Tuesday, February 09, 2010

IT'S A HEARTACHE - in German - Wencke Myrhe

Happy birthday to Wencke Myrhe (February 15th, 1947). Yeah, "It's a Heartache" knowing that she'd be putting enough candles on that cake to simulate a forest fire, but as the cliche goes, "the alternative is worse." Hard to believe she's a 60-something. Why, it seems like only 20 years ago that I happened to see Ms. Myrhe on an enticing album cover (of an album released probably 10 years earlier) and figured she needed to be part of my collection (making up for my lack of frankincense).

It was titled "Wencke Myhre Album," and what made it a "must buy" was checking the back cover songwriter credits and seeing she was covering, re-titled, Eric Clapton's "Sorry Sally," Juice Newton's "Der Mann auf einem Seil," and Bobbie Gentry's "Billy Joe McAllister." I also surmised that "Wenn Du mich beruhrst" credited to Hill-Mann had to be "Sometimes When We Touch."

A Norwegian who also sings in German, it's no surprise that depending on the country of origin, her albums will be credited either to "Wencke" (Germany) or to "Wenche" (Norway).

Either way, she was most definitely born on February 15, 1947. But not in Norway or Germany. It was in Sweden.

In 1963 Wenche had three songs in the Norwegian Top Ten, and was ready to annex Germany as the next challenge. Singing in German, she won the Deutschen Schlagerfestival in 1966 with "Beiß Nicht Gleich In Jeden Apfel." It became a #1 hit in Germany, and she followed it in 1967 with the Top Ten "Komm Allein." The following year, she branched out to sing in Swedish, scoring with "Det var en ding-dong rena rama sing-sång." She sank her teeth into Danish songs, too.

Through the 60's and 70's, Wencke was in her prime, appearing in films and TV specials in Norway, Sweden and Germany, and in 1972 "Jeg og du og vi to og mange fler" proved to be her biggest Norwegian hit ever, spending 30 weeks on the charts and hitting #1. In 1978 she scored her final Top Ten in the German language with her cover version of "It's a Heartache," re-titled "Lass mein Knie, Joe." She lacks Bonnie Tyler's rasp, but whatever she's saying to Joe...he should've listened.

In the 80's and 90's, Myrhe was still very popular in Norway. In 1983 she became the first Norwegian to record a CD (it went gold) and she kept releasing new material through 1997, when she recorded "Vannmann." Her greatest hits have been re-packaged many times since, and she still tours in concert. As we say in Norway, I think; Gratulerer med dagen, Wenche.


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