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Marita: Ci sei
Petula Clark often slips under the radar as a songwriter, but she proved quite an accomplished composer on the quiet. To disguise what she was up to, her compositions were often credited to the fictitious Al Grant. Resist, an album track from her 1967 These are my songs LP, is an example of one of her finer tunes. In Italy, Maria Rita Mammolotti cut a version of it as Ci sei two years later, under her stage name of Marita. It was issued as the flip to her Torna questa estate single on the Sun label. The singer remains perhaps better known for her earlier take on Miriam Makeba’s Pata pata.
Glenda Collins: It’s hard to believe it
Producer Joe Meek was the king of the sound effect. His records were stuffed full of them, often created using the most unusual of objects. Here, this 1966 single by Glenda Collins conjures up images of nuclear bombs with its sound effects and, of course, its lyrics. With Hiroshima a not-so-distant memory, I guess it wasn’t so surprising that this should be a real fear. Mind you, references to extra-terrestrial life were all in Meek’s mind and Pye bosses had some serious reservations about releasing it. It’s precisely this bonkers-ness that makes the record so appealing today, of course.
Margit: Mein Glück steht auf dem Spiel
Thanks to RSG visitor Alan for reminding us of Margit’s Mein Glück steht auf dem Spiel. Issued in 1968, the song was a reworking of Brenda Lee’s My heart keeps hangin’ on. Thanks to Jens, the German expert on our team, we know that Margit was Austrian singer Margit Dennhardt. She released about a dozen 45s in the 1960s – most of them under her full name – on Austria’s Amadeo label and later on German Vogue. She had a minor hit with Keine Angst vor Bossa Nova in 1964. When her recording career fizzled out, she took a job in radio before finally emigrating to Ibiza.
Vicky: Liefde is zacht
This month sees the 60th Eurovision song contest take place in Vienna. The last time the city hosted the pan-European pop fest, the UK romped to victory thanks to the wonderful Sandie Shaw and her Puppet on a string. In fourth place that year was Greek-born Vicky (Leandros) representing Luxembourg with L’amour est bleu. The song became an evergreen and here is the Dutch version of it, retitled Liefde is zacht. The singer went on to win for the tiny grand duchy five years later with Après toi. Sadly, Luxembourg no longer takes part and the UK languishes in the lower reaches of the scoreboard year after year these days. The addition of Australia to the roster of countries taking part this year promises to bring a new dimension to the contest.
The Chantelles: Please don’t kiss me
The highly danceable Please don’t kiss me debuted in the crime caper Dateline diamonds, a film which also featured Kiki Dee and the Small Faces. In it, the Chantelles also performed the ballad I think of you. Both songs were issued on a single in April 1966, but it came several months after the film’s release and, arguably, too late to help the girls score a top 40 hit.
Catherine Alfa: Tout est là
Catherine Alfa was the first of a string of stage names used by Rosella Aiello, which included Rosa Borg and the more familiar Charlotte Leslie. Our pick is a track taken from 1964’s Tu m’as trahie EP, her second and final release as Mademoiselle Alfa. French songwriters Daniel Hortis and Jimmy Walter – who between them had written for the likes of Sylvie Vartan, Anne Kern and Agnès Loti – penned it. When it flopped, Catherine joined Polydor and, at the suggestion of pop heart throb Guy Mardel, became Charlotte Leslie.