Er liebt mich sehr
So often the German girls’ best songs were tucked away on B-sides. But not in Linda Balk’s case – Wind und Wolken is sentimental mush, while the A-side is pop gold. Bosses at the German Vogue label must have thought so too, as this is the second time they issued a take on the Dixie Cups’ You should have seen the way he looked at me. The first was by Regine, in 1965, and when that failed, they tried again the following year with Linda Balk. Sadly, her version fared no better and it proved her one and only release. Bless her.
Le Mini Coopers
Four girls from the Reggio Emilia in northern Italy were whisked into the studio in 1968 to record a couple of fine tunes… and, er, that’s more or less the end of the story. These girls didn’t even get to release a 45 of their own. Their two songs, Ma ti abbiamo visto piangere, and our choice, Mi abituerò, were both – somewhat inexplicably – issued on singles shared with other artists. In this case, Barbarella claimed the A-side with her so-so Sentimento. Perhaps the independent Tipico label simply failed to spot the group’s potential – and they certainly couldn’t have foreseen the cult status the girls would gain in later years.
Spanish singer Betina was born María de las Mercedes Massager Tarragó in Barcelona. She gained notoriety through appearances on local radio, which led to the offer of a contract with the Zafiro label in 1964. Our choice, a version of Italian star Rita Pavone’s US hit Remember me, is taken from the teenager’s third EP, issued later the same year. In 1967 she switched to the Regal label, where she enjoyed her biggest hit with Entre los dos – a song she took to glory at the Benidorm song festival.
The Paper Dolls
All the time in the world
What Britain needed in the late 1960s, apparently, was outrageous wigs, over-the-top outfits and a large dash of camp. (We reckon the same is still true, but we digress.) Anyway, step forward Tiger, Spyder and Copper, aka the Paper Dolls, three girls who were given a lift – quite literally – to the land of pop from none other than future sleazy nightclub impresario Peter Stringfellow. Our pick is something of a floor filler and is the flip of the group’s debut single, the Motown-esque Something here in my heart (keeps a-tellin’ me no), which proved their one and only UK chart hit.
This song caused confusion among Dutch singer Patricia Paay’s fans. She shot to fame in 1967 as a purveyor of perky pop. Big hits included Je bent niet hip (also a hit in Germany for Siw Malmkvist as Ein neues Spiel, ein neues Glück), Wat moet ik doen (a version of Manuela’s Monsieur Dupont) and Corriamo (originally by Isabella Iannetti). But for this 1969 A-side, Patricia opted for a more mature sound. Unfortunately, it flopped miserably, but she needn’t have worried – she went on to become an even bigger star in the 1970s and 80s and is now frequently to be found on the juries of reality TV talent shows.
Je ne me reconnais plus dans la glace
French singer Stella made a career out of mocking the French girl singers of the 1960s. In her debut disc, she insisted that she had all it took to become a pop star: the ability to sing “yé yé yé yé yé yé”. Superstar Sheila came in for a particularly hard time from the young Parisian singer. But on our pick, Stella delivers one of her most mature performances. This rather beautiful song was included on her second EP of 1967, Carnet de balles. Somewhat ironically, Stella is now lumped in as part of the whole yé-yé genre, which must surely stick in her throat.