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Billie Davis: Nobody’s home to go home to
Brit girl Billie Davis issued this delightfully mournful track as the B-side to her 1969 single I can remember. Arguably, the record might have fared better if the two sides had been switched. Mind you, it’s questionable how much Decca cared about the release. They didn’t bother even to get the song title right on the label – it should have been Nobody’s home to go home to, but they left off the final ‘to’. Billie put in a first-rate performance on the Carole Bayer and Toni Wine composition – her voice quivering with emotion. “Yesterday’s coffee is losing its taste, now that you’ve left me, sugar,” she spits bitterly. Superb.
We’re just back from a long weekend in Normandy, where we stayed just outside Rouen. It made us think of a local girl who cut just one terrific EP back in the 1960s: Cosette. All four tracks are worth a listen but it is perhaps our pick, Idéalisation, and Les cheveux dans les yeux that have captured the imagination of French pop fans. If you like Ready steady girls! for its French chanteuses, you might also like our editor’s daily blog on all things French – from France’s cuisine to its culture, from its people to its places. Check it out: A year in Périgord.
Mina: Un anno d’amore
Is it fair to pit a chart-topping hit against a load of flips, flops and rareities in a poll like this? Maybe not, but hey. Here’s international star Mina with the terrific Un anno d’amore. It’s a dramatic number that passed unnoticed when it was issued in France by its author, Nino Ferrer, as C’est irréparable. However, Mina excels on her version of the song – which helps to explain why her recording spent four weeks at the top of the Italian charts in May 1965. She also cut a Spanish version, Un año de amor, and Pedro Almodovar had Luz Casal re-record it for his 1991 kitsch cult classic film High heels.
Massiel: No comprendo
Massiel is still a household name in Spain today, largely thanks to her success at the 1968 Eurovision song contest, where she beat pre-contest favourite Cliff Richard into second place. Two years ealier, she gained her first recording contract. Some assumed this was because her father was the agent for a number of Spain’s biggest stars, but not so. He refused to encourage in his daughter in her musical aspirations. The recording contract she won with the Novola label was all her own work. Our pick, No comprendo, is a song she co-wrote for her debut EP.
Van Lenton: You don’t care
American record producer and songwriter Shel Talmy will forever be remembered for his work in London in the 1960s. He was the man behind hits such as The Kinks’ You really got me and The Who’s My generation. Van Lenton must, then, have been thrilled to learn that she would be paired with Talmy for her debut release on the Immediate label, Gotta get away. Issued in October 1965, the single included our choice, You don’t care, on the B-side. What’s more, both songs also gained a US release, on the Smash label. However, record buyers in both countries ignore the disc, ending Van’s career as a singer all too switftly.
Vicky: Dich mit Andern teilen kann ich nicht
This song does it very best to recapture the youthful exuberance of Vicky’s first hit, Messer, Gabel, Schere, Licht. In many respects it achieves its aim, but, sadly, it didn’t prove as successful. Its failure made the Greek-born singer even more determined to regain her place as Germany’s top teen star. As it turned out, her next release would go to top the US charts and sell millions of copies – although not in any of the seven different language versions she had recorded. Instead, Paul Mauriat and his Orchestra scored global success with an instrumental version of the beautiful André Popp and Pierre Cour composition L’amour est bleu.