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Spar dir deine Dollar
Disappointingly, Peggy March’s career in her US homeland was over almost as soon as it began. Within less than a year of scoring a US number one, the hits had completely dried up at home. In part, Britain’s beat boom had rendered her obsolete. Fortunately for Miss March, the Germans were less picky. After a slow start, the sentimental Mit 17 hat man noch Träume proved the turning point in the singer’s German career, trouncing the competition at the 1965 Deutsche Schlager-Festspiele. Two years later, Romeo und Julia gave the singer her only German chart topper. It has become something of a Schlager classic, though for us, the flip, Spar dir deine Dollar, is by far the better side.
Puisqu’on est copains
Nicole Delarc took part in a rather unusual competition called Tiercé in 1963. Each month a new artist would perform a couple of songs that teen buyers would vote on. Listeners rated both singers and songs using a ballot card found in record sleeves. Nicole Delarc had written the words to her entries – Pourquoi and our pick, Puisqu’on est copains – which then went head to head in the contest. The outcome of the competition hasn’t been recorded for posterity, so far as we can tell. However, Nicole went on to cut just one further EP, styled as a girl group called Les Nicole, so we can only assume she didn’t win.
Take it from me (little girl)
We remember the first time we heard this song: we were bowled over. And when we saw that it had been penned by Miss Stern herself, we were desperate to track down the rest of her material. Sadly, it transpires that this is the sum total of the singer’s 45s. It was issued in March 1965 on the Pye label in Britain and was also considered strong enough for a US release, courtesy of the Jerden label. An unissued version of Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone – a 1930 jazz standard given a 1960s reworking – has since turned up on one of the excellent Here come the girls compilations (available from Amazon and elsewhere), but that’s all. Shame. Nina clearly had talent.
La facciata A
Paola Musiani was born in Vignola, in the province of Modena in Emilia-Romagna, on 25 November 1949. Our pick, La facciata A, was her entry to the 1967 Festivalbar contest. Issued as her debut disc, the song is a version of Lesley Gore’s California nights. Paola followed it with a take on Bobbie Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe. A lack of success saw her move into the realm of song contests, taking part first in 1969’s Cantagiro contest with Deserto and ending with entries to the San Remo contest in both 1974 and 1975, with La donna quando non pensa and Se nasco un’altra volta respectively. The latter came closest to giving the singer a hit. Sadly, she died in a car accident in 1985.
Hasta el final del día
For most fans of Spain’s ye-yé stars, Kinita will forever be remembered as the yo-yo girl, thanks to her kitsch classic Yo-yo, ye-ye. Mind you, she pretty much went unnoticed by record buyers at the time, though she achieved some notoriety for her complicated hairdos, earning herself the nickname ‘the princess of lacquer’. Our pick is taken from her second EP, issued in 1966. A version of Cher’s Bang bang was the title track of the release, but Hasta el final del día proved a more surprising and adventurous choice. The song was a take on The Kinks’ Till the end of the day. Commentators are mixed about how well this version works, but we like it all the same.
Mandy and the Girlfriends
And I love him
We’ve been reminded this month of Mandy and the Girlfriends because two of the group have just released an autobiography about their time in the band. Without giving away too much about it here, it’s both insightful and hilarious – check out our review, if you’re interested. The girls originated from Hull, but found greater popularity in Germany, where they played the US air force bases. To the surprise of some, they turned down an offer to return to Britain to appear on TV talent show Opportunity knocks because ethey preferred to carry on performing live. Nevertheless, they did record an LP – from which our pick is taken. The song is a rather moving version of The Beatles’ And I love her, with the gender reversed to become And I love him.