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A nation of aftermaths

A great cross-section of Norwegian pop history, but the 200 selected songs also show that Norway for years was a musical province that was well pleased to dilate after the rest of the world.


When the undersigned was just on a weekend trip to London, I was greeted by Norwegian music in three different stores: Kings of Convenience, Röyksopp and Silje Nergaard tinted out of the speakers to stimulate the shopping desire at Burger King, the clothing chain Top Shop and the Japanese interior chain Muji.

Nor is there any doubt that Norwegian music is stronger internationally than ever today, but when you supply the music on this autumn's big music historical CD box, Norwegian music in 100. Popular music in Norway 1905-2005, one is struck by how provincial Norwegian pop history has been. Ironically, the publishers got neither Kings of Convenience nor Röyksopp, because they couldn't get permission from the group's foreign record company in time.

Cover songs in fling

For Norwegian pop history is also the story of lack of confidence and a long-lasting aftermath and copying of foreign music trends. The earliest Norwegian rockers were blueprints of Elvis Presley and The Shadows, while much of the Norwegian hit story is simply translated from Swedish, German and English. The hit group from the 1970s (Dag Spantell, Gro Anita Schønn, Inger Lise Rypdal and Stein Ingebrigtsen) are the crown example, they sang translated lyrics over pre-recorded audio tracks from international hits.

This kind of dubbing of international pop hits runs like a common thread through the oldest selection on this box, and the collection even contains one entire CD exclusively devoted to the Norwegianization of international pop under the theme umbrella "Not all Norwegian, but…". Here, "Peek-A-Boo" by New Vaudeville Band becomes Oslo Harmonikvartett's "Sussebass", the humor trio KLM turns "I Will Follow Him" ​​by Little Peggy March into "The cod is coming", while record worker Hans Petter Hansen from Stavanger makes Demis Roussos 'power ballad "Goodbye My Love, Goodbye" to his own in the form of "I will be back soon".

But the Norwegian music industry's desire to make music using copier and dictionary cannot be limited to a single CD, because the translations are queued on the other CDs as well: Per Asplins "A Happy Calypso in the Spring" is original Swedish, Jan Høiland's "Seaman" is German, while "Miss Johansen and I" by Inger Jacobsen is written by Thore Skogman. Per "Elvis" Granberg makes a version of American "Tennessee Waltz", Åse Wentzel's "Domino" is Italian, while Lillebjørn Nilsen's breakthrough song "Children of the Rainbow" is a translation of the American folk hero Pete Seeger's "Rainbow Race". It continues: "Mrs. Johnsen", Inger Lise Rypdal's most famous song, was actually called "Harper Valley PTA", and was done by Jeannie C. Riley. Yes, even Sissel Kyrkjebø's "Love" was written by French film composer Vladimir Cosma.

Not even the more independent rockers of the 1970s escaped the cover song fever: Mojo Blues' "Nothing's Too Good For My Baby" is originally by powerpop cult hero Van Duren from Memphis, while Aunt Mary is represented with his updated version of the American standard song "Abraham, Martin and John ». The trend continues to this day: Kurt Nilsen won Idol thanks to his version of Tal Bachman's "She's So High", Rune Rudberg's "Out to Sea" turns out to be written by German Dafi Deutscher and the rappers Jaa9 & OnklP base their " Celebrity party »on Dag Spantell's 70s hit of the same name – which was a simple Norwegianization of Rick Nelson's 1972 hit« Garden Party ».

Less exports

In this context, the melody competition Melodi Grand Prix is ​​actually beginning to emerge as a historical necessity, as it actually inspired the Norwegian music industry to sit down and write nye Norwegian pop songs. Maybe that's why it's so refreshing to hear original evergreens like Åse Kleveland's "Nothing's New Under the Sun" and Kirstie Sparboe's "Oh, oh, oh, how happy I am to be."

Until a-Ha topped the US Billboard list on October 9, 1985 with "Take On Me" there was little export of Norwegian pop music, and if you play this whole box for any foreigner, chances are he or she hardly ever heard a single of the 200 songs before. At least not in the Norwegian version.

Nora Brockstedt's "Tango for Two" was recorded in Swedish and Icelandic, and it became so annoyingly popular that the record was cracked on the live on Radio Luxembourg. Titanic released the song "Sultana" in 25 countries and barely managed to play concerts in Norway, while Ruphus, Wenche Myhre, Kirstie Sparboe and Anita Hegerland all had a significant audience in Germany. If we disregard the Melody Grand Prix and the show and revision tradition, it first began to move on the songwriting side among a new generation of rockers around 1970. They were ignored by NRK and thus the large mass audience, but if we look at the selection on this box stands 1-2-6 with "Graveyard Paradise" (1967), Juice with "People In Motion" (1971), Junipher Greene with "A Specter Is Haunting The Peninsula" (1971), Prudence with "Tomorrow May Be Vanished" ( 1972) and Popol Vuh with "Queen Of All Queens" (1973) again as the big watershed. Here we got Norwegian rockers who wrote their own music, which could at best compare with the competition from abroad.

After these came the flood in the form of the big wave of Norwegian-language rock in the 1980s, and finally several international success stories towards the end of the 1990s: Lene Marlin, Turboneger, M2M, The Tuesdays, Sondre Lerche, Annie, Kaizers Orchestra. Kurt Nilsen, Kings of Convenience and Röyksopp. Norwegian pop and rock have finally grown up, and then we are back where we started – at the speakers in the London stores.

Long maturation process

This box of ten CDs documents the long and difficult maturation process, and has been released by VG and the Hundred Year Marking 2005 in collaboration. It is composed by the experienced music journalists Tor Milde and Morten Ståle Nilsen, and the aim has not been any narrower than to put together a Norwegian pop canon with the 200 most famous songs from 200 different artists.

In contrast to NRK P3's award of "The Song of Time" in the fall, the box is liberatingly exposed to snobbish exclusions and an overweight of completely fresh songs. Rather, you can go to wish more new songs in the selection, but just a little caution in relation to the spirit of the time will probably give this CD box long life as a music historical document. On the other hand, the main problem is that the selection is so wide and comprehensive that it ultimately does not appeal to anyone. Perhaps the best thing is to buy a box and split the contents into various Christmas presents: one for grandma, one for father, one for mother, brother, sister and little brother. And then you keep the rest yourself.

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