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Mi mandi via
We have wanted this record, literally, for years, but no copies have surfaced. And then last month, out of the blue, we found one. Imagine our joy. Both sides are great, but our pick is the flip, Mi mandi via. Supremes fans, no doubt, will already have recognised the song as a version of the group’s Love is here and now you’re gone. The original featured sexy spoken passages by Diana Ross – a technique that our Italian singer retained in her version. The Detroit trio topped the US charts with their song in March 1967. Sadly, Elisabetta didn’t quite enjoy the same level of success. Issued on the ARC label in January 1968, her disc sold poorly. Maybe bosses at the record label should have made this the A-side? (If you like this, check out our Supremes cover version special.)
Don’t leave me
Parlophone had high hopes for Carol Elvin. The Croydon-born singer signed to the label in 1964, after spending years grafting as band vocalist and even appearing at Hamburg’s trendy Star-Club. She was assigned to up-and-coming songwriter/arranger Les Reed for this cracking track, Don’t leave me. Even the B-side, ‘Cos I love you – one of Carol’s own compositions – was directed by no less than Charles Blackwell, the godfather of the Brit girl sound. All the same, the 45 failed to win over record buyers. This was the second time this had happened to Carol – a deal with Columbia in 1963, where she’d cut the single ‘Cos I know, also ended in tears.
Spanish beauty Silvana Velasco enjoyed popularity as both a singer and an actress. After appearing in a series of films at the start of the decade, she moved into recording. But after record company Zafiro lost interest in her, she switched to RCA, joining the label in 1967. There, she was put under the wing of songwriter José Luis Navarro, and our choice, Un domingo, became her first 45 for the label. The song had been taken from the soundtrack of the film Amor a la española. Though Silvana wasn’t the first to record it – that honour goes to Los Flames – it remains her best-known release.
Der letzte Abend
Belgium’s Ann Christy was born Christiane Leenaerts in Antwerp in 1945. By inverting her first name she formed her stage name, and in 1965 she began singing professionally. She started out singing in Flemish, but a switch to French, after Robert Bylois took over her management, saw her career take off. An attempt at a parallel career in Germany – including with our pick, the terrific Der letzte Abend, issued in 1966 – fell flat, however. At home, 1968’s Le garçon que j’aimais, in particular, proved a big hit in Wallonia, Belgium’s French-speaking half. Ann became a household name in the 1970s, taking part in the Eurovision song contest in 1975 with Gelukkig zijn and in numerous light entertainment TV shows. She also cut a couple of songs that had been written for her by Bob Dylan, most notably Walk out in the rain. However, in 1982 she developed cancer and within a couple of years she died, at the age of just 38. She is still mourned by fans today.
Simon Napier-Bell managed The Yardbirds and others. However, he is probably best known to visitors to this website for having co-written the English lyrics to Dusty Springfield’s You don’t have to say you love me. He set up his own record label, SNB, to get round a contract he had signed with EMI which left him with no royalties for the records he produced. Flamma Sherman were among the acts he signed to his label. The group, discovered by Ready steady go’s Vicki Wickham, comprised four sisters – Georgia, Vicky, Korina and Louisa – who ranged from 16 to 22 years of age. They were the daughters of the UK’s former consul general for Liberia. Together they cut three singles for SNB, of which our pick, Move me, was the last. Although the SNB label proved short-lived, lasting from just April 1968 until September 1969, this track has found longevity on Britain’s northern soul scene.
Ton au revoir est un adieu
French singer Sophie never quite hit the big time. That isn’t to say she didn’t carve out a respectable career for herself in the music industry, but she never posed any great threat to stars such as Sylvie Vartan. As it happens, Sophie and Mrs Johnny Hallyday crossed paths a number of times, including on the set of the film Cherchez l’idole. Sylvie also nabbed many of US girl group The Shirelles’ hits for translation into French. On this occasion, though, Sophie got in first, tackling the group’s final American Billboard top 40 hit, Don’t say goodnight and mean goodbye, to make it Ton au revoir est un adieu.