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Tina Tott: Burning in the background of my mind
You know sometimes you build an image of a singer in your mind, based on nothing more than the sound of their voice? Well, we did that with Tina Tott. And how wrong we were. We would never have guessed that she looked sort of like a blonde Sandie Shaw. It was the promotional material for her sole 45, the pleasant Take away the emptiness too, that tipped us off, of course. More surprises lay in store too – tucked away on the B-side was the terrific Burning in the background of my mind. The song proved by far the better side and it went on to fill many a dancefloor. In fact, we’ve classed it among our top 30 British northern soul tracks of all time.
Brunetta: Mai più ti cercherò
If Brunetta looks or sounds familiar, you’re probably thinking of her Balubas. Her short-lived backing group, the Balubas, that is. With them she cut the cult classic Baluba shake. Brunetta wasn’t her real name – she was born Mara Pacini in March 1945 in the Tuscan town of Cascina. Brunetta was her middle name and it was the one she used to launch her pop career in the late 1950s. When that petered out, she returned as Mara Pacini, and when her career stalled again, she reverted to… oh well, you get the picture. Here, on this 1966 single, she tackles Timi Yuro’s I ain’t gonna cry no more, transforming it into Mai più ti cercherò. Her version owes more than a little to chart star Caterina Caselli – but that’s rarely a bad thing in our book.
Encarnita Polo: La balada del amanecer
There’s something distinctly cool about this track by Spanish singer Encarnita Polo. So some might be surprised to learn that the song is a cover of the 1963 Eurovision winner, Dansevise, by Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann. That Denmark won at all was also a surprise – especially to anyone watching the television spectacular that night. You see, viewers heard Norway give its scores, including three votes to Switzerland and two to Denmark. But the spokesperson spoke too quickly and host Katie Boyle agreed to his suggestion that he should call back and repeat his votes after everyone else had given theirs. When he did so, he voted differently, giving just one vote to Switzerland and four votes to Denmark. This was enough to hand victory to his neighbours, leaving Esther Ofarim – who was representing Switzerland – to go home empty-handed. Whether there will be such high drama at the 58th edition of the contest this month remains to be seen. Either way, we’ll be glued to the show. (In case you’re interested, our money’s on Denmark, Russia, Norway or Georgia to win this year. Of course, we’ll be rooting for Britain’s Bonnie Tyler too, although she doesn’t stand a chance.)
Karine was the French stage name of Swedish singer Karin Stigmark. She was discovered in 1966 by producer Christian Fechner, who arranged a contract for her with the Vogue label. Before long, she found herself out on the road playing support for Antoine et les Problèmes. The media were fed a diet of stories of a romance between Karine and Antoine, and the star wrote the young Swede’s debut French release, Une autre autoroute. On her follow up EP, J’ai vu partir, Fechner brought in one of Antoine’s regular writers, François Renoult, for our pick, the delightful Console-toi. After one final French single, Chris craft, issued in 1968, Karine headed back to Stockholm, where she remained in the music business for a number of years.
Antoinette: There he goes (the boy I love)
If The Shangri-Las had been British, this is the record they would have cut. Instead, it was left to Essex teenager Marie Antoinette Daly – or Antoinette, as she was known – to do the honours. “Here am I, trying not to cry,” she sobs, as she clocks the boy she likes out with someone else. “There he goes, walking with another girl, some other girl,” she sniffs. You can just picture her outside a pinball arcade on the windy Southend seafront, chewing gum and pulling her navy blue school cardigan tighter around herself. “He’s just a flirt, she’s gonna get hurt,” she tells herself by way of consolation. Issued in September 1964, the song had been written by Brit girl supremo Charles Blackwell. For many – including us – it is one of his finest moments.
Berti Glockner: Ich weiß, ich weiß
Berti Glockner is one of those singers who has performed under a multitude of names and in several decades. She was born Herlinde Grobe in October 1948 in Hausen bei Offenbach. Telefunken were the first record company (ultimately, of many) to recognise her talents, and in 1965 label bosses offered her a recording contract. There, as Berti Glockner, she cut a couple of singles, including our choice, Ich weiß, ich weiß, a take on the catchy Fred Wise and Randy Starr-penned The big surprise. After ditching her surname to become simply Berti, she cut several 45s for Polydor, including, most notably, Winchester cathedral (versuch es noch einmal), originally a hit for The New Vaudeville Band. In the 1970s, there followed spells as Angela Burg (at CBS), Herlinde Grobe (at Decca) and Herlinde (at Hansa), before the singer finally settled on the name Bianca in the 1980s. In this guise, she became known for her religious Volksmusik ditties – the least said of which, the better, obviously.