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Samantha Jones: Surrounded by a ray of sunshine
What could be more appropriate than having our Sam sing about sunshine as we head into the summer slowdown? This song was expected to give the singer a big hit – after all, pop is seldom catchier than this. Issued in 1967, its writer, Brit girl supremo Charles Blackwell, was convinced he’d written the song that would turn around Samantha’s chart fortunes. It wasn’t to be, however. If you like a danceable number like this, you can find 30 of the best in this month’s feature on British female northern soul.
Here at RSG Towers, we’re heading off to France for a fortnight this month. If we come back with a record that’s even half as good as this one, we’ll consider ourselves lucky. This track is taken from Charlotte Leslie’s 1968 EP Poupée sans âme. The uptempo Allez, tu peux souffrir proved popular when Charlotte went out on the road in France, supporting Claude François, and in Belgium, opening for Adamo. Although she issued records under the names Catherine Alfa and Rosa Borg, we reckon her period as Charlotte Leslie was her best.
This song spent five weeks at the top of the Italian charts in 1969 – and it’s not hard to work out why. It proved the breakthrough for 15-year-old Nada. Her youth earned her the nickname Il pulcino del Gabbro, the little chick of Gabbro, her home town. It wasn’t her first release – that honour went to her cover of Les bicyclettes de Belsize – but she came to perform this song at the 1969 San Remo song festival. Nada is still active today and has released some 18 studio albums over the course of her career. Rest assured, we will publish a full profile of her soon.
Sadly, Simone Jackson wasn’t anywhere near as successful as Nada. Mind you, her career wasn’t without excitement. Among her first gigs was a session at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, backed by no lesser group than The Beatles. She’d been singing professionally for a full five weeks by that point. She went on to issue three singles. Our pick is the third of them, the bouncy Tell me what to do, recorded with the Babs Knight Singers and issued in October 1963.
By 1968, Suzanne Doucet’s shining career as a kind of German answer to Italy’s Rita Pavone had well and truly lost its lustre. In a change of mood, she switched from the Metronome label to Liberty and began recording in London with Les Reed, Tom Jones’s producer. The Bee Gees-penned Swan song became one of her first releases for the new label and was issued not only in Germany but also in the United States. Our pick is her follow-up 45, Wenn New York brennt, which, sadly, failed to set the charts alight in Germany or elsewhere.
We finish this month with the song that is possibly the best known internationally of our choices this month – although not in this version. The original, of course, belongs to soul singer Lorraine Ellison, who took it into the R ‘n’ B charts in her US homeland. If you thought our pick might be a disposable Europop cover, you’d be wrong. Instead, Denmark’s Annisette Hansen gives it her all. The same can’t be said of her record company, who seem to have misspelt her name on the label and sleeve, missing out one n. Copenhagen-born Annisette’s career didn’t suffer much as a result, though, and her greatest success came later with rock group Savage Rose.
Our pick of the pops
Samantha Jones Surrounded by a ray of sunshine
Allez, tu peux souffrir
Ma che freddo fa
Tell me what to do
Wenn New York brennt
Anisette & the Dandy Swingers
Stay with me baby
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Search for the 45s from our pick of the pops at GEMM