Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel

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"Die Liebe ist ein
seltsames Spiel"
Single by Connie Francis
B-side "Robot Man"
Released 1960
Format 7" single
Recorded June 21, 1960 at
Radio Recorders, Hollywood
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2:10
Label MGM Records 61 025
Writer(s) Jack Keller (music)
Howard Greenfield (original English lyrics)
Ralph Maria Siegel (German lyrics)
Producer(s) Arnold Maxin, Bobby Schmidt, Gerhard Mendelsohn
Connie Francis
German singles chronology
- "Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel"/
"Robot Man"
(1960)
"Ich komm' nie mehr von dir los"/
"Singing the Blues"
(1960)

"Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel'" is the first German single recorded by U.S. entertainer Connie Francis.

Background[edit]

In her autobiography Who's Sorry Now?, published in 1984, Francis mentioned that in the early years of her career the language barrier in certain European countries made it difficult for her songs to get airplay, especially in Germany. Francis continued that Germany's most popular singer, Freddy Quinn, often sold two to three million records per song, equivalent to about twelve million in the United States. Using this as the basis for her April 1960 recording, "Everybody's Somebody's Fool", which had initially been written as a ballad, Francis convinced the song writers to speed up the song's tempo and revive the innovative drum rhythm from Guy Mitchell's 1959 hit recording "Heartaches by the Number", which had been a #1 in Germany in its German cover version "Ich zähle täglich meine Sorgen" for Peter Alexander. Although "Everybody's Somebody's Fool" became her first #1 on the US charts, and its B-side "Jealous of you (Tango della Gelosia)" became a huge hit in Italy, it failed to make any impression on the German charts.

Veteran lyricist Ralph Maria Siegel penned a set of German lyrics, named "Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel" (which translates to "Love is a strange game"), which was subsequently recorded by several artists already established on the German market such as Siw Malmkvist - self-harmonizing as The Jolly Sisters - or The Honey Twins (a German duo despite their English name). When these versions also failed to score as hits, Francis decided to record the song in German herself contrary to her producers' wishes who had advised against it despite the fact that Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites had been such a huge success and she was currently planning a second Italian album as well as a Spanish album and an album in Hebrew and Yiddish. But Francis insisted on a German version of her own, and after some further friction between Francis herself, her producers and the managers of MGM Records, "Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel" was recorded in June 1960.

Release and chart success[edit]

When the recording was finished, MGM producers on both sides of the Atlantic renewed their doubts in the song. They believed the release would mean "career suicide"[1] for Francis in Europe. However, Francis's unusual contract with MGM Records guaranteed her unlimited self-control over the release of her recorded material, and she persisted.

When executives of Polydor, distribution partner of MGM Records in Germany, pointed out that German listeners wouldn't be able to understand Francis' vocals during the first verse for the lack of correct pronunciation, Francis agreed to delete the first verse from the recording. After that, "Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel" was finally released in an edited version.[2]

The song peaked at #1 in Germany for two weeks, as it did in many other countries and Francis would have six more #1 hits on the German charts and fifteen Top 10 hits.[3]

The B-side of the single was "Robot Man" which had been a # 2 for Francis on the UK charts earlier that year. Since it was an English-language recording, German audiences took almost no notice of it.

Contrary to popular belief, Francis did not record any further foreign language versions of "Everybody's Somebody's Fool"; the German version is the only one recorded by herself although other artists have recorded further cover versions in various languages such as Portuguese, Swedish, or even Finnish.

The unabridged version of "Die Liebe ist ein seltsames Spiel" was released for the first time in 1964 in the U.S. on the album Connie Francis Sings German Favorites.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Connie Francis: Who's Sorry Now, St. Martin's Press, London 1984
  2. ^ Jan Feddersen: Connie Francis, supplement to 5 CD Boxed Set Lass mir die bunten Träume, Bear Family Records BCD 15 786 AH, Hambergen (Germany) 1994
  3. ^ de:Connie Francis#deutsch