Sheila, Dalida And Mina: Bang Bang European Style

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.

Sheila (1966)

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 (1966)

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 (1967)

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.

Beatles Drum Skin Sold For $1Million

BBC News feature about Beatles drum skin auction

BBC News feature about Beatles drum skin auction

According to the Australian news site National Nine News the iconic bass drum skin used on the front cover of The Beatles’ 1967 album Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has sold for 541,250 pounds (approx. $ 1 million) at an auction in London.

Der musikalische Vater von Wickie und Heidi

Christian Bruhn

Wer in den siebziger Jahren Kind war, dessen Ohren kamen nicht an Christian Bruhn vorbei. Dieser Komponist schrieb die Titelmusiken zu den Zeichentrickserien «Wickie und die starken Männer» und «Heidi».

Aber dies ist nur ein kleiner Ausschnitt aus Christian Bruhns Schaffen. Er komponierte die Musik für Schlager wie zum Beispiel «Zwei kleine Italiener» von Conny Froboess oder «Liebeskummer lohnt sich nicht» von Siw Malmkvist. Und er war Mitkomponist von «Marmor, Stein und Eisen bricht», der Schlager, der Drafi Deutscher zum Star machte.

Wer neugierig auf das vielseitige Schaffen von Christian Bruhn geworden ist, findet weitere Informationen und Hörbeispiele auf www.christianbruhn.de. Das Schöne an dieser Seite sind – neben den Informationen – die durchgängig positiven Selbsteinschätzungen des Komponisten. So findet er seine allererste Titelmusik «heute noch gut», andere Lieder schätzt er ein als «ziemlich Kult» oder «ziemlich überzeugend». Urteilen Sie selber …

Wussten Sie übrigens, dass Gitti und Erika das Heidi-Lied sangen? Das Lied hat sich während meiner Kindheit in meine Trommelfelle eingebrannt, aber ich fragte mich nie, wer es sang. Somit wäre also eine Frage beantwortet, die ich mir gar nie gestellt habe.

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Typing Errors Helped Starting The Monkees’ Career

Ex-Monkee, songwriter and novelist Michael Nesmith’s mother Bette Nesmith Graham invented the typewriter correction fluid “Liquid Paper” and made a fortune out of it. So Michael Nesmith didn’t have to worry about money during his teenage years. His mother’s fortune gave him the freedom of pursuing his artistic ambitions. Sometimes typing errors can be very helpful …

The Link Between Glenn Miller And Brian Wilson

Paul Tanner
photo: RS Theremin Homepage
Paul Tanner: trombonist, professor and inventor of the Electro Theremin

The link between Glenn Miller and “Beach Boy” Brian Wilson is trombonist Paul Tanner who played in Glenn Miller’s big band in the nineteen-thirties and forties.

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In 1966 Paul Tanner (born 1917) played on Brian Wilson’s milestone composition “Good Vibration”. But he didn’t play trombone, he played an electronic device called “The Box” (also called “Electro-Theremin”) that sounds like a Theremin. You can hear it on “Good Vibrations” about 25 seconds after the beginning at the start of the first chorus (”I’m picking up Good Vibrations …”). If the sound should remind you of classic science fiction and suspense movies your feeling is right. The sound of the Theremin was very popular on film soundtracks in the fifties and sixties. Its eerie and longing sound is ideal for these genres.

The Theremin is an electronic instrument that is played without being touched. The player has to move his hands in front of it to master the pitch and to control the volume. In 1919 the Theremin was invented by Leon (Lev) Sergeyevich Termen (1896 – 1993) in the USSR. Termen lived in the USA from 1927 until 1938. His life story is more exciting then a suspense movie. Some sources say, that he was a soviet spy. Why he left the USA in 1938 is unclear. Some say, he was kidnapped, others claim he was in financial trouble or homesick. After his return to the USSR he became a political prisoner for a while. On this amateur video (from Paul Lansky’s page) you can see a demonstration of the Theremin by Leon Termen himself. The Giant Gila Monster

Back to trombonist and inventor of “The Box” Paul Tanner. When the big band area came to a halt he started working as trombone studio musician in Los Angeles. During one recording session with a Theremin player, Tanner noticed that the Theremin was hard to play. So he developed together with Robert Whitsell “The Box” which was easier to play than a Theremin. From then on he was often hired whenever the Theremin sound was required.

You can here Paul Tanner playing his “Box” on the TV shows “The D.A.’s Man” and “My Favorite Martian”, and on the movies “The Giant Gila Monster” and “Strait-Jacket”. Listen to a piece of soundtrack from The Giant Gila Monster (WAV format from Badmovies).

Music for Heavenly BodiesTanner recorded an LP with his “Box” called “Heavenly Bodies” in 1958. Listen to Somewhere (Real Media format – taken from www.electrotheremin.com). Paul Tanner is not only famous for his trombone playing and “The Box”, but he was also a professor at UCLA, wrote many educational books about jazz and a biography (”Sideman”) about Glenn Miller.

For more information about Paul Tanner please go to Electro-Theremin, RS Theremin Homepage and Space Age Pop.

More information about Lev Termen’s unbelieveable life story: 120 Years of Electronic Music and Thereminvox.

Theremin on YouTube: A BBC TV report and Theremin live TV performance from 1953.

Lost & Sound writes about Theremin’s grand-niece Lydia Kavina, a Theremin virtuoso: Theremin Artist Lydia Kavina