Stockholm-based Dutch singer Suzie was a star in her adopted homeland before she began recording specifically for the lucrative German market.
Suzie was born Martina Peereboom, in Tilburg in the Netherlands on 21 August 1946. Her family worked in the circus business. After touring Europe as a singer with the British group the Nicholls Family in the early 1960s, she was offered a recording contract in Sweden in 1963 and enjoyed a number of big hits.
Seeing the success that many of the Swedish stars were enjoying in Germany, her record label did a deal with the German arm of Vogue records, and had Suzie re-record her Swedish hit Johnny loves me in German. Johnny komm’ spent 17 weeks in the German charts in the summer of 1964. It charted again in the autumn, this time listing its B-side, Du, du gehst vorbei. Combined sales totalled over a million copies.
The song was one of a number that Suzie also recorded in her native Dutch, becoming Johnny lief – though it was issued as the B-side of the 1966 single De wereld is leeg zonder jou. (Glenda Collins lent her vocals to a British version.)
Two further hits in 1965, the chirpy Max und Moritz and the subtler Ich war allein, consolidated her popularity in Germany.
That year she married British bass player Mike Watson. The pair had known each other for several years at this point – and had performed together for a couple of years as part of the Nicholls Family. (The marriage wasn’t to last.)
She was at the top of her career at this point – performing and partying alongside many of the top acts of day, including the Beatles and Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas. Though she didn’t care for all of the material she was given to sing, her success helped mute her complaints.
In early 1966 she scored a further top ten hit with what many fans consider her finest moment, the catchy beat gem Ich will immer nur dich. (The song was also recorded in Dutch as Doe niet of je van me houdt, though it was consigned to the B-side of the distinctly inferior ‘k Zag je dansen meet ‘n ander.)
The waltz-like Schau mir in die Augen gave the singer another brush with the German charts that autumn, but the decision to issue a song that was so at odds with her previous material was perhaps a strange one – and the one to abandon the Vogue hit machine shortly afterwards even stranger.
Gib mir mein Herz zurück became her first release for the Ariola label, and it also proved a questionable choice. It was a cover of Géraldine’s 1967 Swiss Eurovision song contest entry Quel coeur vas-tu briser?, which had finished in last position after scoring no points.
The original Es kam alles ganz anders followed it in the autumn of 1967.
Her final release for Ariola, issued in January 1968, was Adios amor, a cover of Sheila’s huge French hit.
But none of her Ariola releases sold in any great quantity, and Suzie returned to Vogue for one more release, Der alte Zauber, in 1969. The flip was a great version of US girl group the Crystals’ Da doo ron ron, though it sounded distinctly dated at the time of its release.
When it flopped, she went back to Sweden and enjoyed several further hits, including I’m gonna knock on your door and Walkin’ back to happiness, a cover of the 1961 Helen Shapiro hit.
In the early 1970s, after a brief time as the lead singer of girl group Suzie and the Sunny Girls, with former members of Sweden’s the Plommons, she decided to give up music to raise a family.
She died in March 2008.
Follow the links to hear other singers’ versions of Suzie songs
Sheila: Adios amor
Glenda Collins: Johnny loves me
Walkin' back to happiness
Helen Shapiro: Walkin' back to happiness
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Ich will immer nur dich
Da doo ron ron
Du wartest auf Liebe
Ich hab' noch Zeit