Well it is finally here, I have wanted to share my top 100 Eurovision songs with you’s all for years and finally I have found the time to do it. I hope you enjoy the next 9 weeks and I cant wait to hear your opinions on my choices and what would be your choices.
I’ll count down 10 songs every week, with the last week having the top 20 count down. Only because I will be away for two weeks on holiday, hope you have a fun journey as I look back over the Eurovision Song Contest.
- ‘Panaghia Mou, Panaghia Mou’ – Mariza Koch, Greece 1976
There is nothing Eurovision delivers better than a great ethnic ballad with buckets of emotion. Therefore I can think of no better way to start of my all time top 100, than with this fantastic and underrated Greek entry.
1976 is a year that really doesn’t capture my attention at all, yet this song seems to be the only redeeming feature from a very lackluster Eurovision year. Mariza’s voice accompanied by the ethnic instrumentation of the song elevates it above all others on show. The fact that this only came 13th on the night is a complete travesty. The only reason that I can think behind its placing is that of its lyrical content. The lyrics are quite controversial if you take a deeper look into their meaning, the relations between Greece and Turkey had become frayed over the years, and this song was an outcry towards Turkeys Foreign policy on Cyprus. I do love a song with a message, whether or not I agree with it, the way someone conveys the message through music and their emotions, get my vote.
“A Gem of a song, all but forgotten”
- ‘L’essenziale’– Marco Mengoni, Italy 2013
The first of many handsome men to feature on my list, although I promise that is not the sole reason Marco made it into the top 100. Though it doesn’t hurt to have a handsome man in a suit, singing an emotive ballad, and Marco does it so well. His ease in performing on the Malmo stage along with oozing charisma and a husky voice just makes me swoon every time I hear it or watch his performance.
Italian’s do ‘class’ better than anyone else and they showed it here, giving one of Italy’s finest moments in the history of the contest. The song in its own right, went on to be one of the biggest hits of the year in Italy and charted well throughout Europe. I especially love the Spanish version ‘Incomparable’ check it out!
“Classy Italian, Classy Marco, Class Act”
- ‘Liefde Is Een Kaartspel’– Lisa Del Bo, Belgium 1996
8 years after Celine’s tutu set the Eurovision world alight, and brought victory to Switzerland, Belgium’s Lisa Del Bo was obviously looking to replicate that success. Although there was one major difference, Lisa went for disposable pop and that is probably the main reason behind her fail. Liefde Is Een Kaartspel has to be one of the catchiest Eurovision songs ever, and Lisa definitely sold it in Oslo, it always gets me dancing.
If there is one thing I love more than anything in a Eurovision song it is a mid song breakdown, and Lisa gives me what I am looking for here. It is a Eurovision by numbers song, but done in the best possible way. Over the years people have likened the song to Sweden 2001, although personally I believe the old saying is correct in this case “The original is always the best”. The Flemish language makes the song more unique and interesting (at least to my ears), while Sweden’s obviously plagiarised version is somewhat dull and derivative.
“Eurovision by numbers? Maybe. But I love it!!”
- ‘I Anixi’– Sofia Vissou, Greece 1991
SAXOPHONE!!! What saxophone? I will forget that little mishap; after all it isn’t Sofia’s fault. That saxophonist would have been fired if it was me in charge. It done everything but murder a great song, but it just shows how talented and professional a singer Sofia was to pull off a great performance. This was one of the first songs I loved from the beginning; I love the rich and powerful tone to Sofia’s voice and the vocal gymnastics she demonstrates.
She looked like a diva that night and acted the same way but in the best possible way, If it wasn’t for the obvious lack of talent from one person, Sofia would have easily entered the top 5, but even with that I feel that this should have entered the top 10 at least.
“My Greek Diva, Ms International has got nothing on you!”
- ‘Ey Sham’– Ilanit, Israel 1973
Debuting in the contest usually goes one of two ways for a country. They either score big or the fail miserably, happily for Israel it was the former. They wanted to make a lasting first impact on the contest and drafted in their biggest star of the time, Ilanit. Ilanit had come to prominence in the mid to late 60’s, by the time she took to the Eurovision stage she was the biggest Israeli star in the world with many hit singles and albums to her name.
Her hippy chic and the Hebrew language were not exactly a pair you would match on a normal basis (at least in my mind), yet it works here and brought something beautiful to the contest. Israel was just finding its feet as a country and it was so refreshing to see a female contestant backed by a female lead orchestra, Ilanit belts out the song with so much conviction, and definitely warranted her return some 4 years later.
“Love and Peace, from ‘somewhere’ in Israel”
- ‘One Good Reason’– Marlayne, Netherlands 1999
The thing I love the most about Netherlands, they always seem to produce something so fresh and new after a period of underachieving, we just have to look at 2014 as an example. 1999 was one of those years, after some bad results in the 90’s for the country by the end of the decade they were back on form. The Netherlands sent one of the most contemporary songs of that year to the contest.
Marlayne feels the song through her whole body and you can see that in her performance. It is almost like she is just jamming with some mates on stage, and having a good old time. I love the country vibe to the song, it reminds me somewhat of Lady Antebellum, yet of course they came to prominence a lot later. I have only recently come to appreciate this song, but it has very quickly crept up my favourite Eurovision songs. I do think Marlayne was a little under-marked on the night; it really should have been a top 5 finisher.
“I only need one reason to love this song”
- ‘A Force De Prier’– Nana Mouskouri, Luxembourg 1963
If there is one thing I would love to achieve from this blog and my top 100 countdown, it is that the younger fans look back at the older contests and discover some classic songs. As most of us know Nana went on to become one of the most successful recording artists to perform at Eurovision and even had a very successful chat show in the United Kingdom.
Yet before all that happened, she represented Luxembourg in 1963 with one of the finest examples of a French chanson I have ever heard. Only a true performer can command such attention while wearing a simple black dress and nothing more than a head shot for most of their performance.
Many say, “always remember where you come from”, and I would say the same to young Eurovision, either in age or fandom. The contest has a rich history and there is so much to explore in its 61 years.
“Luxembourgeois? By the might of prayer”
93. ‘On Aura Le Ciel’– Sofia Mestari, France 2000
Now, I did say people will not always agree with me and I think this will be the first truly controversial choice. Between 1998 and 2001 France were practically non-existent when it came to picking up points from the European juries, yet this didn’t deter them from sending some of their best entries. Sofia- On Aura Le Ciel being the finest example from this period.
I have not been able to find someone who shares the same love that I have for this song and Sofia, the song could come straight from an Alanis Morisette album from the mid to late 90’s. Sofia sounds as if she has been on 20 B & H’s for the last 10 years but even then, I think the roughness of her voice works so well with this song and brings another dimension to it. I do understand why this garnered 5 points; it’s not an instant song and we all know if a song doesn’t have that instant appeal it will never win. Even saying that, it strikes a chord with me, that is why I place this firmly in my top 100.
“The sky is the Limit, keep going France”
- ‘All Out Of Luck’– Selma Iceland 1999
Calm your nerves! That’s what I would have said to Selma before going on stage. I would have said it again in 2005 before her semi final performance as she has always seemed a nervous performer. That being said, she did pull through and gave a great performance nonetheless.
I love All Out Of Luck, its full of fun, it’s pop and irreverent which I adore in equal measures, and she shows how much she is having fun on stage and still managing to do all that tricky choreography. 1999 was the year of silver and pop and this was the best of the bunch. One day Iceland will reach the top spot and I will look forward to the day I see it.
“You make your own luck Selma”
- ‘Lorraine’– Kaffe, Bulgaria 2005
I’m a sucker for a jazzy, mid tempo ballad that would have been more relevant in 1979 that in 2005, yet Bulgaria’s debut is one of my all time favourite Balkan songs. Not unlike Greece’s 1991 entry, this song caught me right from the beginning.
Orlin’s vocals on this song are incredible, and the way he stands on stage immersed in the story of the song just makes me fall in love with the whole thing. This song was never going to win and unlike Israel’s debut, Bulgaria got off to a bad start not even qualifying to the Grand Final. This song will always resonate with me personally as it is the first semi final song I ever voted for and to this day I keep it fondly in my mind. Also help’s that I can sing this song, albeit badly.
“You’ll Never Stand Alone”
See you all next week, when I will count down songs 90-81. 🙂