Thursday, January 31, 2008

Vivo cantando - Carnaval is coming!

With Carnaval coming to the lowlands this weekend it's time to share this gem. Way back in the 70's someone thought it a good idea to humpa-up the Spanish Eurovision entry of 1969 Vivo Cantando, originally by Salomé. The song was one of 4 winners that year, the only year in Eurovision history that saw multiple winners. Ja Ja Daar Gaan We translates roughly as Yeah, Yeah, here we go.

Ad Nijkamp was one of Father Abraham's Good Sons (Goede zonen) The Father Abraham we all know and love from the Smurf Song. De Goede Zonen were his band in the early 70's and together they scored many hits and Carnaval schlagers in the Netherlands. Later Ad Nijkamp became Father Abrahams manager.

This coverversion has an added melody in the song, which was used in several other coverversions of Vivo Cantando, but hasn't been sung by the original performer. For example the version by Birthe Kjaer and the German one by Edina Pop (Marika Késmárky) you can find in this Eurocovers post (Zwischen Wolga und Don). A drag version of the song titled Wintersport can be found in the Eurocovers post Free at last, Costume Drama at Eurocovers.

The pictures are the front and back of the record sleeve. ----- 

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Anno Domenico: Pleased To Meet Alex Chilton

The first time I ever heard of Alex Chilton was in a song by The Replacements. On their LP Pleased To Meet Me from 1987 (still a favorite LP of mine) there's a song bearing Chilton's name.

I remember buying that LP initially because I thought the graphics were so cool.
So then I discovered that Alex Chilton is a cult figure who was in the Box Tops at 16 (remember The Letter ?) and Big Star.

In the same year, 1987, Alex Chilton released his acclaimed solo LP High Priest for which he recorded Volare in his inimitable ironic vocal style.

Read more about Alex Chilton, Big Star and the Box Tops at
If you haven't done so yet, you should really watch The Letter by the Box Tops in this Youtube video and see the magic of Alex Chilton.
The CD version of the Replacements LP Pleased To Meet Me is available at most internet stores and a recommended 80's fun power pop punk rock album. (Although it really should be listened to (loud!) on vinyl, some LPs are just better that way).
The Replacements' Alex Chilton video (youtube) is here

2008: Anno Domenico will feature 50 years of coverversions of Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare).With this link you'll get all the Eurocovers Posts that have featured the song so far.

BLOG TIP: Nora Brockstedt at Global Vintage
A whole week of Nora Brockstedt goodies at the 'new' blog Global Vintage. Nora Brockstedt is the singer of the first two Eurovision entries for Norway: Voi Voi from 1960 and Sommer I Palma from 1961.
She celebrated her 85th birthday last week and Global Vintage is the place to party!

Nora Brockstedt also recorded Volare as I Dine Blå Øynes Blå in Norwegian (record details wanted) and as I Det Blå in Swedish.
Nora Brockstedt Eurocovers Discography (any additions welcome!!)
UPDATED - Thanks Erik for the additions & correction!

Denmark 1957 - Skibet Skal Sejle I Natt (Birthe Wilke & Gustav Winckler)
- Skibet skal seile I natt (Norwegian) - details wanted
- Skeppet skall segla i natt (Swedish) on 7" (Cupol CS 4521) & EP Höst i en park i Paris (Cupol SEP 105)
France 1958 - Dors Mon Amour (André Claveau)
- Sov I min favn (Norwegian) on 7" (details wanted) & CD Tango For To, 50 Innspillinger Fra 50 År.
- Sov, min älskling (Swedish) on EP (Cupol CEP 193) also includes I Det Blå.
Italy 1958 - Volare (Domenico Modugno)
- I dine blå øynes blå (Norwegian) - release details wanted
- I det blå (Swedish) on EP (Cupol CEP 193)
Sweden 1959 - Augustin (Brita Borg)
- Augustin (Norwegian) - details wanted, a 5/7 hit in Norway
- Augustin (Swedish) on EP (Cupol CEP 214)
Norway 1963 - Solhverv (Anita Thallaug at Eurovision) This song was performed twice in the Norwegian National selection, once by Jan Høiland and once by Nora Brockstedt. A different singer sang it at Eurovision and Jan Høiland is the only one to release the song.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

2008 - Anno Domenico: Shake Your Booty To Volare

Volare, basically has had three lives. Three times in the past 50 years the song was covered very successfully and confused a new generation into thinking it was the original. And still.., Volare? isn't that that the Gipsy Kings song?
The Gipsy Kings version from 1989 is the third time Volare was a worldwide success spawning many soundalikes and of course the first life was in the late 50's and early 60's.

Al Martino
The second time Volare became an (almost*) worldwide hit was in 1975 when Al Martino swept the charts with his polished disco version that was appropriate both in the disco as well as on your aunts 25th wedding anniversary hoedown.
A lite mix of the popular Philadelphia sound (Three degrees, Lou Rawls, MFSB etcetera) with the crooning qualities of an established 50's / 60's star was just bound to work.

Al Martino's version was the start of an avalanche of disco versions which popped up until the 70s were over. Every party band played the new version and it gave Modugno's its second life.
Even orchestra's that had recorded the song the first time around rode along on the Al Martino wave (George Jouvin, Caravelli).

Al Martino was born in Philadelphia 80 years ago. His breakthrough hit was Here In My Heart in 1952. And the story goes that he recorded the song because Mario Lanza, who it was planned for, was too busy. It was a U.S. & U.K. # 1. In fact it was the first #1 hit in the U.K.'s recorded chart history: 9 wks #1 in the NME top 12.
Many hits followed: Take My Heart, Now, Wanted were his biggest hits in the 50's, when he was more popular in the U.K.. The 60's were the US decade with hits like I Love You Because and I Love You More And More Everyday. 14 years after Here In My Heart he recorded Spanish Eyes, another global hit (in 1966, 1970 and 1973).
Volare, recorded in 1975, *failed to chart in the U.K. but was a huge smash in Europe, including a #24 in Italy and a #2 in Belgium.

Read more about Al Martino at his homepage. Or check the usual sources for his compilation cds. (Or just pick up some of his old vinyls at the record fair, you won't regret it)
Al Martino also recorded Love Is Blue, The other Eurovision winner that lost (or loser that won). It was a single and a minor hit in 1968.

Here's a long version of Martino's Volare from a 1976 12"inch (EMI). The L.P.O (Larry Page Orchestra) version is from 1974 and is one of the first disco efforts the and Bebu Silvetti (1978) track is one of many disco versions that were released in the second half of the 70s. Corny, but you'll love it.

2008: Anno Domenico will feature 50 years of coverversions of Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare).
With this link you'll get all the Eurocovers Posts that have featured the song so far.

BLOG TIPS:Loronix, recommended blog for Music From Brasil, features various LPs with Modugno Eurocovers, all with wonderful picture sleeves:
Volare: Guimaraes e seu Conjunto
Piove (Ciao Ciao Bambina, Modugno's 1959 entry) by Zé Maria , and more LP's with Piove by Simonetti & Orchestra RGE and Orchestra Pan American
Dio Come Ti Amo by Lyrio Panicali .
Blow Up Doll featured Françoise Hardy (Eurovision 1963, Monaco) last week in Françoise Hardy Week. This week they feature Jane Birkin in Jane Birkin week. Check out or miss out!
Update: and now it's France Gall week, can it get any better?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Eurovision 2008 - Eurocovers from Icelands preselection stars

Iceland are still at it. After 12 weeks of pre- pre- semi semi's there's 12 songs left which will compete in a new series of heats to create a final final. You can hear all songs still in the competition at the RÚV website.

Last year there were some interesting Eurocovers by the Icelandic hopefuls (see this Eurocovers post), this year only two of the artists have recorded Eurovision songs.

This Saturday (19-1) is the first round and the third song, Lullaby To Peace, is performed by Ína Valgerður Pétursdóttir, Seth Sharp og Berglind Ósk Guðgeirsdóttir. Ína Valgerður who has recorded a Eurovision winner. It's Non Ho L'Eta, originally by Gigliola Cinquetti.
Valgerður's version however is a straightforward coverversion of the coverversion by Elly Vilhjálms, Heyr Mína Bæn, who recorded the Icelandic version in 1964. You can find Elly Vilhjálms' version in the Eurocovers post 10.000 coverversions: Non Ho L'Eta. (updated with gorgeous picture sleeve!)

Valgerður's version is from Icelandic Idols but her solo album hasn't substantiated yet. More details here.

The second Eurocovering Icelandic singers are Eurobandið (Friðrik Ómar and Regína Ósk). They have been featured recently at Eurocovers (here). Their song Fullkomið líf is in the third semi heat (02-02).
Their Myspace features a live Eurovision medley and they have recorded an Icelandic version of 1981 winner Making Your Mind Up (Bucks Fizz) titled Við Sigrum Að Ári. (also available for dowload at their MySpace)
No CD is released yet, but I'm hoping this year will the Eurobandið year! (starting with a few new promo pics??)

And Eurocovers readers may have noticed my personal campaign to promote Dr. Gunni. Well, it worked, and he has one song in the third round. Hvar ertu nú? by Dr. Spock. It won the wildcard round and it's loud!

UPDATE 19-1: - Lullaby To Peace by Ína Valgerður Pétursdóttir, Seth Sharp and Berglind Ósk Guðgeirsdóttir is eliminated.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Anno Domenico: Volare for Ethiopia (1985)

Do They Know It's Christmas, We Are The World. The 80's saw a host of allegedly well meant millionselling songs aimed to raise money for the starving and to Feed The World. I can try to be as PC as possible, but after 20 years people still are quite hungry. What's Going On?

Every European country had it's own version of the charity explosion and that's where Volare comes into the frame. In 1985 a host of Italian stars recorded Modugno's song to raise some cash for Ethiopia: Musica Italiana Per L'Etiopia. You know the images: priviliged people in casual daywear, headphones in check, eyes closed, passionately acting and singing one whole line to do their bit for the needy.

The Italian effort featured the popular recording artists at the time, some has beens and even the occasional Eurovision artist* (or to be). And lovely Milva! (her solo version of Volare is here)
Angelo Branduardi, Banco, Claudia Mori, Dik Dik, Dori Ghezzi*, Enrico Ruggeri*, Eugenio Finardi, Fabrizio De Andrè, Gianna Nannini, Gianni Togni, Giuni Russo, Ivano Fossati, Loredana Bertè, Lucio Dalla, Maurizio Fabrizio, Milva, Patty Pravo, Riccardo Fogli*, Ron, Rossana Casale, Tony Esposito and Vasco Rossi.

The song was released on a 7" inch single (Ricordi ET 0100) at 3500 Lire and a 12"inch with an extended version (Ricordi ETX 0100) at 7000 Lire. Both discs also have the instrumental version. It was a #2 hit in the Italian charts in may 1985 and was the 27th best selling single of the year. We Are The World was the best selling hit in Italy that year.

----Ethiopia is here

2008 welcomes Azerbaijan to the Eurovision stage.

The list of countries for Eurovision 2008 counts 43 and there's again two newcomers on the Eurovision stage. San Marino and Azerbaijan*. Austria opts out for 2008.
Eurocovers of course tries to find any excuse to present some songs here but so far I haven't been able to find any version sung in Azerbaijani (or Azeri-Turkish, check your wiki's).
If anyone knows any, just let me know….

But this is close, Muslim Magomaev (Müslüm Maqomayev, Муслим Магомаев, 1942-2008) is a classical singer (baritone) who was born in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, in 1942, USSR times.
He shares his name with his grandfather, legendary composer Muslim Magomaev (1885 - 1937), who was a pioneer of Azerbaijani music. His father was a painter and war hero, his mother an actress. Magomaev Jr. started as a classical singer but after a performance in Italy he also turned to popular music. Since he has recorded Italian and Russian versions of many Italian songs including several San Remo entries and (other) songs by Domenico Modugno. Later he was dubbed the Soviet Sinatra.

In 1966 and 1969 Muslim Magomaev performed in Paris Olympia with great success. The director of Olympia Bruno Coquatrix offered him a contract, and Muslim Magomaev was seriously considering an opportunity to pursue international career, but he didn't get the Ministry of Culture's permission, who claimed that it needed Muslim Magomaev to perform at governmental concerts. In 1969 he received MIDEM Gold Disc Award in Cannes for the album sales of over 4,5 million units. In 1973, at the very young age of 31, Muslim was awarded the Soviet Union's highest artistic title: People's Artist of the USSR. Muslim Magomaev is also known as a composer of songs, film soundtracks and music for theater performances. In addition, Magomaev played in films and acted as a host in television and radio broadcasts.

Muslim Magomaev has been living and working in Moscow since the early 1970s. In 1997, in recognition of Magomaev's professional successes, a Russian astronomical society named two planetoids of the solar system in honor of him and his wife, Tamara Sinyavskaya, a prominent Russian opera singer who was also awarded People's Artist of the USSR and worked as a soloist at the Bolshoi Theater. (source: Magomaev Website)
At his website (in English and Russian) you can read more and listen to a large selection of his songs: classical music, songs by Azerbaijani composers, western popular songs, film themes and many self composed works.

UPDATE: Muslim Magomaev died on October 25, 2008.

Magomaev Eurocovers.So far I have found two Eurocovers by Muslim Magomaev. Both are entries from 1965, the year of his visit to Milan, Italy.
Se Piangi, Se Ridi (Italian)- Italy 1965, originally by Bobby Solo
Voskovaya Kukla (Восковая кукла, Russian)
- Luxembourg 1965, France Galls Poupée De Cire ... ***
I don't have any details on the release of Se Piangi Se Ridi, but Poupée…. was issued on a Melodija 4 track EP (33ГД-0001045-2 see picture) and a compilation LP of the same year, Vsem kto lyubit pesnyu (#3)
The third song featured here is Non Pensare A Me, the 1967 SanRemo winner that was replaced at the rehearsing stages of the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna.**

*Where's Azerbaijan? (Azərbaycan): On the west side of the Caspian Sea with Russia to the North and Iran to the South. On the west Azerbaijan shares borders with Armenia (disputed) and Georgia. Capital city Baku is at the Caspian coast.
Azerbaijan seceded from the USSR in 1991 and has a populuation of 8,5 million.
The Eurovision Song Contest broadcast will start at 02.00 hours as in summer there is a 5 hour time difference.

** Non Pensare A Me was the 1967 San Remo winner by both Iva Zanicchi and Claudio Villa. Villa was supposed to sing it as the Italian Eurovision entry but the song had to be replaced just days before the contest because it broke the release rules (i.e. it was released to early). Instead, Claudia Villa represented Italy with Non Andare Piu Lontano, but Non Pensare A Me was the hit (mainly for Zannichi) and is covered by most artists that were in the business of covering popular Italian songs (Connie Francis, Andre Hazes, Yukari Ito, Agnaldo Timoteo, José Guardiola).
Of Non Andare Piu Lontano I only ever found one coverversion (by Los Catinos)

*** Can't get enough of Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son?, for more check these Eurocovers posts: Tatiana in The Kids Are Alright part 1, Les Sans Culottes in Eurocovers 1st Birthday, Shimatani Hitomi video, Arcade Fire (info only), My Tam (Vietnam) and Minami Saori (Japan) in the top 10 most covered Eurovision songs, Estonian Star Sisters and Swedish Anne Lie Rydé.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

2008: ANNO DOMENICO - Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, it's 2008 and I wish all Eurocovers readers a fantastic year. May some of your wishes come true and may there always be something to wish for.

Anno Domenico ©
2008 at Eurocovers will be Anno Domenico ©. After last years celebration of the 40 year anniversary of Sandie Shaw's Puppet On A String in The Year Of The Puppet we go back 50 years this time to pay hommage to the best selling Eurovision song Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) written and performed by Domenico Modugno. By now you know many details about the history of the song already but there's more in 2008, and of course a host of interesting, cool, rare and odd coverversions of the Italian evergreen.
And there will be info on Volare celebrations held in Italy this year: There will be a Volare stamp, TV shows, concerts and releases spread all over 2008.

2008 will also see a new Eurovision, in Belgrade, Serbia and a record 43 countries will participate in this edition. National selections will see hundreds of artists trying to get a ticket to the Balkan and several of them have recorded coverversions of Eurovision songs. They will all be here.

I have prepared several Anno Domenico © posts already but I had a hard time to start somewhere. Currently the list of Volare coverversions counts 1060 (and rising). The famous and the forgotten, the obvious and the obscure, the polka, the punk & the philharmonic, so much to choose from.

I decided to kick off Anno Domenico © with a favorite version from 1958. Several American artists have recorded the song before Modugno had his breakthrough with his song but none of them stole his thunder. One of them is featured here.

Jesse Belvin (1932 - 1960)
Jesse Lorenzo Belvin was a soul singer from Los Angeles (but born in San Antonio, Texas) and he only spent 28 years on this earth, but not without leaving his marks on 20th music history.
His first chart hit was in 1953 with Dream Girl (Jesse & Marvin). He co-wrote Earth Angel, a 1954 hit for the Penguins, and later for the Crew-Cuts and much much later for New Edition (1986). His second band The Shields, also featuring Johnny Guitar Watson, scored a hit with You Cheated (1958). The most successful Belvin hits were Goodnight My Love (1958) and Guess Who (1959) from his first solo LP Just Jesse.
Tragedy struck when after a concert with stars like Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson, Jesse Belvin and his wife Anne died in a car accident in Arkansas. It was just before his third album Mr. Easy (his nickname) was released.

Jesse Belvin's wonderful soul-voiced version of Volare, sung in English and Italian, was released on a 7" single in the US in July 1958 (RCA Victor 47-7310). It was his 30th single.

Jesse Belvin recorded for various labels like Specialty, Imperial, Modern, RCA-Victor, King and Knight. His RCA recordings (including Volare) are collected on the recommended 2CD Guess Who - The RCA Victor Recordings (ACE records, UK) which was released in 2004 and is available in any good music store and in most internet CD shops.
♫ Jesse Belvin / Jesse Belvin

You can find a detailed Jesse Belvin discography here.

Also check out these 2007 Eurocovers posts that feature versions of Volare:
Jazz legend Oscar Peterson, Brasilian superstar Leny Eversong, Chorrujumo, 10.000 Eurocovers featuring Milva, Wayne Newton, Dolores Duran, Gery Scott & Earl Grant. Ella Fitzgerald, Luciano Pavarotti & G4 , Lithuanian Mino and La Grande Dame De France: Juliette Greco.

Some facts about Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)
The song was written by Domenico Modugno (music) and Franco Migliacci (lyrics). The most used English lyrics are written by Mitchell Parish.
The song was written in 1957 but was first launched at the eighth San Remo contest (Final Februari 1st) where it was performed twice. Once by Domenico Modugno and once by Johnny Dorelli.
Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu won the San Remo song contest and Modugno represented Italy in the third Eurovision Song Contest in 1958 in Hilversum, The Netherlands at the 12th of March.

The contest was won by France's Dors Mon Amour by André Claveau and Modugno ended third with 13 points. 2 times 4 from Belgium and Germany and five times 1 point. And zero poing from Denmark and Luxemburg.

But Modugno laughed all the way to the bank, as his song , soon known as Volare (after the refrain) became one of the top 100 best selling singles of 20st century, a US #1 hit, A grammy winner and one of the most covered songs with several lives in most decades since the original recording.
Volare won the first ever Grammy for a song in 1958. Both for song of the year and record of the year.

More facts to come….