British singer Kiki Dee released numerous singles in the UK in the 1960s and even joined America’s Motown label at the end of the decade. She also issued a couple of German 45s but had to wait until the mid-1970s before finding fame, both in the UK and Germany, and internationally.
She was born Pauline Matthews in the Yorkshire town of Bradford, in northern England, on 6 March 1947.
After singing with a local band, she was offered a contract with the Fontana label in 1963, aged 16, where she issued a string of top-quality singles. She also provided backing vocals for other artists, such as Dusty Springfield (on Some of your lovin’ and You don’t have to say you love me, most notably).
In January 1965 she appeared at the San Remo song festival, alongside artists such as Dusty Springfield, Iva Zanicchi, Petula Clark and Gigliola Cinquetti. She performed Aspetta domani, which had been written by Italian singer Fred Bongusto, who also sang the same song (each entry was performed by two artists at that time). The song made the final, finishing fourth.
It was chosen for translation into German and issued as her first German release. However, the single, Warte bis morgen, failed to connect with the record-buying public. (The B-side, Senza te, was the Italian version of Baby I don’t care. It was left to Suzanne Doucet to release the German version of the tune.)
Her follow-up German single, issued in 1966, was an altogether better release. The A-side was the excellent Johnny’s Kuss, a version of With a kiss, a song taken from her recent British EP. Perhaps surprisingly, her strongest UK single to date, Why don’t I run away from you, which had been written by Lulu’s American producer Bert Berns, and had been translated into German as Nein, ich weiss nicht mehr was ich tu’, was consigned to the B-side. However, even this quality coupling failed to score a hit.
It proved to be her last German-language release.
Nevertheless, she appeared on German TV screens a year later singing Baby I don’t care in the thriller Der Tod läuft hinterher. But she had to wait until 1976 before having a hit in Germany, with Don’t go breaking my heart, her duet with Elton John.
Interestingly, Danish singer Gitte released Was wär’ ich ohne dich, a highly credible German version of Kiki’s debut UK hit, Amoureuse, itself a cover of a song by French singer Véronique Sanson.
With thanks to the Kiki Dee Information Bureau for additional information.
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