Vote for your favourite or comment using the forms at the foot of the page.
I gotta be with you
We love this song. Emma Rede was a short-lived pseudonym for Irish singer Jackie Lee, whose career was in the doldrums when this track was released in 1967. This first-rate beat ballad was issued as the B-side to Just like a man. Although it went unnoticed at the time, eventually it found a following on Britain’s northern soul dance circuit. By that time, Jackie had long since hung up her microphone. It’s funny to think that within a year of cutting this song, the singer was enjoying UK chart success with the theme tune to TV’s White horses.
Girl group Les Fizz comprised Danièle, Jackie and Nadine. They had been put together by Jacques Denjean. He roped in writers Jean Albertini, Gilles Thibault and Monty to help him write the group’s debut EP, from which our pick, the frenetic Un enfant, is taken. Denjean also supplied the text for the back of the record sleeve – in which he explained that he was creating a French trio that sounded like the black American R&B groups. We fear they might have fallen slightly short in his aim, but we love the song all the same. There may be a touch of The Shirelles about their some of their harmonies, but for us, like fellow girl group Les Gam’s, they are most definitely a group à la française.
Reggy van der Burgt
Eenzaam op ‘t leidseplein
Regina van der Burgt – or Reggy to her friends and to the record-buying public – deems this song to be one of her best. We have to agree. The singer was born on 14 September 1944 in the town of Uden, in the Netherlands. A win at the Miss Talent contest in 1965 launched Reggy as a solo singer. Her first release didn’t sell – perhaps bosses at the CNR record label should have flipped the disc to make this the A-side instead. The song is a version of a little-known German track entitled Ich geh’ die grosse Strasse, originally cut by Mary Lou. Reggy’s second 45, Teddybeer, became a big hit. Further successes followed, but by 1968 – after just six singles and an LP – it was all over for the singer. A real shame, if this track is anything to go by.
Fiocca fiocca la neve
Well, it is January, so a snow-themed choice seems appropriate. Cue Ivana Borgia’s Fiocca fiocca la neve. The B-side was equally wintery: Con gli scarponi e con gli sci. Mind you, she actually released this single in the summer of 1964, so the references to snow, boots and skis must have perplexed record buyers. This may explain why they studiously ignored this catchy 45 from the Bologna-based 16-year-old. Ivana had started her career in the music business a couple of years earlier when she entered the Bellaria festival. She didn’t win the contest – that honour went to Gianni Morandi – but she did end up dating Morandi for a couple of years, which didn’t exactly harm her career any. She appeared alongside her lover in the films In ginocchio da te and Non son degno di te in 1964. The title tracks of both films gave Morandi chart-topping hits but, sadly, Ivana just couldn’t compete. Their relationship was doomed, and her career with it.
The little girl that cries
After scoring a worldwide hit with It’s my party, US teen Lesley Gore cut the LP I’ll cry if I want to – building on the famous second line of the song’s chorus. The album consisted largely of songs devoted to the theme of crying. This track by would have been perfect for it – and there’s more than a touch of Lesley Gore in British singer Lorraine Gray’s delivery. The little girl that cries was issued as Lorraine’s second single, in July 1964. It was penned by Alan Hawkshaw, a former member of Emile Ford and the Checkmates who was earning a name for himself as a songwriter. Surprisingly, this 45 sold poorly and proved the end of Lorraine’s time at Fontana. However, she managed to string out a career for a while longer performing in student union bars.
Kiss and shake
New Year’s Eve is one of those days of the year when you look back at what you’ve achieved over the past year. It can make you a bit maudlin – and in bad years, you might wish you could have done it all differently. We wonder if that thought went through Renate Kern’s mind. After all, one day she simply swapped her career in Germany for one thousands of miles away in America. Out went the brunette’s Schlager stylings and in came a blond hairdo and an all-new country and western repertoire. We’ll admit we aren’t familiar with her later work, but her early material we certainly like. This track was issued as the singer’s debut release in the summer of 1965 and she was rewarded with a top 40 hit for her efforts. She even got to travel to London’s Pye studios to record the song in English. Maybe that was gave her a taste for an Anglophone life. Unfortunately, as she committed suicide in 1991, we’ll never know.