Laila KinnunenView in iTunes
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A Finnish pop singer who peaked in popularity during the late '50s and early '60s, Laila Kinnunen represented Finland at the 1961 Eurovision Song Contest with the song "Valoa Ikkunassa." Born Laura Kinnunen on November 8, 1939, in Vantaa, Finland, she grew up in Sweden as a refugee of World War II. She began her recording career in the late '50s on the Finnish label Scandia. One of her early singles was a cover version of "Cow Cow Boogie" released in 1959. Selected to represent Finland at the 1961 Eurovision Song Contest, she performed the song "Valoa Ikkunassa." It was Finland's debut showing at the Eurovision Song Contest. Many of her singles were Finnish-language cover versions of popular hits of the day, among them "Fever" ("Kuume"), "The Girl from Ipanema" ("Ipaneman Tyttö"), "From Russia with Love" ("Idän Ja Lännen Tiet"), and "I Can't Stop Loving You" ("Jag Ger Dig Kärleken"). She died on October 26, 2000, and numerous greatest-hits compilations were released in the wake of her passing, including Kaikki Kauneimmat (2000), Nostalgia (2007), Tähtisarja: 30 Suosikkia (2008), and the double-disc collection A la Laila (2009), a Top Ten hit on the Finnish albums chart. ~ Jason Birchmeier
08 November 1939 in Helsinki, Finland
'50s, '60s, '70s