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The Originals: Schlager edition

March 21st, 2019 Leave a comment Go to comments

 

At first glance, this edition of The Originals seems narrowly aimed at Germans, but it should appeal to all fans of European and 1970s pop music.

The German Schlager has a reputation for being banal rubbish, and it’s not entirely unmerited. But the genre generated some legit entertainment and even moments of good quality. Often, those moments were the result of the Schlagermachine finding foreign songs and reproducing them for the German market. Sometimes what emerged was superior to the originals, as it was in the case of Danyel Gérard’s 1971 mammoth-hit Butterfly.

That song doesn’t feature here; only one track on this collection is the first version of a German hit sung by its original artist: Belgian singer Salvatore Adamo’s Petit Bonheur, which in German became Ein kleines Glück. The German version disproves the point I just made about teutonic production superiority. It’s a fairly strange bit of music in any version.

 

Before Giorgio Moroder became a pioneering trailblazer in Euro-disco and electronic music, he was a pop singer and Schlager producer. The Italian-born half-German came to Berlin in 1963. In 1969 he had a million-seller as Giorgio with Looky Looky, which topped the French charts. The following year he released Arizona Man, a Moog-driven, temp-changing pop number. His version went nowhere, but a German cover released shortly after gave Mary Roos her first hit.

Arguably the Schlager singer with the best strike-rate in choosing covers was Israeli-born Daliah Lavi. Four of her biggest hits were cover versions: three feature here; two were written by the same man: John Kongos. The South African singer went on to have two UK Top 10 hits (Tokoloshe Man and He’s Going To Step On You Again; both later covered by the Happy Mondays), but in 1970 his Would You Follow Me was translated into German and became a big hit for Lavi as Willst Du mit mir geh’n. The following year, the song was also covered by Olivia Newton-John.

 

Also in 1970, Kongos’ Won’t You Join Me was covered by the improbably-named Emil Dean Zoghby, who was a bit of a star in South Africa in the 1960s. Zoghby, who died in 2014 at 72, went on to be a stage actor in London and, back in South Africa, a record producer. Lavi’s cover, titled Wann kommst Du, was released in 1971.

The third original of a Lavi song is fairly well-known: Rod McKuen’s catchy 1971 anti-war anthem Soldiers Who Want To Be Heroes, which enjoyed some success in Europe, especially in the Netherlands. In Lavi’s hands, the peace song became a love song with the title Meine Art Liebe zu zeigen, which translates as My Way Of Showing Love.

 

Another astute selector of cover versions was Michael Holm. Most of these were quite well-known, so this mix of lesser-known originals picks the 1969 French song Fernando by Sheila, a singer whom the world of pop would get to know better as the lead of Sheila B. and The Devotions. Fernando—which was co-written by Danyel Vangarde, who’d later co-write hits such as the Gibson Brothers’ Cuba and Ottawan’s DISCO — became a Spanish hit as Un rayo de sol by Los Diablos, and for Michael Holm in Germany as Wie der Sonnenschein. Holm featured himself on the Christmas Originals for doing the first version of When A Child Is Born, which was itself based on an original instrumental, Le Rose blu by Ciro Dammicco (the song became later known as Soleado). Holm might feature again for doing the original of Chickory Tip’s Son Of My Father, which he co-wrote with Giorgio Moroder.

Perhaps the greatest Schlager singer-songwriter was Udo Jürgens, whose songs always stood a few steps above the standard Schlager fare. Jürgens had few needs for the songs of others, but one of his biggest hits, the cheeky seduction number Es wird Nacht Senorita of 1968, was a cover. Originally the song was recorded in 1965 as Le Rossignol Anglais by the popular French chansonnier Hugues Aufray, and the year after by Mireille Mathieu.

 

As a song travels the continent, its meaning can change. When Portuguese Brazilian singer Benito di Paula wrote and recorded his 1975 song Charlie Brown, a hit in Portugal, it was about the Peanuts character. Travelling eastwards it became a discofied number by Belgian outfit Two Man Sound (whose dance moves must be seen). Retaining the original lyrics, it was a huge hit in Belgium and Italy. But when it came to Germany, the hit version by Benny was no longer about the depressed protagonist of Charles M Schulz’s cartoon but about a promiscuous guy who beds every woman “between Mexico and Paraguay”, even your girlfriend.

One song here might just as well have featured in a 1970s edition of The Originals. A cover of Living Next Door To Alice was a big 1977 hit for Smokie. But it features here on strength of a cover of the Smokie version by South African-born Schlager balladeer Howard Carpendale, as Tür an Tür mit Alice. Originally it was recorded by Australian band New World, who had enjoyed UK Top 10 action with Tom-Tom Turnaround and Sister Jane on RAK Records, the label Smokie would later find success on. Living Next Door To Alice, recorded in 1972, flopped, however. New World’s career was over soon after when their success on the UK Opportunity Knocks talent show in 1970 became (through no fault of theirs) the focus of a results-fixing scandal.

 

Remarkably, only one song here is a German-language original of a German hit. Über sieben Brücken mußt du gehn (which means, You’ll Have To Cross Seven Bridges) was recorded in 1978 by the East-German band Karat as the theme song for a TV film. It became a massive hit in East-Germany and even won the Eastern Bloc’s version of the Eurovision Song Contest. The LP on which the song appeared did good business in West-Germany, but since East-German musicians were forbidden from appearing on western TV, the single went nowhere. When in 1980 the German rock singer Peter Maffay heard Über sieben Brücken mußt du gehn, he asked the band for permission to record it. His faster version became a mega-hit. After reunification, Karat and Maffay re-recorded the song together. It has become something of a German anthem.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-schunkeled covers. PW in comments.

1. Giorgio Moroder – Arizona Man (1970)
The Usurper: Mary Roos (Arizona Man, 1970)

2. John Kongos – Would You Follow Me (1971)
The Usurper: Daliah Lavi (Wann kommst Du?, 1970)

3. Hughes Aufray – Le Rossignol Anglais (1965)
The Usurper: Udo Jürgens (Es wird Nacht, Senorita, 1968)

4. Mickey – El chico de la armónica (1972)
The Usurper: Bernd Clüver (Der Junge mit der Mundharmonika, 1972)

5. Emil Dean Zoghby – Won’t You Join Me (1970)
The Usurper: Daliah Lavi (Willst Du mit mir geh’n, 1971)

6. Martinho Da Vila – Canta Canta, Minha Gente (1974)
The Usurper: Nana Mouskourie (Guten Morgen Sonnenschein, 1977)

7. Michel Delpech – Pour Un Flirt (1971)
The Usurper: Randolph Rose (Nur ein Flirt, 1971)

8. Adamo – Petit bonheur (1969)
The Usurper: Adamo (Ein kleines Glück, 1970)

9. Tom Jones – The Young New Mexican Puppeteer (1972)
The Usurper: Robert Blanco (Der Puppenspieler aus Mexiko, 1972)

10. Sheila – Fernando (1969)
The Usurper: Michael Holm (Wie der Sonnenschein, 1970)

11. Rod McKuen – Soldiers Who Want To Be Heroes (1971)
The Usurper: Daliah Lavi (Meine Art, Liebe zu zeigen, 1973)

12. Karat – Ãœber sieben Brücken mußt du gehn (1978)
The Usurper: Peter Maffay, Über sieben Brücken mußt du gehn, 1980)

13. Benito di Paula – Charlie Brown (1975)
The Usurper: Benny (Amigo Charlie, 1976)

14. New World – Living Next Door To Alice (1972)
The Usurpers: Smokie (1976), Howard Carpendale (Tür an Tür mit Alice)

15. The Bellamy Brothers – Crossfire (1977)
The Usurper: Hoffmann & Hoffmann (Himbeereis zum Frühstück, 1977)

16. Vader Abraham – ‘t Kleine Café Aan De Haven (1975)
The Usurper: Peter Alexander (Die kleine Kneipe, 1976)

17. Jim Lowe – Gambler’s Guitar (1952)
The Usurper: Fred Bertelmann (Der lachende Vagabund, 1957)

18. Domenico Modugno – Piove (Ciao Ciao Bambina) (1959)
The Usurper: Caterina Valente (Tschau Tschau Bambina, 1959)

19. Eydie Gorme – Blame It On The Bossa Nova (1963)
The Usurper: Manuela (Schuld War Nur Der Bossa Nova, 1963)

20. Beniamino Gigli – Mamma (1960)
The Usurper: Heintje (Mama, 1969)

21. Carlos Francisco with Orchestra – La Paloma (1904)
The Usurper: Mireille Mathieu (La Paloma Adieu, 1973)

Bonus Track: Masquerade – Guardian Angel (1983)
The Usurper: Nino de Angelo (Jenseits von Eden, 1983)

GET IT!   (initial PW problems fixed)

Alternative link: https://rapidgator.net/file/53e8cde1c3bcc0101e73c6abd1809b2a/Orig-Schlag.rar.html

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  1. Mike
    March 21st, 2019 at 10:52 | #1

    Thx, love your site, but usual pwd doesn’t work for this archive :(

  2. halfhearteddude
    March 21st, 2019 at 12:55 | #2

    Sorry about that. The links are re-upped with the correct PW.

  3. halfhearteddude
    March 21st, 2019 at 12:55 | #3

    PW = amdwhah

  4. Mike
    March 21st, 2019 at 13:17 | #4

    Thx, for the pwd change :)

    Karat is a very good band, they made an Album called “Albatros” with some very good songs, “Auf den Meeren” (on the seas) and the 8:15min “Der Albatros” it also includes the “Uber Sieben Brucke ..” listed in this archive.

    The Michel Delpech song “Pour un flirt” takes me back to the time when listing (via AM) to Radio Luxembourg, at that time the Nr 1 radio with the newest hits !

  5. Nona
    April 2nd, 2019 at 05:04 | #5

    I’m a huge fan of the blog and this is a terrific compilation.
    One minor correction: Benito de Paula is Brazilian, not Portuguese.

    Thank you for the great work.

  6. halfhearteddude
    April 2nd, 2019 at 07:22 | #6

    Thanks, for the kind words and correction. The text has been edited accordingly.

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