Monday, January 2, 2012

New Oldies - Süß Ist Sie by The Searchers

Germany experienced the British Invasion before it reached the USA. Remember, The Beatles had been playing in The Star-Club in Hamburg before anyone in America knew who they were. So it makes sense that some of the British Invasion hits you heard in America were actually recorded for the German market first. Here are a couple of examples.

I'm pretty sure the title of this song is grammatically incorrect in German. It literally translates into Sweet She Is. Assuming they meant She Is Sweet, the words should probably be in the opposite order. But the point is, this song was released in Germany several months before it showed up on the other side of the Atlantic. You know the song as Sugar And Spice and it hit the American Hot 100 in May 1964, peaking at only #44, issued in the United States on Liberty 55689. The English version, released on Pye 15566, was a #2 hit in England in October 1963 and a #6 hit in Ireland in November 1963. It even peaked at #39 in Australia in December 1963. The German version was issued in 1963 on Vogue 14116. It missed the Top 50 in Germany, however.

Here's süß Ist Sie by The Searchers on Vogue 14116 from 1963:

The Searchers did have chart hits in Germany starting with a #44 peak for Sweets For My Sweet in May 1963, followed by Needles And Pins in March 1964 which went to #8 there. But the Germans heard both the English version and a German version called Tausend Nadelstiche, which basically means One Thousand Needles.

Here is Tausend Nadelstiche by The Searchers on Vogue 14130 from 1964:

Usually the German version was made after the English version, specifically to extend the success of a British (or American) hit into the German market. Such was the case with this record by Millie Small, My Boy Lollipop. She was born in Jamaica in 1946. She was known as Little Millie Small in many parts of the world, just Millie Small in America, and just Millie in Germany. You've heard the song in English, no doubt. Here's the German version of My Boy Lollipop by Millie from Fontana 267-376 in 1964:

Many people don't know that this song was actually a cover of a 1956 song that was originally written as My Girl Lollypop by Robert Spencer of the Doo-Wop group, The Cadillacs. It was first recorded and released as a single by a fourteen year old girl street corner singer from Coney Island in Brooklyn named Barbie Gaye. The story behind the song is pretty interesting. Click HERE to check it out. Here's My Boy Lollypop by Barbie Gaye on Darl 1002 from 1957.

Alan Freed played the heck out of this song on WINS Radio in New York, which helped it make his Top 25 playlist. Brill Building legend, Ellie Greenwich, loved the song, and the singer, a whole lot. In fact, she even chose the name Ellie Gaye when she tried to launch her own recording career. If you ever find a copy of an album called Ted Randal Presents TV Record Hop on RCA from 1958, you'll find a couple of songs on there credited to Ellie Gaye. That's Ellie Greenwich, the girl who wrote a ton of hits with Jeff Barry throughout the 1950's and 1960's. You know, little throw-away tunes like Da Doo Ron Ron, Then He Kissed Me, Chapel Of Love, Maybe I Know, Hanky Panky, Do Wah Diddy Diddy, Be My Baby, Leader Of The Pack... I could go on and on!

Here's Ellie Greenwich as Ellie Gaye singing Cha Cha Charming from that TV Record Hop album from 1958:

You'll hear hundreds, maybe thousands, of versions of English and American hits sung in other languages, like German, French, Spanish, and many more, when you listen to MusicMaster Oldies. You'll even hear a version of My Boy Lollipop sung in Chinese by Sakura And The Quests from Singapore. Got any requests?

1 comment:

  1. Many thanks to George for this correction: " First, thanks a million for all the great music. I can't tell you how much I enjoy it.
    I just wanted to point out a small error in one of your postings from January of last year. It's the one with the Searchers song in German. You refer to the Beatles playing at the Cavern in Hamburg before they became famous. I'm sure it was just a slip and you meant the Star-Club or another Hamburg haunt rather than the Liverpool club.
    Just thought you might want to fix it for posterity.
    Again, I can't thank you enough for all the music. Keep up the great work!"