You could spend your whole life listening to cover versions of Cher’s song “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” on YouTube – or at least one evening. Over the years Cher’s original was overtaken by Nancy Sinatra’s version with the haunting guitar played by Billy Strange, which made the song immortal. Besides Nancy Sinatra’s version of “Bang, Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” and countless other versions, there were also many covers sung in foreign languages.
From all the non-English versions I stumbled upon, I’ve chosen three sung by European singers, who share several things: they all have pseudonyms ending on the same letter, sing in several languages, acted in movies and had very successful and long careers. I’m speaking of Sheila, Dalida and Mina.
Dalida’s and Mina’s versions are sung in Italian, Sheila’s in French. The videos were probably shot for TV shows, they’re all playbacks. Sheila’s and Dalida’s videos interestingly use the same footage of a girl and a boy who has a toy gun. Listen in Mina’s video to how different her voice sounds when she sings “bang, bang”, there’s much more reverb. And here’s the question of the day: How many guitar players can you count in Mina’s version? Have fun.
French singer Sheila was born in 1945. Her real name is Annie Chancel. She was very popular in France and many other European countries during the nineteen-sixties and nineteen-seventies. Her popularity was so huge, that her name was used for a chain of clothing shops and for beauty products. She sang in several languages and was successful all over Europe. In the late seventies she became a disco star. Her disco hit “Spacer” was produced by Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of the US funk group Chic. Sheila is still performing and recording.
Dalida (1933-1987), real name Yolanda Christina Gigliotti, was a French singer of Italian ancestry who grew up in Egypt. She sang not only in French but also in Arabian, Italian, German and English. She started her career in 1956 at a singing contest in Paris, where she was discovered. From her first record release on she had an endless string of hit records in different styles of music all over the World. Her success in the music business was overshadowed by many private tragedies. She killed herself with an overdose of sleeping pills.
Mina, born in 1940, real name Anna Maria Mazzini, is an Italian singer. She sings in French, Spanish, Turkish, German and Japanese. She was discovered at a singing contest in 1958. During the nineteen-sixties and nineteen-seventies she was very successful in Italy and other European countries. Her regular performances on Italian television very much added to her huge success. In 1978 she stopped performing live, but kept on recording.