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Sandra und Sharon: Hey bird
We first featured German sisters Sandra and Sharon several years ago. Back then we were listening to Er gehört mir, the B-side of their 1969 single Komm mir doch ein Stück entgegen, issued on the Cornet label. This time round, it’s their debut release, Hey bird, that we can’t stop humming. When this Hansa 45 didn’t take off, the girls had to hike their wares around other record companies before bosses at Metronome took any notice. That contract didn’t last long either – hence their arrival at Cornet. Sandra wrote many of their songs and enjoyed a longer career as first Sandra McCimble, then Sandra Haas.
Diana Dors: So little time
Diana Dors was Britain’s answer to Marilyn Monroe and she appeared in any number of films from the late 1940s. She was given a lifestyle to match, with her own Rolls Royce at the age of 20. The idea of getting her into the recording studio must have seemed like a surefire money-spinner. As this 1964 single, released on the Fontana label, shows, she could hold a tune. Sadly, she couldn’t hold down a recording contract, though, and over the years she issued one-off 45s for Pye, Polydor, EMI and, finally, Nomis, plus a swing-themed LP called, appropriately, Swinging Dors. For us, So little time is her finest moment on vinyl.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad: När du blir min
We love a good cover version – and here’s one from some woman called Anni-Frid Lyngstad. She’s taken on The lonesome road, originally recorded by Gene Austin back in the 1920s but better known in the 1960s by Trini Lopez. Anni-Frid’s version is quite different, as you’d expect. It was issued as the B-side to Mycket kär in 1968, a year after she shot to fame when she won a TV talent show in her adopted homeland of Sweden. En ledig dag became her debut single. Wonder what became of her…
Catherine Spaak: La notte è fatta per rubare
French-born Catherine Spaak moved to Italy in 1959, finding found fame as an actress. This led to an ofer of a recording contract and she was soon teamed with Ennio Morricone as her arranger. Françoise Hardy was all the rage at the time, so Catherine became Italy’s answer to the Parisian star. Our pick is the later La notte è fatta per rubare, a lounge gem. From this point on, she became a less frequent visitor to the recording studios – which, given the quality of this release, seems a shame.
The Flirtations: Nothing but a heartache
OK, The Flirtations aren’t actually European, but they were based here. We reckon that makes them as honorary Europeans, as it did for acts such as Madeline Bell and P P Arnold. The group originally hailed from South Carolina, and they enjoyed some success in their US homeland as The Gypsies. Jerk it is perhaps their best-known song of that period. When the hits dried up at home, they headed for London, where they signed first with Parrot, then with Deram records. This release became their signature tune. Its harder RnB take on The Supremes’ style has earned them a place in our top 30 British female norther soul records.
Zouzou: Ne cherche pas
Zouzou is another singer whose talents weren’t confined to the recording studio. She was a model for Yves Saint-Laurent and an actress. In 1966, she joined the Vogue record label. There her debut EP comprised four songs composed by the then unknown Jacques Dutronc It led with the folk-styled Il est parti comme il était venu. The remaining three songs lacked words, so Zouzou wrote them – including the ones for our pick, Ne cherche pas. She became distracted from her career by heroin and never quite lived up to her potential, we reckon.