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Surrounded by a ray of sunshine
Dutch doll Annet Hesterman got her break in stage musicals and talent shows before landing a contract with Philips, where she recorded a version of Nancy Sinatra’s These boots are made for walkin’, titled Draag schoenen om te lopen. She cut a clutch of singles, including our favourite, her take on Brit girl Samantha Jones’s Surrounded by a ray of sunshine, issued in 1968. The following year she turned down an offer to become part of global chart toppers Shocking Blue and lucked out in the Dutch final to choose a song for the Eurovision song contest. She did enjoy hits in the 1980s with Phill & Company, though.
No t’ho diré pas
Barcelona’s Lita Torelló was one of Spain’s biggest ye-yé stars of the 1960s. Born in Barcelona in 1946, she went on to take part in numerous song festivals. After gaining a contract with the Vergara label, she issued 20 EPs between 1961 and 1966 and also recorded the vocals for the Spanish versions of The sound of music and Chitty chitty bang bang, before retiring from the music business in 1967. Our pick is the catchy lead track from her Fantastic Lita EP of 1965.
Isabelle De Funès
La journée d’Isabelle
Isabelle De Funès was born Isabelle Girard but took her mother’s maiden name professionally. She started out as a model, but like Zouzou and others, she swapped the catwalk for the recording studio. This track is taken from her first EP and was issued in 1968. It was written by Michel Berger, future husband of France Gall. Isabelle changed career again at the end of the decade, becoming an actress. Having appeared in 1970’s Ces messieurs de la gâchette and 1971’s Raphaël ou le débauché, she became a publicist for the Phonogram label at the end of the decade.
Alle schönen Träume
Germany’s Monika Busch had the X factor. Well, more accurately, she had the Valente sucht Talent factor, but that doesn’t trip off the tongue so easily. The show was a project for the multilingual French-born singer and actress Caterina Valente, who was very popular in Germany in the 1950s and 60s. The star and a jury of experts selected young Monika from hundreds of entrants and gave her the benefit of musical training at Caterina’s ‘talent school’. The result of her win was a record deal with Valente’s label, Decca, where she issued this wonderful track in 1966.
The sha la la song
London-born beauty Marianne Faithfull had been discovered at a party for Adrienne Poster and quickly hit the charts with the Mick Jagger and Keith Richard composition As tears go by, reaching number nine in the UK in the early autumn of 1964. The song also made a star of the singer in Ireland, Australia and the US. Our choice was the B-side of her fourth top ten UK hit, Summer nights, which followed in July 1965. Interestingly, it achieved greater success in France where it became A demain my darling for Marie Laforêt.
The Doors’ Light my fire has been recorded around 100 times – and that’s not counting the covers by buskers on London’s Tube network. But this version by Italian doll Tina ranks as our favourite. Issued in 1969, it failed to win over record buyers at the time, but over the years, it has achieved something approaching cult status among fans of the genre. Despite the fire of the title, we reckon this is best served chilled – the perfect accompaniment to the long summer evenings. Well, this and a glass of pinot grigio, of course.