The Finnpicks ChinniChap Week's day two introduces us to a new Finnpick artist; Keijo Minerva. Keijo started his career in the late 60's and released his first record in 1971. He worked as a solo artist and as a member in several pop groups (e.g. earlier finnpicked Gulliver), but never really made it. This "Kaikki mukaan" (Come on everybody) was recorded in 1972. The lyrics were provided by Vexi Salmi and arrangements by Rauno Lehtinen. The original song was called "Co-Co" and it was second hit single for The Sweet, and fared better than the first one ("Funny Funny") reaching number 2 in the UK charts. The first album by Sweet, "Funny How Sweet Co-Co Can Be", was uncharted in UK, but was number one in Finland for three weeks in February 1972.
This marks the start of Finnpicks ChinniChap Week (volume 1, there will be others ...). ChinniChap is the abbreviation for the songwriter duo Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman. Since we move on in chronological order, this first week is eventually Finnpicks Sweet Week ;-). Johnny recorded "Meillä hyvin on" (We've got it alright) in 1972. It was released on the B-side of his big hit single "Amarillo" (see earlier Finnpick, here) The original ChinniChap tune was called "Funny Funny" and it was the first in long line of their hits for the British pop and rock group The Sweet, reaching number 13 in the UK charts.
Well. this is a requested song, and I'm happy to be of help. Kisu recorded "Alahan tulla" (Come on) in 1971. It was released on his album "Sinulle" as well as a single, but it went unnoticed, The original song "Get Out of the Kitchen" was a minor hit in 1970 for Peter Gordeno (b. Peter Godenho), who was born in Rangoon, Burma (presentt day Myanmar)., but made his career in Great Britain. He was a dancer, singer and actor but most successful as a choreographer. This "Kitchen" song was written by famous songwriting duo Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood.
During my Finnpicks research I've often come up with a song that has made me wonder why haven't I never before heard this beautiful song. This is an example of those songs. Eija Sinikka (see earlier entry) recorded "Kuulen laulun" (I hear a song) for her eponymous album in 1975. Chrisse Johansson was the the lyricist. The original song was called "Union Silver" and it was a lesser known hit by the Scottish pop group Middle Of The Road. Their enigmatic lead vocalist on this and on all their hits was Sally Carr.
The fun loving pop group Vilperin Perikunta (see earlier entry) recorded "Oolrait" (Alright) for their 1992 debut album "Gloria vilperum". This modern classic pop song was originally performed by Vilperin Perikunta's namesake Traveling Wilburys and written by the whole group (here's the official composer list: Dylan Robert - Harrison George - Lynne Jeff - Orbison Roy Kelton - Petty Thomas Earl). It features all the Wilburys, except Dylan, as lead singers; Harrison, Lynne and Orbison sing the chorus in turn, while Petty sings the verses. It was released as a single, eventually peaking only at number 63 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
We have not presented 50's songs for a long time. Well, here's one - very popular in Finland at the time. Seija Lampila recorded "Vanhan kartanon kehräävä rukki" (Spinning wheel in the old mansion) in 1958. Seija studied ballet dancing, but turned into singing at the start of the 50's. She had couple of hits in that decades but she quit singing at the turn of the 60's. Lampila was not the first one to cover this song - Georg Malmsten had done it already in the 30's. The lyrics were provided by the legendary Finnish singer and songwriter Martti Jäppilä. "Old Spinning Wheel" (a.k.a "There's An Old Spinning Wheel In The Parlor") was the title of the original song. It was written by American composer William "Bill" J. Hill in 1930. The first popular recording was done by English bandleader Ray Noble in 1934 whose version hit the number one in U.S. charts at the time. After the WW II, Slim Whitman's version was another big success.
Simon Scott (real name Veikko Salonen) was an aspiring new singer talent at the start of 70's. Following the tracks of Tapani Kansa, Markku Aro etc., he tried to establish himself as a pop star. Well, he got the voice and the looks, but he never succeeded. One of his single releases was this "Voi pikku Meeri" (Oh little Meeri) in 1971, sung to the lyrics of Chrisse Johansson. The covered song "Oh Lady Mary" was made popular in Europe by a Dutch-born singer named David Alexandre Winter (b. Leon Kleerekoper), who - under the name John van Doorn - was once a DJ at legendary pirate station Radio Veronica. After moving to France his debut single, "Oh Lady Mary", sold over million copies and it was number one for five weeks in 1969. Winter sung for Luxembourg at the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest (The song, "Je suis tombé du ciel", came last with zero points).
Updated on 26.08.2010: added the original 1967 Turkish song "Samanyolu" (Milky Way) performed by Berkant.
More of the reggae style ... Easy was a short-lived Finnish soft rock group in the latter part of 70's. It was led by singer and songwriter Roni Kamras, who'se first band was Musakatit. Musakatit made a couple of singles and they were re-recorded along with some other songs and made to an album called "Easy" in 1979. This "Lihava on lämmin" (Fat is warm) was one of those Musakatit singles (from 1976), but the version here is from that "Easy" album. It's an excellent piece of laid-back reggae and should have been a big hit. The lyrics were done by Juha Vainio. The song was at first offered to Petri and Petterson Brass, but they turned it down, and in fact was one of the reasons why Petri decided to leave Brass and concentrate start solo career with totally different kind of music. The original version of this song was done by a Jamaican reggae singer and percussionist Carl Malcolm, who also wrote it. It was called "Fattie Bum Bum" and reached number 8 on the UK Singles Chart in 1975. It was the only chart success for Malcolm.
The original version of this song has always been one of my favourite summer tunes. It's s perfect song to listen to, when summer rain has gone and the sun comes shining through. Kirka recorded "Nyt menee kaikki hienommin" (Now all things go better) for his 1983 album "Täytyy uskaltaa". The original song "I Can See Clearly Now" was a big 1972 hit for American pop singer-songwriter Johnny Nash. Johnny was not Jamaican, but born in Houston, Texas. But he was the first non-Jamaican to record reggae music in Kingston. BTW, Johnny just turned 70 last week (on the 19th of August).
Alwari Tuohitorvi was one of the most popular Finnish pop rock (or pop'n roll, as they themselves liked to call it) bands in the 70's. The group had started in the 60's as progressive combo, but they changed their style after their line-up changed radically. The band usually performed and recorded their own material, but did few covers. "Rokkibändi" (Rock band) was on the b-side of their 1974 self-penned hit "Kromikaunotar". The original song was performed by often finnpicked songwriter and singer Albert Hammond, who also wrote the tune together with Mike Hazlewood. The song was a big hit for Albert and he also released an album with same name. You can see him perform the song, here.
Today we continue the series Both Sides Now. On the flipside of yesterday's Gulliver finnpick was this song "Minun on hän" (She's mine). It's a good cover of a good song and the lyrics again were provided by Vexi Salmi. The original song was called "Tell Her" and it was written by a pioneer of sixties rock and soul, Bert Berns. It was first interpreted by American r&b singer Gil Hamilton. Gil later changed his name and rode high in 1963 on Billboard chart (number 4) with "Loop De Loop" under the name Johnny Thunder. The the hit version of "Tell Her" was done by the American vocal group The Exciters in 1962 with the slightly updated title "Tell Him" (becouse the singer was a woman; lead singer Brenda Reid). This was Exciters' first hit record. It was produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and reached number 4 in US pop charts. It also remained their only hit, making them one of the 'One Hit Wonders'.
Updated on 18.09.2010: added the first Finnish version "Sano hänelle niin" (Tell him so) by Katri Helena.
The group Gulliver (see earlier entry) recorded "Kerran sut löydän" (I will find you someday) in 1978. It was released on their album "Gulliver on jee" and released also as a single, but did not hit the charts nor radio playlists. The lyrics were provided by Vexi Salmi. The song is actually quite good version of the original, classic pop song "Needles And Pins". It was written by Sonny Bono and Jack Nitzsche and the first recording was made by Jackie DeShannon (b. Sharon Lee Myers) in 1963. It was only a minor US hit, but when recorded by English beat band The Searchers (see them perform it, here) in 1964, it became worldwide success. The theme of the song - feeling of "pins and needles" - has medical term Paresthesia, which is a sensation of tingling, pricking, or numbness of a person's skin with no apparent long-term physical effect.
We honor today the birthday of Katri Helena by presenting her recording "Hei jos mentäis näimisiin" (Hey let's get married) from the year 1976. It was one of Katri's rare soul covers, and was released on her album "Lady Love". The original tune was written (and produced) by famous American songwriting cousins Luigi Creatore and Hugo Peretti in collaboration with George David Weiss (another famous songwriter). The song "Can't Give You Anything (But My Love)" was a massive hit in 1975 for the Philadelphia soul group The Stylistics. Their sound was graced by the soaring falsetto of Russell Thompkins, Jr. and the lush production of Thom Bell, which helped make the Stylistics one of the most successful soul groups of the first half of the 1970s. You can see Stylistics perform this finnpicked song, here.
Our frequent Finnpick artist Taiska recorded "Anna lämpösi loistaa" (Let your warmth be shining) in 1980. It was on her album "Villi vapauden kaipuu" and it was also released as a single, on the b-side of her original hit song "Hiroshima". This finnpicked song came UK and was written by Elvis Costello and it was a big hit for another British rocker Dave Edmunds (actually he was Welsh) in 1979. The hit single was culled from his album "Repeat When Necessary". You can see Dave with his group Rockpile perform the song, here.
Updated on 03-10-2010: Added Kontra's version "Flipperirakastaja" (Flipper lover).
As today is Jimmy Webb's birthday. let's listen to a song written by this songwriter genius. Lasse Mårtenson recorded "Hop hop ylöspäin" (Hup hup upwards) in 1968. It was released on the b-side of his hit "Kuinka kaunista on" (cover of "What A Wonderful World"). Pertti Reponen put the Finnish words in the song. The original song "Up Up And Away" was popularized by the american vocal group The 5th Dimension. It became a major pop hit, reaching number 7 on the U.S. Pop Singles chart in 1967. The song, themed around images of hot air ballooning, won several Grammy Awards in 1968. You can see the group perform "Up Up And Away", here.
Päivi Paunu recorded "Niinkin sattuu" (That's what can happen) in 1975 to the lyrics by Sauvo "Saukki" Puhtila. The song was never released as a single, And it was not included in any of Päivi's albums. It was released only on of "Maailmalla soi" hit cover compilations. So, sadly this beautiful song is forgotten by all.. The original song was the sole big hit for Brtish vocal group Sweet Sensation. "Sad Sweet Dreamer " reached number one in UK charts in 1974. This soul ballad is heavily influenced by the Stylistics, and led by lead vocalist Marcel King's falsetto, . The song was produced by Tony Hatch and David Parton (aka Des Parton) . Parton aslo wrote the song. You can see the group perform "Sad Sweet Dreamer ", here.
While doing research for Finnpicks I have often found a song that I have never heard, but after hearing it for the first time, want listen to it again and again. This only shows how big is the treasure chest of the forgotten musical gems of the past. This "Kun aika kuluu" (As time goes by) is one of those gems. Jouko ja Kosti recorded it in 1973. It was the flipside of the earlier Finnpick, "Mama Loo" (see here) and the philosophical lyrics were done by lyrics master Juha Vainio. The original song "Snart är du gammal" (Soon you will be old) was penned by Benny Andersson in his pre-Abba days, and it was originally performed by Norwegian singer Jan Höiland, who was active both in Norway and in Sweden. BTW, Jan was the guy who made a Norwegian version of Marion's 1962 ESC song "Tipi-tii". This "Snart är du gammal" became a hit in Sweden in 1973.
We continue with another timeless piece of music. Metro-tytöt was an all girl vocal group from Kitee, Finland. The group comprised of sisters Anna-Liisa and Hertta Väkeväinen and their cousin Annikki Väkeväinen. Annikki was later replaced by Tamara Dernjatin (b. Tamara Hramova). Metro-tytöt was the most popular Finnish vocal group of the 50's along with Harmony Sisters and Kipparikvartetti. This "Jussista saan miehen armaan" (Jussi will be my dear man) was one of their classics from 1954. Ten years later a vocal group called Tytöt had a hit with the same song. Tytöt was a one-off group, whose members were Finnish top models / beauty queens at the time, fronted by Lenita Airisto. The song that these both groups covered was a 1953 hit "Johnny (Is the Boy for Me)" for Les Paul (b. Lester William Polsfus) and Mary Ford (b. Colleen Summers). Les Paul was a famous guitar builder anf Mary a country singer. The couple made several hits in the 50's with featuring Les's distinctive electric guitar and Ford harmonizing with herself. BTW, Les Paul was the godfather of rock guitarist Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band. In later years, Romanian light music composer Richard Stein sued Les Paul for plagiarism, charging that "Johnny" was taken from Stein's 1937 song "Sanie cu zurgalai" (Sledge with Bells). And as you can hear yourself after hearing the Romanian original version sung by Maria Lataretu, he was right ...
Tuulevi Mattila recorded a couple of singles in 1961-1962 representing at the time the new young generation of Finnish female singers together with Marion Rung, Monika Aspelund, etc. But, unlike some others, she never really made it. She ended her singing career at the age of 17 and later made her career as dance artist and -pedagogist. One of the songs Tuulevi recorded was "Norman" in 1961. The lyrics were crafted by Reino Helismaa, who for some reason did not re-christen the boy in the song, although "Norman" is not a Finnish name. The original song was written by the famous American songsmith John D. Loudermilk. It was made to a hit by pop and country music singer Sue Thompson (b. Eva Sue McKee), peaking in Billboard charts at position number 3 in 1961. Thompson became a favorite among the teenagers, even though she was in her late thirties at the time. You can see her perform the song in television show, here.
This is one of those songs that are timeless. It still pleases the musical ear and will be doing so in the decades to come. Taiska recorded "Aamulla yksin" (Alone in the morning) in 1980 for her album "Villi vapauden kaipuu". The lyrics were provided by Raul Reiman. It did not cause much commotion at the time, being only an album track. But when Riki Sorsa (see earlier entry) recorded the same song under new title "Joki" (The river) and with different lyrics in 1993, the song became an istant hit - and a pop classic. The original song was called "Boat On The River", and it was performed by American rock group Styx. This Chicago band was known for melding their progressive rock with hard rock guitar, strong ballads, and the flair of a Broadway musical. This folkish "Boat" song was one of the hit singles culled from their best selling 1979 album "Cornerstone". It was written by band's guitarist Tom Shaw.
Georg Dolivo was a member in the popular vocal group Kivikasvot, and recorded only four songs as a solo singer. "Maantie" (Country road) was released as a single in 1964 and it was on the flipside of our earlier Finnpick "Pieni palanen kultaa" (see here) The original song was performed by American folk group The New Christy Minstrels. The lead vocals in the song were delivered by Barry McGuire (yes, he of "Eve of Destruction" fame), who also co-wrote it. Minstrels sold millions of records in USA and were in constant demand at concerts and on television shows. They also launched the musical careers of several musicians (in addition to McGuire), including Kenny Rogers, Gene Clark, Kim Carnes and Jerry Yester. "Minstrel" show, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface (i.e. their faces painted in black). N.C.M took their name after Christy's Minstrels, a blackface group formed by Edwin Pearce Christy, a well-known ballad singer, in 1843. You can see New Christy Minstrels perform "Green Green" live, here.
Today we start a new randomly running serie called Finnpicks' Smurfing Sunday. And as we are again experiencing that sweaty summer feeling under recurrent heatwave, it's fit to start it with this particular song. Smurffit is the Finnish incarnation of "Les Schtroumpfs", the blue comic book creatures created by Belgian comic book artist Peyo in the 50's. They have spread all over the world since then and their escapades are shown in television, also in Finland. The Finnish Smurffit have also launched a successful recording career, cutting some 18 albums. They carry on the tradition of covering international hit songs in Finnish. a tradition that has almost vanished in the last 20 years. I guess their music is targeted to 1-6 year olds, and therefore it's quite amazing/amusing to find such songs as "Sexy Sexy Lover" covered (with more appropriate lyrics of course). This song "Kesäolo" (Summer feeling) was from their 4th album "Kesähitit" in 1998. The album earned two gold records and one platinum record in sales. The original song "Sweat (A La La La La Long)" was an European smash hit for Jamaican reggae group Inner Circle in 1992.
Silhuetit (see earlier entry) were a sadly underrated vocal group. One of their lesser known somgs is this tongue-in-cheek "Sirkus Bimbo". from their 1978 albun ""Jos mulle sydämesi annat". The original tune was called "Bobo Step" and it was the creation of Frenchman Claude Morgan (real name Claude Youcef Eliaou Ganem) of El Bimbo (finnpicked here) fame The record was released under the moniker Blue Bahamas in 1975. It was an early disco hit in Europe, especially in Italy, where also Raffaella Carra made her own hit version of it.
Rauli "Badding" Somerjoki (see earlier entry) recorded several pop and rock'n roll classics. This is one example of those. "Kuin runotar hän kulkee" (Like a muse she moves) was released in 1982, as a track on his album "Ikkunaprinsessa". Badding wrote the lyrics himself. The original song "Poetry In Motion" was Top 3 hit for American singer and songwriter Johnny Tillotson. This was however not his own composition, but written by songwriters Paul Kaufman and Mike Anthony. They have told that the inspiration for the song came from seeing a procession of young ladies from a nearby school pass by on the sidewalk. The song was recorded in Nashville and featured such legendary musicians as saxophonist Boots Randolph on saxophone and Floyd Cramer on piano.
Pirkko Mannola recorded "Johnny pitää minkä lupaa" (Johnny keeps his promise) in 1964 and it was released as a single. On the flipside was "Nasta Mesta" (finnpicked here). Not a great success but a nice upbeat song in Pirkko's inimitable style. The original song was written by Larry Finnegan (who had a hit as a singer with "Dear One"). It was performed in 1963 by Dutch/Swedish singer Suzie (b. Maria Pereboom). Suzie was born in Netherlands, but was a Swedish citizen and recorded in Swedish, English, Danish, Dutch, German, French, Italian and Spanish. Later in the 60's she also fronted the Swedish girl group Suzie and the Sunnygirls. You can see her perform the "Johnny" -song in television, here.
Juhamatti (see earlier entry) recorded this catchy disco romp "Hei oo mennään taas" in 1980 to the lyrics of Raul Reiman. It was released as a single and was a minor hit. The song uses (as does the original) extracts from the familiar song "Drunken Sailor". The original song was a 1979 disco hit from Germany, titled "The Sea-Fare Folk". It was performed by Cherry Laine and written by her producer Bernt Möhrle. We have presented the works of this couple before, here and here.
Eija Sinikka (b. Eija Kovanen) started her recording career in 1970. During the 70's she recorded mostly Finnish schlager music, especially Finnish national dance music "humppa". But once in awhile she cut some pop songs as well. This recording from the year 1974, "Haaveillen" (Dreaming) was one of those. It was released as a single but failed to gain momentum in the charts. Eija Sinikka is still gigging actively. The original song was written and performed by English singer and songwriter Daniel Boone (of "Beautiful Sunday" fame, see earlier Finnpick, here). You can see Daniel perform the German version of the song, here.
This is to my mind one of the finest moments in the Finnish 60's pop music. Topmost (see earlier entry) recorded "Hän sinut jättää" (She will be leaving you) in 1967. It is superbly arranged and sung harmony pop, and - in my opinion - beats the original, whatever it is. The original song was called "Two Kinds of Lovers" and it was written by American songwriter duo Kasha and Hirschhorn. The song was included in the first album (1966) by Spanish pop group Los Bravos, and I guess Topmost picked it up from there, becouse they also covered the "Black Is Black" from the same album. Probably it is not the original version, but I have not found any other, of which the one by Australian/British group The Gibsons is a strong contender. Los Bravos was by far the most popular (internationally) Spanish pop group in the 60's. The band originally were an amalgamation of two Spanish pop groups, Los Sonor and The Runaways. Their lead singer, Mike Kogel (aka Mike Kennedy), was from Germany.
Updated on 18.09.2010: added The Gibsons' version, which clearly is the one that Topmost brilliantly covered.
Let's continue with another classic 70's pop ballad. Danny recorded "Ei aikaa enempää" (No more time) in 1970 to the lyrics by Pertsa Reponen. Also the group Agents ft. Jorma Kääriäinen has made a good Finnish version of the song. The original one "I Ain't Got Time Anymore" was written by famous British arranger and producer Mike Leander and performed by Cliff Richard, who had a hit with it in UK in 1970. Perhaps the most known version, however, is by an American group called The Glass Bottle. This song about about bitterness and heartbreak reached Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in September 1971. Band's producer had an advertising deal with a PR firm that was trying to save the glass industry from losing soda pop clients to plastic bottles. Therefore he named the group "The Glass Bottle". Music samples removed due to alleged copyright infringement.