Welcome back to my Eurovision countdown, hope you enjoyed last week’s 10 songs and stay for the next part in my all time, Eurovision top 100 countdown.
- ‘Sva Bol Svijeta ’– Fazla, Bosnia and Herzegovina 1993
1993 is a vintage Eurovision year for me along with 1991 and 1977 and it is forever etched on my mind due to it being the first recording of a Eurovision I ever bought. This was the first year that there were preliminary rounds and all three former Yugoslav countries made it to Millstreet.
Bosnia were in the middle of one of the most violent wars in history when they made their debut as an independent country in the contest. The fact that the whole delegation left their homeland under gunfire to reach Ireland is commitment in itself. This also resonated with the audience on the night of the performance, and they received as big applause as the home entry. The song itself tugs at my heartstrings with each riff of the guitar and the amazing vocals. I don’t need to understand the lyrics to fully understand the meaning of the song, as it is conveyed through the emotion of the artists. A great debut and terribly under marked.
“With all the love in the world”
- ‘Terminal Three’ – Linda Martin, Ireland 1984
Now here is a song I never thought would make it into my top 100. I love Linda’s voice, yet I was never a fan of her Eurovision entries, that was until last year. One cold winter night while passing the evening with a colouring book and YouTube I stumbled across the 1984 contest and decided to revisit it.
This was one of the songs that really stood out for me while it was playing in the background. She is a siren and plays to the camera perfectly, although the choreography does leave a lot to be desired. I guess she took this into consideration as she done somewhat better next time around by standing still throughout her 1992 winner. This is by far the best song from both Linda and Johnny Logan.
“Flying above the rest”
- ‘Still In Love With You’ – Electro Velvet, United Kingdom 2015
OK! OK! OK!
I understand that most of you’s are spitting your gin (or other beverages) out, yet this song has to feature on my countdown. The UK is my home country and I do like to see them do well, yet I must say that I don’t find many of our entries over the years, memorable. This makes it more special when a song comes along that not only do I like but can get behind.
2015 was the year that the UK was going to slay the competition, Molly Smitten-Downes brought credibility to the competition (in the UK at least) in 2014 and everyone was expecting a great song, a potential winner in 2015. Then we got this song. I adored it from the start, but it was always going to be a marmite song, and it was to divisive to ever garner enough votes on the night. Although personally I love the 20’s swing jazz feel to the song, at the end of the day, when it comes to Strictly Come Dancing, who doesn’t love the Charleston?
“Still in love with this song”
- ‘Fernando En Filippo’ – Milly Scott, Netherlands 1966
Back to the 60’s and to The Netherlands. Europe in the decade of mini-skirts and The Beatles hadn’t changed too much in regards to their views on equality. Most singers up until 1966 were of Western European descent, so it was refreshing to see that The Netherlands were radical in their representative, by showing that there where people of all religions, races etc, and that Europe was an inclusive continent with place for everyone.
Milly bounces on and off stage with such irreverence and delivered one of the most energetic performances that had been seen in the contest to date. This type of song would never have won the contest in the 60’s, the contest was still seen as a light-entertainment programme for the sophisticated populations of Europe and this song and performance probably looked a little out of place in comparison to everything on show that evening. Even so, this is a great song about a vicious love triangle and I really do have to give props to the two guys in sombreros and ponchos playing the guitar. Fernando and Filippo were well represented on stage.
“Share with us Milly”
- ‘Europe’s Living A Celebration’ – Rosa, Spain 2002
2002 brought a new format for Spain’s Eurovision National Final. Operacion Triunfo, a Pop Idol style singing competition was devised to find a winner that went on to represent their country at the Contest in Tallinn. The winner Rosa was by all means a surprise winner in Spain, yet brought one of my all time favourite songs to the contest.
You cannot help but love the fun and poppy nature of this song from the first shout of “Celebration”. I mean everything about this is pure ‘Eurovision fun’, although I don’t know if I can forgive the outfits. What was it with girls in the early to mid noughties wanting to dress like a cowgirl? It may be 14 years later, but Europe is still living a celebration, and even bigger and brighter.
“We are still living it”
- ‘Suus’ – Rona Nishliu, Albania 2012
2012 will always go down as one of the most predictable years in the contests history. From the moment Loreen won Melodifestivalen, everyone knew that ESC 2013 was going to be broadcast from Sweden. Yet I was adamant that one song would always do well. Albania are very much a hit or miss type of Eurovision country, when they get it right, they really go for it. This was the case for me with Suus.
Rona is a world class performer and what she brought to the stage was nothing less than pure art, whether you do or do not like the song, everyone should be able to appreciate this for what it is. This song would never have become a chart hit, but with a song this good it would almost be criminal to let this chart among the drivel that makes up the charts these days.
“Personally? I love it”
- ‘A Million Voices’ – Polina Gagarina, Russia 2015
I’m not even going to be apologetic about this, Russia should have won in 2015, and we should have been heading to Moscow/St Petersburg in 2016. Sweden’s song was nothing special, very much disposable pop (most likely why it won).
I am always first to defend the rights of others and I completely condemn the actions of the Russian government on the LGBT community. After all I am gay myself, yet Eurovision is a Song contest, and it has always annoyed me the Russia gets booed when they are represented. I felt this ultimately played a part in their failure to lift the trophy in 2015 (Shameful!).
Polina’s vocals are sublime on this track and my household were in agreement that she should have won that night. It is unfortunate that many cannot separate individuals that want to share their talent with the world, from the political regime they live under.
“From one voice to a million hearts”
- ‘Fra Mols Til Skagen’ – Aud Wilken, Denmark 1995
My taste in Eurovision songs has seemed to mature in recent years, and that results in many songs that I never thought would make the list, ending up on my countdown. 1995 is always seen as the year that Spain was robbed of a victory, and while Vuelve Conmigo has all the ingredients to be a classic Eurovision song, it is in fact another beauty that makes my list.
Aud Wilken’s voice is so unique and the world music feel to the song is so interesting to my ears. I love a song that makes me intrigued to go back and listen again, there are a lot of nuances in the song and I think this ultimately has made me fall in love with it. This has become a Euro-classic and a Jewel in Denmark’s Eurovision Crown.
“From Eurovision to My Heart”
- ‘Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida’ – Cleopatra, Greece 1992
What is it with Greek women in the early 90’s, they can do no wrong, and they really do confirm that there are Greek goddesses. The language is so mystical to me and this song reminds me of those early 90’s adventure film theme tunes.
Cleopatra looked stunning in her simple black dress with aquamarine scarf, from the minute that dragon sneezes dry ice till the moment she raises her hand into the air, I am transfixed and the song just takes me on a journey. How can you ask for more? Greece was in its hay-day here.
“Cleopatra never needed hope”
- ‘Aufrecht Geh’n’ – Mary Roos, Germany 1984
By 1984 Mary Roos was a Eurovision veteran, having secured a top 3 finish in 1972 when the contest was held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Unfortunately, this time round Mary couldn’t replicate her success and finished 13th in Luxembourg. What I have seen become a trend when compiling my top 100 is that I usually prefer a returning singers lesser successful entry.
Mary received a lot of criticism after her 1972 German National Final victory firstly for the voting but also for her vocals. I enjoy Mary’s vocals, especially on Aufrecht Geh’n; she is one of those performers that you feel confident will always deliver a competent performance. I have a soft spot for this song, and although would never have won, still makes me feel fuzzy inside, German schlager usually does this to me.
“Walk Tall Mary, I’m ‘Roo’-ting for you”
See you all next week, when I will count down songs 80-71.