Vote for your favourite or comment using the forms at the foot of the page.
Liz Christian: Suddenly you find love
First up this month is Londoner Liz Christian. Here the singer performs the mid-tempo Suddenly you find love, a rather exceptional find, even if we say so ourselves. The song was issued as her debut single in 1967. It died upon release but found favour over a decade later on Britain’s northern soul scene. Her record label, CBS, opted not to release any further material, so Liz switched to the Spark label, where she would issue the much better-known Think of you baby a year later. What became of her after a further one-off release with James Royal in 1972 remains unknown.
Jiji: Non, mon ami
Great things were expected of Jiji. The singer – whose real name was Nadia Voyevoda – had been taken under the wing of orchestra leader and composer Raymond Legrand. She was given a complete makeover, under which she gained a new hairdo and wardrobe, and was soon photographed in the company of various car-racing champions. With the promotional work done, then came the recording. She was whisked off to Brussels to a studio where The Rolling Stones had recorded just 24 hours earlier. Surprisingly, then, bosses at the Decca label lost interest in their signing and, without their support, her EP sank. Two of the tracks on the release, La fusée and Le chevalier, have since turned up on the Ultra chicks compilations. Our pick, however, is the rarer Non, mon ami (for which we have to thank site visitor Fane Jones).
Mary Roos: Geh’ nicht den Weg
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. These are the words that should be written on German singer Mary Roos’s epitaph. By the time she came to release this track – the B-side to Mama verzeih’ mir – in 1965, at the age of just 16, she was already on her seventh record label. It would be another four years before she scored her first top 20 hit. It all turned out OK, though: she went on to become one of Germany’s biggest stars of the 1970s. She even has the honour of being the only German ever to guest on the Muppet show. Later, she became the queen of reinvention, making a comeback in the 1980s thanks to her 1984 Eurovision entry, Aufrecht geh’n, and in the 1990s with her faithful cover version of Cher’s Believe, Leider lieb’ ich dich immer noch.
Anna Identici: La gente vola
This record was nearly never made. Our pick, La gente vola, was issued as the B-side to Il treno, Anna Identici’s planned entry to the 1969 San Remo song festival. However, the Italian singer had attempted to commit suicide shortly before the contest. Rosanna Fratello stood in as a replacement at the last minute. While Anna was making a full recovery, Rosanna went on to finish nowhere in the contest. Nevertheless, both singers enjoyed chart hits with the song. For us, though, it is this flip that is the stronger tune.
Li Morante: Guateque
Sometimes you catch a sense in a recording of the artist having fun in the studio. Here is an example of just that. It’s a great record from Spain’s Li Morante. Record buyers agreed – giving the singer a big hit. The song, Guateque, is a take on American singer Claudine Clark’s Party time. Released in 1963, it was one of a batch of releases to usher in the sound of ye-yé in Spain. However, it wasn’t long before Li lost touch with her status as party girl. She found the fame at odds with her deeply held religious beliefs. So, obviously, she packed in her day job as a singer and actress and went on to teach about the Opus Dei, becoming a very vocal supporter of the devout Catholic group.
Tiffany with the Thoughts: Find out what’s happening
“If you don’t find out what’s happening, you’re gonna find out that I’m gone,” Tiffany warns her fella in no uncertain terms. Mind you, two minutes and 40 seconds might not be long enough for her hapless lover. This delicious slice of Brit girl beat comes courtesy of former Liverbird Tiffany. Here, she is backed by male beat combo The Thoughts. When the disc failed to connect with record buyers, Tiffany’s label, Parlophone, dispatched her just as callously as she’d threatened to do to her boyfriend. What goes around comes around, as they say…