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Twiggy: Beautiful dreams
Lesley Hornby – aka Twiggy – was the face of the 1960s. So, bosses at the small Ember label must have been unable to believe their luck at having signed her… Until the fateful day came when she went into the studio, that is. In our pick, 1967’s Beautiful dreams, her debut single, she bemoans the tears in her eyes. We know what she means – though our complaint is more about the blood in our ears. It’s a shame, really, as the track is highly catchy – as was the rest of her material at Ember. Perhaps surprisingly, she was lured back into the recording studio in the mid-1970s to cut a version of Country Joe’s Here I go again. The result was altogether less painful – and even gave Twiggy a top 20 UK hit.
Olympia: Tarjeta postal
What Olympia offered to Spanish teens of the 1960s was a cut-price version of the hits of the day. The EP from which our pick is taken led with a version of Laura’s Tu loca juventud, which had won first prize at the 1965 Benidorm song festival. Olympia’s other EPs included takes on other singers’ material, such as Prima o poi (an Italian hit for Remo Germani e Le Amiche) and Tú eres eso (Orietta Berti’s Tu sei quello). We’re rather taken with another track from her third EP, though: Tarjeta postal. We’re not sure if this is also a cover, but we love it all the same. We hope you do too!
Lola Falana: Scrivimi il tuo nome
Lola Falana heralded from New Jersey and was of Cuban heritage. In the US, she was discovered by Sammy Davis Jr, who cast her in his Broadway production Golden boy in 1964. She was spotted by an Italian talent scout in 1966 and brought to small screens across Italy thanks to Mina’s variety show Sabato sera. Dubbed the Black Venus, she went on to appear in several Italian films of the period and to cut a few records. Our pick is the A-side of the second of these, 1967’s Scrivimi il tuo nome, though it was also issued as the B-side to her third and final single, Tutta donna, later that year. Her accented delivery only adds to the charm of these releases and she returned to Italy in the early 1970s, though by that time she had really refocused her attentions – with some success – on her home market.
Carmela Corren: Verzeih mir
When the German arm of the Ariola record label lost interest in Israeli singer Carmela Corren, bosses at the trendier Vogue were quick to snap her up. They took her away from the schmaltz that had been the mainstay of her career. Instead, they had her issue this terrific song as her debut 45 for the label, in 1966. Verzeih mir was a take on Italian singer Caterina Caselli’s huge hit Perdono. Sadly, it didn’t fare as well for Carmela as it had for Caterina, but hey. If nothing else, it proved there was still life in the old, erm, singer.
Carol Deene: Love not have I
“Loud as I can, I sing for my man… but love not have I,” Carol Deene sobs. “Forever would I, cherish my guy… but love not have I.” Issued as a single in January 1967, the song is quite a departure from the chirpy, upbeat material of the pre-beat boom era that had made the singer’s name. It was the last of three terrific 45s she cut after switching from HMV to Columbia in 1965. Sadly, however, Carol was badly injured in a car crash on her way back from a concert in Cardiff in early 1966. She broke her leg and jaw in the accident and suffered severe facial injuries, which put paid to any promotional chances. It also cost her a weekly slot on David Nixon’s Comedy bandbox show. Although she would make a full recovery, the same can’t really be said of her career.
France Arnell: L’amour pour moi
Before moving into TV into the 1970s, Stepney-born Kenny Lynch was a successful singer who scored UK top-ten hits with Up on the roof in 1962 and You can never stop me loving you in 1963. But they are probably two of the least interesting records of his career. He would cut the first-ever Beatles cover – a version of Misery – and two cracking numbers that later became highly popular on Britain’s northern soul scene, My own two feet and Moving away. By that time, he had also begun working with former Brill Building songwriter Mort Shuman, who had settled in Paris in the mid-1960s. Lynch supplied English lyrics to Shuman’s L’amour est ce qu’il est, and in doing so gave Cilla Black a top-five hit in Britain with Love’s just a broken heart. Together, Lynch and Shuman wrote also Sha la la la lee for The Small Faces and What good am I, again for Cilla. The B-side of the latter, Over my head, was another of the pair’s compositions, and it is performed here in French by little-known chanteuse France Arnell.