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Passo il tempo
Italian doll Carmen Villani’s beat gem Passo il tempo was used as the theme to the Questo e quello TV programme in 1966. Surprisingly, however, when it came to issuing the song on record, it was relegated to the B-side of Anche se mi vuoi. Admittedly, the A-side was a terrific version of the Ivy League’s Tossing and turning. Nevertheless, the decision proved something of a missed opportunity. Carmen is one of our absolute favourite Italian singers of the 1960s, although she is probably better known for her later work as an “actress”. We use the inverted commas advisedly – as anyone who’s ever seen any of her erotic fare can confirm.
What your average person in the street remembers of Marianne Faithfull’s recordings is her debut disc, the wistfully charming As tears go by. For us, though, it’s this 45 that stands out as her finest. Written by Bob Lind and issued as a single in 1966, the record bombed, however. Marianne, who had never been fully convinced about her recording career, brushed off its failure and moved into acting. Straight away she was cast in two films by renowned French producer Jean-Luc Godard, Made in USA and Anna. Of course, it wasn’t her acting career that she came to be best known for.
If you’re going to make just one record in your life, you might as well make it a good one. That’s clearly what was in the mind of young Spanish singer Marina. The teenager joined the Marbella arm of the Vergara label in 1965 and cut the EP Cartagenera. For us, the highlight of the release was this, Snob yeyé. The song was an original Spanish composition that had been written for Laura. Marina’s recording is more of a budget version – less time and money had been spent on its production than on Laura’s. Judging by the photo on the record sleeve, Marbella bosses had little faith in Marina. Perhaps they felt a second career – outside the music industry – would suit her better. That may explain why she is pictured on a street corner…
Bitte sag’s nicht weiter
‘Motown-lite’ might be one way of describing this 1966 single by Munich-based Peggy Brown. Disappointingly, the song passed record buyers by at the time. That may be because Motown was never as big in Germany as in other parts of Europe, especially Britain. The Supremes were the first to make the top ten in Germany, reaching number three in 1965 with Stop! In the name of love. But it was an achievement they couldn’t sustain. Mind you, they did better than a lot of Motown stars – even big names such as The Four Tops, Martha and the Vandellas, The Marvelettes, Mary Wells, The Miracles and The Temptations all missed out on top-ten success in Germany. In fact, it wasn’t until the 1980s – when the label entered its cheesy Hello-I-just-called-to-say-somebody’s-watching-my-old-piano period – that Motown reached its German peak. (If you’re a Motown fan, check out our cover version tributes to the label’s male and female singers and groups or to The Supremes
specifically. Or if you’re taken with Peggy Brown, you may be pleased to learn that we’ll publish a full profile of the singer next month, with tons more info and sound clips.)
This empty place
The career of Janie Marden seems one of fits and starts. Born in 1937, Littlehampton’s finest cut her first record in 1955. She spent a couple of years at Decca, making a name for herself on TV variety shows, before disappearing from sight. She got a second shot at stardom in 1963 when she joined Piccadilly for the highly credible Make the night a little longer. Then she returned to Decca in 1965 to record a couple more singles. Our choice is This empty place, an often-overlooked Bacharach and David number, which was issued at the flip to the songwriting duo’s better-known They long to be close to you. After cutting a one-off disc in German and taking part in the 1967 Sopot song festival in Poland, she returned to Britain. There, The big put on, recorded for Pye in 1970, proved her final release. She is believed to have died in the late 1980s.
Les prisons de sa majesté
Belgian babe Delphine Bury cut just three discs over the course of her career. After landing a contract with the Decca label, the Charleroi-born singer was launched in France with the EP Bien assez grande in December 1966. Sadly, it bombed. Mind you, it has since become popular for the track À bientôt sans doute, which is now by far the best known on the record. Her follow up, Ne t’en va jamais, issued seven months later, is also favoured for another track on the EP – in this case, La fermeture éclair, a take on We The People’s In the past. Our pick, though, is taken from her final release. With its sitar sounds and backing vocals, this B-side has more than a touch of the Revolver-era Beatles about it. What happened to Delphine remains a mystery.