This month, Mordi, the man behind the excellent Blowupdoll blog, joins us as guest editor. He’s selected some late 1960s gems that don’t get played often but are always a pleasure to hear. Read all about his pick of the pops below – and vote for your favourite or comment on these tracks using the forms at the foot of the page.
If you’d like to be a guest editor on this site one month, get in touch. You don’t have to be a music industry expert, just someone with a passion for 1960s European girl singers. (And if English isn’t your first language, don’t worry, we can help.)
Born Géraldine Gaulier in Switzerland, she started her career in 1966 with two EPs on Polydor label before entering the Eurovision song contest in 1967 where she came last, having scored no points with the song Quel coeur vas-tu briser? Luckily for us, the flame-haired beauty didn’t give up and went on to release another EP, entitled C’était toi, containing Les chattes. This song turned up on the second instalment of the Ultra chick collection and has enabled us to enjoy a funked-up guitar alongside her impressive ‘miaow’, resulting in a yé-yé classic.
Formed in 1966 in New York, Barbara, Jeanette and British-born Eleanor (now known as Chelsea Lee), The Cake began as an a cappella group. When Sonny and Cher’s management took charge, they encouraged the girls to extend their repertoire into baroque pop, psychedelic sounds, R and B classics as well as, unusually, allowing them to write and record their own material. Their first release was written by Jackie DeShannon, Baby that’s me (previously recorded by Lesley Gore). Despite fashionable clothes and smooth dance moves, the hits never materialised. By 1968 and two albums later, it was all over. The song Rainbow wood was the B-side to their third single, Fire fly, and shows off their skilful harmonies. They reformed briefly in 2006 for a one-off performance for a Jimi Hendrix tribute show.
Where are we
Unlike many other girl singers of the 1960s, Barbara could play guitar and write her own songs. After landing a contract as a singer, she released many singles that Lulu, Cilla or Sandie would have been proud to have recorded. But Barbara never seemed to get the hits she deserved – the songs written by her but recorded by other artists proved more successful.
This Italian goddess of emotional pop was often known as ‘the golden helmet’ due to her distinctive mop of strawberry blonde hair. Her career started in the mid-1960s, including an entry into the San Remo song contest in 1966 with Nessuno mi può giudicare. The song was a huge hit and
kick-started a career that lasted into the 1970s. Sole spento, from 1967, is a great introduction to Caterina, with its kicking drum beats and catchy chorus.
Not much is known about this child singer, who in 1967 released the EP Dis-moi poupée on the Barclay label, alongside three other songs including the great Amstramgram. Her songs capitalise on her young age (12? 13?) but are done in such a way that elevates them from being ditties for children – the grooved-up beats and strings ensure this is a song for grown-ups!
People forget that Quebec also provided its share of French-language pop. Duo Luc Cousineau and Lise Vachon were a big part of the yé-yé movement in Canada in the 1960s. Originating as a
four-piece group, by 1966 it was just Luc and Lise (who went on to marry). They scored their first hit on the Capitol label with Les copains. After four years, they just became known as Luc and Lisa, representing Canada in the Popular song contest in 1970.