Mamy Blue

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"Mamy Blue"
Single by Pop-Tops
from the album Mamy Blue
B-side ""Grief and Torture""
Released 1971
Songwriter(s) Hubert Giraud, Phil Trim
Producer(s) Alain Milhaud
"Mamy Blue"
Single by Nicoletta
from the album Visage
B-side ""Visage""
Released 1971
Label Riviera
Songwriter(s) Hubert Giraud
Producer(s) Hubert Giraud
"Mamy Blue"
Single by Ivana Spagna
B-side ""È Finita La Primavera""
Songwriter(s) Hubert Giraud, Herbert Pagani
"Mammy Blue"
Single by Stories
B-side ""Traveling Underground""
Released 1973
Length 3:41
Label Kama Sutra
Songwriter(s) Hubert Giraud, Phil Trim
Producer(s) Kenny Kerner, Richie Wise
Stories singles chronology
"Brother Louie"
(1973)
"Mammy Blue"
(1973)
"If It Feels Good, Do It"
(1974)

"Mamy Blue" is the title of a 1970 Hubert Giraud composition. Originally written with French lyrics, the song was rendered in English in 1971 to become an international hit for the Pop-Tops, Joël Daydé (fr) and Roger Whittaker. A hit in France in its original French for Nicoletta, "Mamy Blue" was also rendered in a number of other languages in cover versions recorded by a good number of local recording artists across continental Europe, while a "local cover" of the English-language version by Charisma reached #1 in South Africa. The song's title is generally spelled as "Mammy Blue" in the English-speaking world.

Composition/ first recordings[edit]

The song was originally written with French lyrics in 1970 by veteran French songwriter Hubert Giraud; he conceived the song in his car waiting out a Parisian traffic jam and had completed its demo within a few days. After four months the first recorded version of "Mamy Blue" was made - with Italian lyrics - by Ivana Spagna marking that singer's recording debut. [1]

In May 1971 Alain Milhaud, a French record producer based in Spain, acquired the song for Pop-Tops, a Spanish group he managed. Milhaud produced the Pop-Tops recording of "Mamy Blue" in a session in London after the group's frontman Phil Trim wrote English lyrics for the song. The French Barclay label expediently had the song covered by both Joël Daydé (fr) and Nicoletta: the Daydé version - featuring Phil Trim's English lyric - was recorded at Olympic Sound Studio in London and the Decca Studio in Paris with Wally Stott as arranger, while Nicoletta's version was produced by Hubert Giraud and was the first recording of the song with Giraud's French lyrics. [1]

Charting versions[edit]

Continental Europe[edit]

The Pop-Tops and Joël Daydé (fr) both reached #1 on the French charts with "Mamy Blue" while the Nicoletta version rose as high as #4 affording the singer her career record. Both the Pop-Tops and Daydé versions became concurrent major hits in several other territories including Belgium where the Pop-Tops and Dayde's versions reached #1 on respectively the Dutch and French chart with Pop-Tops reaching #3 on the latter, the Netherlands where Pop-Tops reached #3 and Daydé #13, Norway where Pop-Tops reached #1 and Daydé #3 and Sweden where Pop-Tops reached #1 and Daydé #6. In Spain Daydé's English version of "Mamy Blue" reached #2 while the Pop-Tops reached #1 with a specially recorded version of the song in Spanish.

In Germany the Pop-Tops spent ten weeks at #1 while the Daydé version only charted peripherally at #40: a German rendering recorded by Ricky Shayne would afford Shayne his best ever German chart showing with a #7 peak. The Pop-Tops also rendered "Mamy Blue" in Italian with a resultant #1 in Italy where a local cover by Johnny Dorelli would chart with a #28 peak: another Italian cover by Dalida failed to chart as did the English version by Ricky Shayne in its Italian release. Ricky Shayne's English version did appear in the French Top Ten (peak: #8) with the Daydé, Nicoletta and Pop-Tops versions: Shayne's English-language version also charted in Belgium's French Region (Top Ten).

The Pop-Tops English version also reached #1 in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, and was a hit in Greece with sales of 50,000 units; [2] in Denmark and Finland the song also reached the Top Ten via an English-language cover by Roger Whittaker - #4 in Finland - while in both territories local translated covers of the song also charted - in Denmark, Eric Aae's version reached #5; in Finland, the cover by Kirka reached #2 beneath the Pop Tops' #1 ranking.

Asia[edit]

"Mamy Blue" afforded the Pop-Tops a hit in both Israel and Japan with chart peaks of respectively #1 and #2. In addition the Rick Shayne version was a hit in Japan with sales there of 500,000 units.

Latin America[edit]

"Mammy Blue" topped the Argentine hit parade with a tandem #1 ranking for five versions, being those by James Darren, Ricky Shayne, Roger Whittaker plus a cover by the American male/ female vocal quartet Punch and a local cover by Apocalyptis. The Ricky Shayne version was a #1 hit in Brazil, while the cover by the Bob Crewe Generation was the first version to chart in Uruguay. In Mexico both the Joël Daydé (fr) and Pop-Tops versions ranked in the Top Ten.

English-speaking territories[edit]

1971-72[edit]

The Joël Daydé (fr) version of "Mamy Blue" reached #3 in Australia, the only evident territory where Daydé did not have to vie with the Pop-Tops although the cover by Roger Whittaker (as "Mamy Blue") and another by James Darren (as "Mammy Blue") did well enough regionally to register on Australia's national chart with respective peaks of #53 and #47.

In South Africa "Mammy Blue" was recorded by the session group Charisma featuring vocalists Paddy Powell and Stevie Vann: produced by Graeme Beggs, this version spent twelve weeks at #1 making it the second longest running South African #1 hit. [3]

In the UK the Pop Tops vied with the Roger Whittaker cover with neither version reaching the Top 30, the respective chart peaks being #35 and #31.

In the US the Pop Tops was the sole version to reach the Hot 100 in Billboard peaking at #57 while the Easy Listening chart in Billboard afforded the Pop-Tops' "Mammy Blue" a #28 peak. However the James Darren cover of "Mammy Blue" - which "bubbled under the Hot 100" in Billboard with a #107 peak - charted on the singles charts in both Record World and Cashbox with respective peaks of #66 and #77. Also Record World afforded the Pop Tops' "Mammy Blue" a higher ranking than that of the Billboard Hot 100, the single's Record World peak being #44, although its Cashbox chart peak was only #68. Record World also featured a cover by the Bob Crewe Generation in the singles rankings for positions #101-#150, with the Bob Crewe Generation version rising as high as #109.

In Canada the Pop-Tops vied with a "Mammy Blue" cover by session group Oak Island Treasury Department - these versions respectively peaking at #42 and #68 - while a cover by Roger Whittaker in the original French was a hit on Canada's French charts reaching #2.

The Stories version (1973)[edit]

The Stories recorded "Mammy Blue" in 1973 as the followup to their #1 hit "Brother Louie". According to group frontman Ian Lloyd (quote): "The record company was desperate to follow up '...Louie' with [a] similarly-styled tune. 'Mammy...' fit the bill." [4] Faring well enough regionally - notably ranking in the Top Ten in Chicago [4] - to reach a Hot 100 peak of #50, [4] the Stories' version of "Mammy Blue" was afforded significantly higher peak positions on the singles charts compiled by both Record World (#38) [5] and Cashbox (#21). [4] The Stories also charted with "Mammy Blue" in both Canada and Australia with respective chart peaks of #47 and #46.

Other covers[edit]

The English version of "Mammy Blue" has also been recorded by Horace Andy, Julio Iglesias, Bobby Curtola, the Les Humphries Singers, Cherry Laine, Vicky Leandros, Eivind Løberg (no), Muslim Magomayev, Genya Ravan, Demis Roussos, and Laima Vaikule; Nicoletta besides introducing the song in its original French has also recorded the English version.

Celine Dion and Lara Fabian have both made recordings of the original French version of "Mamy Blue", which was remade in 2004 by Neje to reach #75 on the French charts. Jacques Desrosiers (Patof) has made a cover in French with different lyrics has "Patof Blue".

The Spanish version has also been recorded by José Mercé, Daniel Diges and Twiggy (es) while Roberto Blanco (de), Frank Farian and Bata Ilic (de) have each made recordings of the German version. The Finnish version of "Mamy Blue" has also been recorded by Fredi (1972).

Translated renderings of "Mamy Blue" have also been recorded by Anda Călugăreanu (ro) (as "O, Mamă, Tu") Romanian, Crazy Boys (as "Dla mamy blues") (pl) Polish, Laércio de Freitas (pt) Portuguese, Kjerstin Dellert Swedish, Yehoram Gaon Semitic, Karel Gott (as "Ó, Mami, Dík") Czech, Mjöll Holm Icelandic, Kati Kovács Hungarian, Marcela Laiferová (sk) (as "Mami-Blue") Slovac, Anne-Karine Strøm Norwegian, Miro Ungar (hr) Croatian, and Vivi Flemish.

German guitarist Ricky King recorded an instrumental version.

Sampling[edit]

The song has been sampled in other recordings. Notably, in 2011, Didier Morville known as Joeystarr, the former vocalist of Suprême NTM made a new revamped rap version of the hit "Mamy Blue" he named "Mamy" with altogether new lyrics. "Mamy" heavily samples on the track mainly that of Nicoletta. The track appeared on the rapper's album titled Egomaniac

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Billboard vol 78 #2 (15 January 1972) p. 40
  2. ^ Billboard vol 78 #32 (5 August 1972) p. 70
  3. ^ https://1001sasongs.wordpress.com/2011/08/28/mammy-blue-%E2%80%93-charisma/
  4. ^ a b c d http://forgottenhits60s.blogspot.ca/2011/05/forgotten-hits-interviews-ian-lloyd.html
  5. ^ Record World Vol 29 #1382 (15 December 1973) p.23
  • Billboard magazine: Hits of the World

External links[edit]