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

THE GREATEST SONGS OF THE 1960s THAT NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD

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.

https://recordcollectormag.com/articles/nirvana-uk

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

“Tiny goddess wrapped in lace, that certain smile upon your face is telling me what’s to be. when you leave. In a room just five foot eight I sit alone and I will wait to hear from you if you do decide to. Don’t try to humor me with letters I can’t read. Don’t sympathize with me. Don’t try to be discreet. Photograph that’s in my case will travel with me every place, reminding me what to be for your love. Orchards smell of sweet perfume, the mountainside is now in bloom, and I am here waiting for your company. Don’t try to humor me with letters I can’t read. The clock’s at half past three. It’s stopped to wake like me. Photograph that’s in my case will travel with me every place, reminding me what to be for your love. Tiny goddess wrapped in lace, that certain smile upon your face is telling me what’s to be when you leave.”

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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.

Il dit que je ne this rien mais s’il le disait, un peu moins
J’aurais peut-кtre, envie de lui parler
Il dit qu’il a du chagrin, pourtant s’il me le montrait moins
C’est lui, peut-кtre, qui me ferait pleurer

Non, il ne devrait pas prendre tout au sйrieux
Car moi, je ne sais pas vraiment ce que je veux

Il a peur de m’ennuyer, pourtant s’il savait s’en aller
Peut-кtre que, de lui, je m’ennuierais?
Il a peur que je le laisse, mais s’il me cachait sa tristesse
J’aurais peut-кtre, envie de le garder

Non, il ne devrait pas prendre tout au sйrieux
Car moi, je ne sais pas vraiment ce que je veux

Moi je suis bien avec lui et s’il n’йtait pas si gentil
Peut-кtre que, c’est moi qui le serais?
Car, au fond, je l’aime bien et s’il m’aimait, juste un peu moins
Peut-кtre que, c’est moi qui l’aimerais?

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

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

La bilancia dell’amore pesa troppo sul mio cuore
Caro tu mi vuoi troppo bene.
Se mi fossi più lontano, se m’amassi un po’ di meno
T’amerei con maggior passione.

Sei troppo chiaro tu, sei troppo serio sai.
Io invece sull’amore, non ci scommetto mai.

Se mi vuoi davvero amare, non lo devi dimostrare
Lascia a me qualche decisione.
Tu sei l’ombra dei miei passi ma se tu m’abbandonassi
Io verrei sotto al tuo portone.

Sei troppo chiaro tu, sei troppo serio sai.
Io invece sull’amore, non ci scommetto mai.

Tu con me sei tanto caro che il mio cuore sembra avaro
Ma se vuoi tutto t’appartiene.
Per favore lascia stare la bilancia dell’amore
E saprò se ti voglio bene.

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