Thursday, September 03, 2009

Earl Holliman: Nobody Knows How I Feel

t.A.T.u, this Eurocovers article is not really about them. t.A.T.u., Russian hitmakers, pseudo sapphic sisters and general pop mega superstars represented Russia in 2003 with Ne Ver, Ne Boisja, Ne Prosi (Don't Believe, Don't Fear, Don't Ask). The E.B.U. were scared shitless by them, not because of the potentially political lyrics and not because of their limited vocal talents, but because of The Kiss. t.A.T.u. were specifically 'asked' to not display any of the lesbian kissing behaviour they were renowned for through their groundbreaking videos.
Big mistake of course, and not really a friendly gesture towards the large gay following Eurovision has. It's o.k. you're our fans dears, but keep it in the closet. The fact that the girls aren't really lesbians is irrelevant really, axing the kiss is a missed opportunity for equal rights and all that, showing that modern Europe isn't as narrow minded as the E.B.U. think it is.

So thát kiss didn't happen (what if they had won, useless U.K. & Irish televoters?*).
By know you know Eurocovers goes to great lengths to construct stories leading towards a Eurocover, so again, bear with me, and we'll be at Angie Dickinson's soon.

Forbidden Kiss
t.A.T.u.'s wasn't the first kiss that kept the Eurovision viewers on the edge of their seats: let's go back to 1957, Frankfurt, Germany.
It's the first televised contest and Denmarks debut entry is a melancholy song Skibet Skal Sejle I Nat (The ship will sail tonight), a duet by Birthe Wilke & Gustav Winckler. It's about a sailor saying goodbye to his sweetheart. The sailing ship making a cruel end to the happiness, the plans and the dreams of the couple.

The performance ends with a kiss. Not just a friendly peck on the cheek, but a kiss so raunchy for its time that half of Europe** fell off the sofa and the press spoke of a scandal. Remember, it was 1957.
We will never know if it was rehearsed like this or that frisky Gustav just saw his chance and gave Birthe a little more tongue than she bargained for. (please see comments)The juries didn't really have a problem with it, as the song finished 3rd (in a field of 10)
See the YouTube of the Eurovision performance.

* t.A.T.u got points from every country's televote except the U.K. and Ireland, even though they had already scored a #1 hit there with All The Things She Said. Ne Ver, Ne Boisja, Ne Prosi ended 3rd, just three points behind winner Everyway That I Can by Sertab Erener (Turkey).
** O.K. then, just a few of them, not everyone had a TV set in 1957, or sofas.

Of course Skibet Skal Sejle I Nat is not just the kiss, it's a beautiful song of romance, heartbreak and regret that has survived over 50 years and still is an evergreen in Denmark. Many Danish artists have recorded the song, including several this century.
The song has also been recorded in Sweden, Germany, Finland and Norway but it's an English language version I needed this long and eventually pointless introduction for.

Some time ago I received this single from Mikael, Danish Eurocovers expert, and it's (another) one of my favorite Eurocovers of all time. So: many Thanks Mikael!

Forbidden Planet
It's the only English version of the song I know of and it's titled Nobody Knows How I Feel.
The English lyrics were written by Larry Coleman, the original song is by Erik Fiehn (music) and Poul Sørensen (Danish lyrics).
The ship & sailor theme is abandoned but the mood remains one of sadness and remorse, where the singer is 'carefree and gay', but his heart is torn apart.
The singer in question is Earl Holliman and he is an American actor with a very familiar face.

It was just this week that I saw cult science fiction movie Forbidden Planet on some old movies channel. Holliman plays the funny cook who let's the planets domestic robot Robbie replicate some booze for him. Great film, crazy soundtrack.
In 1956 Earl Holliman was awarded a Golden Globe for his supporting role in The Rainmaker (with Burt Lancaster and Katharine Hepburn).

I myself know Holliman most for his role as Lt. Bill Crowley in Police Woman, the 70's Angie Dickinson (Bacharach) TV series which was known as Pepper in my country. Holliman played Peppers boss and companion.
Holliman appears in many movies, but also in almost every TV show of some reputation in the 70's and 80's. Think Alias Smith & Jones, The Twilight Zone, Chips, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Hotel, Murder She Wrote and Cannon.

Check this article at Yahoo movies for a nice bio of Earl Holliman and more of his films.
And here's a nice Earl Holliman tribute page worth checking out.

Sittin' And A Gabbin'
Earl Holliman had a brief recording career.
He released a few singles with Capitol (& affiliated Prep records) in the 50's, and at least one with HIFI in the 60's (Grow To Nowhere).
It's one of those Prep singles that features todays Eurocover Nobody Knows What I Feel. The song can be found on the b-side of 1958 single Sittin' And A Gabbin' (Prep 127) in the U.S. and on HMV (HMV 45 X 8359) in Denmark.
Other releases were A Teenager Sings The Blues (1958), If I Could See The World Through The Eyes Of A Child (1958) and I'm In The Mood For Love (1959).
I don't think any of his records charted and as far as I know none has ever been re-released on CD (or even LP).

picture: The gold lettering on the purple label doesn't scan very well, but you get the jist.

1 comment:

Mikael said...

Beautiful post, Jan.
About the kiss: Birthe herself tells that the couple had been told to keep kissing until a member of the TV crew gave them the sign that they were no longer in the frame. But for some reason he forgot to give them that sign.....