Pick of the pops

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This will be our last pick of the pops for a while. We need to make time for a book we’re working on, so we won’t continue to update this website every month. Instead, we’ll simply add new biographies when we have them. In the meantime, we give you six of our all-time favourites from across Europe.


Marisol: Corazón contento

In 1960, at the age of 12, Marisol became a star of Spanish cinema. Plenty of frothy records were issued to cash in on her film appearances, but it wasn’t until the late 1960s that she became a serious singer. Our choice, 1968’s Corazón contento, proved the starting point of her musical makeover. As Pepa Flores, the singer made a successful transition to a full-time acting career in the mid-1970s.


France Gall: Made in France

The first time ever we heard France Gall perform was when we caught her performance at the 1965 Eurovision song contest with Poupée de cire, poupée de son. Written by Serge Gainsbourg, the song romped to victory. Years later, we bought a compilation of Ms Gall’s greatest hits out of curiosity and kick-started our love affair with Gallic girl pop. Our pick is a highlight of her 1968 LP.


Samantha Jones: Don’t come any closer

Liverpool’s Samantha Jones was one of the singers who convinced us that there might be even more to British pop than Sandie and Lulu, who we adore. We were captivated by the drama of this song from Charles Blackwell. With its haunting tune and Sam’s mesmerising vocal delivery, it amazes us that it flopped upon release in 1965. We still get goosebumps 50 years later.


Rita Pavone: Il geghegè

Italian star Rita Pavone was something of a livewire on stage – as the dance routine she used to promote this song would prove. Check the video on YouTube – it’s terrific. This song was the theme tune to the Studio uno TV show. The 45 made Italy’s top five in May 1966 and is regarded by many as one of the country’s best beat records.


Sarolta Zalatnay: Fekete beat 

Such was the popularity of Sarolta Zalatnay in her Hungarian homeland that she even came to the attention of record execs in Britain. In 1967, London’s Island label issued a 45 of her performing Jamaican star Jackie Edwards’ Open your hands. President also recorded her two years later. For us, though, 1969’s groovy Fekete beat, with its brass section by group Metro, was her finest moment.


Marion: Er ist wieder da

If you thought all German records of the 1960s were relentlessly cheery, oompah-styled nonsense, think again. This song by Flensburg-born Marion (later known as Marion März) bucked the trend. Its plaintive vocals, set to a downbeat backing, shot up the German charts and set the tone for much of the singer’s recording career. Even Paul McCartney was won over.

0 Bar small Hear Marisol: Corazón contento Hear France Gall: Made in France Hear Samantha Jones: Don’t come any closer Hear Rita Pavone: Il geghegè Hear Sarolta Zalatnay: Fekete beat

Our pick of the pops


Corazón contento

France Gall Made in France

Samantha Jones

Don’t come any closer

Rita Pavone

Il geghegè

Sarolta Zalatnay

Fekete beat

Hear Marion: Er ist wieder da


Er ist wieder da

0 Bar small

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France Gall: 1968 Rita Pavone: Il geghegè Sarolta Zalatnay: Fekete beat Marion: Er ist wieder da Marisol: Corazón contento 0 Bar small

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Samantha Jones: Don’t come any closer