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!

Eurovision Song Contest 1988

Here are my choices for the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest; I’d only heard the entry from Switzerland before watching the entire contest online.

My Rank Country Title, Artist Eurovision Final Ranking
1 Belgium “Laissez briller le soleil”, Reynaert 18 (tie)
2 Ireland “Take Him Home”, Jump The Gun 8
3 Switzerland “Ne partez pas sans moi”, Céline Dion 1
4 Sweden “Stad i ljus”, Tommy Körberg 12 (tie)
5 Luxembourg “Croire”, Lara Fabian 4
6 Germany “Lied für einen Freund”, Maxi & Chris Garden 14
7 United Kingdom “Go”, Scott Fitzgerald 2
8 Norway “For vår jord”, Karoline Krüger 5
9 Portugal “Voltarei”, Dora 18 (tie)
10 Denmark “Ka’ du se hva’ jeg sa’?”, Hot Eyes 3

Usually, as I watch these contests, a handful of songs stand out and then I have to decide which is my favorite, but from the moment I heard “Laissez briller le soleil”, sung by Reynaert (aka Joseph Reynaerts) and composed by Reynaert, Dany Willem, and Philippe Anciaux, I knew it would be my favorite. I’d love to hear a singer like Alison Moyet or Adele cover this someday!

Shopping Expedition to Los Angeles!

Just made a shopping expedition to Los Angeles and this is what I bought!

Store Purchases
Amoeba Music
6400 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Take Me To The Land of Hell, Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band

Warp and Weft, Laura Veirs

満ち汐のロマンス (Michishio no Romansu, “Tide Flow Romance”), Ego-Wrappin’

Kiss Me Once, Kylie Minogue

6 Feet Beneath The Moon, King Krule

The Take Off and Landing of Everything, Elbow

Bish Bosch, Scott Walker

Preachers (The Unreleased Works 1969-1980), Svein Finnerud Trio

Vroman’s Bookstore
695 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
Max Ernst, Ulrich Bischoff (Taschen)

Type on Screen, edited by Ellen Lupton (Princeton Architectural Press)

Canterbury Records
6400 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Hotel Valentine, Cibo Matto

I also dined with old friends at Dino’s Pizza (3520 W Burbank Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505) and at Porto’s Bakery (3614 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505), both of which I highly recommend.

Also on my CD shopping list but I didn’t find them:  FKA Twigs, Safety Scissors, Emilíana Torrini, SSION, and No Regular Play.

sveinThe Svein Finnerud Trio album is what I call my “Dan Purchase”, named after my friend Dan who seems to own every album ever released.  Frequently he buys an album just because he likes the cover.  Every time I go to Amoeba I always make it a point to do a “Dan Purchase”.  This album was only $4, and the band consists of a pianist, double bassist, and drummer.  I’m hoping they are similar to the Tord Gustavsen Trio.

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