Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Soldi - Mahmood

Alessandro Mahmood represented Italy during the 2019 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Born in Milan to an Italian mother from Sardinia and an Egyptian father, he was raised around Gratosoglio, a district of Milan.When he was five years old, his parents divorced and he was subsequently raised by his mother.

Mahmood revealed he started writing the song while hanging out with some friends. Its lyrics explore Mahmood's relationship with his father. It depicts a lying, contradictory and unreliable father, whose main priority is money instead of his own family. Mahmood explained that the song's lyrics "evoke a memory" and that "there's a lot of anger" in it. This was reflected during his performance: he looked angry throughout his appearance on the Eurovision stage, which surprisingly didn't affect the score: he finished in second place during the Eurovision final. 

This 7" single was sold together with the album 'Gioventù Bruciata' in Italy. Both the CD and this single feature two versions of the song 'Soldi'.

My collection: 7" single no. 6374
Found: Amazon Germany, received 24 April 2021
Cost: 20 euro (CD + single)
Tracks: 'Soldi' / 'Soldi (feat. Gue Pequeno)'

The wrong place - Hooverphonic

This month, the Eurovision Song Contest will finally take place in Rotterdam. Last year the Contest did not take place because of the Covid-19 pandemic, which meant that the Netherlands held the title of Eurovision winner for another year. The 2021 edition will still be a sad affair: although an audience will be present, it will only be half the capacity of the Ahoy hall where the event is taking place and where other countries have benefited greatly from tourists flocking in from all over Europe, Rotterdam will only host Dutch people (and perhaps a few lost people from other countries - although that seems unlikely).

To make things even worse, it seems that record companies have given up on physical products for their Eurovision acts. So far, only the Belgian band Hooverphonic have released their Eurovision song on 7" vinyl. And that, of course, is to be applauded. 'The wrong place' is an excellent song, although it doesn't seem likely that it will win this year's edition. We can only hope that the winning song will also be released on the 7" vinyl format. 

My collection: 7" single no. 6373
Found: Velvet Music, Leiden, received 24 April 2021
Cost: 8 euro
Tracks: 'The wrong place' / 'The wrong place (instrumental)'

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Refrain, du goldner Traum aus meiner Jugendzeit - Lys Assia

Only two years ago I was able to buy Refrain, the 7" single of the first ever winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest. The song made Lys Assia part of history. She would continue to be a special guest in the audience of the Contest even in recent years, until she passed away in March 2018. 

I was always aware that she recorded a German version of her winning song, but like the original single it wasn't easy to get hold of a copy. After all, this is a single that is hunted after by many Eurovision fans and it's 75 years old. But I was quite surprised two weeks ago when I saw one on Ebay for a few euros. I placed my bid and waited until last Saturday, when the auction would end. As usual, the bidding went crazy in the last few minutes, but I was successful in the end - even if I had to spend just a little more than I really wanted to. Never mind - now that record fairs are a thing of the past and the next one won't happen until 2025, probably, I have some budget to spare. I am grateful to the Austrian seller of this little piece of history.

My collection: 7" single no. 6372
Found:, received 15 April 2021
Cost: 13,20 euro
Tracks: 'Refrain, Du Goldner Traum Aus Meiner Jugendzeit' / 'Addio, Bella Napoli'

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Touch my life (with summer) - Ellen Nikolaysen

Ellen Helen Nikolaysen was born in Oslo (Norway) on 10 December 1951. She participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1973 as part of the Bendik Singers group with the song 'It's Just A Game' and as a solo artist in 1975 with 'Touch my life (with summer)'. The solo attempt wasn't very successful: she ended up in 18th place in a field of 19 competitors. The B-side song, 'You made me feel I could fly' was more successful: she won the Best Performance Award at the World Popular Song Festival in Tokyo in 1974 with it.

As you can see, the sleeve of this single has a name written on it. I have consulted my friend and Eurovision expert Puck about this and he confirmed that this is actually Ellen's autograph. Not bad, for a relatively cheap single I bought online!

My collection: 7" single no. 6371
Found:, received 8 April 2021
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Touch my life (with summer)' / 'You made me feel I could fly'

Ding-a-dong - Teach-In

My collection already contains Teach-In's 'Ding-a-dong' in English, Dutch and German, so you might say that this addition to my collection is a bit superfluous. I could pretend that I bought this particular single for the fact that the B-side is different - 'Let me in' does not appear on any of the other three singles - but who would I be kidding? The fact is, this sleeve is just too curious to pass up on.

Quite why the Italians felt they had to release this single in such a tittilating sleeve is unknown, but perhaps they thought it wouldn't sell otherwise. I am pretty sure that a sleeve like this would be censored these days - which makes it even more amusing to own this little piece of shameless history.

My collection: 7" single no. 6370
Found:, received 8 April 2021
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Ding-a-dong' / 'Let me in'

Popcorn - La Strana Societa

'Popcorn' needs no introduction on this blog: I have featured many different versions of this Gershon Kingsley composition, and they just keep on coming whenever I come across a version that I didn't already have. 

La Strana Societa is not as anonymous as the sleeve of this single might have you think. The group was formed in Torino by some musicians from I Ragazzi Del Sole, a beat band also from Turin, including drummer Valerio Liboni. The band was discovered around 1971 by club-owner and record producer Ivo Lunardi.The single 'Popcorn' was actually their debut single and reached number 1 in the Italian charts. Their career spanned ten years, five albums and fourteen singles.

My collection: 7" single no. 6369
Found:, received 8 April 2021
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Popcorn' / 'Nel giardino di Tamara'

Waterloo - Swedish Group

Swedish Group is the name of an anonymous band that recorded a cover version of 'Waterloo' right after Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest with that song. You would think that Swedish Group was founded especially for this purpose, but dig a little deeper and you'll find that they also recorded Abba's 'Ring Ring' the year before, just after they didn't win the national finals in Sweden and narrowly missed out on representing Sweden internationally.

The fact that both singles were released in Italy makes one wonder whether the Swedish Group was a Swedish group after all. Some riddles will never be solved, I guess.

My collection: 7" single no. 6368
Found:, received 8 April 2021
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Waterloo' / 'Down down down'

Dio, come ti amo - Domenico Modugno

The name of Domenico Modugno is forever linked to the legendary Eurovision song Volare. That was his first Eurovision appearance. People tend to forget that he represented Italy three times in the contest, following up his appearance in 1958 with the song Piove in 1959 and returning in 1966 with 'Dio, come ti amo'. His last attempt was also his least successful one: he ended in last place with zero points.

So is this a bad song? Well, not really, although I tend to think that the version by Gigliola Cinquetti is a bit more charming. But you know how cruel competitions can be - especially music competitions. Modugno died on 6 August 1994, at the age of 66, from a heart attack, on the island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, while he was in his home by the sea.

My collection: 7" single no. 6367
Found:, received 8 April 2021
Cost: 3 euro
Tracks: 'Dio come ti amo' / 'Io di piu'

Monday, 5 April 2021

The spirit of Joe Hill - Laurie Dryden

Laurie Dryden only ever released one single, this 'The Spirit of Joe Hill', a song written by Mike Hawker and Marty Wilde. Hawker also produced the two tracks on this single. It was released on 10 March 1972, after which many cover versions followed, particularly in Scandinavia, where the song 'Legenden om Joe Hill' was recorded by a.o. Stein Ingebrigtsen, Göran Hagwall, Bruno Skogmann and Inge Birgersson & Lasse Kenth's.

The song is all about Joe Hill, a Swedish-American labor activist and songwriter, who lived between 1879 and 1915. Hill, an immigrant worker frequently facing unemployment and underemployment, became a popular songwriter and cartoonist for the union. His most famous songs include "The Preacher and the Slave" (in which he coined the phrase "pie in the sky"), "The Tramp", "There Is Power in a Union", "The Rebel Girl", and "Casey Jones—the Union Scab", which express the harsh and combative life of itinerant workers, and call for workers to organize their efforts to improve working conditions.

My collection: 7" single no. 6365
Found:, received 3 April 2021
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'The spirit of Joe Hill' / 'Half of me'

At Veani - Schlomo Artzi

Schlomo Artzi was born on November 26, 1949, in Moshav. When Artzi was eight years old, his family moved to northern Tel Aviv. Artzi's schoolmates thought he would become an actor, not a musician, as he was known for his acting skills at elementary school. However, at the age of twelve he started playing the guitar and singing in a boy scouts group and at friends' parties. At age 16, he began writing and composing songs. 

In 1970, Artzi had the opportunity to take part in the Israel Song Festival, a prestigious song contest held every year. Still in military service and wearing a military uniform, he sang Pitom Achshav, Pitom Hayom (Suddenly Now, Suddenly Today), also known as Ahavtiha (I loved her). The song, written by Tirza Atar and composed by Ya'akov Hollander, won first prize. It was included in his first album, Shlomo Artzi, which came out in 1970. Artzi was voted Singer of the Year. 

In 1975 he was selected to represent Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest. The selected song was 'At Veani', written by the legendary Israeli songwriter Ehud Manor, and composed by Artzi himself. To seize the moment, Artzi's record label pressured him to record a completely new record in less than 2 weeks. However, when At Veani ended up in 11th place in a field of 20 competitors, the album became a big disappointment and started a less successful period in Artzi's career. However, his career recovered and he is still active in music to this day.

My collection: 7" single no. 6360
Found:, received 30 March 2021
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'At Veani' / 'Hey Liza'

Sunday, 28 March 2021

Petit Bonhomme - Camillo

This cheerful young man is called Camillo Felgen, born in Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg on 17 November 1920. He started his career as a teacher. During the Second World War, Felgen was a translator for the German occupiers, and then a reporter with a French-language newspaper. He studied theater and opera in Brussels and Liège; in 1946, he joined Radio Luxembourg as a chorus singer and a French-language reporter. In 1949, the mastering of his baritone completed his theatre and opera studies. 

In 1951, he had his first international hit record, 'Bonjour les amies' ('Hello Friends'). The song went on to become the theme song for his national broadcaster. He represented his home country in the Eurovision Song Contest 1960 with 'So laang we's du do bast', becoming the first Luxembourger and the first male contestant to represent Luxembourg and the first participant to sing in Luxembourgish. He finished last with only one point. Two years later he entered the contest again, this time doing much better by finishing in third place with the song 'Petit bonhomme'. 

From 1965 until 1973, Felgen was the host and commentator for the German broadcasts of Jeux Sans Frontières (Spiel Ohne Grenzen). He died in his birthplace on 16 July 2005. 

My collection: 7" single no. 6355
Found:, received 19 March 2021
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Petit bonhomme', 'Ballade pour une trompette' / 'Le tango de minuit', 'Demain'

I got stung / One night - Elvis Presley

Another icon from the past that hasn't featured much on this blog is Elvis Presley. Important though he was, his music never touched me quite the same way as pop music from the late Seventies and first half of the Eighties did. But as I am reaching a certain age, my interest in his work has increased slightly, and there was another good reason for buying this single: 'One Night' was covered by none other than Kim Wilde back in 1987. 

This single is, apparently, quite sought after, because to my surprise it was listed for a mere 30 euros on Discogs. I got my copy for considerably less, so who knows, I might sell it one day. But for now, I am quite pleased to own this - even if it is a reissue of these two songs from 1969. They were originally released in 1958!

My collection: 7" single no. 6359
Found: Kringloop Den Haag, 20 March 2021
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'I Got Stung' / 'One Night'

Monday, 22 March 2021

Lay lady lay - Bob Dylan

Those of you who are into Bob Dylan will probably wonder why he has never appeared on this blog before. To some, he is truly the best ever and they worship him like he's some kind of godlike entity. To me, it has always been a mediocre singer at best, and his music never managed to touch me in any way. His lyrics, amazingly awarded the Nobel Prize for literature a few years ago, seemed a bit inane to me as well. 'The answer is blowing in the wind' has become some sort of catchphrase but I never really understood why.

Which makes the purchase of this single, perhaps, a mystery. I only heard 'Lay Lady Lay' some years ago and I didn't really recognize Bob Dylan as the singer. I mean, the man isn't exactly renowned for holding a melody is he? But this is a nice tune, even if it is hardly Nobel Prize material.

My collection: 7" single no. 6358
Found: Kringloop Den Haag, 20 March 2021
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Lay lady lay' / 'I threw it all away'

Rock this town - Stray Cats

These days you don't hear any rock 'n' roll or rockabilly music in the charts anymore, but 40 years ago, while pop music was being taken over by synthpop artists, the Stray Cats still managed to score with this great music style. 'Rock this town' entered the UK singles chart on 2 July 1981 and peaked at number 9 during a chart run of 8 weeks. They also scored in Europe: the single peaked at number 3 in the Netherlands and also made top 10 in several other European countries.

In fact, the Stray Cats kept making music all through the Eighties, despite breaking up a few times in between. After 1992's Dave Edmunds-produced 'Choo Choo Hot Fish', and the cover album 'Original Cool', the group called it quits again. Further reunions happened in 2008 and 2018. 

My collection: 7" single no. 6357
Found: Kringloop Den Haag, 20 March 2021
Cost: 0,5 euro
Tracks: 'Rock this town' / 'Can't hurry love'

Sunday, 21 March 2021

Lapponia (English version) - Monica Aspelund

My collection of Monica Aspelund singles seems to revolve around one song: Lapponia, the song she represented Finland with at the 1977 Eurovision Song Contest. I have the original Finnish version and a Dutch version, and now I can add the English version of the song. 

Circa 1980 Aspelund, who had just been divorced, relocated with her two-year-old son to Lake Worth, Florida. She performed locally and on Caribbean cruise ships making periodic visits to Finland and Sweden, notably in 1986 when she headlined in the stage musical Cats in Helsinki. It was reported in 2010 that Aspelund had returned to Finland on a permanent basis. No doubt she's visited Lapponia a few times since then.

My collection: 7" single no. 6353
Found:, received 19 March 2021
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'Lapponia (English version)' / 'La la sing a song'

A day of love - Ashes and blood

The Yugoslavian band Pepel In Kri - credited in the Eurovision Song Contest as Ashes and Blood - represented their country with the song 'Dan ljubezni' in 1975. It marked the fourth and final time the Socialist Republic of Slovenia represented the whole of Yugoslavia at Eurovision. The music composition was written by Tadej Hrušovar, lyrics were written by Dušan Velkaverh and arranged by Dečo Žgur. At the close of voting, it had received 22 points, placing 13th in a field of 19 competitors.

The song is a ballad, with the band calling for a day of love in the whole world that never ends. The song was released as 'A day of love', the version that is presented on this single. This version failed to chart.

My collection: 7" single no. 6352
Found:, received March 19, 2021
Cost: 4 euro
Tracks: 'A day of love' / 'Naj bo baby'

Mikado - Simone Drexel

Simone Drexel was born on 13 May 1957 in St. Gallen, Switzerland. In 1973 she took first place in the talent competition of the youth magazine Bravo. Drexel's entry into the music business was when she represented her country at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1975. With the song 'Mikado' she ended up in sixth place in a field of 19 competitors. After a few more singles she decided against a long-term career as a pop singer. 

After training to be a medical practice assistant, Drexel married a musician, changed her last name to Johnson and became a mother in 1984. A year later she began her work in a transfusion medicine laboratory. In recent years Drexel has returned to the music industry as a music teacher, she is also the lead singer of the group Bluesonix. 

My collection: 7" single no. 6351
Found:, received 19 March 2021
Cost: 5 euro
Tracks: 'Mikado' / 'Die Marionetten'

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