Dutch singer Bonny St Claire found fame in her homeland but, despite releasing a string of singles in German, her success didn’t translate over the border.
She was born Cornelia Swart on 18 November 1949 in Rozenburg, near Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. At 17, while working as a typist, she joined the all-girl trio, De Topsy’s.
Her chance for fame came in 1967 when she was discovered by Peter Koelewijn at a concert given
by his group, Peter and the Rockets, after he asked for a volunteer from the audience to accompany him on stage. He engineered a solo contract for the young singer. The pair also became
Her first solo single in the Netherlands, the sexually charged Tame me tiger, became her first release in Germany too, in 1968. When it made no mark on the German charts, she opted to sing in German. Rather than sing translations of her (successful) Dutch material, she plumped for songs written specially for the German market.
Her first German-language release was a cover of US singer Michele Lee’s L. David Sloane, retitled Kai-Uwe Schmidt. The B-side featured Entweder-oder, a version of the Five Americans’ Livin’ is lovin’.
Ich kann nicht 100 Jahre warten followed in 1969. (The B-side, Sugar boo boo owed more than a little to Nancy Sinatra’s not-dissimilarly-titled hit from two years earlier.)
In her continued quest for success, Bonny then decked herself out in more silver than you’d find in your average Kaufhof at Christmas to perform at the 1969 Deutsche Schlager-Wettbewerb. However, the second-rate Ich weiß, daß ich kein Engel bin was never a contender for the top prize. (It finished eighth, behind Paola, France Gall, Pat Simon and Tonia, amongst others.)
Undeterred, she issued the cheery Rauchen im Wald ist verboten later that year.
In 1970, her ode to love on a North Rhine-Westfalian monorail, In der Wuppertaler Schwebebahn, failed to make any kind of journey into the charts.
Two further singles were issued that year, neither with any success.
At home, her best-known hit came after she teamed up with the group Unit Gloria for 1972’s Clap your hands and stamp your feet. The song just missed the German top 40 a year later (and missed out again in 1975 after she covered it in German as Klopf an bei mir).
In 1973, she finally graced the German charts, making number 30 with Waikiki Man.
She remains a popular figure in her homeland.
With thanks to Jens Keller for additional sound files.
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Sugar boo boo
Bonny's Dutch career