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‘t Is te laat
Dutch doll Karin Kent is a Mod favourite in her homeland. She also has the honour of being the first singer to score a number one hit in the Netherlands with a song sung in Dutch. (Mind you, the Dutch charts were only launched a year or so earlier.) Her chart topper was Dans je de hele nacht met mij, a version of the highly catchy Burt Bacharach and Hal David number Dance Mamma, dance Pappa, dance. Here at RSG Towers, it’s fair to say we’re fans of flips and flops, so it probably comes as little surprise to anyone that we prefer the single’s B-side, ‘t Is te laat. It, too, was a cover – of the northern soul floor filler It’s too late, cut by its writer Bobby Goldsboro and by Kenny Lynch.
He’s the one I want
Yes, you read that correctly. This threesome are The Velvettes – not Motown’s Velvelettes. The trio were resident singers on British TV’s Hullabaloo – again, not to be confused with the rather more famous American music programme of the same name. The British show aired late on Saturday nights in 1963 and featured The Velvettes alongside Long John Baldry and Cyril Davies and his All Stars. After it finished, the girls were offered a one-disc deal with the Mercury label, where they cut this terrific track in 1964. The song, penned by Ian Dee and Robin Conrad, was clearly an attempt to ape the Phil Spector style. But hey, since when has that been a bad thing?
Vous n’avez rien compris
Bernadette Grimm is probably best known for her C’est fou, issued in 1966, thanks to its inclusion on volume five of the terrific Pop à Paris series (available from Amazon, and elsewhere). This month, though, we’ve fallen for her Vous n’avez rien compris. The song, penned by Jean Leccia and Pierre Saka, was one of the highlights of an earlier EP, Johnny ce n’est pas un adieu. The title track was a rather amusing ode to Johnny Hallyday that was issued in the wake of his marriage to Sylvie Vartan. We’ll be publishing a full profile of Bernadette Grimm in the coming months, so if you’re interested, check back or sign up to receive our monthly newsletter using the form at the foot of the homepage.
Strictly speaking, this is an original composition by Germany’s Christian Bruhn and Georg Buschor. We hesitate to use the word ‘original’, though, because – as we’re sure you’ll have noticed – the song bears an uncanny similarity to Lulu’s Shout (originally cut by The Isley Brothers, of course). It was issued as the B-side to Miss Peters’ 1964 single Ich setze alles auf einer Karte. Before long, however, her solo career was put on hold while she provided vocals in secret for girl group Die Sweetles – leaving four mop-topped models to front the band publicly. The ploy worked and Ich wünsch’ mir zum Geburtstag einen Beatle gave the group a top 40 hit in June 1964. Later, Peggy would find success in her own right as Tina Rainford.
Everybody go home the party’s over
Ballymena-born Clodagh Rodgers had been releasing records since 1962, all without success – until Come back and shake me hit big in 1969. The song had originally been intended for Lulu but the Scottish star was too busy to record it in the wake of her Eurovision success. As it turned out, Lulu’s win was, er, Clodagh’s win too. Songwriter Kenny Young offered the song to Clodagh, kickstarting a working relationship that would last several years and see the Northern Irish singer score with some highly catchy pop. This track is one of our favourites from her time with Young. Recorded in Los Angeles and issued as a single in the UK in March 1970, it missed the top 40. If you fancy hearing more great Clodagh songs, check out the brand new ‘best of’ CD from RPM. You can read our review or just buy a copy from Amazon.
Sonia e le Sorelle
No ragazzo no
And for our second girl group this month, may we present Sonia e le Sorelle? This sister act were launched at the Festival delle rose in 1964. Entered into the category for new artists, the girls didn’t win with their song, Se mi lascio baciar. A year later, a similar fate befell their entry La ragazza può fare. The song was, of course, issued as a single, and tucked away on its B-side was No ragazzo no, a cracking tune that has gone on to enjoy lasting popularity among fans. After a couple more 45s, the sisters went their separate ways. Lead singer Sonia turned solo and scored her biggest chart hit with Mama, a version of the Cher song of the same name. But her success proved short lived and she quit the business a couple of years later.