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Norma Green: Sleepy sweetheart
If you’re thinking that Norma Green isn’t a very Teutonic-sounding name, you’d be right. Edinburgh-born Norma ran off to Germany after finishing her studies at the Royal Academy of Music and Arts in London and touring Britain with the George Rowell Orchestra. After settling in Germany, she began a series of appearances on TV and radio, and in 1965, the German arm of Polydor offered her a recording contract. They wasted little time in teaming Norma up with top songwriters Günter Loose and Werner Scharfenberger for this terrific number – a Germanic fusion of pop and Motown. However, it didn’t sell and Norma was shuffled off onto pop’s sidelines until The Honeybeats needed a singer to front the group. By that time the group was more successful in Italy than in Germany.
Le Mini Coopers: Ma ti abbiamo visto piangere
We featured Le Mini Coopers’ only other recording, Mi abituerò, a few years back. This time it’s the turn of Ma ti abbiamo visto piangere. The two songs are both delightfully catchy, featuring sweet vocals against a strong backing from both guitar and drums. The group came from Reggio Emilia in northern Italy and comprised four local girls. In 1968, they earned a contract with the small Tipico label. But bosses there didn’t have the resources to invest in the group and both the girls’ recordings ended up on singles shared with other artists. (In this track’s case, the other side was Monja, by Andrea’s Racket.) You can’t help but feel that Le Mini Coopers might have become much more successful at another label.
Susan Maughan: Where the bullets fly
Sometimes James Bond films just aren’t camp enough. Apparently. Cue 1966 comedy spy caper Where the bullets fly. Tom Adams and John Arnatt led the cast, but Sid James and Wilfrid Brambell also made appearances, which gives you a feel for the film. The plot, such as it was, saw a group of male commandos (disguised as an all-women tour group, naturally) thwart a terrorist attack on the Houses of Parliament. Shirley Bassey, we imagine, was unavailable to perform the theme song. Thank heavens, then, that Susan Maughan was happy to step in and record it instead. We reckon that her contribution remains the best thing about the film.
Annie Philippe: J'ai raté mon bac
This is the time of year when teenagers across Europe are starting to worry about their exam results. They don't want to be like France’s Annie Philippe here, who’s failed her baccalauréat. Or maybe they do. You see, Annie was expecting to pass – she would even have put money on it – but that was before she was distracted by a boy. From the back of the class he’d been making eyes at her. That was enough to make her forget everything she’d learnt. And once he’d kissed her, she could think of nothing but him. Issued in 1965, the song was a highlight of Annie’s second EP, proving almost as popular as the lead track, her take on The Supremes’ Baby love.
The Three Quarters: People will talk
Another movie connection here. 1965 saw the release of The pleasure girls, a film that divided reviewers at the time – and continues to do so today. Starring Francesca Annis, Ian McShane and Klaus Kinski, it is the story of a bunch of Bohemian types who share a flat in London. The theme tune was sung by The Three Quarters and released as the group’s second single. Here, though, we offer the earlier People will talk. The song was a cover of a track originally cut by US group The Calendar Girls and written by Sandy Linzer and Denny Randell, who are better known for their work with The Toys, The Essex, The Orlons and The Four Seasons. However, the pair’s magic touch didn’t rub off on the British trio, and by the end of 1965 the girls had called it a day.
Lita Torelló: Esta noche me decido
Barcelona-born singer Lita Torelló’s career was on its last legs by the time she came to record this wonderful track in 1967. Within a year, she’d married and jacked in recording for all the glamour that housewifery and motherhood have to offer. Mind you, she’d had a good run of success. She’d started performing publicly at the age of just nine, and became one of Spain’s early ye-yé girls, scoring hits with songs such as Desafinado, in 1962. On the EP our track is taken from, she tackles French star Sheila’s million-selling Adios amor and British singer Lulu’s comeback hit, The boat that I row (El bote que remo). Our pick, though, is a version of American singer Rocky Roberts’ biggest Italian hit, Stasera mi butto. We’ll be publishing a full profile of Lita very soon, so check back if you this tickles your fancy.