in 1967.
My two arms - you = tears
Early Motown records were licensed for release in the UK on the Oriole label. When Londoner Jan Panter joined the company in 1965, bosses remembered a two-year-old track by Mary Wells they felt would be a perfect vehicle for their new signing. Inexplicably, Jan’s speeded-up version of this lyrically clever song failed to sell and she soon left the label for CBS and, later, Pye. (If you like Motown, check back next month when we’ll be publishing the first of a series of three special
Euro-tributes to ‘the sound of young America’, featuring lots more great covers.)
Der letzte Brief
It’s never nice being dumped. Just ask Katja Holländer. She’s received a letter from her boyfriend, and even before she’s opened it, she knows what it will say. “There’s no happy end for us,” she sobs. “You’re with her and what’s left for me? Just this last letter from you.” This mournful slice of melodrama was one of the highlights of her 1966 LP Hallo, Katja. Surprisingly, despite a host of tunes from some of the top songwriters of the day and promotional appearances on German TV, the album didn’t attract much attention from record buyers at the time. Now, however, it is much sought after by fans of the genre.
Tu piangi per niente
Fresh from winning the 1963 Venice festival with La nostra età, Lilly Bonato was invited to take part in the San Remo festival in 1964. The Italian contest was a highly prestigious affair back in the 1960s, and even gaining a place on its stage was a triumph in itself. So imagine how gutted the singer must have been when she performed this catchy number only to find herself denied passage to the final. To add insult to injury, the single failed to chart too. The closest young Lilly, who hailed from Rovigo, in north-eastern Italy, came to having a hit was with her entry to the Un disco per l’estate contest in 1964, L’ho conosciuto al mare. But even that missed the top 40. There’s no justice in this world.
U naše vreme
Belgrade babe Radmila Karaklajić first appeared on Yugoslav TV screens in the 1963 series Detelina sa tri lista. But it was her debut record, 1964’s Angelina, zumba, zumba, that really brought her to fame, selling some 1.5 million copies. She returned to acting, appearing in both films and on TV, and continued to record, off and on, into the 1980s. Our favourite of hers is this song, taken from her 1966 EP Niko mi ne može suditi. The title track was a version of Italian singer Caterina Caselli’s Nessuno mi può giudicare (with lyrics by Radmila herself) but we’re rather smitten by this Yugoslav original. It sounds like Radmila had fun recording it too.