Welcome back, hope you all have had a good week in Euro land, and finally we know that we are going to Kiev next year. What a shock, although I did want Odessa. Anyways here is the next instalment of my countdown. Enjoy folks.
- ‘Hero’- Charlotte Perrelli– Sweden, 2008
I will be the first to say that, similar to 2007, 2008 is not a year I look back at fondly, even if one or two songs did leave an impression on me.
After her 1999 victory Charlotte came back to the Eurovision fold with a high energy dance track, a different sound to Take Me to Your Heaven, albeit a better one, for me at least.
This was the pre-contest favourite, and it is easy to see why. The track has a rousing and dramatic up-tempo beat with a great key change not to mention in safe hands by being sung by a previous winner. So how could it fail? That’s an answer I can’t give, because I’m still shocked myself, 8 years later. The more shocking aspect is, that if the juries hadn’t been reintroduced this year, then ‘Hero’ wouldn’t even have made it out of it’s semi-final.
This is by far the better of her two entries, and the fact that my father loves this song just makes it more special to me, the reason as to why, I will leave that unanswered.
‘My love for this will survive’
- ‘Stjarnorna’- Roger Pontare & Marie Bergman- Sweden 1994
Long before spirits where calling his name, Roger Pontare appeared in the contest as part of a duet with the goddess that is Marie Bergman.
Unlike their 2000 entry, Sweden’s 1994 offering was a slower and more gentle song, a love ballad that oozed class and elegance. The song had the unenviable task of opening the 1994 contest, yet they done it in great style and it remains one of my favourite openings to a contest ever.
I don’t know too much about what the lyrics mean, but I can imagine what they mean, star crossed lovers searching for each other and finding each other. At least that is what I see when I watch their performance, it is so sweet and simple, a perfect combination.
‘Reach for the stars Sweden’
- ‘Ellada Hora Tou Fotos’- Keti Garbi- Greece, 1993
Just like the previous two years, Greece came back to the contest with a Beautiful and talented lady in Keti Garbi. Greece Really did deserve to win in the early 1990’s, although this year had such strong competition, that their top ten finish is one they should be very proud of.
Keti oozes sex appeal, in a very skin tight, risqué dress as she sings about her glistening homeland of Greece. This song gives you a great mix of contemporary and ethnic sounds, and was sung very well. She danced about on stage and gives a fantastic rendition of the song. 1993 is the hardest year to pick a top 10. It therefore goes without saying that this song made a great impression on me and was featured so highly on my countdown.
‘Keti- the sex kitten of Greece’
- ‘Viel Zu Weit’- Munchener Freiheit- Germany, 1993
Many Younger fans may not have seen the 1993, I myself am only 24 years old. So when Munchener Freiheit took to the Millstreet stage I was still in nappies. Yet when I first bought JKO’s book on Eurovision back in the early 2000’s, youtube didn’t have the full contests uploaded. Luckily I found a website selling full copies of most contests for £20, and the 1993 contest was the first DVD I bought (4 weeks pocket money well spent). I played the heck out of that DVD, and I am guessing that is why 1993 plays such a big part in my countdown *HINT* *HINT*, as well as my whole Eurovision fandom.
I can’t explain why I love this song, the band were big in Europe and had a minor hit in the U.K. with ‘Keeping the Dream Alive’, yet I had never heard of them before I first pressed play. I think it is the relaxed nature of the song and the melody that brings me back for more listening, I can understand why many will think “why has he picked this”, all I can say is, when a song grabs you it never let’s go.
‘Too much love for this song’
- ‘Hora’- Avi Toledano- Israel, 1982
Israel’s heyday in the contest, for me at least, was the 70’s and 80’s. They brought such fun and energy to the Eurovision stage and this is a great example of what I mean.
Hora is a dance, and they certainly make the most of the songs title as the use all the space on the tiny Harrogate stage. I am taking nothing away from Germany’s first win, and Nicole is a deserving winner, but this would have been my winner in 1982.
Avi’s vocals are strong, he belts this out with such gusto and breaks into dance with his backing singers. It is pure cheese, pop, Eurovision at its best, it has all the elements upbeat, danceable and a great big injection of the performers ethnicity, while still having room for some of this infamous lyrics “la, la, la”.
‘Hora the night away’
- ‘Vi Maler Byen Rod’- Birthe Kjaer- Denmark, 1989
Camp, Cheese, Fun. Will that do? I really don’t have to say anything else, this song speaks for itself. 26 years after their first and only win, Denmark came to the contest with a corker of a song, not unlike Malta they did leave the fold for a long period of time, after 10 years they returned in 1977 but took them a few years to find their feet, by the end of the 1980’s they were riding high but just hadn’t secured that second victory.
Birthe is the Danish version of our Cilla, she has a voice of experience. Vi Maler Byen Rod is very jazzy and comes alive thanks to the Orchestra, I don’t think it would have the same impact on playback. The most enjoyable part of the performance for me is the involvement of the conductor, who comes on stage halfway through to provide backing vocals. It is a great party song and I am guessing that is very much the reason it remains a fan favourite 27 years later.
‘Birthe can paint the town any colour’
- ‘Pas Pour Moi’- Daniela Simons- Switzerland, 1986
Switzerland will always argue that 1986 is the year they should have won, and I would tend to agree with them, albeit for a different reason.
Belgium had always done well in the contest, but a win was always just out of their grasp. So when Sandra Kim lifted the trophy in 86, it does come as a surprise that some broadcasters were miffed at the win. Although the EBU were told that the singer was 15 she was in fact 13. An age many thought was too young to participate. There was no age rule at that stage, and after a couple of young participants brought more light to the issue at the end of the decade, by the start of the 1990’s a new rule had been introduced to stop the participation of children.
A song, that for years I had only read about but never actually listened to was Pas Pour Moi, it took me until on random Sunday afternoon with ESC Radio on to finally hear the song. I instantly loved it and wished I had listened to it earlier. Daniela had a great song, it builds to a rousing finish and let’s be honest who doesn’t love a good piano ballad. If anything I prefer this to Celine’s winning entry for Switzerland 2 years later.
‘This song is definitely for me’
- ‘Als Het Om De Liefde Gaat’- Sandra & Andres- Netherlands, 1972
This song gives me Sha-la-lie/I See a Star vibes, although Sandra & Andres are far more of their time and that is why it works for them and Mouth and MacNeal, where unfortunately Sieneke didn’t.
Sandra & Andres are the ultimate duet, they bounce about on stage with such wreckless abandon and get everyone in the party mood. Sandra came back to the contest 3 times after this, but never replicated the success that she had with this entry. Although I do have a soft spot for her 1979 entry ‘Colorado’, unfortunately that didn’t make it into my countdown.
‘It’s all about this song’
- ‘Cross Your Heart’- Tina Reynolds- Ireland, 1972
Ireland were on a high after winning in 1970 nd hosting in 1971. After their less than successful entries in 1972/3 they came back to the contest with a bit of fun. Ina’s participation was more than likely a thank you from RTE for standing in as Maxi’s replacement the previous year, up until the evening of the 1973 contest when the original singer decided to put differences aside and represent her country.
Cross You Heart is a simple song, that give you encouragement, that no matter what life throws at you, get up and do what makes you happy. A generous amount of la la la’s in a song always makes its more upbeat and enjoyable, the Spanish know all about that.
Tina is an infectious singer/performer and it shows through the enjoyment she has singing this entry. She reminds me of all those Irish Mammy’s that like to show off their vocal talents, how much or little they have is questionable, although Tina’s vocals are not.
‘Cross my heart, and hope to hear this again’
- ‘Un Premier Amour’- Isabelle Aubret- France, 1962
I have gotten to this far in my countdown and not had a single Eurovision winner. It makes it all the more fitting that I reach the halfway point in my countdown with one of my favourite winners of all time, and an underestimated one at that.
Of course, some will have only heard of this song for the first time today, yet this is a song I have adored for years. Now I am a sucker for a French Chanson, as you will all know by now, and Isabelle gives this to me with buckets of grace and elegance.
France in the early days of the contest were a force to be reckoned with, which seems hard to believe as they haven’t had a victory in almost 40 years. This song showcases wonderfully why they done so well in the early contests, this was the calibre of their songs, they wanted to prove that just like the stylish Italians, the French can produce great music.
Un Premier Amour is an excellent example of a French Chanson and Isabelle didn’t disappoint when she returned in 1968 with her 3rd placing entry ‘La Source’, although of her two entries I do prefer her winning song.
‘My first winner, my love’
Come back next week for the following instalment of my Top 100 countdown: 50-41 😀