3 great girls – who made it big in Germany

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German pop music is almost a category of its own. A lot of it is named “schlager” and is mostly commercial pop music with a distinct beat, often also quite march-like.  German music industry is really big business, and in addition to all the great native singers – they have also made “German music stars” out of a lot of foreign singers who otherwise have separate careers in their native countries.

This video is a great example – three girls from three different countries, who for several decades have been really big stars in Germany: Lithuanian Lena Valaitis (born 1943), British Ireen Sheer (born 1949) and American Peggy March (born 1948). In 2013 these three great singers got together on a German TV-show, to sing a dynamite medley of hits from the 60’s. The respective ages then spanned from 64 to 70, but they are all proof that talent is ageless. Lena (dressed in red), Ireen (dressed in brown) and the fabulous Peggy (dressed in silver) sure show you how to-do-it!



Peggy March was just 15 back in the early 60’s when she topped the US charts with “I Will Follow Him”. She is sometimes referred to as a One Hit Wonder, but that is all wrong; Peggy just relocated to Germany and has released an incredible amount of records there since 1963. The video below was recorded in 2013 also – and shows Peggy doing a brand new version of her old hit – and for once, the new version favourably compares to the original! This is one great lady whose looks and voice remain untouched by time!



Germany also gave Connie Francis a lengthy career there (making German records from 1960 up to 1992), and then there are all the great Scandinavian girl singers who had German careers: Siw Malmkvist, Wencke Myhre, Lill-Babs, Anna Lena Löfgren, Ann-Louise Hansson, Kirsti Sparboe, Anita Lindblom, Gitte Hænning, Dorthe Kollo….

Seems like I have to get back to the theme of foreign girls in German pop music in another post on this site. For now – enjoy Peggy and the others, and please note that these are not rare, comeback performances – these are girl singers at work in a country you might not have known they were working in!

Some unlikely, strange Norwegian cover versions

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Cover versions of international hits are quite common – every country seem to have some local stars who at one point or other, have recorded their own version(s) of some international hits.

Looking back at Norwegian pop music history during the last 50 years, I find that there are some truly strange stuff out there; by that, I mean that occasionally Norwegian singers have not only made Norwegian language versions of an international soul/disco hit, but in doing so, they have also stepped way, way out of their usual musical habitat – for reasons unknown to me. But they are still great fun!

So just for the fun of it – here’s a closer look at some very well-known songs AND their Norwegian versions as well:


Gloria Gaynor “Never Can Say Goodbye”: was recorded by Anne Karine Strøm in 1976 as “Jeg kan ikke gå i fra deg”.

Anne karine Strøm - not quite the Norwegian Gloria Gaynor

Anne Karine Strøm – not quite the Norwegian Gloria Gaynor

Anne Karine Strøm (b. 1951) started out as a child star in the early 1960’s. She had a great career in the 1970’s, which included two winning entries in the Eurovision Song Contest (1974 and 1976) and the release of 5 solo albums. She was also at various times married to two prominent Norwegian musicians; Frode Thingnæs and Ole Paus. She has also worked as a feature journalist in a magazine in addition to her singing career in Norway and Sweden.

Equipped with a soft, beautiful voice with a limited range, her take on “Never Can Say Goodbye” should maybe have been left in the can. It is such a stylistically departure from everything else she has recorded, and listening to it leaves you in shock rather than surprise. But always a trouper, she gets credit for at least trying to make sense of the five minutes of Norwegian disco – with a very clumsy lyric….


Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive”: was recorded by Hanne Krogh in 1979 as “Jeg er fri”

Hanne Krogh - definetely NOT another Gloria Gaynor either!

Hanne Krogh – definitely NOT another Gloria Gaynor either!

The great Hanne Krogh can look back on 45 years as one of Norway’s most versatile and best-loved singers. Just about everything she does is high quality, and musically she is a national institution. Her Christmas concerts are always sold out, and her recent tours with three fabulous tenors have been a great success. Her first solo album came out 1978, and this version of the Gaynor classic appeared on 1979’s “Nærbilde”. Great as she is in every way, disco is not a style Hanne Krogh should be associated with, and “Jeg Er Fri” stands out as the strangest item in a long and prosperous recording career.


Pointer Sisters “Fairytale”: was recorded by Kirsti Sparboe in 1976 as “Et lite eventyr”

Vocally improvement on a Pointer Sisters classic: Kirsti Sparboe did it!

Vocally improvement on a Pointer Sisters classic: Kirsti Sparboe did it!

La Sparboe came on the scene in the early 1960’s and together with Wenche Myhre, she was the uncrowned queen of Norwegian pop during that decade. In the 1970’s she branched out in several other musical directions, doing more adult contemporary stuff and different styles. She basically retired from recording after her 1983 single that combined Norwegian versions of Melissa Manchester’s “Come In From The Rain” and Louise Tucker’s “Midnight Blue”.

This track, recorded 1976 is an interesting one. When the Pointer Sisters made “Fairytale” in 1974, it was yet another musical style that the sisters tried out, and they managed to get a country hit with it! Their version is a little slow and could have benefited from a bit more energy…. And that’s what Kirsti Sparboe gave it! By picking up the tempo a little and also giving it a tighter arrangement than the original, the song comes off as more of a pop tune. Add to it maybe the greatest vocalizing Sparboe has ever done – and you get a totally wonderful version, and for once the lyrics actually do tell a story, it’s not all about making lines rhyme…. Unlikely as it seems, if you need to improve on a Pointer Sisters track – you need Sparboe to do it, and here’s the proof!


Patsy Gallant “From New York To L.A.”: was recorded by Gro Anita Schønn in 1977 as “Star”

The late, great and much missed Gro Anita Schønn (1950-2001) sang "Star" as if it was her own life story....

The late, great and much missed Gro Anita Schønn (1950-2001) sang “Star” as if it was her own life story….

The most glamorous of all the 1970’s pop stars in Norway, Gro Anita Schønn was no stranger to cover versions at all, a big chunk of her recorded legacy actually consists of international hits done in Norwegian. This version of the Patsy Gallant hit is one that stands out. “From New York To L.A.” does get another English title, but the word “Star” is an essential part of the story. Always technically perfect, no matter what she was singing, Gro Anita this time seems to realize that these lyrics tell a story that she could really relate to.

Schønn stopped recording in 1983 and for the last 18 years of her life, she lived as a recluse, not appearing in public, denying all kinds of interviews and she made just two brief appearances on TV during these years. All of it added up to not being comfortable in the limelight at all, and much like the “star” in the song, she seemed content to have the spotlights turned off….


Laura Branigan “Hollywood Wives”: was recorded by Kate Gulbrandsen in 1984 with the same title

Kate Gulbrandsen in the early 1980's - before she won every contest she entered

Kate Gulbrandsen in the early 1980’s – before she won every contest she entered

Kate came on the scene in the 1980’s, and she certainly was a breath of fresh air musically. Equipped with a powerful, yet girlish voice she made a string of singles that are all way overdue for a CD compilation. She was also a frequent contest winner; in 1985 she won “Talent 85”, singing “Første Forsøk”. She participated in an Egyptian song festival in 1986, and her winning entry was “Fire Of Love”. In 1987 she won the Norwegian outtake for the Eurovison Song Contest and represented Norway singing “Mitt Liv” and a little later she won the World Song Festival in Tokyo singing “Carnival”. She released two albums in the late 80’s and after that sort of dropped out of the spotlight for a number of years. She has had a comeback in recent years, doing a more countrified kind of material…

The theme song from the TV series “Hollywood Wives” was originally done by Laura Branigan. Kate’s version has the same arrangement, but the song benefits greatly from Kate’s vocal – she sounds much more like one of the characters in the series than Branigan’s big, booming powerful voice was able to convey.


Eartha Kitt “C’est Ci Bon”, Diana Ross “I’m Still Waiting”, Alan O’Day “Undercover Angel”: these were all recorded by Grethe Kausland on her 1978 album “A taste of….”. Her versions are all great improvements on the originals. This girl was one of the greatest musical comedy stars Norway ever had – and vocally she is a singer of stunning flexibility, range and power.

This album was Grethe Kauslands first as an adult - and won her the coveted 1978 Spellemannsprisen. Well deserved too...

This album was Grethe Kauslands first as an adult – and won her the coveted 1978 Spellemannsprisen. Well deserved too…

Kausland (1947-2007) was a child star in the 50’s and from the 1970’s and for the rest of her life she was the greatest musical comedy star on any Norwegian stage. She also had a great voice, with a “black” sound – and she could be really soulful when given the right kind of songs. The three tracks mentioned above are all premium examples of that. She does “C’est Si Bon” in a disco kind of way, but the other two are similar to the originals. She is way above Diana Ross vocally on “I’m Still Waiting”, while “Undercover Angel” is imbued with so much soul and feeling that it comes off as a totally new song.


Yvonne Elliman “If I Can’t Have You”: was recorded by Ingrid Elisabeth Johansen in 1978 as “Hvis du går din vei”

Ingrid Elisabeth Johansen's 1978 album

Ingrid Elisabeth Johansen’s 1978 album

Despite a long and varied career in Norway and Germany, Ingrid Elisabeth actually isn’t all that well-known in Norway. She has been in several bands, done musicals and worked as a featured singer with several big bands, she has released several singles, participated in different TV shows and competed twice in the Norwegian outtakes for the Eurovison Song Contest. Her only album came out 1978, and of the 10 songs, 9 are cover versions – and “If I Can’t Have You” is maybe the strangest one…..

Her voice is a little rusty, with a slight rasp and she is much more comfortable singing ballads and soulful bluesy stuff than this Saturday Night Fever track. However, she does a great job on it, though the song is marred by some incredibly clumsy Norwegian lyrics! No stranger to cover versions, some of the other stuff she recorded is much better suited to her voice; she did Norwegian versions of Bonnie Tyler’s “It’s A Heartache”, Jackie DeShannons “Blue Street” and Elkie Brooks’ “Pearl’s A Singer”.

Very talented but sadly neglected by record companies, the time is way overdue for a collection of Ingrid Elisbeth Johansen’s recordings! This album is digitally available though, so go search it out!


This article could probably have included dozens more strange cover versions, but those listed above will do it for now….

It proves that for all the talent involved, even the best of singers can either strike gold or fall flat on their faces, all in the name of trying to get a hit record – or just make a great cover.

France Joli – A quick look at Canada´s premiere Disco Diva


My last post on this site dealt with some fabulous disco records – all made in 1979. They were all more or less obscure one-off releases by some now forgotten acts and one by a never-to-be-forgotten-ex-Supremes diva, Mary Wilson.

Another great record appeared that same year, a single called “Come To Me”. I bought the single, performed by a beautiful young girl called France Joli. The song starts out with a ballad intro, then picks up steam and turns into a disco extravaganza. When I bought her debut album, “France Joli” I was happy to find a much more complete (i.e. longer) version of the song on it, lasting close to 10 minutes. Followed by the next song, “Let Go” which is almost the same length, I was dancing around the room and I was definetely an instant fan of this Canadian singer – who was all of 15 when this album was made! The album consists of only four songs, all made for dancing – and totally perfect for 1979!


The first album, “France Joli” (1979)


Producer Tony Green (born as Antonio Di Verdis-Mazzone) had to strike while the iron was hot, and 1980 saw the release of another album, “Tonight“. Putting the ballad “This Time (I´m Giving All I Got)” out as the first single proved a wrong move, so more danceable stuff were put on the next singles; “Feel Like Dancing” and “The Heart To Break The Heart”.

Tony Green + F + Gene Leone 1979

Tony Green, France Joli and Gene Leone in 1979


Luckily, these last two songs confirmed that France was indeed a force to be reckoned with if you wanted to dance in the late 70´s.


Her second album, “Tonight” (1980)


Her third album for Prelude Records, 1981´s “Now!” saw a slight shift in musical directions for France. Turning down the tempo a couple of notches, this record is a much more urban contemporary affair, and a style that suits Miss Joli´s smooth, silky, but still strong voice. My personal favourites from this album are “Gonna Get Over You” and “Can We Fall In Love Again”.


Third album, “Now!” (1981)


When France Joli switched labels in 1983, from Prelude to Epic, I was certainly not prepared for the musical change that also took place. The album “Attitude” shows a completely new France, and even as great as she had been up to this point – she gets even better here! Ditching the disco sound completely, France works with Pete Bellotte and Giorgio Moroder and they created an absolutely stunning concoction of radio ready rock with a slice of synth pop and just a tiny bit disco. France herself sings in a new way too, showing off that she is one terrific singer – as she slides effortlessly over the fast paced rhythms, heavy drum machines and guitar solos. She also wraps her silky pipes around some really juicy lyrics, done in tongue twisting tempos.


Fourth album “Attitude” (1983) – you didn´t see this one coming!

If comparable to anything else released in 1983, it has to be the albums Teri Tims and Tane Cain put out around the same time. These three albums by these three different singers form a category all their own, it might be labeled AOR – but it´s not quite that either. “Attitude” will forever stand as France Joli´s crowning achievement, and I consider it one of the best albums of the 1980s! Standout tracks are: “Nasty Love”, “Dumb Blonde”, “Girl In The 80s”, “Walking Into A Heartache” and “Standing In The Shadows Of Love”. If you want to own just one France Joli album – get this one!

1984 saw France participating at the Yamaha Music Festival in Japan, and she won the Grand Prix for her song “Party Lights”. That is no surprise as the George Duke-produced track is a stunner. He also produced her fifth and final album, “Witch Of Love” (1985). In addition to her Japanese winning entry, the albums opening track “Does He Dance” was put out on a single and gained some attention in the clubs. On this album France does one of her very few ballad performances, a beautiful version of Snow/Weils “Love Always Finds A Way”.


The fifth of France, “Witch Of Love” (1985)


During the last 30 years, France Joli has done very little recording but a lot of live performing. She is an ever popular singer, appearing at festivals and disco shows to an always appreciative audience.

Her career may be based on her 1979 hit “Come To Me” – but the few years she spent making albums has left us with a portrait of an artist who deserves to be considered as much more than a “70s Disco Diva”. Personally, I am sorry she didn´t make more albums, as she had potential to be something much greater, judging from her 80s albums. One can always hope that some producer will re-discover her, and get her back into the studios! Talent always wills out in the end….

My personal thanks to the “tres jolie” Miss Joli, vive la France!


F 2015

France in the 2010s, on stage doing a fabulous show for the audience




Three unknown masterpieces from 1979….

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Back in 1979, disco was still popular – and a lot of great albums came out during disco’s heyday. Some by famous artists who were either true “disco stars” or albums by singers from other fields of music who just jumped on the disco wagon for a shorter time span. Then there were some great records released by singers or groups about whom nothing much is known – but that doesn’t take the focus away from the fact that their albums were great and still sound fresh and exciting today! I will give you a closer look into my three favourite albums from the glorious disco year 1979!


Barbara Law – “Take All Of Me”

The album "Take All Of Me" by Barbara Law

The album “Take All Of Me” by Barbara Law

I know absolutely nothing about Barbara Law, but this great record was recorded in Canada – so she might be Canadian…. Whether she has made any other records is hard to say, not much information about Miss Law to be found on the internet. But at least she made this great album! As far as I know this collection has never been released on CD, but if you search long enough, you will find a digital version (made from the original LP).

The title track is by far the best thing on offer here, seven and a half-minute of true disco heaven (even if the lyrics don’t do much for women’s liberation!) Barbara Law has a smoky, sensual voice that sounds a little strained at times – but that gives her a special edge. “On My Own Again” is the only ballad here, but it proves that she is a more than competent singer, and that makes me wonder why she didn’t record more… The other 6 songs are of the upbeat disco/pop variety, and they are all good. All in all – this album is one of (disco)musics most obscure treasures, but well worth searching out! If any of my readers can supply me with som additional information on Barbara Law, please write me!!


The Raes – “Dancing Up A Storm”

The Raes were indeed "Dancing Up A Storm" in 1979

The Raes were indeed “Dancing Up A Storm” in 1979

This Canada-based duo made another one of the most exciting albums of 1979 – led off by the incredibly infectious hit single “A Little Lovin’ (Keeps The Doctor Away)”. The whole album is very good, even their disco remake of Supertramps “School“. This album is another one way overdue for CD-release, and like the Barbara Law album, you can find digital versions that have been made from the original LP. As far as I have been able to find out, this was the second of three albums made by the Raes. The rest of their history, you can read HERE.


Mary Wilson – “Mary Wilson”

Ex-Supreme Mary Wilson, solo album from 1979

Ex-Supreme Mary Wilson, solo album from 1979

Maybe the greatest injustice in the history of music, is the fact that Mary Wilson’s great 1979 album has never been put out on CD! She started out in the Primettes in 1959, then was the only constant member of the Supremes until they disbanded in 1977. Diana Ross was always front and center of the Supremes, but on several of their many great albums, Mary Wilson gets the chance to shine as well – so this was not the first time music lovers got the hear her dark, honeyed tones, but this was the first time SHE was front and center on an album!

Not a typical disco record, this one is a little more funky and soulful than a lot of the other stuff that came out in 1979. But tracks like (her first solo single) “Red Hot“, its B-side “Midnight Dancer” and “I’ve Got What You Need” will no doubt make you dance! Through the seven great songs here, Mary Wilson proves that she is more than talented enough to be a solo star. However, record companies never seemed to be very interested, and her next two singles (“Don’t Get Mad, Get Even” and “Ooh Child“) were both recorded in England for Ian Levine’s Nightmare label… This album laid the foundation for what should have been an illustrious solo career – but during the last 25 years, Mary Wilson has recorded only sporadically, and when she did – it was for smaller labels that offered little promotion…

There! A short survey on three of my all time favourite albums! If you have anything to add to these short musings, please let me know! If you already own these records – I guess it is because you enjoy them as much as I have through the last 37 years….




Dinah Shore – A centennial celebration

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On this day, one hundred years ago – Dinah Shore came into this world. Up until her Death, on February 24th 1994, she was perhaps the finest example of “Southern Elegance” – both on record and in person. She was also one of the first American stars of TV, and there was seemingly no limit to her talents in any media. She sang, she acted in movies, she had her own TV show for many years, she was an avid golfer, her talent for cooking was legendary, she wrote books and above all, she was an incredible singer.


Dinah: photos from the 40s, 50s and 60s

Dinah: photos from the 40s, 50s and 60s


Her TV shows were never screened in Norway, so in this country she is more famous as a singer. As such, she was a very versatile one – the magic touch of the Shore voice was equally well put to use on jazzy ballads, 50s novelty tunes, country songs and contemporary 70s pop songs. Her mid-1970s sessions turned out to be the last time she recorded new music, but her takes on Eagles’ “Best of my love”, Diana Ross’ “Do you know where you’re going to”, Paul Simon’s “50 ways to leave your lover” and Neil Sedaka’s “The hungry years” are so good it makes me wish she had continued in that vein…

Before that, she made an endlessly long list of incredibly good recordings – most of which are available, and way overdue for rediscovery. Her albums recorded for Capitol from 1957-1962 are strongly recommended!


Dinah: photos from the 70s, 80s and 90s

Dinah: photos from the 70s, 80s and 90s


On this day, the centennial of Dinah Shore’s birth, I strongly suggest you check out some of her music and I just know you will enjoy the sound of that liquid honey voice – “Southern Elegance” indeed!


Tvi, tvi – Trine Rein!

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I morgen går finalen i Stjernekamp 2015 av stabelen – og de to finalekandidatene er Trine Rein og Maria Haukaas Mittet. To av Norges flotteste stemmer skal altså konkurrere mot hverandre, men kun en går av med seieren. For meg blir det ett fett hvem som vinner – de er utrolig dyktige begge to!

Trine Rein er alikevel den som ligger mitt hjerte nærmest; etter at Trine bosatte seg i Skiptvet er hun plutselig blitt Indre Østfolding, og dermed kommer det jo litt lokalpatriotisme inn i bildet også – hun synger jo liksom på vegne av hele Indre Østfold i finalen! Det er dessuten en liten, personlig episode rundt Trine Rein og meg, men det kommer jeg til litt lenger ned på siden…

Trine er en artist som har interessert meg stort helt siden debuten. Første gang jeg hørte Trine synge, hørte jeg noe helt spesielt. Her snakker vi om en norsk artist som fra første tone hun sang hørtes ut som en internasjonal stjerne av stort format – og det har også vist seg å være riktig. Etter 12 runder i Stjernekamp har Trine bekreftet nok en gang at hun har en helt enorm stemmeprakt. Samtidig har hun også klart samtlige utfordringer de ulike sjangerne har gitt henne; hun tok opera-utfordringen rett på hæl’en og var den eneste virkelige sopranen den kvelden. Heavy metal skled hun gjennom som om hun ikke hadde gjort noe annet i hele sitt liv, og forrige uke var det Electronic Dance Music hun imponerte i – med en vanvittig krevende låt med en utall av oktavendringer underveis….


Trine Rein - stor stjerne i finalen i Stjernekamp 2015

Trine Rein – stor stjerne i finalen i Stjernekamp 2015


Trine Rein så dagens lys i San Francisco, California 7. november 1970, og flyttet til Nesodden i Norge da hun var drøyt ett år gammel. I følge diverse kilder på nettet så har Trine vært opptatt av sang hele sitt liv, og allerede 6 år gammel bestemte hun seg for at hun skulle bli artist. Midt i tenårene dannet hun duoen Sounds of Silence sammen med Asgeir Knutsen, og de stakk av med annenplassen i Ungdommens Kulturmønstring det året de deltok. Etter å ha gjort seg ferdig med high school i USA, kom Trine tilbake til Norge og fikk seg jobb som studio-sanger – noe som førte til at hun medvirket i en lang rekke reklame-jingles og andre typer reklameinnslag. Ved siden av jobbet hun som sanger i cover-bandet Saturn – noe som Trine anser som en veldig viktig del av sin karriere som sanger (og som vel også langt på vei forklarer hvorfor hun kan synge absolutt alle typer musikk like bra).

Platedebut ble det i 1991 da hip-hop bandet W.I.P. (World In Peace) hyret Trine til å kore på en av sine låter, men likte stemmen hennes så godt at hun endte opp som hovedvokalisten på albumet “The Songs We Write“. I en alder av 20 år hadde Trine allerede masse erfaring, og hun fremstår på dette albumet som den norske motparten til f.eks. CC Music Factory (som hyret Martha Wash til å gjøre lignende vokalistjobb) og Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch (som kunne smykke seg med Loleatta Holloway som samarbeidspartner). Selve albumet er så tidstypisk 1991 at du ikke kan ta feil av når dette er spilt inn – her har du funky rap med soulfulle “diva-innslag” på løpende bånd. Trine imponerer stort på tittellåta og også på “Dream” – som er en hip-hopete oppdatering av Everly Brothers gamle slager, “All I Have To Do Is Dream”. Stilmessig er den ikke fjernt fra hva svenskenes Carola gjorde med Billy Joel’s klassiker “Just The Way You Are” samme året….

Norsk hip-hop anno 1991. Den snasne dama med hatt i midten, er Trine Rein som platedebuterer her...

Norsk hip-hop anno 1991. Den snasne dama med hatt i midten, er Trine Rein som platedebuterer her…


I november 1993 kom det første solo albumet, “Finders Keepers” ut… 600.000 mennesker i Norge og Japan found it and kept it og hele landet nynnet, sang, svermet og saktedanset til “Just Missed The Train”. Som oppfølger valgte Trine en soul klassiker fra 1960-tallet, Lorraine Ellison’ s “Stay With Me, Baby”. Etter at en lang rekke artister har slitt seg ut på den (bl.a. Rex Smith, Kiki Dee og Bette Midler), så skulle altså versjonen som ligger tettest opp til originalens intensitet og innlevelse komme fra norske og (den gang) nesten ukjente Trine Rein. Det skapte såpass oppstyr rundt sangen at det var jo ikke til å unngå at Trine fikk synge akkurat den under OL-sending fra Lillehammer i 1994 – da hele verden så Norge på TV døgnet rundt…

Å si noe særlig mer inngående om de øvrige albumene Trine har utgitt, er vel unødvendig: de finnes allerede i så mange hundretusen norske hjem at “alle” har dem, og alle har sine favorittlåter…. “Beneath My Skin” kom ut 1996 (og inneholder “Torn”), “To Find The Truth” ble gitt ut 1998 (og inneholder “World Without You”). Vi måtte vente helt til 2004, da kom “The Very Best of Trine Rein” (med to nye låter: “Cry Baby” og “With Or Without You”).

Trine deltok i Melodi Grand Prix i 2006 (og sang “Here For The Show”) og i 2007 (da hun sang “Maybe”). Noe nytt studioalbum kom ikke før i 2010, og het “Seeds Of Joy” etterfulgt av “Julegaven” året etter. I 2013 kom albumet “20 år midt i musikken – Hitter og favoritter Live” – og den holder hva den lover. På dette albumet finner du også Trines forrykende versjon av “Ten Thousand Lovers (In One)” og en tolkning av “I Will Always Love You” som ville gjort Whitney Houston grønn av misunnelse og Dolly Parton rød av glede – godt jobba!

Hvorvidt hun vinner i morgen eller må innta andreplassen – det er usikkert inntil siste stemme er talt opp. Det som derimot er sikkert, er at Trine har fått vist frem absolutt alle sider og nyanser av sin fantastiske stemme – og at hun til tross for sparsomt antall utgivelser og noen lengre inaktive perioder, fremdeles er Norges mest helstøpte artist, med en stemmeprakt og allsidighet som få andre innehar.

Helt til slutt – min “personlige episode” med Trine Rein: Like før jul 1993 var jeg verdens lykkeligste mann, med helt ny kjæreste og hele livet var vidunderlig. Vi satt på et stille, rolig utested rett før jul – og fordi vi ikke skulle feire jul sammen, ble det litt gavebytting denne kvelden… Det viste seg at vi begge hadde kjøpt gavene hos gullsmeden, og når man bytter gull – da kan det vel kalles forlovelse da vel… I bakgrunnen sang Trine i samme sekund “I found you, and finders are keepers…” – og hun fikk rett! I found him, I kept him and I still have him – 22 år etter! Takk Trine, for at din musikalske spådom slo til her i huset!



Lesley Gore (is) “Someplace Else Now”

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Since her untimely death in February this year, a lot of stuff has been written and said about this truly magnificent 60´s pop icon. Much of it is praise for the fabulous singer she was, but she also gets much kudos for her songwriting and also her later engagement in the LGBT movement.

The title of her 1972 album pictured below has taken on another meaning now that Lesley is no longer on this earth….


Her 1972 album, "Someplace Else Now"

Her 1972 album, “Someplace Else Now”


When the album came out in 1972, the title had another meaning of course; it was a signal that Lesley had put her sunny girl-group style of pop behind her, and was heading in a new direction….

Artistically, it bears little resemble to her sixties material, but it more than shows that she had artistically grown! If the pop singer she was in the 60s was a girl, this album showed off Lesley – the grown woman.

Coming a year after Carole King´s “Tapestry” – the ALL-encompassing charter on how to create a very good singer-songwriter album, Lesley´s 1972 output is of course touched by the influence of Queen Carole The King….

Throwing away any and all of the themes that her 60´s output dealt with (boys, lollipops, rainbows, kisses, Judy, young love, love gone bad, hoping to be loved by “him” etc) – “Someplace Else Now” contains a Lesley hitherto unknown to the public: the socially aware woman who damn well knows rainbows and kisses are of no use in every day life in 1972 America.

Getting to show off several new aspects of her voice while handling some really demanding lyrics, this album should maybe be heralded as the birth of Lesley Gore – the singer (as opposed to pop singer, 60´s style!)

Songs like “She Said That” (the albums lead-off single) and the heart wrenching “Out Of Love” (study those lyrics will you….) are maybe the two best songs here, but the other ten are great also. Lesley made a fabulous record at the right time, but tough competition from La King herself, and the fact that not many of Lesley´s fans from the previous decade understood what she was about at this point all contributed to the fact that the album soon fell into obscurity….

So, you may wonder, why am I writing about this long forgotten 70´s album now…?

It´s out on CD now! For the first time in 43 years, you can buy this album again! And it is certainly one that is long overdue for re-release too!

Whenever a popular singer dies, record companies usually mine their vaults to get a “new” album out. Thankfully, after Lesley´s passing they chose to haul this one up from the basement instead of making yet another “best of” collection. I certainly hope this will lead to a new release also for her “Love Me By Name” album that came out some years later….

Lesley Gore´s music is too good and too valuable to be kept from the public – and I am all too happy to finally have this one out on CD! That view is shared by millions of Lesley-fans around the world, and I know you will treat yourself to this one – now you better be “Off & Running” (pardon the pun – I couldn´t resist!) to the nearest record store. This re-release is not to be missed!

Lesley, going somewhere - in the late 1960´s

Lesley, going somewhere – in the late 1960´s



Up next – A closer look at Betty Wright

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She has been labeled the “Queen of Miami Soul”, she just as well may have been labeled the Queen of awesome singing, because anything that Ms. Wright has comitted to tape or done on stage so far, is destined to thrill you to bits!


Betty Wright, photo from 1975

Betty Wright, photo from 1975


Betty Wright was born in December 1953, and was thus only 14 when her first album “My First Time Around” came out 1968. Since then, Betty Wright has released a long line of albums, and her music is almost a category all of its own. Miami soul it is, but she pours soul into everything she does, whether it is Miami flavoured, reggae infused, disco inspired or neo soul-y….

During the last six decades (yay!!) Betty has recorded many truly stunning albums, and I will soon give you all a closer look at those…. Album titles like “Explosive!”, “Danger – High Voltage” and “Wright Back At You” should give some clues about what this lady is all about. That she vocally can do anything from a deep, slurred whisper and then extend her voice up into the whistle register, is also proof that Betty Wright is one of the most amazing singers to appear on the scene during the last 50 years. (For more info about that, check this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whistle_register )


Betty Wright - photographed in 2010

Betty Wright – photographed in 2010


Stay tuned, a profile on the great work of Betty Wright coming up on this site in a short while….




Cancel the party – Lesley Gore is dead

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I received the sad news of Lesley Gore’s passing yesterday. Lesleys fight against cancer was finally ended on February 16 2015.

If anyone could be named the greatest female pop star of the 1960, Lesley was it. When she burst on the scene in 1963, her music, voice and style was something completely new. She was young, she had a new sound, she had Quincy Jones arrange and produce her songs, and her voice was pitch perfect. When “It’s My Party” topped both the US Hot 100 as well as the R’n’B Charts in 1963, the young singer (born May 2, 1946) had well and truly arrived.


Lesley Gore in 1963

Lesley Gore in 1963

During the 1960’s, Lesley notched up one chart hit after the other, and she released 8 very good albums. She acted in films and was on TV’s “Batman”. Her looks, sound and music are all the definitive sounds of the 60’s – and as an artist, what she did back then was something we hadn’t heard before. Although some of her original albums from that decade might be hard to get, you can get a very good box set: the German label Bear Family collected ALL of her 1960’s recordings (whether released or not) plus her recordings in other languages on 5 CDs and boxed it all up into the greatest Lesley Gore collection ever. It is (of course) titled “It’s My Party” – and this is indeed a party! You see the Bear Family Box Set pictured below.

On 5 CDs, you get absolutely everything Lesley recorded in the 1960. Bear Family did it again!

On 5 CDs, you get absolutely everything Lesley recorded in the 1960. Bear Family did it again!

In the early 1970s, musical tastes changed, and Lesley cut down on her activities in the studio. With the happy “girl group sound” giving way to more rock oriented material, as well as the emerging singer-songwriter styles of James Taylor and Carole King – Lesley as a 60’s Icon was suddenly outdated…. Still, no changes in musical trends could hide the fact that she is a great singer. A new kind of Lesley thus appeared on her first album of the 70s – called “Someplace Else Now” (released 1972).

Her 1972 album, "Someplace Else Now"

Her 1972 album, “Someplace Else Now”

Choosing not to work a lot during the 1970’s – she did however put out a new album in 1976. Called “Love Me By Name“, it was another great collection of lovely songs performed very well. The title track did get a new life when Dusty Springfield covered it on her 1978 album “It Begins Again“. Then in 1980, Lesley co-wrote some of the songs for the movie soundtrack “Fame” and got herself an Oscar nomination for best song (“Out Here On My Own”)

"Love Me By Name", her 1976 album

“Love Me By Name”, her 1976 album


Another album came out in 1982, though it hardly received any promotion, and is probably an album that a lot of people don’t know exists. Titled “The Canvas Can Do Miracles“, it consists of cover versions of a lot of other people’s songs, like Carly Simons “Haven’t Got Time For The Pain”, Dolly Partons hit “Here You Come Again” and “You’re The One That I Want” from the Grease Movie. All the songs are impeccably performed by Lesley, but overall this album isn’t the most essential addition to your collection….

Lesley Gore's little known 1982 album, "The Canvas Can Do Miracles"

Lesley Gore’s little known 1982 album, “The Canvas Can Do Miracles”

During 1986, Lesley was one of the “Legendary Ladies of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, sharing honors with Mary Wells, Martha Reeves, Freda Payne, Shirley Alston of the Shirelles and Brenda Lee. Clips of the ladies during the show is to be found on YouTube, and the standout stunner is Lesley performing her old hit “You Don’t Own Me” – at this time turned into a very powerfully sung feminist anthem!

After 23 years, Lesley finally got into the recording studio once more, for her final album “Ever Since” (2005). This album is yet another great example of good song performed very well, and it was critically acclaimed – but no chart hit. It marked the end of a recording career that spanned 42 years of making great music.

The final album released by Lesley; "Ever Since" (2005)

The final album released by Lesley; “Ever Since” (2005)


A lot more active on stages around the world, Lesley was constantly touring and always a great concert attraction. So I guess we should forgive her for not making more records than she did. But looking back on her output, there are indeed many treasures to be found.

From 60s pop princess to 2000s LGBT activist, Lesley pretty much did it all, and she did it extremely well. I still can’t quite comprehend that the gorgeous voice was silenced forever Monday this week – but I will get used to it somehow…

At least I have dozens of great songs to listen to, and although I sure don’t feel like partying, the eternally great voice of Lesley Gore will be able to raise my spirits at any time, years from now!

Lesley Gore pictured after a show in 2011

Lesley Gore pictured after a show in 2011

R.I.P, Lesley – we will cancel the party for now (and I’ll cry if I want to…..)






Coming up soon – a closer look at Bettye LaVette

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Bettye LaVette is currently one of the truly great blues and soul singers in the business. For the last ten years she has released one great album after another, showing time and time again what a totally dedicated and consummate artist she is.

A lot of people might not be aware that she made her first record way back in 1962 and spent years struggling on small labels, constantly working but never quite making it into the big league. She made dozens of great singles in the 60s and early 70s, was a disco singer in the late 70s, had her first released album come out on Motown in 1982 – after TWENTY years of working in the business, then moving on to the British label Motorcity in the late 80s, before rightly claiming her well-deserved position in this millennium.

The great Bettye LaVette

The great Bettye LaVette

Universally acclaimed for her talent these days, the record companies have been wise enough to re-release most of what Bettye has recorded during the last 53 years, and a survey of her recording career will be published here during February or March. Stay tuned!


Calla was just one of the smaller labels Bettye worked for. Ad from 1965

Calla was just one of the smaller labels Bettye worked for. Ad from 1965



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