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Anita Harris: The playground
Charming and easy-going she may be, but Anita Harris was never the coolest of singers. That reputation is perhaps overdue some reconsideration. Tracks such as Something must be done and this month’s pick, The playground, are examples of just how good she was. Not only that, but she also helped to write this song. Issued in September 1967, it narrowly failed to make the top 40. It has become a dancefloor favourite with the northern soul crowd in more recent years, however. We love it and hope you do too.
Wenche Myhre: La meg være ung
Wenche Myhre is a big name in her Norwegian homeland. In 1964, she put forward our choice, La meg være ung, as one of two entries to the country’s national final to choose a song for the Eurovision song contest. This terrific slab of Norwegian yé-yé finished third but proved the biggest seller of all five songs in the final. Although young Wenche never had the chance to compete against the likes of Gigliola Cinquetti and Matt Monro at the contest in Copenhagen, her success encouraged her hopes of an international career. Cue a foray into the German market – with great success.
Inga: Schade um die Tränen
Another song contest entry, though it couldn’t be more different to the one above. This was Inga’s entry to Germany’s 1968 Schlager-Wettbewerb and sat uneasily among the lighter ditties performed by many of the other singers. As a result, it finished a disappointing eighth. Fortunately, it didn’t deter young Inga – or Inga Rumpf, to use her full name. She went on to much greater success in the 1970s, both as a rock soloist and as part of band Atlantis.
Lisa Collings: I’m getting hungry for your lovin’
Regular visitor Matt from Germany emailed in to remind us just how good this song is – and we couldn’t agree more. Lisa Collings was better known as an actress than as a singer. Our pick is the A-side of her recording career, in fact. Issued in February 1970 on the Chapter One label, I’m getting hungry for your lovin’ featured Love is a splendid illusion on the reverse. The latter was from the low-budget sex thriller of the same name in which Lisa played Amanda Dubarry. She went on to appear as a prostitute in 1974’s The mutations. Pity she didn’t sticking at making records, we reckon.
Les Gam’s: Attention! Accident
There’s something of the Shirelles on speed about this track. It comes courtesy of French girl group Les Gam’s – Graziella, Annie, Michèle and Suzie – and was issued in 1963. It was a rather charming take on the Beach Boys’ Shut down. Sadly, it didn’t sell as well as its predecessor, the girls’ cover of the Exciters’ He’s got the power, retitled Il a le truc. After another couple of releases, the girls would go their separate ways. Of them, Annie Markan had the most notable career.
Peggy March: Te ne vai
This 45 was actually credited to Little Peggy March, but out of respect for her, we’ll omit it from her name. She hated being reminded of her size. The Pennsylvania-born singer hit big with I will follow him, in 1963. She struggled to maintain the momentum at home with follow-ups I wish I were a princess and Hello heartache, goodbye love. In fact, her American career was over within a year of her topping the US charts. With Italian heritage, Europe looked a viable alternative. Te ne vai, a reworking of her own Hello heartache, goodbye love, gave her her biggest hit in Italy. She couldn’t sustain it, and Germany soon became the focus of her efforts. She enjoyed considerable success and still perorms on German TV to this day.