Eurovision Song Contest 1975

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1975 Eurovision Song Contest.  I’d heard the Dutch entry before but not the other songs.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 Turkey “Seninle Bir Dakika”, Semiha Yankı 19
2 Germany “Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein”, Joy Fleming 17
3 Italy “Era”, Wess and Dori Ghezzi 3
4 Finland “Old Man Fiddle”, Pihasoittajat 7
5 Monaco “Une chanson c’est une lettre”, Sophie 14
6 Netherlands “Ding-a-dong”, Teach-In 1
7 United Kingdom “Let Me Be The One”, The Shadows 2
8 Norway “Touch My Life (With Summer)”, Ellen Nikolaysen 18
9 Switzerland “Mikado”, Simone Drexel 6
10 Luxembourg “Toi”, Geraldine 5

Turkey made its debut in 1975 but finished in last place! Ironically, I thought Turkey had the best song by far that year. I also thought the German entry was outstanding, but it finished in 17th place out of 19 entries. What was with the judges that year?

The scoreboard was particularly smart looking–minimal yet striking, and easy to read.  It looked like something you’d see in a really cool airport.
esc1975scoreboard

Eurovision Song Contest 1979

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1979 Eurovision Song Contest; this was the third contest I actually saw live on television when my family lived in England.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 France “Je suis l’enfant soleil”, Anne-Marie David 3
2 Spain “Su canción”, Betty Missiego 2
3 Israel “Hallelujah”, Gali Atari and Milk and Honey 1
4 Germany “Dschinghis Khan”, Dschinghis Khan 4
5 Greece “Sokrati”, Elpida 8
6 Finland “Katson sineen taivaan”, Katri Helena 14
7 Austria “Heute in Jerusalem”, Christina Simon 18
8 Netherlands “Colorado”, Xandra 12
9 Sweden “Satellit”, Ted Gärdestad 17
10 Luxembourg “J’ai déjà vu ça dans tes yeux”, Jeane Manson 13

It’s interesting what the passing of 35 years does to one’s opinion and taste in music. In 1979, my favorite was probably the Boney M.-esque German entry, while I really detested the Israeli entry because it sounded too “goody-goody”, like something from a sappy variety show or revue. Today I appreciate “Hallelujah” much more and placed it third in my list.

In one of the most suspenseful Eurovision votings, Spain was leading by a single point over Israel, with only the Spanish jury left to cast its votes.  Countries may not cast votes for themselves, and Spain awarded Israel 10 points and thus the victory.  My understanding is that juries vote “blind”, meaning they cannot see the scoreboard and fix the votes to their advantage.  But there is some debate as to how true this is.  In 1970’s contest, with Ireland already having enough points to be the winner, when the Irish jury called in to cast its votes, the spokesperson said, “Hello Amsterdam, this is a very cheerful Dublin calling.”  It seemed the Irish jury knew Ireland had won.  Rumor has it in 1979, Spain didn’t want to be saddled with the cost of staging Eurovision in 1980, so it awarded enough votes to Israel to give it the victory.  But surely if Spain wasn’t interested in hosting, they could’ve just sent a crappy song or withdrawn from the contest entirely.

My guess is: juries do indeed vote blind, but once the votes are cast, the numbers go to some party (perhaps the “scrutineer”) who ensures the votes do not change once the tallying beginsthus, the juries probably do watch the tallying. It’s just coincidence that Spain performed (and thus voted) last; in a different order, the tallying might not have been so suspenseful. The rumor that Spain didn’t want to host the next consest was probably just that: a rumor.

Eurovision Song Contest 1969

Here are my choices for best songs at the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest, which I watched with @Dixenborg and @Eurovisually; I’d heard the four winners before but not the other songs.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 France “Un jour, un enfant”, Frida Boccara 1 (tie)
2 Switzerland “Bonjour, bonjour”, Paola Del Medico 5
3 Netherlands “De troubadour”, Lenny Kuhr 1 (tie)
4 Italy “Due grosse lacrime bianche”, Iva Zanicchi 13 (tie)
5 Sweden “Judy, min vän”, Tommy Körberg 9 (tie)
6 Germany “Primaballerina”, Siw Malmkvist 9 (tie)
7 Norway “Oj, oj, oj, så glad jeg skal bli”, Kirsti Sparboe 16
8 United Kingdom “Boom Bang-a-Bang”, Lulu 1 (tie)
9 Portugal “Desfolhada portuguesa”, Claudio Villa 15
10 Spain “Vivo cantando”, Salomé 1 (tie)

1969 is the year there was a four-way tie for first place, but no rules for a tie-breaker. The interval act in Eurovision (during which time votes are cast) is usually a musical number, but this year the host country (Spain) showed a short film of Spanish scenery called “La España differente” (The Different Spain). Curiously, not one human being appeared during the film, and the accompanying music by Luis de Pablo was very abstract and dissonant. I liked the film—it reminded me a little of the “Star Gate” sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey—but I had to wonder how a surreal, eerie film like this—which seemed aimed more at the 1960s counterculture—sat with the average Eurovision viewer.

Eurovision Song Contest 1967

My plan for watching every Eurovision Song Contest was to start at 1980 (because I had seen 1977-1979 while living in England), work my way forward to 2010 (because I began watching Eurovision again in 2011), go back and review 1977-1979, then work my way backwards to the first contest in 1956. However, yesterday I watched 1967 online with Twitterers @Dixenborg and @Eurovisually, the latter of whom is on a similar mission to mine.

My top ten choices are below, but here are a few impressions I had watching such an old contest. Obviously, it was nothing like ESC today!

1. Breakneck speed production: no postcards here. A song is sung, the singer leaves the stage, the next singer comes on, and the next song begins. Repeat until finished.
2. Nice to have the orchestra “back”. The last year a live orchestra was at Eurovision was 1998; since then, the performers have used pre-recorded backing tracks.
3. Nice also to hear the various languages again, with only United Kingdom and Ireland singing in English. 1998 was also the last year there was a rule requiring songs to be sung in their respective countries’ native language(s).
4. Voting was much different; each country had a jury of ten members, and each member cast a single vote for his or her favorite song. Thus, the maximum points any country could award another was ten points, but it was also possible for a country to award a single point to ten countries.

Here are my choices for the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest; I’d only heard the entries from Luxembourg and the United Kingdom before watching the entire contest online.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 Monaco “Boum-Badaboum”, Minouche Barelli 5
2 Luxembourg “L’amour est bleu”, Vicky Leandros 4
3 Norway “Dukkemann”, Kirsti Sparboe 14 (tie)
4 United Kingdom “Puppet on a String”, Sandie Shaw 1
5 Portugal “O vento mudou”, Eduardo Nascimento 12 (tie)
6 Belgium “Ik heb zorgen”, Louis Neefs 7
7 France Il doit faire beau là-bas””, Noëlle Cordier 3
8 Finland “Varjoon – suojaan”, Fredi 12 (tie)
9 Italy “Non andare più lontano”, Claudio Villa 11
10 Spain “Hablemos del amor”, Raphael 6

What struck me about my top choice was, right from the start, it made me think of Siouxsie Sioux, of whom I am a big fan. Between the explosive orchestration, Minouche Barelli’s somewhat strident singing, and composer Serge Gainsbourg’s lyrics about wanting time to experience the world and to find love before being blown up(!!), if Siouxsie had covered “Boum Badaboum” on her Mantaray album, I wouldn’t have found the song out of place–I probably would’ve thought it her original composition.

“I’m here to work, not to pick up girls.”

Gruneberg asked for a position as the club’s swimming instructor, to which Voyenne gleefully produced a picture of four beautiful women clad in swimsuits. “What do you think?” he asked. “I’m here to work, not to pick up girls,” replied Gruenberg—and with that he had passed the test.

From an article in Monocle magazine’s Mediterraneo newspaper (issue 09), about Pierre Gruneberg, an 84-year old swimming instructor at the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat in France, when he was interviewed by the hotel’s then-director, André Voyenne in 1950.  There’s a time to work and a time to ogle beautiful women (or men), and a good employer appreciates an employee who knows the difference.

“Unpainted Wooden Toys”

“I came from an ‘unpainted wooden toys’ kind of family. We had Legos and board games. But the best was when we made stuff up ourselves, constructing forts, recording radio shows, and putting on plays. Working together to build something was magical.”

Entrepreneur and co-founder of Flickr and Hunch Caterina Fake, quoted in Inc magazine (June 2014 edition), when asked what were her “beloved childhood playthings”. My brother and I did similar things–I still have quite a few of the “radio plays” we recorded on cassette tape years ago!

Eurovision Song Contest 1989

Here are my choices for the 1989 Eurovision Song Contest; I’d only heard the entry from Yugoslavia before watching the entire contest online.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 Italy “Avrei voluto” , Anna Oxa & Fausto Leali 9 (tie)
2 United Kingdom “Why Do I Always Get It Wrong?”, Live Report 2
3 Finland “La dolce vita”, Anneli Saaristo 7
4 Greece “To Diko Sou Asteri”, Mariana Efstratiou 9 (tie)
5 Turkey “Bana Bana”, Pan 21
6 Iceland “Það sem enginn sér”, Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson 22
7 Luxembourg “Monsieur”, Park Café 20
8 Austria “Nur ein Lied”, Thomas Forstner 5
9 Netherlands “Blijf zoals je bent”, Justine Pelmelay 15
10 Yugoslavia “Rock Me”, Riva 1

Interesting that the three songs that finished last at Eurovision (including Iceland, which earned the dreaded “nul points”) made it to my Top Ten!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 197 other followers