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Tu veux tout changer
If record label PR hype is to be believed, Nicole Legendre was 16 when she landed her first recording contract. That was as half of duo Les Ruby Baby. The pair were discovered in the Breton port of Saint-Malo. We assume they were singing at the time, rather than turning tricks for sailors – though that would certainly have made for an interesting press release… Why they split is unclear. What we do know is that Nicole Legendre went solo, joining, first, Mercury in 1963 and, later, Columbia, from which time our pick is taken. Issued on the EP Dans les rues de Londres in 1967, Tu veux tout changer is a terrific slice of mid-1960s pop, rather in the style of Annie Philippe. Best of all, the track is easy to get hold of now, thanks to its inclusion on the Beginner’s guide to French pop CD. The three-disc set is available to buy from British Amazon and French Amazon. (You can also read our review.)
You can’t take it away
Tawny Reed was to Cardiff what Lulu was to Glasgow. Or at least that was the plan. Things never quite worked out for the Welsh teen, though. She had been spotted by the same management company that had spied the potential of Tom Jones. They called Tony Hatch in London – the man behind the careers of Petula Clark and Jackie Trent, among others – and he headed for the Welsh capital sharpish. However, the decision to cover The Velvelettes’ Needle in a haystack didn’t propel young Tawny into the British charts as expected. Nevertheless, the song gained a US release on New York’s legendary Red Bird label. Our pick is the singer’s UK follow up, You can’t take it away.
When Giuni Rosso became a singing star in the early 1980s, few Italians would have guessed that she wasn’t a complete newcomer to the music scene. Indeed, only die-hard fans would have known there was a connection between her and 1960s singer Giusy Romeo. Born Giuseppa Romeo in Palermo, Sicily, on 10 September 1951, she got her break at the 1967 Castrocaro song contest. The following year, she was sharing singing duties with French heartthrob Sacha Distel on No amore at the San Remo festival, and our pick is the B-side of her recording of the song. Later that year, she took part in the Un disco per l’estate contest with L’onda. However, after one further 45, I primi minuti, a cover of Aretha Franklin’s I say a little prayer, she disappeared, albeit temporarily…
Hasta el fin de los días
Marion Maerz was Germany’s top beat babe. Her brand of teary-eyed teen angst had record buyers blubbing into their bedlinen from Bielefeld to Berlin and beyond. Er ist wieder da, issued in 1965, was the singer’s biggest hit and is considered a classic of the era. It was one of a clutch of songs that Marion also recorded in Spanish, but somehow, the result, El ya regreso, has never worked quite as well for us as the original. However, this song, taken from Marion’s second Spanish-language EP, is the opposite. Pleasant but unexceptional Bis ans Ende aller Tage is transformed here as Hasta el fin de los días. Enjoy!
A little bit of sunshine
From Marion to Marian. Marian Angel, is best known for her northern soul dancer Tomorrow’s fool, but here’s a lesser-known A-side from the Wembley-born singer. Marian joined the Columbia label in 1965, at the age of 18. It’s gonna be alright became her debut single (with Tomorrow’s fool on the flip). Such was the belief in the release that it was also issued in the US on the Jubilee label. Back in Britain, You can’t buy my love became Marian’s follow-up 45 later that year. Our pick, though, is the 1966 single A little bit of sunshine, on CBS. This mid-tempo number was produced by Des Champ, and with its strong brass section, it’s become one of our favourites.
Sei mein Mann
While German singer Marion was seeking chart glory in Spain, America’s Jody Miller was focusing her attentions on Germany. That may be because her career at home was stalling. A succession of US flops saw bosses at her record label, Capitol, try to make good on their investment by packing her off to Europe. She took part in Italy’s San Remo contest – performing Io che no vivo (senza te), which became a massive hit for Britain’s Dusty Springfield as You don’t have to say you love me – and cut two German 45s. This is the A-side of the second of those. Her interest in her German career waned, however, when she scored big at home with Queen of the house, an ‘answer record’ to Roger Miller’s King of the road. Her song even earned her a Grammy nomination.