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Orietta Berti: Vai, Bobby, vai
We’re paying tribute to Lesley Gore this month with this Italian version of her Run, Bobby, run by Orietta Berti. The song was issued as a B-side to the Italian singer’s Tutto è finite fra noi, a poppy but, ultimately, rather average affair. Lesley Gore had scored a big hit with her version, however. Ironically, we featured Lesley Gore herself in last month’s pick of the pops – and then look what happened. If Orietta Berti drops down dead this month, we’ll call a day on the pick of the pops segment altogether.
Kim Davis: The losing kind
Site visitor Michael reminded us this month about Newcastle singer Kim Davis, who was also known simply as Kim D. Vivienne Davison was her real name, but that’s by the by. She is, of course, best known for her take on Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson and Jo Armistead’s The real thing, which was released on the Pye label in 1965 but went on to find popularity on Britain’s northern soul scene. Kim would issue several further singles, including Buffy Sainte Marie’s Until it’s time for you to go and a take on Lulu’s Song for Europe entry, Are you ready for love. Our pick this month, The losing kind, was the B-side of her 1967 single Tell it like it is. In the 1970s, she would replace Precious Wilson as lead singer of German dico outfit Eruption.
There have been some raised eyebrows when we’ve featured Alexandra in the past. However, to underestimate her impact on Germany’s music scene of the late 1960s would be a mistake. After she landed on the scene in 1968 with Zigeunerjunge, untold numbers of singers attempted to recreate her eastern European charm. Among them – well, sort of – was Wales’ own Shirley Bassey, who cut a version of this 1968 single, Illusionen, as If I never sing another song, in 1976. Sadly, Alexandra died in a car accident in 1969, at the height of her fame.
Gelu: Cuanto más lejos estoy
Gelu was one of Spain’s first ye-yé girls. So, by the mid-1960s, she needed a bit of a makeover. However, she squandered a release in 1964 with cool group Los Mustang with second-rate material. A year later, she wasn’t prepared to repeat that mistake when it came to recording with hit twosome Dúo Dinámico. The EP Me gusta el verano included our terrific choice, Cuanto más lejos estoy. With it, the singer proved to eager competitors, such as Karina and Rosalía, that she still had it. Yesterday’s ye-yé girl had become today’s beat babe.
Les OP’4: Attention aux garçons
Sister acts have been common in pop music over the years, but here’s a group of cousins. Made up of Catherine, 14, Francine, 16, Dominique, 17, and Martine, 19, the girls signed with Decca in 1966. There, they would issue just a couple of EPs. Our choice is taken from the first of those, which led with L’enfant s’endort. Orchestral direction was provided by Gérard Hugé, the man behind artists such as Pussy Cat and Stella. Éric Charden also provided lead vocals on one track, Vraiment t’es pas malin, a take on Frankie Valli’s You’re ready now, several years before the Vietnamese-born singer would team up with chanteuse Stone.
The Liverbirds: Why do you hang around me
Flipping over The Liverbirds was the way to enjoy the girls at their best, if you’ll excuse the turn of phrase. For our money, the group’s B-sides were often better than their A-sides. Why do you hang around me is a case in point. It was issued as the reverse of the girls’ third single, Peanut butter. Like their previous B-sides, it had been penned by lead singer Pam Birch. The group was flying high at the time, having scored a hit in Germany, where they were based, with their previous single, a take on Bo Diddley’s Diddley daddy. Features in teen music magazines such as Bravo and TV programmes such as Beat Club served to enhance their profile.