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‘t Is voorbij
Dutch doll Rita Hovink was born Hendriekje Jannie Vink in Beverwijk on 3 March 1944. She landed her first recording contract at the age of 20 and released a number of singles and albums over the course of the 1960s and 70s, until her death in 1979. (Some posthumous releases also followed.) She is probably best known in the Netherlands for her 1976 hit Laat me alleen, a version of Italian singer Patty Pravo’s Pazza idea. On our pick – issued in 1964 – she takes on Dee Dee Warwick’s You’re no good, and makes a cracking job of it.
Bring him back
Regular visitors will know we’re partial to a bit of Northern soul. And here’s one of our favourites. South African singer Stella Starr came to London, where she was discovered by John Schroeder, whose other finds included Helen Shapiro. He was a soul fan and, as manager of the Piccadilly offshoot of Pye records, it was he who suggested that Stella cut this Doc Pomus/Mort Shuman track. The original had been recorded by Cissy Houston and Dusty Springfield also included a great version on her Where am I going album, but it’s Stella’s gutsy take, issued in February 1967, that gets us up on the dancefloor every time.
Mich hat noch keiner beim Twist geküßt
Ruth Brandin was one of East Germany’s biggest stars of the 1960s. The start of her solo career was complicated by politics – her first solo release was dropped after the writer fled to the West in 1961 and a duet she recorded with Monika Grimm later that year fell foul of the authorities when Monika also did a bunk (to end up providing vocals behind the scenes for girl group Die Sweetles, amongst other work). This track, issued in 1964, is one of Ruth’s best. If you want to find out more about her, check back next month when we’ll be publishing the first of two specials on East German girl singers.
Je n’sais pas
Female singer-songwriters were few and far between in the 1960s. France’s Alice Dona was one of the exceptions, however. While most of her contemporaries were covering Anglophone hits for the French market, Alice was locked away penning song after song. That’s just as well, because when she first opted to record a cover, she went with a version of Rolf Harris’ Tie me kanagroo down, sport, of all things. Our choice is the lead track of her first EP of 1964 and is much more the ticket. Femme pop fans are also particularly fond of her later work, such as the wonderful Un chagrin à oublier and A trop répéter.
Hide all emotion
Sandie Shaw’s career was in a bit of a lull by late 1966. That’s perhaps no great surprise when you consider she was releasing second-rate singles such as Think sometimes about me. Arguably, she might have done better if she’d flipped the disc and issued this great tune – written by Marty Wilde – as the A-side instead. Wilde also sharpened his songwriting pencil on material for the Breakaways (the sophisticated Your kind of love) and Lulu (the awful I’m a tiger) before going on to help his daughter Kim become Britain’s most successful female solo artist of the 1980s. And little did Sandie know it when this disc was released, but salvation lay just round the corner for her – five months later she enjoyed her biggest hit after winning the Eurovision song contest with Puppet on a string.
Non mi capirai
Lalla lucked out at the 1967 Disco per l’estate contest with this track. Despite its great build and its impeccable pedigree – it was penned by Vito Pallavicini, the man behind songs such as Io che no vivo (senza te), the original of Dusty Springfield’s You don’t have to say you love me, and Petula Clark’s Invece no – the song fell flat. Lalla picked herself up, dusted herself off and within a month, she took part in the Naples festival, but both she and Luisa Casali finished nowhere with Ma comme va. Perhaps that explains why she skipped the country the following year, heading off to Tokyo for an extended tour...