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France Gall: Avant la bagarre
Avant la bagarre is one of our all-time-favourite tracks. Lyrically, the song by French yé-yé girl France Gall shares a lot in common with those of tough New York girl groups such as The Shangri-Las. It finds the singer warning her current beau about fighting with her former lover, not least “because he’s a lot bigger than you”. In the end, she concedes that whoever wins the fight can call her the following day. The song is taken from her terrific album 1968 and was written by Ralph Bernet and Guy Magenta.
Samantha Jones: Don’t come any closer
We’re on a roll this month: here’s another pet sound of ours. This time it’s from highly talented former Vernons Girl Samantha Jones. It was issued in 1965 at a time when big, emotionally charged Bacharach and David ballads were all the rage. Penned by Britain’s Charles Blackwell, the song should have been massive. However, it failed to attract much attention for many years. That would change over time and it is now considered a treasure of the Brit girl scene of the 1960s.
Mimì Berté: Il magone
If you’re thinking that the name Mimì Berté sounds familiar, you’re right. The singer would go on to find great success in the 1970s after dropping this diminutive version of her real name in favour of the stage name Mia Martini. Our pick, from 1964, was the song that really launched the singer in her native Italy. It wasn’t her debut 45 but it was the first to connect with the Italian public. Surprisingly, much of her material remained unreleased for many years – until after her death in 1995, that is.
Candy Sparling: When’s he gonna kiss me?
Britain’s Candy Sparling had a thing about the number 13. She was 13 years old when she met her idol, Cliff Richard, who recommended that she take singing lessons. She followed his advice and, upon landing a contract with the Piccadilly label a year later, changed her name from Anne to Candy – as the result contained 13 letters. Her efforts were all in vain, mind. Her career comprised just two singles, of which our choice this month is the first. When’s he gonna kiss me? was released in 1962.
Anita Traversi: Es ist so schön, verliebt zu sein
We first picked Swiss singer Anita Traversi’s pops a couple of year ago with her take on Cilla Black’s You’re my world, Meine Welt bist du. Here she is again, this time with her version of Marianne Faithfull’s As tears go by, retitled Es ist so schön, verliebt zu sein. Although she cut this in German, she is better known for her Italian recordings. These include two Eurovision attempts, first Cielo e terra in 1960 and then I miei pensieri in 1964, neither of which fared terribly well.
Lorella: Tendrás que llorar
Unlike Mimì Berté above, who found greater success under a pseudonym, Spanish singer Lorella scored better under her real name, María Ostiz. She started out professionally as Lorella, recording a couple of EPs for the RCA label in 1965. This song is taken from the second of those. Although the disc is generally considered not to be quite as good as the first, Tendrás que llorar is its standout track. The cool orchestral backing complements the doleful vocal from the Avilés-born singer. When the record sold poorly, Lorella was forced to reinvent herself with new material and a new stage name. It’s fair to say she never looked back.
Our pick of the pops
Avant la bagarre
Don’t come any closer
When’s he gonna kiss me?
Es ist so schön, verliebt zu sein
Tendrás que llorar
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