Bulgarian Music: A Notable Gino Vannelli Cover

An expat living in Bulgaria, who is a fan of Gino Vannelli and who happens to be the author of these lines, just discovered a notable Bulgarian treasure: Forty years ago, the Bulgarian group FSB covered Vannelli’s tune “Valleys of Valhalla”, in Bulgarian. The piece was part of the self-titled FSB album released in 1979.

The original song was on Gino Vannelli’s “A Pauper in Paradise” album, which hit the record stores in the West on November 7th, 1977, twelve years before the fall of the Iron Curtain brought East and West closer together. That is one reason why this discovery is stunning.

A Bulgarian citizen, who was allowed to travel to the West, maybe a diplomat, must have brought a copy of the album back home. At least this could be a possible explanation of how the Gino Vannelli recording even got to Bulgaria. It needed to be heard first, before being covered.

The Bulgarian band FSB in 1983. Photo by FSB

Gino Vannelli, an exceptional singer, composer, arranger and performer born in Canada, recorded his best albums during the second half of the 1970-s. Some of his stunning songs were covered by American Jazz and Soul artists such as Oscar Peterson (“The Wheels of Life”, 1980), Freddie Hubbard (“The Surest Things Can Change”, 1978) or Geraldine de Haas (“Summers of my Life”, 1978). FSB obviously has to be added to that list.

The FSB cover of “Valleys of Valhalla” can be heard by starting the Youtube video above. The original is the one below.

Gino Vannelli has fascinated Pop, Rock, Jazz, Soul and Fusion lovers alike, due to his stunning combination of exceptional singing, brilliant compositions, expensive arrangements and an approach which covered all of those music genres. He still does.

Officially, “Valleys of Valhalla” is an AOR (Adult-Oriented Rock) tune, also since it was recorded in the AOR era. FSB, the legendary Bulgarian act, did not forget to include the famous outro into its version either. The fact that FSB picked a tune as great as “Valleys of Valhalla” makes this rediscovery even more sensational than it would have been with other Vannelli tunes.

FSB still exists today. This is their Facebook page. And this is Gino Vannelli’s Facebook page.

Note: This post was previously published.

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