Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: European pop

"Zanzie"
Zeroto180

Mickey Baker on a King Surf LP

Session guitarist Mickey (“Love Is Strange“) Baker — whose work would grace dozens of releases by King Records and its subsidiaries — would end up being allotted exactly one solo album by the label as an artist in his own right:  1963’s But Wild. Recorded in Paris in June of

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Maryland’s New State Anthem

To:     Governor Larry Hogan & The General Assembly of Maryland Perhaps it is time to replace the Maryland state anthem — you know, the Rebel marching song from 1861 that beseeches Marylanders to “spurn the northern scum” and thereby follow Virginia’s example on the whole secession question — with something else

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“Hold It Baby”: Swedish Soul

Sweden’s Slam Creepers, judging solely by their name, sounds like a band of relatively recent vintage (e.g., 1980s hardcore?) — and yet, their first release, fascinatingly enough, was a split single in 1965:  a 7-inch flexi-disc in which shared Slam Creepers shared space with The Hollies and fellow Swedish band,

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It’s French – and Very Catchy

Thanks to Whole Foods for nourishing my soul with its affordably-priced (no, seriously) 3-disc set of French pop, Café Paris:  42 Classic Songs from France.  This past week, I have found myself particularly taken with one song by a French singer-songwriter whose name, Michel Polnareff, was new to me —

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"Pogo in Togo"
Zeroto180

“Pogo in Togo”: Circus Punk

A doff of the cap to Tom Hutton, who brought over all his Eastern European records and cassette tapes one day so we could put together a special mix of Balkan-related rock and pop.  One of the humorous highlights on this compilation is “Pogo in Togo” by German pop punksters,

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"Pokušaj"
Zeroto180

“Pokušaj”: Nutty, Anthemic

Thanks to my neighbor and good friend, Paul – who hails from the UK – I have had the opportunity to take in the annual spectacle known as the Eurovision Song Contest, something I’ve read about for years in British music publications.  Most of the offerings, unfortunately, are fairly forgettable,

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Jacques Dutronc – Mod Hippie

Café Paris, the aforementioned budget-priced 3-CD set that Whole Foods is pushing on its hipster demographic, also includes an engaging piece of garage punk (or, as it is more formally known, French Freakbeat) – “J’ai Mis Un Tigre Dans Ma Guitare” from the 1966 “Maxi Disque” of Jacques Dutronc.  Subsequently,

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Bridget Bardot’s B-Side Blunder

I recently made my first ever musical purchase at Whole Foods — a budget-priced three-disc set entitled, Café Paris:  42 Classic Songs from France.  One track from 1967 tickled my ear – Bridget Bardot’s “Oh, Qu’il Est Vilain” – with its spryly humorous organ, naive recorder lines, and cuckoo chorus:

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Les Roche Martin: If ‘Pet Sounds’ Were French

Les Roche Martin appears to have released one single and two EPs – all in 1967 – before the group’s creative director, Vèronique Sanson, struck off on her own, beginning in 1969. “Tu As Peur de Bruit” embodies 1967’s adventurous musical spirit, while it also brilliantly evokes the baroque pop

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L’Adorable & L’Obscure French Pop

EMI’s anthology of 60s French pop – La Belle Epoque:  EMI’s French Girls 1965-68 – includes this tuneful track from 1967, Christie Laume’s “L’Adorable Femme des Neiges.”  Unsurprisingly, this song – with its effective use of the celeste – would be the title track of a 4-song EP released in

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