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Gunilla Thorn: Jealous woman
This month marks the seventh anniversary of the Ready steady girls! website, so we thought we’d treat ourselves by kicking off our pick of the pops with one of our favourite tunes. Here is Swedish singer Gunilla Thorn with Jealous woman, a single she recorded in 1966 with Danish group The Beethovens. The vocals here are raw – and in stark contrast with those on her earlier work with Joe Meek. That’s because the eccentric London producer speeded up her recording, giving a result that had a touch of the Pinky and Perky about it.
Audrey: Tu m’as manqué chéri
German-born Audrey Arno cut some terrific tracks. The high point of her career was unquestionably the time she spent under the guidance of French star Henri Salvador. He spotted the singer while she was contracted to Polydor and persuaded her to join his Disques Salvador label in 1963. There, he helped to pen the lead track on her first EP for the label, our pick, Tu m’as manqué chéri. His record company didn’t last, but he continued to write for the singer as further EPs gained distribution through other labels. If the yé-yé sound is your bag, check out our review of a book due out this month that we think you’ll love.
Lesley Duncan: When my baby cries
This terrific track was written by Stockton-on-Tees singer Lesley Duncan. We’ve wanted to get hold of it for years and have finally succeeded. Surprisingly, the song is probably more familiar in versions by other singers. They include covers by Czechoslovakia’s Yvonne Přenosilová and Italy’s Orietta Berti. French singer Annie Markan also cut the song as Quand mon ami pleure, which we’ve included as part of our French tribute special to Brit girls this month. In it, we’ve picked what we consider to be 25 of the best French cover versions of songs originally recorded by British female singers – but don’t take our word for it, have a listen for yourself.
Alessandra Casaccia: Vedo il sole a mezzanotte
This song was issued in 1968 as the debut 45 of Italy’s Alessandra Casaccia. The singer had taken part in the Concorso per voci nuove, a popular launch pad for new vocalists, at the Festival di Castrocaro that year. She didn’t win, but she make enough of an impression to gain a record deal with the Ariston label. Our pick didn’t set the charts alight, but it did lead to several further releases by the teenager. Her most successful single – Piccola, piccola – was a song both she and Carmen Villani had performed at the 1969 San Remo song festival. However, it was, arguably, her weakest release.
Suzanne Doucet: Nur mit dir
If ever we publish a German tribute special to the British female singers of the 1960s, you can rest assured this track will be among those on offer. It is, of course, a version of Kiki Dee’s Baby I don't care. By the time of its release in 1968, Suzanne Doucet was working in London with Les Reed, Tom Jones’s producer. In effect, Reed was recycling material he’d already worked on and that should have been a hit the first time. Suzanne’s time with Reed may not have returned her to the upper reaches of the charts, but no matter. She would later find recognition in the field of new age music.
Spain’s Ivana is one of those people who has done a bit of everything over the course of their career. After making a name for herself as a singer, she moved into acting, taking the female lead in A 45 revoluciones por minute. For many, this 1969 Pedro Lazaga film proved the highpoint of her career. Which perhaps made it a suprising moment for Ivana to choice to announce that she was to move into journalism. Neverheless, she carved out a successful career in it. Our choice is the B-side of her 1967 single Algo mágico.