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Gillian Hills: Tut, tut, tut, tut
Brit girl Gillian Hills’s French recordings were always better than her English-language material, in our opinion. There’s something so charming about songs like this one, Tut, tut, tut, tut, her take on American girl group The Lollipops’ Busy signal. It was produced by Gérard Hugé and issued in 1965 by the DiscAZ label, on the Rien n’est changé EP. The title track was a gentle number, very much in the style of Françoise Hardy, which Gillian had written herself. It didn’t catch on – and, for many, serves to underline that this British Brigitte Bardot should forever be remembered instead for her starring role in the film Beat girl.
Dorthe: Darauf fall’ ich nicht rein (Come on my boy)
Like so many of the Scandinavian singers who headed south into Germany in search of fame and fortune, Dorthe presented an image of constant good humour. The Danish doll was already well known in her homeland before she tried her luck in Germany. Much of the material she came to perform there was silly Schlager nonsense. This is one of the exceptions and had been written by respected songsmiths Hans Last (aka James Last) and Gunter Loose. However, the beat-styled Darauf fall’ ich nicht rein (Come on my boy) was relegated to the B-side of the distinctly ordinary Glück und Glas. A missed opportunity if ever there was one.
Helen Shapiro: He knows how to love me
Aside from her wonderful Stop and you will become aware, we keep overlooking norther London star Helen Shapiro. She deserves better – as this track shows. What’s more, Helen wrote this song all by herself. Again, it was deemed good enough only for a B-side – admittedly to her cracking version of The Miracles’ Shop around, but all the same. Issued in 1964, it fell slaps in the period that is particularly popular with fans: free from the schoolgirl pop that made her name, Helen was able to experiment. The results, we reckon, speak for themselves.
Betina: Hay tantos chicos en el mundo
Now we move on to another singer who doesn’t get as much attention on this site as she perhaps deserves. No, not Spanish songstress Betina – we’re talking about Petula Clark. Il y a tellement de filles gave the British star a hit in France, and in Spain, Betina covered it with added gusto. It gave the Barcelona-born babe her breakthrough. Further hits followed over the next couple of years before Betina a more familiar face on Spain’s song contest circuit than in its charts.
Linda van Dyck with Boo and the Boo Boo’s: Stengun
Amsterdam’s Linda van Dyck seems to have found the group with the most ridiculous name going to have recorded with. It hasn’t done her standing any harm, mind. She is considered one of the Netherlands’ coolest beat singers of the 1960s. This disc in particular, her 1966 debut release, Stengun, is held in particularly high esteem. She didn’t quite hit the dizzy heights of fame expected of her, so – like many before and since – she made the transition from singing to acting.
Sonia e le Sorelle: Lo faccio per amore
Sonia, Nadia and Luana Natali were three sisters from Prato, a town near Florence in Italy. Bosses at the the Italian arm of the HMV label, La voce del padrone, took one look at them and figured they had a hit act on their hands. Things didn’t turn out quite that way, but this release, Lo faccio per amore, the girls’ entry to the 1966 Cantagiro contest, has become one of their most popular and enduring releases. Indeed, the issued it first as an A-side, then as the flip to their next 45. It wasn’t long, however, before Sonia left her sisters high and dry while she branched out on her own.