The long, hot summer….

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….is partially the reason for me not publishing anything here for 4 months. Another reason is my work load.

For the last two months, Norway has had a heat wave, to such a degree that we have to go back to 1947 to have experienced something similar. Fields have died due to the lack of rain and the extreme sun, and Norway has been plagued by forest fires, and those are also quite unusual here. Us Vikings tend to sweat at 25 degrees, now we have had 30 and more for two months…

I have worked on two big movie projects, and in addittion to that – my daily work place has been complete re-decorated and facelifted, so this spring and summer has been a very hectic time.

But even if the activity level has been low, I have – of course – listened to a lot of great music. For those of you who think that my preference in music stops way before the 1990’s, I will tell you that that is not the fact. This summer I have delved a little deeper into some current artist and singers, and of course I like a lot of those too. The British sensation named Adele interests me a lot, and I have also played ALL of Britney Spears‘ albums back-to-back, which confirmed what I already knew: she is sensational in every way, and the perfect example on how to mix different musical styles, great songs with memorable hooks, great looks and topped off with a unique voice that lacks range, but still sounds like no one else.


My garden pond at night


A lot of this music listening has taken place outside, in the spring house in my garden. Our garden pond has received a make-over this summer, and so I present of couple of photos of that one – and I’m really proud of my hubby who has done all the work himself.

More musical musings to appear on this site – when I get around to it!


The garden pond from another angle…

Damita Jo DeBlanc – spotlight on a forgotten treasure

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Damita Jo was a bright and bubbly addition to the girl singers of the 50s and 60s. Dipping her toes into different musical water, Damita Jo could sing anything from country to nightclub jazz and she did quite a lot of dance craze tunes as well.

A look into her albums and career coming soon on this site.

The lovely Damita Jo, 60s publicity photo


Lesley Gore – Love her by name….

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Back in September 2015, I wrote about the much awaited CD rerelease of Lesley’s 1972 album, “Someplace Else Now” (read it here:

That article contained a hope for also seeing a rerelease of her great 1976 album “Love Me By Name“.


Lesley Gore's 1976 album, "Love Me By Name"

Lesley Gore’s 1976 album, “Love Me By Name”


Well, now that waiting is over – the CD is here!! (And all you fans better be “Off & Running” once more….)

While the 1972 album placed Lesley firmly in the singer-songwriter category, this one is a much more varied collection, containing everything from light disco to beautiful ballads. The opening track, “Sometimes” finds her backed up by the very funky Johnson Brothers, and the stuttering “Immortality” shows off yet another side of her talents.

After this, Lesley released just two more albums during her life time; “The Canvas Can Do Miracles” (1982) and finally “Ever Since” (2006).

Nuff said, ’cause you are about to go get this one now….!




Kommer snart – et innblikk i Gro Anita Schønn’s liv og karriere

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Det var en gang da Norge hadde pop-divaer av internasjonalt format. Den største av dem alle på Norges stjernehimmel i 1970-årene, var Gro Anita Schønn.

Hun var også pop-dronningen som abdiserte og trakk seg helt ut av musikkbransjen. Etter en singel i 1983 og et par sporadiske TV-opptredener på tidlig 90-tall ble det helt stille….


Gro Anita Schønn på begynnelsen av 1970-tallet

Gro Anita Schønn på begynnelsen av 1970-tallet


Så hva skjedde med henne egentlig…? Ikke mye er skrevet om Gro Anita og de siste årene av hennes liv, men på dette nettstedet kommer det om en kort stund en profil om artisten og mennesket Gro Anita Schønn.

Hun døde altfor tidlig, i april 2001 – kun tre måneder etter sin 51-års dag. Følg med for oppdateringer her.



Wishing all my readers a warm & happy summer

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Well, time flies – I am not really sure what happened to the first six months of this year….. Guess it must mean I have had plenty to do, and no time to get bored!

I also realize I haven’t been nearly as active on these pages as I’d like to be. I will have to rectify that very soon!

My profile on Betty Wright is in the works, and will be published soon. Hopefully the Norwegian summer will be a nice one, and I will get to spend a lot of time in my lovely garden. Some photos from the garden can be seen below


Some shots from my garden at home....

Some shots from my garden at home….


Wishing you all a very nice, warm and happy summer! Fill your days with nice things, good friends, good food, ice cream – and lots of music!

And do check in here – updates will be published continuously!

GITTE HAENNING – 60 years in music

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Somebody notified me that although I am Scandinavian, most of my writings here have been about internationally well-known singers and performers. And “why don’t I write about any Scandinavian singers??”. Well, I hereby do exactly that – and I thought it a good opportunity to spotlight the fabulous career of the great Danish singer Gitte Haenning (spelled Hænning in Scandinavia, but I will stick to using the international label here…).

Gitte at sweet 16, and already eight years into her career...

Gitte at sweet 16, and already eight years into her career…

It is, incredible to believe – but true, it was 60 years ago this year since the then 8 year old Gitte first stepped into a recording studio and made her first record. A duet with her father, Otto – it was a cute little novelty called “Giftes med farmand” (“I wanna marry daddy” approximately). That was the start of an incredible career that has led to her being one of the absolute greatest of Danish stars, and also Denmark’s biggest export in the music field, especially in Germany where Gitte is a true superstar. She is first and foremost a singer, and does pop and jazz equally well. Added to that, she has acted in movies, been on numerous television shows, she has performed in the Eurovision Song Contest outtakes for no less than three different countries (Denmark, Germany and Luxemburg) and also participated in the 2012 season of the German edition of “Dancing with the stars”, pulling out of the competition due to her sister’s death.

A blond beauty and some mink... An eternally successful combination, and here used for Gitte in the late 60's

A blond beauty and some mink… An eternally successful combination, and here used for Gitte in the late 60’s

Gitte started out recording in Danish, and later on she also cut records singing in German, Italian, Swedish, Finnish and Dutch. Her first records were aimed squarely at young record buyers, and she did quite a lot of girl-group sounding singles. But still, even as early as 1968 she made her first great jazz album with the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band – showing off her talent for jazz and probably surprising a lot of listeners as she was just 21 when the record was made. Already a seasoned performer with a lot of experience, she proved herself very favourably on this album.

"My Kind Of World"; 1968 saw Gitte move from pop to jazz

“My Kind Of World”; 1968 saw Gitte move from pop to jazz

For a complete list of all of Gitte’s recordings – check out the great website – which contains most of what you would need to know about the lady…..  By the time she had reached the age of 20, she had achieved 5 number one records in three different countries (1 in Denmark, 2 in Sweden and 2 in Germany). She had also teamed up with German schlagerstar Rex Gildo, and as “Gitte & Rex” the duo also racked up several more hits, some of them taken from the films Gitte acted in.

"Gitte & Rex", a photo from the mid-60's

“Gitte & Rex”, a photo from the mid-60’s

Gitte in the Eurovision Song Contest: In 1962 Gitte was chosen as Denmark’s entry in the ESC, with the song “Jeg snakker med mig selv” (“Talking to myself”). The rules stated that none of the competing songs were to be publicly performed before the competition. Then it turned out that the song’s composer had actually whistled the tune in a restaurant (considered public), and so the song was disqualified and Gitte had to withdraw from the stakes that year! In 1973 she was chosen as Germany’s representative, and performed “Junger Tag” on their behalf – ending in 8th Place in the compettion. The song turned into a big hit in Germany, and Gitte performs it in her concerts to this very day. She was also the third Scandinavian singer to represent Germany in the ESC, after Norway’s Wencke Myhre sang “Ein Hoch der Liebe” in 1968 and Sweden’s Siw Malmkvist did “Primaballerina” in 1969 (and tied for the 9th place with….. Sweden’s Tommy Körberg!) In 1978 she competed in the stakes for Luxembourg with the song “Rien Qu’une Femme” but was beaten by Spanish disco duo Baccara and their song “Parlez-vous francais”.

Gitte on stage in the late 1970's

Gitte on stage in the late 1970’s

The Gitte Haenning voice: Making your first record at age 8, you naturally sound like a child. This child however, was rhythmicly secure, had spot on vocals and was obviously very musical and talented even that early. She quickly developed into a young girl singer with a flexible and warm voice, that sounded equally at home singing up-tempo novelties or ballads. As an adult, Gitte has found her own, unique style: her voice has the honeyed tones that convey a lot of feeling without making great efforts to put the emotions across – she never makes it sound like she’s working up a sweat to get the message through. Her voice is very strong, but as she has learned the great art of understatement, she only occasionally will raise her voice in a song – at just the right moment – as to underline the lyrics. She can indeed “belt-it-out”, but rarely does…. She also has great breath control, and can hold very long notes if needed, and thank God; she never fell for that awful trick of audibly breathing on record (which some young singers today do, thinking it sounds “sexy” – it is not!!) The Gitte Haennning discography is vast and varied, and singling out a favorite album might be difficult, as she has recorded in several different languages and different styles. Her entire output 1958-65 was boxed up some years ago and “Gitte – Den Komplette Popboks” is obviously the best place to start if you want to listen to this singer during her formative years. You get 93 songs, mostly sung in Danish or German but also containing recordings done in English, Finnish and Dutch.

"Den Komplette Popboks 1958-65", a great collection of early Gitte Haenning

“Den Komplette Popboks 1958-65”, a great collection of early Gitte Haenning

In 1980, Gitte recorded a complete version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “Tell Me On A Sunday” in German, and “Bleib Noch Bis Zum Sonntag” is certainly a highlight in Gitte’s recorded output! It was also included in its entirety in the Box Set “Die Grossen Erfolge der 80er“, along with two of her other fabulous albums of the 80’s; “Ungeschminkt” (1982) and “Behrürungen” (1983). Together, these three albums show her off as one of the best adult pop singers of the 1980’s – and you’ll find a lot of her biggest German hits on them too! And one of the bonus tracks is her stunning version of “Mac Arthur Park”.

3 of her best albums of the 80's was also boxed...

3 of her best albums of the 80’s was also boxed…

In the early 2000’s, Gitte teamed up with her Scandinavian colleauges Wenche Myhre and Siw Malmkvist for a series of shows, and went on tour. It was a great success, and the shows were sold out wherever they went. Combining the talents of three different “divas” who all have their own unique style, hits and voices might prove a challenge to any arranger – but this time the combination clicked very well. Their performance was put out on an album, titled “Gitte, Wencke, Siw – Die Show” came out 2005.

Left to right: Siw, Gitte, Wencke - pictured in 2005

Left to right: Siw, Gitte, Wencke – pictured in 2005

As mentioned earlier, check out Gitte’s web site for a complete list of all her records, as they are too many to go into detail about. And by all means – get some of her records, they are all worth searching out! The little girl who started out 60 years ago, has used these 60 years to develop her unique talent and claiming her position as one of Europe’s most versatile and finest singers. Gitte Haenning is one very good reason to be proud of being a Scandinavian – kinda makes me wanna shout out  “Look what we can do up here!”.

A fairly recent photo of the great Gitte Haenning

A fairly recent photo of the great Gitte Haenning

Updates to follow soon….

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An apology to all my readers and followers – I have not been very active here lately!

I’ve been through a very busy period the last months, and so nothing much has been written here. I will rectify that shortly, and formerly announced bios will be published – and some other stuff as well!

Thanks for you patience – keep checking back in for updates!


Best wishes to all of you, Stian





Season’s Greetings from Stian

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This is a special greeting to all my readers and followers – and a BIG “thank you” for following my blog this year, for your nice comments on my blog posts and for all your positive feed-back!

I hope 2012 was a great year for you in every way, and that the things that weren’t so great can be made better in 2013. Christmas is a time for contemplation and thought; my thoughts go to all the people out there who somehow find Christmas to be the loneliest time of the year, and who only get depressed by all the Christmas cheer going on. I spent yesterday afternoon serving dinner for the not-so-fortunate in my local community, the guys who battle substance abuse, the folks from the psychiatric day shelter. It was a very nice experience for me also, and it just goes to show that we all can make an effort, however small, to do something nice for those around us…

If you spend your holidays with small children around – drop the drinks! In Norway there are 250.000 kids who are not looking forward to the Christmas season because their parents drink too much. Before you go out and buy that wonderful French red wine you like so much – stop and think it over; “How many glasses can my kid handle?” 

More musical facts, biographies and spotlights on a chosen singer will follow after the holidays – so please stay with me! If you have questions, corrections or suggestions, don’t hesitate to write me. I love getting your messages!

Season's Greetings to all my readers! Love always, Stian

Season’s Greetings to all my readers! Love always, Stian

I wish you all the merriest of Christmases, wherever you are. I hope this will be a wonderful time for you!


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