Well we are now into the top 50 of my all time Eurovision countdown and there are some great songs to come. We are now starting to get a feel for the next Eurovision year, their is still some uncertainty from Ukraine as to what is fully happening for 2017 in regards to the Arena, and we also found out this week that we will know the Dutch Artist by the end of October. Before we know it, it will be February and we will be right back into the National Final season.
50. “Prisluhni Mi”- Darja Svajger- Slovenia, 1995
Slovenia was a relatively new nation itself, let alone a new Eurovision participant and after two years of participation the country still hadn’t made an impact on the contest, yet this all changed in 1995.
Slovenia sent the beautiful and talented Darja Svajger to Dublin with the rousing and haunting ballad Prisluhni Mi, a song that builds so well, especially when coupled with Darja undeniable vocal talents. This finally put Slovenia on the Eurovision map and set them up for a great run of entries until the end of the decade.
‘I could listen to you all day Darja’
49. “Autostop”- Anna Vissi & The Epikouri- Greece, 1980
Anna Vissi is now a Eurovision legend with her top 10 fan favourite ‘Everything’ which she performed in Athens, 2006. Although Anna had previously entered the contest on two separate occasions, once for Cyprus (1982) and her first participation for Greece (1980).
I can happily say that I am not a fan of her 2006b entry and while I appreciate the beautiful song “Mono I Agapi” nothing can beat Anna’s first entry Autostop.
Her 1980 entry is fun and ethnic, which for me is a perfect combination that never fails. Anna plays well with her backing singers a the use of traditional Greek instruments on this track screams what Eurovision is all about for me a coming together of different countries.
‘No stopping Anna in the 80’s’
48. “Tih Dezven Dan”- 1X Band- Slovenia, 1993
Can there ever be an up tempo song, with a dark message? That is hat I first thought when I heard this song. It is up tempo, but sounds as if it has been written in a minor key. A weird combination that makes it more intriguing for me, and it even more.
I wouldn’t sound out of place in a jazz bar in the 70’s or 80’s, but I love Cole Moretti’s vocals on the track and the backing vocals bring a whole new dimension to the song. In some way it leaves me feeling sad, and I don’t know why. It is a strange song, I have no qualms in saying that, but it has stuck with me all these years and I was not going to leave it out of my countdown.
Not a great start for Slovenia points wise, but a song I’ll always remember.
‘A song for a quiet rainy day’
- “Slow Down”- Douwe Bob- Netherlands, 2016
Of all the entries released for this year’s contest, “Slow Down” was undoubtedly the most instant in regards to its appeal for me. Douwe did get a bit of a reputation as a ‘lad’ which is understandable given his look and personality that we came to see during the Eurovision Season. It all came to a head in Stockholm were there were claims Douwe and Israel’s Hovi were at loggerheads.
No matter what the arguments were about, it is a song contest and ultimately the song that was better placed better. “Slow Down” reminds me so much of a 90’s T.V. theme tune, something between Auf Wiedersehen Pet and Heartbeat. I Love the juxtaposition of Douwe’s tough boy image and his smart sharp suit. He is a great singer and played to the camera well (if somewhat creepily at the pause).
Once the 2017 season really begins, this will be one of the two songs I remember from the previous year.
‘That’s O.K. Bob, just don’t stop’
46. “Et Uus Saaks Alguse”- Birgit Oigemeel- Estonia, 2013
This song to many may be a bland, run of the mill ballad, yet I have a completely different opinion of it.
It is a beautifully simple ballad that builds well to a great finish, it oozes class and emotion and Birgit is the best person to sell the song. Her voice is fragile which I think works so well with the meaning of the song. She glows on stage, and not only because of the golden background but also the fact that she is pregnant during her Eurovision performance.
It is a shame that she didn’t do better in the contest, yet the song and Birgit herself became very popular in Estonia afterwards, winning numerous awards at home.
‘A new beginning for Birgit’
- “Hajde da Ludujemo”- Tajci- Yugoslavia, 1990
Marilyn Monroe appeared on the Eurovision stage? Oh sorry no that is just Tajci, although she did have more than a striking resemblance to the late Miss Baker.
Tajci was and will always be the only artist to perform on home soil in Yugoslavia, as only 2 years later the state was dissolved and there were the emergence 6 new states (7 by 2006).
Tajci took to the stage with such energy, from her first shout to her last bum wiggle she delivered a confident and polished performance. The song was very much in the vein of the previous year’s winner, up tempo and sung by a young woman backed by a band, unfortunately that wasn’t a formula to keep producing good results as the following year, Bebi Doll came last with Brazil (A not so guilty pleasure).
‘I’m crazy for this song’
- “Hi”- Ofra Haza- Israel, 1983
Yes, I know it’s Israel again, but as I have said previously, between the late 70’s to the mid 80’s they couldn’t be beat in my eyes and this is one reason why.
Ofra Haza became a big name after the contest even lending her vocals to the soundtrack of the Hollywood film “The Prince of Egypt”.
In Munich, Ofra and her backing singers brought those infamous Israeli dance moves of walking from side to side back, the song was similar to Avi’s song the previous year, which isn’t surprising as he had a hand in writing the song itself. The song translates as Alive and no one can deny that this song is alive, it is catchy up tempo and very much the best Eurovision gets.
Ofra died in 1999 of an AIDS related illness, she will always be fondly remembered for her career and especially her Eurovision entry.
‘It’s not goodbye Ofra, just Hi’
- “Eit Lag Enn”- Stjornin- Iceland 1990
Eurovision 1990- the year of the peace song.
The Berlin wall had just been torn down and East and West Berlin had been reunited. Europe was at its most peaceful at least symbolically, and Eurovision 1990 reflected that. It is not surprising, or me at least, that my favourite songs from that year are not peace themed. Although this one is fun and bubbly. It talks about keeping the party going and wanting one more song, and if there is something I love more than anything else it is a good party.
Eit Lag Enn is an infectious piece of pop a typical Euro-song as Mr Wogan described it and it definitely is, a great duet from Iceland with one of my favourite Icelandic artists Sigga.
‘Not one more song, 42 more songs!’
- “Qele, Qele”- Sirusho- Armenia, 2008
The start of this song is the best starter to a Eurovision song I have ever heard. It starts off almost like a religious chant, then slowly the drum beat kicks into to reveal an amazing up tempo ethnic pop song. Sirusho’s vocals are good in the live performance and the choreography was spot on. The song itself is a great example of ethnic pop done well.
Qele, Qele is also to date the highest placing Armenian entry to enter the contest, an achievement shared with 2014’s Aram MP3, which personally is a shame, as this song should have finished at least 2 places higher.
Sirusho went onto to release some great songs, two of which I still listen to, “Erotas” and the amazing “ProGomesh”, if you haven’t heard them, check them out.
‘Come on Europe, Armenia deserve a win’
- “Visionary Dream”- Sopho Khalvashi- Georgia, 2007
Georgia, unlike Armenia, have had varied success in the contest, but for me nothing (yet) can beat their debut entry. Now I remember the mess of their 2007 National final and at that point thinking that come the Semi Final in Helsinki that they would have a big flop on stage, but how wrong am I, and I am happy to say I was wrong in that thought.
Visionary Dream is a great ethnic song, incorporating contemporary beats with traditional instruments and the performance on the Eurovision stage was so much more polished than what had ever been seen before. The, what I can only call, dangerous choreography with swords was incredible and was very fitting with the song, in a strange and somewhat unusual way.
‘A dream-like performance, I can’t quite believe it happened’
Hope you all enjoyed this weeks countdown. Come back next week for the next instalment: 40-31. 😀