Sunday, September 27, 2009

Era - Wess Johnson, Sir Howard Morrison

Wess Johnson (1945-2009)This week Wess Johnson, of Wess and Dori Ghezzi (Italy 1975) fame has died.
Just a few months ago Wess Johnson got a mention in the Eurocovers post about Rocky Roberts.
The Italian entry Era ended 3rd in the Stockholm Eurovision in 1975. Era became a hit in several European countries, including a #2 hit in Finland, a #3 in Sweden and Norway, #6 in Switzerland and #20 in the Netherlands.

In Italy Wess and Dori Ghezzi scored 10 hits.. Their first hit was an Italian version of United We Stand (1972) and in 1975 Un Corpo E Un'Anima was a #1 hit. Era reached #13 in the Italian charts. Their last hit together was Amore Bellissimo (#9 hit in 1977). Together Wess and Dori made 5 albums.

Wess Johnson sold 10 million records worldwide throughout his career with the Airedales (first as bassist, later as lead singer), with Dori Ghezzi and as a solo singer. From 2000 he toured with the Wess Band, celebrating Italian and American (soul) classics at many live events.

The song Era was originally offered to Loredana Berté (sister of Mia Martini) but she didn't want to release it. At the time it wasn't intended as a Eurovision entry yet. Berté released her recording on a rarities LP Lorinedita in 1983.

Watch the Youtubes of Era (videoclip) and Un Corpo E Un'Anima (live) by Wess and Dori Ghezzi. And I Migliori Anni from 2008 where Wess sings with a virtual Dori.

Sir Howard Morrison (1935-2009)
Another sad goodbye this week. New Zealands King Of Entertainment, Sir Howard Morrison has passed away at the age of 74. With a music career of over 40 years, Morrison is a celebrated singer who's biggest hit in his home country was How Great Thou Art in 1981.

Eurocovers remembers Howard Morrison especially for his version of Eres Tu (The 1973 Spanish entry by Mocedades) which he recorded with a Maori choir on his 1979 album Morrison Magic - Tu Tangata. The track, a medley with Sailing, is sung in English and Maori.
As far as I know it's the only Eurocover in the Maori language.

You can read an extensive biography here at New Zealand Music com. and Wiki

Sunday, September 20, 2009

1968: La La La And I'll Cry If I Want To

La La La, the Spanish Eurovision winner by Massiel from 1968 is a well covered song.
Last year or so 'news' came out that it had won because the Generalo, Franco, bribed some juries because he wanted Spain to win.
All Allegedly of course, and I have a hard time believing the story. Cliff Richard didn't win, get over it.

La La La was a song of controversy all along. First the original singer Joan Manuel Serrat was sent packing because he insisted on singing the song in Catalan, later Massiel was critisized over her way too short dress which disgraced the Spanish people in Europe. Today the song is still ridiculed for the amount of La's that are in it, but somewhere deep inside there's a message, of freedom even...

Eurovision singer Massiel recorded the song in Spanish, French, German and English. Original singer Serrat recorded Spanish, English, French, Italian and Portuguese. Serrat's Catalan version was recorded for a radio show many years later, but it has never been released on record.

La La La is written by Ramón Arcusa & Manuel De La Calva, also known as Dúo Dinámico. Coverversions were recorded in at least 20 languages and the list includes version by Eurovision stars Gitte, Kirsti Sparboe with Arne Bendiksen & Oddvar, Edina Pop and Heidi Brühl.
With over 140 coverversions the song sits neatly inside the top 20 of most covered Eurovision songs. Youtube Eurovision Version.

It's My Party
Lesley Gore shot to fame with her first single It's My Party. A classic and a #1 hit in the US and a top 10 hit in many European countries. She followed it up with three more top 10 hits of which the feminist You Don't Own Me is probably the best known. Lesley Gore also recorded You Don't Own Me in French, German and Italian and Eurocovers loves that.
You Don't Own Me features in the Bette Midler / Diane Keaton / Goldie Hawn movie The First Wives Club.
(You Don't Own Me pic sleeve taken from Wiki)The song was the last Lesley Gore single to reach the US top 10 but she continued to score 16 more top 100 hits.

In 1968 she recorded the Eurovision winner as He Gives Me Love (La La La) and after two singles that failed to chart in the Billboard top 100, He Gives Me Love went to #91. It was her last top 100 hit.

Lesley Gore continued recording in the 70's but after her 1982 cover album The Canvas Can Do Miracles it took over 20 years for her to get back in the studio.
In 2005 she recorded the album Ever Since which includes a stunning new version of You Don't Own Me and several new songs from Lesley Gore's own pen. Ever Since is available at Ama-zon & Ituuns.

Several Lesley Gore compilations are also available including a splendid 5CD box It's My Party! (Bear family) with all her 60's recordings, including several foreign language versions of her early hits.

Lesley Gore Homepage - Fanclub.(since 1965, remarkable!)
Youtubes: It's My Party - You Don't Own Me

Viejo Pickup - Grupos Españoles de los 60s y 70s.
Features many groups that are named Los something-something, so it's cool by definition.
Eurocovers of interest are by Los Javaloyas, Los Ros, Josecho Y Los Sakings, Jaguars, Leslie & Los Valldemosa.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

1991 Bailar Pegados, World Tour Of The Americas

Bailar Pegados, dancing close together, dirty dancing even….. The Spanish Eurovision entry of 1991 by stubbly heartthrob Sergio Dalma didn't leave a dry seat in the house. Even if you knew that 'the wink' was rehearsed over and over, you couldn't help but feeling at least some kind of shiver. (Original Youtube)
The song ended 4th, which is a very respectable place of course, and Sergio Dalma became a bit of a superstar. In fact he already scored a hit with Esa Chica Es Mia before his Eurovision appearance. Now Dalma is celebrating 20 years in the music business with a tour. Earlier this year he toured 10 countries in South America.
He recorded Bailar Pegados in Spanish, French and Italian and made a reggae version in 2004.
Sergio Dalma at BeaRecords

A good number of coverversions of Bailar Pegados was recorded, but it's remarkable that most of them were recorded in this millennium, up to 18 years after the original recording. And most are from South America, as they love Bailaring Pegados a lot.
I've been working on this quite some time, and new versions seem to pop every time I look.

There is close Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Durango dancing going on in Chile, Venezuela, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, The Dominican Republic, Argentina and the US. Here's a few, pick your partner for the next dance.

K-Zike De La Sierra are from Mexico and they specialize in the energetic upbeat dance humpah of Durango. Bailar Pegados is from the album Mi Primera Vez from 2009.
The also recorded Non Ho L'eta (No Tiene edad) on their 2006 CD Kazique (Merci Marco!!)
They have a MySpace too, but there's not much there. But I'm really loving the hats: 12poing.

There's a Wiki about Duranguense music.

Coralillo's Bailar Pegados is probably one of the best versions around. Musically they thread the same Duranguense paths as several of the others, but it is very well executed and the singer Francisco Rivera has a great voice. Coralillo operate from Chicago (O city), USA, but musically they stick close to their Mexican roots.

Bailar Pegados is from their album Con Mas Veneno which is available at most large webshops (cd-baby, cduniverse etcetera) Coralillo Myspace. Great outfits boys.

Gerardo Farias (Argentina) starts the song as a ballad, but it seems to go even slower when the cumbia kicks in. A perfect soundtrack to a lazy summer. (CD Lluvia De Amor, 2006). No extra poing for the outfitthough.

An older version was recorded by Dayana Pereyra (from Venezuela), sister to popular 80's & 90's singer Diveana (Ana Pereyra). Dayana recorded a salsa version of Bailar Pegados for her 1992 album Completamente Tuya. Somehow she never made another album, even though her debut was a reasonable success.
The male vocals are by Erick Franceski.

Last South American version in line is by Paty López from Chile. It's a chilling acoustic version which sounds a bit like being recorded in a bathroom, adding to the experience. It's from the CD Ellas Cantan Con Paty López from 2007.

Back in Europe, Pedro Guiterrez is a Catalan Rocker and his must hear Pegados (Youtube) is a rough ole blokes rawk version. On his Youtube channel you can also check out his Catalan version of 1968 Eurovision winner La La La (Youtube)

Below is a massive list of Bailar Pegadoses that have been released officially. Where possible with the usual details and links.
The first time I noticed that Bailar is such a popular song today is when I was doing a MySpace song search, so many links are MySpace.
If you know more (I'm sure there are), or have any corrections please leave a comment, thanks.

- CD Eurovision por rumbas (1999) Spanish Eurovision covers.
Los Ausentes de Durango (Chicago, US) (Myspace has BP)
- CD Y Seguimos Siendo (2008)
Bachata Magic (Dominican republic)
- CD Sensualmente Bachata (1995)
Bagabun2 de Tierra Caliente (Chicago US) (Myspace has BP)
- CD Bagabundos de tierra caliente y lloraras (1997)
Banda Café
- CD Regresa a mi
Banda del Sol (Mexico) (Myspace has BP)
- CD Bailar Pegados (2006) (Disa / Universal)
Luciano Bello (= Comedian Felipe Camiroaga)
- CD Ricas e inteligente (1999)
Los Cartageneros (possibly Argentina)
- CD Verano Tropical (VA 1992)
Coralillo (Chicago, US) (Myspace has BP)
- CD Con mas veneno
Dayana ft Erick Franceski (Venezuela, Salsa)
- CD Completamenta tuya (1992) (Velvet/Rodven)
Gerardo Farias y la Sonora (Argentina)
- CD Lluvia de amor (2006)
Daniel San Fernando (Argentina)
- CD Sentimientos
Manolo Galván (Myspace has BP)
- CD Mundo Latino (RCA) & CD Los Super Exitos
Gilito y su Clave (Swedish/Cuban Salsa orchestra) (Myspace)
- CD Los Superexitos
El Gran Lider (Mexico) (Myspace)
- CD Provocando...
Padrino Gutierrez - Rock version (Youtube)
- CD El ultimo cartoucho (2007)Kampesino Musical
(Mexico) (website)
- CD Bailando Sobre Las Nubes (2006)
K-Zike de la Sierra (MySpace)
- CD Mi Primera Vez
Paty López (Chile)
- CD Cantan con ellas (2007)
Marcelo 'Teto' Medina (Argentina)
- CD Mi forma de ser (1991)
Eduardo Medina (Chile) (Myspace has BP)
- CD Azul latino
Milton (Morales, Cuban born Italian)
- CD Milton (2008) (Duck Records)
Los Mirlos (Peru) (Myspace)
- CD Como Amiga
Alfredo Pardo
- CD Spanish Romantic
Pipel Rengifo (Youtube of BP)
- release info wanted
Ritmo Rojo
- CD Bailar Pegados (1996) (Fonovisa/Fonorama)
Rod's band- 40 Años De Eurovisión. cheap covers of Spanish entries
Franco Simone (Italy)
- CD Mundo Latino
Trio SolCuba (USA)
- CD Mas Y Mas (2004)
Tru-La-La with Gary (Argentina)
- CD Exageradísimo 1992
Boyband Quartet founded in 1984, Have been through 21 members by now.Fernando Viña Y Su Sonora Palacio (Uruguay) (Website)
- CD Bailar Pegados (1991) (Sondor Top)
The World Company
- CD Momentos románticos (Sendmusic)
Nicola (Niko) Congiu (Italy) - Ballare Stretti (Italian)
- CD Chiavi
Lior Datauker (Hebrew version)
- details wanted
Jennifer Zamudio - Verlore tyd (Afrikaans) (Website)
- CD Hoor hoor (Select / Jennifer Zamudio Productions)
Joan Garcia Escala (Trumpet instrumental) (website)
- CD Trompeta
Miguel Nacel (Piano Instrumental)
- CD Enamorados (2008)
Uncredited (Trumpet instrumental)
- CD Frank - The Magic Trumpet vol. 2

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ziyoda is at it again

Hayotim Bu is an Uzbek coverversion of Armenia's first Eurovision song Without Your Love by Andre (2006).
Ziyoda had already recorded Wild Dances (also in Uzbek) and has since released many videos on Youtube.

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.