Another week has gone by, and still no news on the host city. My patience can only last so long, and it is wearing thin. Anyways, here is the next installment of my Eurovision Countdown.
- ‘Ceol An Ghra’– Sandie Jones- Ireland, 1972
Only once has Ireland been represented with a Gaelic language song, and it is such a shame it didn’t make a bigger impact on the contest.
Gaelic, similar to Latin is seen by many as a dead language, with only a very small minority of the Irish population using it as their first language. It was a brave move for Ireland to go for a unique concept, especially since up until the 1972 contest they had a good track record, with a win and no less than 4 top 5 finishes under their belt in the 8 years since they debuted.
Gaelic is a beautiful language if somewhat strange to the ear at times. Sandie gave such a confident performance, which should be commended, as during her performance most of the front row was disrupted due to dirty water having been thrown over them.
It was very much of its time, but it is the nostalgic feel I get, that makes me love it even more.
‘What a Ceol move Ireland’
- ‘Främling’– Carola- Sweden, 1983
Carola. One of the few artists to grace the Eurovision stage on three separate occasions. Although, for me each time she came back she lost a bit of the spark she had from the previous time. The three entries that she has given us over the years, Främling would have been the best winner.
At 16 Carola gave such a magnificent performance on the Munich stage and I feel that in 1991 and 2006 she lost some of her authenticity. I think for me, this is mainly due to the heavily, even over-choreographed entries she returned with. All she needed was that iconic 80’s dance move, the side to side step, a difficult move to master. This is the song that shows of her powerful voice, and it is a crime that Sweden only came 3rd in 1983, when you see what they won with the following year.
‘She ain’t a stranger to us’
- ‘Sound of Silence’– Dami Im- Australia, 2016
Well I’m sure that my choice of Dami Im will be controversial, if Australia’s participation is anything to go by. I personally love to see the contest grow and diversify, as I said previously, we should not forget the origins of the contest, but in order for us to enjoy it for years to come it must become more inclusive.
Opening the contest up to more countries can only strengthen its objective and Australia has proved that they can become very relevant. They have showed this over the last two years, with two top 5 finishes and an almost win this year with Sound of Silence. Dami lifted the roof off the Globe Arena back in May and etched her voice into my heart. This is a great modern ballad and really showed that Australia where ready to play the game. Some may wonder why I have a brand new Eurovision song in my countdown. The answer is no matter how old a song is or how many times you’ve heard it, if it resonates with you, it automatically becomes a favourite.
‘Anything but silent’
- ‘Is It True?’– Yohanna- Iceland, 2009
Robbed! Robbed! Robbed!
Not unlike 1999, Iceland came to the contest with an amazing song, sung by a gorgeous and talented singer, albeit someone less nervous.
The strongest vocals on show on 2009, Yohanna owned the stage and gave such an emotional performance. This still didn’t secure the island nation their first win, and they had to settle for their second, 2nd place finish. Yohanna is stunning, as long as you don’t look lower than her neck (that dress!!). Norway’s runaway win is completely unjustified and Iceland should have picked up a big portion of their votes that year.
2009 is a year of very strong songs and performances, a well staged contest and very competent hosts. Yet this is the only song that has made it from that edition, into my top 100.
‘It is Yohanna, you lost. Such a travesty’
- ‘Once In A Lifetime’– Ines- Estonia 2001
Tallinn via Nashville- that’s what you would think if you saw Estonia’s 2000 entry. This is a gem, such a 90’s pop performance with a Stetson thrown in for good measure.
After their dismal debut, Estonia were finally finding their feet in the contest and after a credible result in Jerusalem, they arrived in Stockholm to conquer Europe. How they didn’t I will never know. Ines performed this song with such ease and looked so comfortable on that stage, to think that she only came 4th and her boyfriend went on to win for the Baltic state the next year is such a scam.
I keep saying to myself, their 2001 win was a sorry from Europe for not crowning them victors the previous year.
‘Stetsons at the ready, Estonia brought the big guns’
- ‘Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu’– Domenico Mudugno- Italy, 1958
The first and to date; only Eurovision song to win a Grammy, so it would be criminal to exclude this from any Eurovision countdown.
One of the most covered songs ever and it started its life on the humble Hilversum stage, it will go down as one of the all time Eurovision crimes that this song didn’t win in 1958. Yet I suppose that is why I love the contest, it isn’t predictable, and it is irritating at times, though always has me coming back for more. Domenico throws himself fully into this performance with his arms waving above his head and that strong voice cementing why this became an international hit. With the likes of Dean Martin, Bobby Rydell and Andrea Bocelli releasing their versions over the years it shows the songs longevity. I have to say though, the only cover version of this song I love is the Gypsy King’s version.
‘Should have gotten the blue ribbon’
- ‘Ooh ahh… Just A Little Bit’– Gina G- United Kingdom, 1996
It is only by pure coincidence that they next song on my list is the only other Eurovision song to be nominated for a Grammy. The U.K had been having a good run of results in the early 90’s. After what looked like a few years of decreasing fortune in 1994/95 they came back to the contest with the most contemporary song to ever participate in the contest to that date.
Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit had hit number 1 on the week of the 1996 contest, beating George Michael into second place on the charts. It really was Gina’s to lose, and she did with one BUM note!
There is no doubt that this was the most modern song to come out of any contest in the last 30 years, and although I don’t think the vocals were bad enough to warrant the song coming 8th, I guess jurors did have to look at the whole package. This didn’t hurt Gina’s career and after this single she had further hits into the late 90’s.
‘More than a “little bit” proud of this entry’
- ‘The Wages Of Love’– Muriel Day- Ireland, 1969
Bopping about onto the stage in a neon-green bat wing mini dress, do I need any more of a reason to love this song?
Muriel must be the most vivacious Eurovision performer, and the song is just a joyous, bubbly feel good entry. It does everything right, makes you smile and feel completely nostalgic (and I wasn’t even born for another 23 years).
This is one of the songs I have loved from its first listen. Muriel Day was big on the Showband circuit in Ireland and had been performing all over the country for years. The controversy surrounding her participation was ridiculous, although not surprising at that time. A Northern Ireland Protestant representing predominantly Catholic Ireland was unfathomable.
I must say I am somewhat biased in my choice here. Muriel Day (Galway) is from my hometown of Newtownards on the shores of Strangford Lough. A great ambassador for the town and has never forgotten her roots of performing in the town’s Young Farmers Club. It is great to have such a strong connection between my hometown and Eurovision.
‘Building Bridges on Love’
- ‘Eres Tu’– Mocedades- Spain, 1973
I have run into a string of highly successful songs internationally. After Nel Blu Dipinto Del Blu, Mocedades 1973 entry is the most successful Eurovision song on the American charts, the fact that in its original Spanish version it reached the top 10 Billboard chart is a mean feat. A massive hit on the Latin charts and subsequent covers also followed.
Amaya is the reason I love this song, there are only a few people that can really convey the emotion of a song through their performance and she is one of them, she takes me on an emotional journey from her first note, to her last. Those vocals are on another level- pure talent. The set up of the band and the style of music gives me a Mama’s and the Papa’s type feel to it, and they are in my top 5 favourite all time artists.
‘”Touch the wind”? Touches my heart’
- ‘Ole, Ole’– Izhar Cohen- Israel, 1985
Israel knows how to party, and this is no exception, they also love their dancing and have given Eurovision some memorable performances over the years.
After the emotion of number 72, I am happy to be up and dancing to this song, it is great to have a contrast, it makes this process so much more interesting.
Yes! I am listening to these while I’m writing this.
Izhar, although winning in 1978 has joined those infamous returnees on my list, where his second entry is my favourite. Now I must ask, who is that shouting Ole, Ole in the background? Sounds like they are dying, which is never good on stage. Either way, this is fun-filled and frivolous which I just adore. 1985 is one of those vintage Eurovision years and Israel really couldn’t be touched in the 80’s, sending some of their best entries that decade. I am an 80’s kid after all (although I was born in 1992).
‘Chanting their way into my countdown’
Come back next week for the following installment of my Top 100 countdown: 70-61.