Les Sauterelles/ Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — June 29, 2022


500) Les Sauterelles — “Heavenly Club”

The “Swiss Beatles”! Their pop psych classic “Heavenly Club” asks the eternal question “What if I get to heaven and can’t pay the admission fee?”, and it was the first Swiss song to hit #1 in the Swiss chart! The song was promoted with one of the first music videos (watch below!). As Ursula Klein explains (Google Translate):

The band made their real breakthrough in 1968 with the single “Heavenly Club”. The disc stayed in the Swiss charts for 13 weeks, six of which were at number 1. “Heavenly Club” was the first Swiss song to make it to number 1 in the official hit parade. [They made] the clever move of advertising themselves as “The Swiss Beatles” during the Flower Power . . . .


Richie Unterberger gives some history:

A Swiss ’60s band that have sometimes been mistakenly identified as a British group due to their 1968 single “Dream Machine,” a quite catchy and enjoyable facsimile of British flower pop . . . . The band had actually been recording since 1965, and established themselves as one of Switzerland’s best and most popular groups. . . . . Much of their first LP (1966) was filled with covers of popular rock hits. . . . interpreted . . . with a brash energy that makes the record stand out . . . . “Dream Machine” was a more original effort, and an album from 1968, View to Heaven, also had a more pronounced folk and psychedelic feel than their earliest outings. Les Sauterelles continued recording all the way into the early ’70s . . . .


And the band’s website says in sort of broken English (courtesy of Google Translate):

“Heavenly Club” was launched as a single and appeared on July 9, 1968 as the first Swiss production in the “Media Control Charts” of the official hit parade. She stays there for a sensational 13 weeks, 6 of them at number 1. Les Sauterelles are at the top of the listener hit parades of popular radio stations such as Radio Luxemburg or Südwestfunk Baden-Baden. The single is adopted by most European countries, released in the US and even in Japan. They have almost become regular guests on Swiss television in the show “Hits à Gogo”. Gianni Paggi shoots a small film with them that will achieve cult status and is considered the first video clip of the pop era! The album “View To Heaven” will be released at the end of August. The Sauterelles are to be brought out by Decca Germany. This invites the band to Hamburg for the program “4-3-2-1” and organizes a well-announced media conference in the press tower.

And now the big surprise: drummer Düde Dürst wants to leave the Sauterelles, of all times, when things should really get going. But Rolf Antener is also somehow burned out. A feat, as Les Sauterelles had been constantly on the move in recent years with over 300 performances a year! Toni Vescoli therefore decides to dissolve the entire formation, because Peter Rietmann and Fritz Trippel have unfortunately become “problem children” lately.


Where did the name come from? Well —

“How about: LES SAUTERELLES,” says one of the [original band members]. “What does that mean in German?” you want to know. “Hop, grass-hop or something like that!” “Ah, locusts!” Toni specifies. “I think it’s great, it goes well with the chirping, shrill guitar tones.”


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