Italian singer Carmen Villani was offered her first recording contract in 1959 at the age of 15 and continued to record throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s. As the years progressed, she adapted her style to suit the times – though, needless to say, it’s her beat period that rings our bell the loudest. Choosing just one track for this month’s Pick of the pops was a tough task, but we’ve opted for this 1965 A-side (and you can watch her perform it too, on YouTube). If you like it anywhere near as much as we do, you’ll be pleased to learn that we’ll be publishing a full biography – with loads more great sound clips – next month.
C’est pour toi
Belgian singer Ariane issued several solo 45s and more as lead singer with Les 10/20. As a group they released a number of covers of international hits, including The Rip Chords’ surfer favourite Hey little cobra, while as a soloist, Ariane – like former Les Gam’s front woman Annie Markan – had a stab at Len Barry’s 1-2-3. But our favourite has to be this fab track. Issued in 1966, it’s a version of The Ronettes’ You baby, which was also covered in Britain by Jackie Trent.
Si encuentras a mi amor
We love those Spanish ye-yé girl tunes – and they don’t come much more ye-yé than this. Released on the Zafiro label in 1964, this track has an innocent charm all of its own. Seventeen-year-old Silvana (real name: Silvana Rosa Caravera) hailed from Madrid and is perhaps better known for her later acting work. But as a teenager she had her finger firmly on the femme pop pulse, issuing quality material including a number of well-chosen covers, such as Dusty Springfield’s I only want to be with you, Sylvie Vartan’s La plus belle pour aller danser and Petula Clark’s I know a place.
Love a go go
When you think of music from the Motor City, Oslo probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind. But fans of Norwegian singer Wenche Myhre must have been, erm, dancing in the streets when they first heard this little corker. Issued in 1967, the song proved a hit for the singer in her homeland. By that time, she had also become one of a host of Scandinavian dolls to be taken to the German bosom, scoring a string of hits from 1965 onwards with songs such as Sprich nicht drüber, Beiß nicht gleich in jeden Apfel and Wer hat ihn geseh’n.
Has there ever been a more beautiful, sumptuous record than this 1965 A-side by Britain’s Dusty Springfield? We can’t think of one. The fact that it proved a big hit for the singer is all too justified. The Gerry Goffin and Carole King-penned tune followed hot on the heels of the storming In the middle of nowhere in the early autumn of 1965 and the two are testament to Dusty’s vocal versatility. Even the singer – her own harshest critic – is said to have loved the finished result.
We can’t decide if we adore this song or if it makes us want to laugh. Jurors at the 1966 Deutsche Schlager-Festspiele possibly weren’t quite sure what to make of it either. Appearing alongside a number of our other favourite German girls, such as Marion, Brigitt Petry, Mary Roos and the winner, Wencke Myhre, Margret and the boys scored enough points to make it through to the final. However, ultimately, they finished 11th out of 12, and their appearance failed to translate into record sales.
C'est pour toi
Si encuentras mi amor
Love a go go
Some of your lovin'
Margret Fürer & die Penny-Pipers
Our pick of the pops