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Best Cover Songs 4 - Never on a Sunday (Ta Paidia Tou Pireaia)

Mohan is a family physician, film and TV aficionado, a keen bibliophile and an eclectic scribbler.

Melina Mercouri

Melina Mercouri

Never on a Sunday


You can Kiss me on a Monday,

A Monday, a monday is very very good...


Wherever you are in the world, it is highly likely you have heard this tune. If not as the English version of the song, you would have certainly heard it in your own language be it French, German, Spanish or even Mandarin. At the least you would have heard it as an instrumental ditty.

Such is the popularity of this simple, elegant original that it has spread the world like wild fire and is still being reinvented by musicians and singers for a new generation of listeners. The word 'Evergreen' is perhaps apt for this beautiful tune.


So, a perfect subject for this series on cover versions : songs that transcend time, space and cultures to reach music lovers everywhere. Come join me and let us listen to the song in its various incarnations and consider it's history in brief.

NEVER ON A SUNDAY

Lyrics by: Billy Towne Music: Manos Hadjidakis

Lyrics by: Billy Towne Music: Manos Hadjidakis

covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words
Melina Mercouri from the film 'The Children of Piraeus'

Melina Mercouri from the film 'The Children of Piraeus'

The Greek Original: Ta Paidia tou Piraea

Manos Hatzidakis (October 23, 1925 – June 15, 1994)  Greek Composer who wrote the original music and song

Manos Hatzidakis (October 23, 1925 – June 15, 1994) Greek Composer who wrote the original music and song

The Greek Original : The Children of Piraeus


You may be surprised to know that the original song is called "Ta Pedia Tou Pirea" (The Children of Piraeus) and featured in the 1960 film of the same name. The song lyrics in the original Greek have nothing to do with kissing but tell the story of the main female character Illya played by Melina Mercouri, who also sang the original version of the song. It was composed and written by Manos Hadjidakis.


The Song was such a hit along with the film that Melina was nominated for the best actress Oscar and song was nominated for best original song, unusual for a foreign language song in those times and even now.

The song went on to win. It was the first time a foreign language song had won the Academy Award Best original Song (1960) since the inception of that category. As the film was dubbed in many languages, several versions of the song were commissioned to go with the film dubbed for various regions, and a legend starts.

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covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words

Orchestral version by Don Costa

First English : The Chordettes

Connie Francis

The English Versions


The popularity of the Greek original and its Oscar win prompted an orchestral version by Don Costa that hit the charts on both sides of the Atlantic in 1960. Soon an English version was commissioned and was written by lyricist Bill Towne - the immortal words, 'Never on a Sunday' were born.


The first English vocal version was recorded by the quartet The Chordettes and reached #13 on the Billboard charts in 1961.The song drew a large following across the world. Soon cover artists were clamoring to record the song.


Versions were recorded by Connie Francis, Julie London, The Four Seasons, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Lena Horne, Doris Day and Eartha Kitt among others.


There were other popular instrumental versions by Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass.



Other Songs Covered in this Series

covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words

Petula Clark

Doris Day and Petula Clark


The lilting lyrics and the Greek tune caught public and artist imagination. The delectable Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff aka Doris Day applied her amazing vocal range to the song with successful results.

The talented actress, singer and animal rights activist was the darling of American Moviegoers and audiences worldwide with her girl-next-door image. Hers is a much lauded career and life and she has won many awards for her performances and her animal rights work including an Academy Award for lifetime achievement.


Petula Clark, the English singer, musician and performer has sold over 68 million records and has produced hit after hit with songs such as 'Downtown', 'My Love', ' I know a Place' and 'Colour My world'.

Here she lends her mellifluous vocals to this evergreen classic, Never on a sunday, and the results are delicious.

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Cover Versions

LanguageArtistSong title

Greek

Melina Mercouri

Ta Paidia Tou Pirea

English

The Chordettes

Never on a Sunday

English

Connie Francis

Never on a Sunday

English

Eartha Kitt

Never on a Sunday

English

Doris Day

Never on a Sunday

English

Julie London

Never on a Sunday

English

Petula Clark

Never on a Sunday

Italian

Dalida, Milva

Uno A Te, Uno A Me

French

Melina Mercouri, Darío Moreno, Dalida

Les Enfants du Pirée

German

Lale Andersen, Dalida, Lisa Del Bo

Ein Schiff wird kommen

Spanish

Dalida

Los Niños del Pireo

Spanish

Xiomara Alfaro

Nunca en Domingo

Cantonese

Andy Lau, Anita Mui, Cherrie Ying et al.

兩仔爺

Mandarin

Teresa Teng

別在星期天

Spanish/ English/ Modern

Los Umbrellos

"No Tengo Dinero".

Greek/ Modern

Aroma feat. Katerina

Ta Paidia Tou Pirea

French/Modern

Aroma feat. In-Grid

Les Enfants du Pirée

Instrumental

Manos Hadjidakis

Ta Pedia Tou Pirea

Instrumental

Don Costa

Never on a Sunday

Instrumental

Herb Alpert & Tijuana Brass

Never on a Sunday

covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words
 Dalida (Yolanda Giglotti1933 – 1987)

Dalida (Yolanda Giglotti1933 – 1987)

Spanish and Italian

Born Iolanda Cristina Gigliotti to Italian parents in Egypt, the first big Euro Diva affectionately known to fans as ' Dalida' made millions of followers through her passionate renditions and perfroming. With her Italian parentage and subsequent move to France, she was a consummate performer in French, Italian,Greek, Spanish, English, German, Japanese and even Hebrew. an amazing talent, Dalida found this tune as an invaluable asset to her multilingual skills.

Dalida has covered this tune (The Children of Piraeus) in French, Italian, Spanish and German. Amazing!

Flame haired Italian singer Milva (Maria Ilva Biolcati) known to her adoring fans as 'La Rossa' due ot the colour of her hair, performs a sensual rendition of this tune here in her native Italian tongue. The song is called Uno A The, Uno A Me in Italian. There's always something about listening to your favorite tune in those romance languages full of verbal passion that is exuded in the enunciation.

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Cherrie Ying

Cherrie Ying

Dance of a Dream (2001)

Dance of a Dream (2001)

Modern Versions


A modern renaissance has been enjoyed by this tune and perhaps the trend started in the Far East. In a 2001 hit film in Cantonese called 'Oi gwan yue mung' ( Dance of a Dream in English) the tuneis featured in its Cantonese version sung by an ensemble cast.


It shows the universality of certain tunes that lend itself to any language and any type of performance, happy or melancholy, solo or ensemble, speeded up or slowed down. Only some tunes have this magical quality that make them so malleable yet still melodious.


The film was a refreshing change for a Chinese audience fed on a diet of gangland violence and martial arts fest. A jolly, romantic musical that wears its heart on its sleeve, it was very well received.



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covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words

Re-Mix and Clubhouse - DJ Aroma

It wasn't long before the Euro club circuit rediscovered the song. In a pulsating rendition of the tune artist DJ Aroma ups the dance-ability by throwing in sunshine, sea and sexiness while harking the title back to the Greek original ' The Children of Piraeus' It has been a clubhouse hit in many regions and rightly so, as a holiday anthem.

This shows the timelesness of the track.

The Greek version features Katerina and it was remixed with the French version with the vocals on In-Grid.

In-Grid

In-Grid

In-Grid

Ingrid Alberini is an Italian dancer and singer who has enjoyed popular success with her Dance -hit single "Tu es foutu" (You promised me) across Europe and in US. Debuting her singing career in Northern Italy and enjoyed a hit with her debut single.

Her collaboration with DJ Aroma is her rendition of 'Never on a Sunday' as 'Les Enfants Du Piree' features in her latest album ' Lounge Musique'

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Lisa Del Bo

Lisa Del Bo

Lisa del Bo

Although the German versions have been recorded by Lale Anderson in 1960 as Ein Schiff wird komme and subsequently by Dalida, Nana Mouskori and Lyss Assia, I found this melodiosu rendition by Flemish singer Lisa Del Bo who is popular in Belgium and Germany.

The band Der Moderne Man recorded a gay themed version named "Blaue Matrosen" with the same German lyrics of Lale Andersen's version, but sung by a man in 1982.

covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words
Los Umbrellos

Los Umbrellos

Los Umbrellos : No Tengo Dinero

The Danish Latin Pop Dance Group Los Umbrellos updated the tune as a hip-hop-dance-house-mix. Led by a real life exiled African Prince turned rapper Al Agami and Danish Models/ TV hosts Mai Britt vingsøe and Grith Höifeldt, the group had their only hit with the song 'No Tengo Dinero' that was their version of the tune 'Never on a sunday'.

The video oozes sunny glamour and sassiness.

covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words
Margarita accompanied by Yiannis Goudelis

Margarita accompanied by Yiannis Goudelis

Margarita : The Greek-American Sensation

From her days in Berkeley high School in California and her time acquiring a Bachelor's degree in Music in San Franciso, Margarita, a daughter of a Greek-American family has been drawn to the music of her ancestral home. A talented musician and performer, when auditioned for 'Fame Story' the Greek version of the British TV show 'Fame Academy' which is a combination of 'American Idol' and 'Big Brother' where contestants live together in a Big house while training and competing on a weekly live show.

Margartia captivated the viewers with her charm and vocal talent. She has since returned to America. She has released “Margarita – Ta Agapimena Mou Tragoudia (My Favorite Songs)” as an album and is looking to move on to higher pastures.

Here she goes back to the roots singing 'Ta Paidia Tou Peiraia' - the original version as sung by Melina Mercouri in the 1960 film. Here she captures the spirit of the original song once again. We have come a full circle.

Docmo's Related Hubs

Thank you!

Thank you for reading this poem . Hope you enjoyed this journey through the decades of cover versions. Please do leave some comments and feedback below. Please do vote as appropriate!

If you like what you read share it with friends and family on Facebook/ Twitter/ Pinterest or similar.

Appreciate your time and interest, dear reader.

Do come again.

Docmo

© Mohan Kumar 2012

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covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words

Favorite Version?

A Phone Call


(Rrring, rrring)

Docmo: Hello?

(Angry Voice): So you call yourself a writer?

Docmo: Sorry who is this?

(AV): You don't recognise my voice? How dare you?

Docmo: Do I know you?

(AV): Everybody knows me!

Docmo: Can I ask what this is about?

(AV) : Believe you've written an article about the song 'Never on a sunday' and all its cover versions?

Docmo: Yes!

(AV): And you dare to exclude my own version from that pile of primola?

Docmo: If I knew who you were, I would know!

(AV): I am, you nit-wit, the star that outshines all the stars, the love of my dear Kermie, the evergreen enchantress, the one and only Miss Piggy!

Docmo: uh oh!

Miss Piggy: So you better make up for this mistake, or else...

Docmo: Oh no. I do apologise. I will include your cover version with an exclusive photoshoot, Miss Piggy.

Miss Piggy: Thank you, dear man. Mwah.

Docmo: Thank you Miss Piggy, Always a pleasure.

covering-my-tracks-4-never-on-a-sunday-in-other-words

Comments

Mike Robbers from London on September 01, 2012:

Never on Sunday is one of my all-time favorite movies! It's dramatic, funny and at the same time, romantic. Tame by today's standards, this movie must have been considered very risqué for its time, but it remains entertaining to this day...

Thanks for this wonderful Hub ,, voted up

Claudia Mitchell on August 27, 2012:

Fascinating hub Docmo! Who knew so many artists had done this song. Of course, Doris Day can do no wrong in my book so I had to pick her version.

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on August 26, 2012:

In regards to TTs comment, I dare you. Uh oh!

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on August 26, 2012:

I know of no other writer who could make this song so enjoyable again. I'm torn between Doris Day and Connie Francis as my favorite. I listened to Margarita Mercy, which was great, didn't understand a word, but the tune was the same. Thank you for another top-notch Hub. Cheers

Mary Craig from New York on August 26, 2012:

WoW! You've covered this song from top to bottom and front to back....and now even Miss Piggy is happy! Great information on a truly "evergreen" song.

I hate to admit this but I saw the film in the movies, of course I was VERY, very young ;)

As always Mohan, an educational read well written and a great choice of videos!

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on August 26, 2012:

My favorite version was by the Chordettes! I was a teen.

Thanks for the memory, Docmo!

Rich from Kentucky on August 26, 2012:

This was a movie my mother wanted to see. Stuck with me, we snuck out one Friday afternoon and went to the theaters. I still remember people watching me as I entered with my mother, as it was a "foreign" movie that generally meant kids weren't appreciated. I fell in love with the song that day, and have many of the covers you've provided. A tremndous job of writing and research! Great Job!

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on August 25, 2012:

'outstanding' singer? i think that means if I start singing either i'll be asked to get out and stand outside or the rest of them will do! Thanks for your comments TT. .. appreciate your visit.

Terrye Toombs from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map. on August 25, 2012:

Docmo, I must confess that the only version I've ever heard was by the one and only Miss Piggy. :) Great hub on the history of the song. Nicely done. But I have one question; since you are an outstanding singer and videographer, why haven't you included your very own rendition and posted it here? Afraid maybe? :) Do I have to have Sunshine dare you? :)

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on August 25, 2012:

Mar- thanks. remakes are cool and I do love the Connie Francis version too. I'm a detail-man ( you may have noticed) and obsess over 'completionist' tendencies.

Oh she knew I was writing this hub. Singing is the least of my worries. It's when I start commenting on hubs in my sleep.... ;-) hugs, my dear.

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on August 25, 2012:

What's shakin' bacon...? Oh sorry, my Sista, Miss Piggy taught me to rap like that...!

Anyway, the re-makes are cool and all but this will always be a Connie Francis song to me... and a beautiful one at that... I love the detail you put into 'covering your tracks'... hmmm...?? Singing in your sleep, could prove for interesting breakfast conversation...

Voted UP & ABI. Hugs, Maria

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on August 25, 2012:

Thank you Janine, When i started doing this series I too was astounded by sheer number of versions these songs have... but then such good tunes and lyrics must be popular with many singers. Miss Piggy included!

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on August 25, 2012:

Thank you Shauna, I'm sure you'll also enjoy the others in this series. I also pick the songs that I love and those that are evergreen... Seems we share the same taste in such songs!

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on August 25, 2012:

Never realized how many versions of this song that actually was. I think I enjoyed Miss Piggy the best though, lol! Ok she paid me to say that! No seriously very good article and so very detailed on all the wonderful and varied covers of this song. Have voted, shared and tweeted too!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on August 25, 2012:

Doc, the perils of being behind in hubmail! I'll have to check out the earlier additions to this series. They are all songs I absolutely love! Music is in my soul. Thank you for moving my spirit!

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on August 25, 2012:

Thank you Dianna- I enjoyed writing this hub. So many versions and so much to enjoy!

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on August 25, 2012:

Ah Bill thank you- its nice to remember our crushes as they were. Petula Clark was one sweet looking singer. Great voice !

Mohan Kumar (author) from UK on August 25, 2012:

Well..its after you mentioned the song on FB that I remembered how evergreen the tune was ... and it inspired this hub. I knew you would like this Martie. The Miss Piggy version cracked me up. and btw allegedly I was singing this in my sleep last night ( after having completed the hub!) God forbid!

Dianna Mendez on August 25, 2012:

What a great walk down memory lane on this song and the different artists who have made it popular. The song has such a catchy tune and now I may not be able to get it out of my head today. Connie Francis and Doris Day were two who made it really enjoyable.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 25, 2012:

Wonderful summary my friend. I have had a huge crush on Pet Clark for oh.....maybe forty years now. I think I'll keep her in my dreams rather than find out what she looks like now. LOL Great hub Doc!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on August 25, 2012:

Ohhh, I love this song. It was one of the first songs I could play on the organ when I was a child. Just can't chose between Connie Francis, Petula Clark and Doris Day. All 3 of them are my favorites. Maybe Connie a bit more, as she sang in many genres, even classical.

Docmo, I had a ball on this hub of yours, listening to all the version. Can't wait for morning to play this song on the piano. (Now 11:15pm).

Voted up and truly awesome, and especially the history of this ever-ever-evergreen, Never on a Sunday.

It will be your birthday when the clock strikes 12. I wish you the happiest day and only the best ahead.

:) + 3