There's a new collection of vintage Peggy March music that came out in July, If You Loved Me - RCA Recordings From Around the World (1963-1969), so I thought I share an out-of-print rarity of hers along with some of my thoughts on her music.
If you only know March from her chart-topping 1963 song "I Will Follow Him" or her second biggest hit, "I Wish I Were A Princess," you might think she's one of those early '60s singers whose big draw was her novelty appeal. After all, these records have silly, eccentric qualities and she cut them at a young age (March still holds the record of being the youngest artist ever to score a #1 hit). Heck, she even went by the moniker Little Peggy March back then.
For years I paid no mind to her music because I'd burned out on "I Will Follow Him" by hearing it too many times on oldies radio. But then one day out of curiosity I decided to look into her music. I figured that I'd already dug deep into the work of Shelley Fabares, Dodie Stevens, Marcie Blane, Janie Grant, Diane Ray, Donna Lynn, and even Noreen Corcoran, so why not Little Peggy March? To my surprise, I discovered that March was no novelty act but a truly great singer. Her vocal chops far exceed what's heard on her best-known tracks. Had any of her post-1965 singles managed to find favor with U.S. audiences, she might have been considered among the best American pop vocalists by the dawn of the 1970s.
My evidence for this? Exhibit A is the soulful, soaring vocal on her 1965 single "Losin' My Touch." Let's make Exhibit B her smooth, sultry take on the complicated Burt Bacharach-Hal David ballad "Try To See It My Way" from '66. Exhibit C is her raucous take on the vocal version of Raymond Lefèvre's instrumental hit "Ame Caline (Soul Coaxing)" (#37 in 1968), which she cut under the title "If You Loved Me."
All of these recordings can be heard on the aforementioned new CD. Unfortunately, none of them charted in the U.S. and March's failure to connect with domestic audiences is what led her and her manager/husband to relocate to Germany, where she became a big star in the '60s and '70s. Which brings us to this CD.
Alle Frauen Wollen Nur Das Eine... translates into English as "Women Just Want One Thing," at least according to what comes up in Windows Media Player. It's a dance music album and the style is sort of European electro-pop. It was cut long after March's heyday in Germany so it doesn't sound much like the music from her classic period. The sound is actually more a continuation of the disco records she made in the late '70s like Electrifying.
There are, however, a few remakes of her older songs, like 1965's "Mit 17 Hat Man Noch Träume" (cut under the title "Heaven For Lovers" in the States), and "Memories Of Heidelberg" from 1967. She also redoes her 1969 single "In Der Carnaby Street" as "Carnaby Street." The first of these can be found on the 1994 CD Best Selection, but the others haven't come out in the U.S. as far as I know.
That leads to another issue. As good as it is to hear rare cuts like March's cover of the Beach Boys' "Aren't You Glad" on If You Loved Me - RCA Recordings From Around the World (1963-1969), someone really needs to put out a CD containing her rare non-LP B-sides and essential German hits. This would be a good home for those aforementioned tracks that never got a U.S. release.
As for Alle Frauen Wollen Nur Das Eine..., it's not the best Peggy March album you'll ever hear, but if you like her singing, you'll find something to enjoy. Plus, it provides an excellent gateway into getting into her foreign-language records, which were often better than her English ones. Her voice was so strong that she was equally as good singing in German or Japanese as she was in English. Heck, I prefer her Japanese rendition of "Losin' My Touch" to the English version.
Before I sign off, I want to make one small point that's going to be way out of character for this blog, since I tend to focus on music and avoid the, er, personal side of things. My point is: Has anyone seen photos of what Peggy March grew up to look like after she dropped the "Little" from her name? She left behind her old-fashioned schoolgirl look (see left) and blossomed into perhaps the most out-and-out sexy female singer of the time (see photos below). And by sexy I don't mean merely "she looked good for her era." I mean she was Playboy magazine-type hot. Her photos from the late '60s and '70s have an overt eroticism that's still head-turning today. Even on the cover of this CD she looks super-fine and she was in her mid-forties by then. (By the way, when I speak of Playboy, I mean the magazine back when it featured photos of natural wonders like Jill Taylor, not those angry-looking silicon fembots pictured in there today.)
Why America chose to not make a star out of a woman who was both a great singer and total babe is anyone's guess. For whatever reasons, the public instead preferred Nancy Sinatra, Mama Cass, Cher, or that woman in Spanky and Our Gang who sounded more like your mom singing along with the car radio than an actual singer. In my opinion, March could out-sing them all. That even includes Cass, because March was a more versatile vocalist, plus the tone of March's voice was more pleasant. But whatever. At least all the old music is there if you still want to listen to it. And the old pics are there if you want to look at them. To that end, I did something out of character again and included a photo gallery of Peggy March in her prime years to go along with the music on this album. You're welcome.
Vinnie Monte - Just One Of The Guys (1958-64)
Donna Lynn Meets Robin Clark (1961-65)
Janie Grant Meets Diane Ray - 32 Classic Cuts (1961-64)
2. Zieh Meine Schuhe Aus
3. Küssen Ist Nicht Erlaubt
4. Ich Fall Aus Allen Wolken
5. Mit 17 Hat Man Noch Träume
6. Liebling Träum
7. Das War Noch Nicht Alles
8. Wenn Die Augen Lachen
9. Memories of Heidelberg
10. Verliebter, Verliebter
11. Flieg Mit Mir Zum Regenbogen
12. Carnaby Street