Friday, 9 October 2009

Gunilla Thorn - Sweden's Dark Bombshell



I've been meaning to post this for a while, but as always there's not time like the present! Here we have the wonderful Gunilla Thorn, Joe Meek protogé and bee-hive sporting Swede that would certainly give any Ronette, (or Winehouse for that matter), a run for their monies! I was very lucky to be able to speak to the lady herself within the last year and found out many fascinating fact-ettes about her life and recording career. What a joy! Here's a brief outline of what I have gathered! Gunilla was born on the 14th May in 1944 in Malmö, Sweden. Her first foray into recording was initiated by photographer and fellow Swede Jan Olofsson, who took her to London where she introduced and worked with the legendary Joe Meek in 1963. Here she recorded the single "Go On Then/Merry-go-round" as well as (excitingly revealed) the unreleased "He's Mine" and "We're Chasing Something In Another Way" (I wonder if these were in the "Tea Chest Tapes"?). As expected of his character, Joe was quite an eccentric character for Gunilla to work with, including speeding up her recordings so much it destroyed some of them. Quite cooly too is the before he Deep Purple days, Richie Blackmore was a session guitarist for Meek in The Tornadoes, and plays on the recording Go On Then! Her time in London seems like a great experience, especially since she hob-nobbed with people such as The Searchers, Screaming Lord Sutch and later on Jimi Hendrix!

After her work with Joe Meek and The Tornadoes in England, Gunilla released a cover of Johnny Cash's Walk the Line in 1965 with Danish group The Defenders, and then another single in 1966 with another Danish group, The Beethovens. This recording (Our Love/Jealous Woman) was Gunilla's finest recording moment, really showcasing her raw, ballsy vocals - defintely one of the best female garage releases from the sixties! During this time she toured extensively, taking in such countries such as Switzerland, England, Germany, Australia, America, Korea and the Netherlands - phew! This also included a stay in Vietnam in 1967-68 where she entertained the American troups, performing under the name Nilla. Please check out this website - which has some amazing photos of Gunilla during her visit to Vietnam and more recent pic too! Another bout of touring, Gunilla revealed, included performing on a cruise ship to millionaries! The ship left Rotterdam and took in stops such as the Isle of Wight and more exoticly Bermuda and New York! After a brief partnership with Sonny Guerrero of folkgroup The Immigrants, Gunilla left the music biz in the 70's to begin her own business.

It's fair to say Ms Thorn is one of the more provactive female singers, especially from Sweden, and her ballsy vocals more than much up to this image. If only she could have more opporunity to showcase them on record! Netherless Jealous Woman in particular packs a wallop few contempoaries can match - and would send any man fearing for his life on the receiving end of its lyricall tongue! .... So up for grabs is all of the three records she released during her career - six songs in total! These are as follows :

Merry-go-round/Go On Then 1963 (HMV Pop 1239)
I Walk The Line/A Closer Walk With Thee 1965 (Sonet T 7199)
Our Love/Jealous Woman 1966 (EMI X B47C)


8 comments:

Esmenard Victor said...

Thank you very much. Good effort to put the three singles together.

Good songs too, everything's good:)

janolofssoncollection said...

I am the Jan Olofsson, Gunilla Thorns Ex-manager, great article about a great Girl Gunilla, She came to one of my Photographic openings in Malmö "My Cuba Photos" last Month she looks great!!

Leah said...

I <3 Gunilla! I've been looking for the Jealous Woman record for years.

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wilthomer said...

Great piece! I've always wondered what Gunilla's voice would've sounded like on "Merry Go round" if Meek hadn't messed with the speed and turned her voice in that of a Scandinavian gnome!

masstropicas said...

I met her 8 years ago in Copenhagen for an interview with Peter Bonneman.
Amazing stories I have in my mind, she was the best story teller I've ever met!

-Michael//masstropicas.blogspot.com

MASSTROPICAS said...

I met her and interviewed her about 8 years ago and have a photo. She was the best story teller and so nice and sweet!