“Tiny Goddess” Special Edition: Nirvana/Françoise Hardy: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — June 7, 2022


474) Nirvana — “Tiny Goddess”

Vernon Joynson calls Nirvana’s debut A-side “sad but beautiful” and “outstanding” (The Tapestry of Delights Revisited) and David Wells calls it an “impossibly delicate Summer of Love single[.]” (Record Collector: 100 Greatest Psychedelic Records: High Times and Strange Tales from Rock’s Most Mind-Blowing Era) John Peel was taken with the song, making it a Radio London “Climber.” (https://peel.fandom.com/wiki/Nirvana) Oregano Rathbone says the “Tiny Goddess”/”I Believe In Magic” 45 “made for a beguiling calling card in July 1967. Both songs were stately, ornate and rarefied . . . . [but] . . . Tiny Goddess also set the precedent for Nirvana’s destiny: modest sales, but palpable respect within the industry for their songwriting prowess. . . .” (https://recordcollectormag.com/articles/nirvana-uk)

Nirvana’s sound (see #287, 391) involves “mystical, gently romantic lyrics . . . [with a] breathy falsetto and a gorgeous combination of soft psych/pop melodic flair and baroque-flavoured arrangements that incorporated the use of cello and French horn.” (Record Collector: 100 Greatest Psychedelic Records: High Times and Strange Tales from Rock’s Most Mind-Blowing Era) Let me sprinkle some more Oregano:

Nirvana, the nonchalantly enigmatic duo of Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Alex Spyropoulos, appeared in the UK charts approximately once – an unjustly middling No. 34 chart placing for the beautifully warped blare of Rainbow Chaser’s phased brass and timpani in June 1968. And this despite releasing a brace of the most airily accessible and mercilessly hooky albums to have floated into being in the culturally charged domain of 1967 and ’68, without sacrificing a neutrino of integrity. . . . [We must] ponder anew why Nirvana didn’t make a deeper impression on the malleable hearts of the record-buying public. They fared rather better in mainland Europe, admittedly, where their billowing, romantic, sumptuously arranged and gracefully baroque compositions were tailor-made for trailing fingers in petal-strewn lakes on warm nights and contemplating Greco-Roman statuary. Nevertheless, their comparatively brief entry in the historical record remains mystifying when they were the perfect panacea for intense times. [A]n ambrosial, benevolent air blew over them and lightly draped a paisley pattern over most everything they recorded. Theirs was a sonic picture unassailed by acid horrors . . . . For the most part, this was sweet-natured, serenely uplifting mood music for the watering of ferns and the lighting of joss sticks; and even in the hard light of 1968, when the compass-overboard hedonism of the previous year had tipped over into revolution, riots and a return to rock, you still had the option of sinking into Nirvana’s plushly-upholstered sound cave of incense, patchouli, silks and satins after a hard day at the barricades.


Was that a bit tongue-in-cheek? Who knows, but don’t bogart the patchouli.

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Here is the album version:

Here is the ’67 single version:

475) Françoise Hardy — “Je Ne Sais Pas Ce Que Je Veux”

The ethereal Françoise Hardy (see #459) covered “Tiny Goddess” in not one, not two, but three languages — English, French (“Je Ne Sais Pas Ce Que Je Veux”), and Italian (“La Bilancia Dell’Amore”). Her glorious and utterly heartbreaking French version, released as a single in France in ‘68, outdoes even Nirvana’s original.

476) Françoise Hardy — “La Bilancia Dell’Amore”

In Italian, released as a single in Italy in ‘68, as wonderful as Hardy’s French version.

Pay to Play! The Off the Charts Spotify Playlist! + Brace for the Obscure 60s Rock Merchandise

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The playlist includes all the “greatest songs of the 1960’s that no one has ever heard” that are available on Spotify. The playlist will expand each time I feature an available song.

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