Sunday, March 30, 2008

1972 - Lola Novaković - Posle Tebe (Après Toi)

Here's one I had lying about. Yugoslavia's second Eurovision singer Lola Novaković (4th in 1962 with Ne Pali Svetla U Sumrak (Don't turn the lights on in the twilight)) covers Vicky Leandros' 1972 Eurovision winner Après Toi in Serbo-Croat as Posle Tebe on this sweet EP (RTB EPF 52 003) --- 

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Crash Course In Eurovision: Don't Forget To Mention Norway

I'm very pleased to say that Eurocovers attracts visitors from all over the globe and understandably not every unsuspecting passer-by instantly gets what the fuss is all about. You may know the familiar songs, or even some of the artists, but what in Agnetha's name are these euro people on?
How ludricous is the idea to send songs to a competition? Why do some countries send the same song every year? Can three minutes really last that long? Why do the gays always get the most beautiful women?, Why does Ireland send a turkey?.
Well for those confused and all others, here's a crash course to Eurovision in three songs.

1. What are the rules
It's Only A Wind Up by Brown Ale is a coverversion of the winning song from 1981, Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz. Tha Fizz enjoyed their bit of fame with some great hits like Land Of Make Believe, Piece Of The Action and the truly brilliant My Camera Never Lies.
Over the years the band has changed members more often than the average Eurovision act changes clothes but in Eurovision terms Bucks Fizz are a successtory of the quite successful category.

Brown Ale explain the rules of Eurovision in 2.36 minutes. How to write the song, how to form a group and how to not 'let the other artists take you from behind'.
Brown Ale was a project of Stephanie De Sykes, writer of arguably two of the worst UK entries of the last century Bad Old Days (Coco 1978) and Love Enough For Two (Primadonna 1980)
The Brown Ale single was withdrawn from the shops. (Radioactive RAD502)

2. What to do to get points
Marty Feldman (1934 - 1982) is a British comedian who probably needs no other introduction than his face. His Eurovision Song cunningly explains in one and a half minute how to suck up to the other countries and collect as many Douze Poings as possible*. Although had he lived and recorded an up to date version he would have needed more time with 43 countries and all that.

Like with Brown Ale, if you want to make a Eurovision spoof, you must mention Norway.

Eurovision Song is from his LP I Feel A Song Going Off (1969 Decca LP LK/SKL 4983) later re-issued as The Crazy World of Marty Feldman.
Special Thanks to Jim for this one!
(Sorry no Youtube link anymore)

3. What if you're pissed off with the results.
Taxi - EBU
There's only one winner (except in 1969, bless those days) and if you're hitch hiking home facing an angry mob with only trois poing to show for all the taxpayers money you spent, you have to take action.
You can blame the Diaspora, sue the camera people for not zooming in on your essentials, or accuse the winner of having raided your dressing room. Or you can write a song about it.
Romania sent a serious rock group to the 2000 Stockholm contest. The guys were called Taxi and their Song The Moon (Luna in it's Romanian version) bombed and reached 17th place. Every one is to blame except the Taxi drivers themselves and they vent their frustration at the E.B.U. (European Broadcasting Union, The Big Giant Head of Eurovision) in their song smartly titled E.B.U.. They threaten to send Dracula! but gracefully bleeped the F-word. You may need to listen a few times to understand the lyrics, but they are in English.

Links updated 2016
- Formerly of Bucks Fizz Website  -Taxi home page
- Stephanie De Sykes Wiki - Marty Feldman Wiki
And in this Eurocovers post you can see the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's take on Eurovision from a tartan perspective.

Other recommended study material: (all youtubes)
Gimme Gimme Gimme - Party with Bucks Fizz
My Lovely Horse - from the Father Ted series
Papa Bendi - Steve Coogan

* Yes I know, The Douze Poing system wasn't introduced at the time of this recording.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some Eurocovers CD tips

Kraljevi Ulice (Kings of the street) are this years Croatian entrants to the Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade. They team up with 75 year old 'rapper' 75 cents on their song Romanca.
The song mixes the sentiments of and old Russian folksong with the coolness of the Buena Vistas. See the video here.

Romanca can be found on their new album Zemlja pleše which also includes a coverversion of Bila Je Tako Lijepa, originally Elle Etait Si Jolie, Alain Barrieres 1963 entry for France.
The Kraljevi Ulice album is distributed by MenArt records.
In the Eurocovers post about Pekinška Patka & Dragan Stojnić you can find find out more about Bila Je Tako Lijepa and hear two older Balkan covers of the song.

Maia Hirasawa
In Sweden Maia Hirasawa has reissued her acclaimed CD Though, I'm Just Me. The new version has some bonus tracks including a stunning coverversion of last years Swedish glam entry by The Ark: The Worrying Kind.
She performed the song in the interval of this years Swedish Melodifestivalen final.
(CD on BAM / Razzia-0-77)
You can see Maia 'rocking' the Globen with the song at this Youtube.
Berryz 工房And with Maia Hirasawa being from Japan and all, a bridge to Berryz Koubou is quickly made. The Hello! Project group (a girl group with ever changing members) has released a new single and it's a Japanese version of Dschinghis Khan, Germany's and Ralph Siegels best ever entry (from 1979).
The single is released in Japan on three formats. A regular cdsingle which also includes the instrumental version, a DVD single and a limited edition CD with two versions and a making of video. (Piccolo Town records)
It's available from CDJapan
See Berryz Koubou's fun version in this Youtube

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 - Anno Domenico: Volare International - Norway

With Eurovision 2008 on track with all entries chosen it's a long wait until the big nights. Instead of speculations, fan polls and betting odds, Eurocovers goes on about their regular business: 50 years of Volare.

I have updated the list with coverversions of Volare with the latest finds and corrections added. You can find it  here.
The Word Document features details on Domenico Modugno's own recordings of the song plus 1100 coverversions. There's some picture sleeves too for your entertainment.

In the previous Volare file, listing over 1000 coverversions of the Italian 1958 classic there were versions in about 25 languages but not in Norwegian. Thanks to Erik that has changed and here's two versions of the song in that language.

The first one is already mentioned in the Eurocovers post about Birthday Girl Nora Brockstedt. You can find her complete Eurocovers discography in the same post, just below the bit about Alex Chilton. Her Volare is titled I Dine Blå Øynes Blå.

Vi Svever Høyt I Det BlåThe second and quite different Norwegian version is by Inger Jacobsen (with the Monn Keys), another Eurovision singer who ended 10th in the 1962 contest with Kom Sol, Kom Regn (Come sun, come rain).
Kom Sol, Kom Regn can be found on the CD Diamanter - Presang Til Mor, one of two CDs collecting her most known work. (The other CD is just titled Diamanter and features a remastered Volare). Both CDs are on EMI Norway.

National selection regular Inger Jacobsen (1923 - 1996) also recorded the first two Norwegian entries Voi Voi and Sommer I Palma. Jacobsen had sung Voi Voi in a semi final.
The above Dameblad picture of Inger Jacobsen is stolen from an article / discography (in Norwegian) which you can find here at MIC Norsk Musikinformasjon.
Although the site being in Norwegian doesn't make it easy, it's a fantastic browse for discography's, picture sleeves and bio's on many Norwegian artists.

Details on original vinyls wanted.

Thanks Erik!

2008: Anno Domenico is a tribute to Domenico Modugno's Eurovision classic Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) which conquered the world 50 years ago. Eurocovers will feature half a century of remarkable coverversions of the Italian evergreen.
Other International Volares featured at Eurocovers are from
Japan + Texas and Brasil.
And with
this search link you'll get all the Volare posts.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Charlotte Perrelli née Nilsson goes for second Victory

With the victory of Charlotte Perrelli in yesterdays Melodifestivalen final the Preselection season is now officially over. 43 songs have been chosen and it's over two months before they all take to the Eurovision stage in Belgrade (20, 22 and 24 May).

Charlotte's song Hero won thanks to the jury votes as the people of Sweden preferred Empty Room my Sanna Nielsen, but hey, that's a mistake SVT allows to happen every now and then (remember Grönval vs Stenmark anyone?).
They didn't pick my favorite Upp O Hoppa by Frida and Headline either, which of course was last with only 6 points (compared to Charlottes 224)

Charlotte Perrelli is Charlotte Nilsson, who already has one victory to her name: In 1999 she beat Iceland in Jerusalem with Take Me To Your Heaven (or: Tusen Och En Natt in Swedish). Classic Swedish Schlager by numbers elevated by a fantastic performance, an amazing backing choir and a stunning presence of the singer.

Take Me To Your Heaven was a minor hit in a few European countries and is also one of the most covered Eurovision songs of the last 20 years. (See list below)
The days of songs being covered by anyone and everyone in any language are long gone so if a modern Eurovision song gets over 10 versions recorded it's quite an achievement.

Charlotte first rose to fame as a singer of über Dansband Wizex, who have a million albums to their name and entertained the Swedish masses since 1973.

With Wizex Charlotte recorded one Eurocover Blå, Blå, Är Kärleken (L'Amour Est Bleu, Love Is Blue, you know it) which was released on the 1999 CD Tusen Och En Natt, also including the Swedish original of the 1999 Eurovision winner. pffff.... (CD Mariann MLPCD 3095)

Some coverversions of Take Me To Your Heaven
In a earlier post I already featured Tahitian singer Maruia. She recorded a straightforward copy of TMTYH for her CD Te ora hau (Maruia Vol. 11).
A version for the kids Ta Mig Upp På Berget (Take me up the mountains) was recorded by Bamse (Stefan Nyquist) a toy bear with quite a few Eurocovers to his name. (From CD Bamses Dunderfest, 2004, BAM 7097)
A techno stomper by Ms. Dawn completes the trio. It's from the CD Absolute Schlager Mania (2005) with loads of mindless dance covers of Swedish Eurovision and MF songs. (In Swedish) (in Swedish)
10.000 coverversions: L'Amour Est Bleu / Love Is Blue
More Swedish preselection fun at Eurocovers with Carola and Linda Bengtzing
Get the CD Melodifestivalen 2008 with all Swedish entries (32!) and/or most of the songs on CDsingle at BeaRecords, your #1 Eurovision shop.

Most covered Eurovision songs of the last 20 years 43 versions - Nocturne - Secret Garden (Norway 1996, winner)
- Many instrumental versions including some by classical artists and a few techno versions.
34 versions - Fly On The Wings Of Love - Olsen Brothers (Denmark 2000, winner)
- A techno version by Annia & XTM was a bigger hit in Europe than the original and was xeroxed by all kind of DJ's and other knob twiddlers.
25 versions - Diva - Dana International (Israel 1998, winner)
- Including several spoof versions ridiculing the transgender nature of the original singer.
24 versions - Take Me To Your Heaven - Charlotte Nilsson (Sweden 1999, winner)
- Mainly versions made in Sweden and by imaginary friends like the Smurfs*, toy bear Bamse and Barbie the doll.
21 versions - Stad I Ljus - Tommy Körberg (Sweden 1988, 12th)
- Operatic style original by Chess singer Tommy Körberg inspired many to belt out a cover.
19 versions - Bailar Pegados - Sergio Dalma (Spain 1991, 4th)
- Sugarsweet Smoocher covered in Mexico, Argentina, Dominican republic, Chile, Cuba, Peru, Uruguay, USA, South Africa, Italy and Sweden
18 versions - Ooh Aah, Just A Little Bit - Gina G (U.K. 1996, 8th)
- Arguably the biggest modern Eurovision hit (a US # 12 hit) has many anonymous followers .
18 versions - Se På Mig - Jan Johansen (Sweden 1995, 3rd)
- Mainly versions from Sweden and a few from South Africa.
16 versions - Love Shine A Light - Katrina & The Waves (U.K. 1997, winner)
- It's no Walking On Sunshine but it comes close.

The most covered songs of modern Eurovision (with semi's and all) are Para Llenarme De Ti by Ramon (Spain 2004) and Lane Moje by Zeljko Joksimovič (Serbia-Montenegro 2004) with respectively 12 and 11 cover versions to their name (at least). More about Zeljko soon at Eurocovers.

Info taken from the 10.000 coverversions project.
* Congratulations: The Smurfs are 50, expect a Eurocovers celebration soon!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Anno Domenico: Gay 'ole times with Anita Bryant

American singer / actress Anita Bryant shot to international infamy when she used her star status in her battle to stop a Miami law against discrimination on the basis of sexual preference. That surely alienated her gay fanbase, who felt like she was smashing their heads in with the Bible. And she only wanted to stop them from recruiting (!) and molesting innocent children.
Later on she toned down a little bit and changed her crusade against the bad bad gays corrupting American family values and American society to "Hate the sin, love the sinner".

After magically surviving her birth, her career started at a young age in the pageant industry, later winning titles like Miss America Pageant and Miss Oklahoma.
At 16 she released her first record Sinful To Flirt. She scored three hits in the early 60's including Paper Roses and released christian music records later in the 60's and 70's.
When she divorced she lost her new christian fundamentalist fanbase, and her career seemed to end in bankrupcy in 1997. Her second husband left her, allegedly, for another man.

In 2005 Barnsdall, Oklahoma she was honoured when a street got her name (Why?). Today she runs Anita Bryant Ministries International. (link here).
Read more about her birth story, (which is second to Jesus' birth only), a very effective gay orange juice boycott, a fruit pie (pictured) and Bryants life and hate campaigns and at her Wiki.
Her biography subtitled The Survival Of Our Nation's Families And The Threat Of Militant Homosexuality seems still available in the second hand bookstores bargain bins.

Anita Bryant recorded a great version Volare which appeared on her 1962 LP In A Velvet Mood (Columbia CS-8685) and it was also released as a 7" single (Columbia - S731571)

2008: Anno Domenico is a tribute to Domenico Modugno's Eurovision classic Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare) which conquered the world 50 years ago. Eurocovers will feature half a century of remarkable coverversions of the Italian evergreen. With this link you'll get all the Eurocovers posts that have featured (or mentioned) the song so far.

On/Off Topic: Ze French Eurovision Song for 2008

Off Topic as is doesn't involve any coverversions. But we're 37 entries into the 2008 contest and I finally have a huge favorite. For those hoping for a Carla Sarkozy appearance it may be a bummer, but I am very pleased The French appointed Sebastien Tellier to represent the country with the song Divine. Electronic Beach Boys meets Human League demo.

Pretentious, moi?
Maybe it is too arty and it doesn't have any poultry involved. I'm quite convinced it will bomb on the night as it probably won't feature any fireworks or scantilly clad dance routines either (although one can hope).
Divine is produced by Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk fame, and that should be enough really. All Seb needs is a trip to the barber for a cut and a shave.

You can listen to Divine at Sebastien Telliers Myspace.

Divine is already out on the CD Sexuality, in France on the Record Makers Label (founded by Air) and in the UK on Lucky Numbers Music.

Monday, March 03, 2008

CD tip - Milana Misic - Laulumme

This week Bonnier Finland release a new CD by Milana Misic.
Milana is the daughter of Laila Kinnunen, celebrated Finnish legend and the singer of the first Finnish Eurovision song Valoa Ikkunassa(1961) and many Eurocovers.
Two of those Eurocovers can also be found on Milana's new CD Laulumme, which features 14 songs made famous in Finland by Laila Kinnunen.
- Kaikialla (Al Di Lá, Italy 1961)
- Tanssilaulu (Dansevise, Denmarks winner from 1963)

You can find more details an excerpts here at Playcom and the CD is available from various webshops (CDON for EU).

Special thanks to Jukka!
Milana homepage (in Finnish) and more on Milana's Bonnier page (also in Finnish)
For more about Laila Kinnunen and her Eurocovers check this Finweeks Eurocovers post, with some great picture sleeves.