We are getting ever so close to my Ultimate Eurovision song. By this time next week you will finally know who is my favourite, and you will have had a sneak peek into what Eurovision looks like for me. Hope you enjoy this weeks countdown.
- “La Mia Citta”- Emma Marrone- Italy, 2014
Ever since Italy’s return they have been a force to be reckoned with achieving 4 top ten finishes so therefore with what you have seen from my countdown I have again favoured the least successful song over those that achieved great placings.
Emma Marrone is possibly Italy’s biggest star of the moment, winning many awards domestically and internationally. So when it was announced that she would represent Italy, it was a big deal for fans of her, at that time I had never heard of her and it was just another artist trying their hand at the contest.
Yet I remember hearing this song for the first time and thinking, this is a winner (unfortunately as we all know now, I was very wrong). La Mia Citta is a great Pop-Rock song about the life in the busy city and Emma performed this so well in Copenhagen. She had such confidence on stage and oozed charisma, shame that the live vocals did not live up to my expectations, but I adore this song and it is always a firm favourite on my playlists. I have to be honest, and I knew from the performance that she would languish at the bottom, but with many performances on the night, the song may be great, but that is not the only factor.
The album this song was taken from “Schiena” is great and I also love the song Amami, check it out.
‘Come hang out in My City any day’
- “Desfolhada Portugesa”- Simone De Oliviera- Portugal, 1969
If there is one country that I think have been more hard done by than any other it has to be Portugal. Over the years they have given us some of the best Eurovision performances, and this one is no different.
Simone De Oliviera, who now is nothing short of an icon in her homeland returned to the contest four years after her debut for Portugal, in 1969. She has one of those distinguishable voices, similar to Bonnie Tyler, where she could have smoked 40 a day but it doesn’t take away from the emotion she conveys in her performance.
Portugal are well over due a win, being the longest competing country without a win. While I don’t think this should have won, it should have been France that has already featured on my list. This is the song I see myself listening to more out of the two (if only slightly).
‘One day they will reach the top’
- “Mia Krifi Evaisthisia”- Thalassa- Greece, 1998
I am guessing, that quite a lot of the younger/new fans will think what is this song. Also I guess the older fans will ask the exact same question, and why is it not only featured in my countdown, but so high up. Well I don’t know either. I have a soft spot for a fragile and emotive vocal sung by a beautiful woman.
The song is the closest I have ever heard to a track by my favourite band Heart. Heart are a Hard/Folk Rock band originally from Seattle, some may know of their songs These Dreams and Alone. It reminds me of their early nineties music.
Mia Krifi Evaithisia is a true hard-rock song, and the fact it is sung in Dionisia’s mother tongue just adds to my love of it. It was too adventurous I think for Eurovision at that time, and with the heavy weights of Dana International and Chiara it really never had a chance.
Although I am happy I can give it some recognition (however little it may be).
‘I’m under no illusion, I really love it!’
- “Si”- Gigliola Cinquetti- Italy, 1974
Well the year of ABBA, how did anything have a chance? But this song surprised many.
Of course the Swedish super group won the contest, and I can understand completely why, it was a great song and performance. Although Italy obviously wanted to bring the trophy home, and drafted in to date their only winner Gigliola. After her win with “No Ho L’Eta” a decade previously, she came back with a more song that had more gravitas and more emotive, I guess it suited her as she was now a woman, having only been 16 years old when she won the Grand Prix in Denmark.
Si did not chart well at all, after its censorship in Italy due to a referendum the country was taking part in at the time of the contest. The vote was to repeal the law passed three years prior allowing divorces to take place. “Si” was seen as a song with a subliminal message, and it was censored until the vote had taken place, with the contest not even being shown in Italy as well.
The song did though become a hit in one unusual country after the contest, The United Kingdom. “Go (Before You Break My Heart)” the English version of the song enter the top ten of the British charts in June of that year. This was quite a feat for a non-winning, non-British Eurovision song in the U.K.
‘I Go nowhere without this song’
- “Ein Lied Kann Ein Brucke Sein”- Joy Fleming- Germany, 1975
After a run of successful entries in the early 70’s, Germany were hungry for their first win. By 1975, they came to the contest with a song that was very reminiscent of those successful entries, but with so much more attack and gusto.
There is not another song that starts off with so much attack and continues with that energy to the end. From the stamping of the conductor’s feet and shouting 1,2,3 to Joy’s screech, this song doesn’t give up, and it really is a shame that Germany didn’t do better with this song.
I recently seen a video of Joy performing this song years later and she had just as much energy as she did in Stockholm over 40 years ago. She makes me smile every time I watch her perform this song, and you just know she loves performing this.
‘The original bridge builder’
- “Naetur”- Sigga- Iceland, 1994
After two successful entries in the contest Sigga came back hoping for a win, and if I was the only Juror in charge this could well have been the case. There is no denying that Sigga is a great singer, and in my opinion the best artist they have ever sent to the competition.
She took to the Dublin stage with a quintessential 90’s bob and belted out this ethereal ballad with all the might that she had, helped along by some of the best backing singers I have ever heard in the contest and on the Night she blew the competition away (in my opinion).
The song has a real up lifting feel to it, this is a shining beacon of when Iceland get it completely right. I feel for Sigga that this was ultimately her least successful outing at Eurovision. But she can rest knowing that she has one massive fan here in Northern Ireland.
‘I could listen to Sigga, any night of the week’
24. “Hasheket SheNish’ar”- Shiri Maimon- Israel, 2005
I must say that the first thing I ever remember about the performance of this song was “that dress”. There is no denying that Shiri is a gorgeous lady, and that dress was accentuating every curve she possibly had to great effect. Although at the end of the song I thought she was going to burst out of it, after belting out those high notes.
Yes, it’s Israel again I know, they are unstoppable, and this is a great example of a great Israeli Ballad. I am guessing that once I have finished my countdown I should look back at it and tally all the countries featured to see who is my Top 10 Eurovision countries. I am guessing they will be high up.
Anyhow, Hahseket SheNish’ar is a rousing ballad about love, and we all know that when these types of ballads are performed well they can’t be beat, and this is why this became so successful. Finishing 4th in the contest was a great result, although I am sure disappointing for Shiri herself.
‘The song remains in my head after all this time’
- “Bra Vibrationer”- Kikki Danielsson- Sweden, 1985
Bouncy, poppy and fun? Must be Swedish Schlager, right? Yes, it is. If there is one thing that Sweden produced well in the 80’s it was schlager pop music and this is the best example from the Contest.
Kikki was no stranger to the contest having performed as part of the band Chips in 1982 alongside fellow 1985 competitor Elisabeth Andreassen. I can only imagine that competing against each other only three years later was a strange occurance, but it’s something I love about Eurovision, that you get these wee bits of useless trivia.
“Bra Vibrationer” which Lill Lindfords said may sound strange to English speaking viewers, whatever could she mean? No matter what the song didn’t sound strange to any viewers or Jurors for that matter as Kikki walked away with 3rd place on home soil, a great result. I must also mention those dancers, some of the quirkiest choreography ever but so effective, Loved it! I challenge anyone not to feel good after listening to this song, at the end of the day, that is the meaning of the song.
“I have a good feeling about this song”
- “Ahava Hi Shir Lashnayim”- Ilanit- Israel, 1977
Well we have a return from a participant that has been featured on the countdown. As we know Ilanit represented Israel in 1973 on their debut, but for me, even though I do love “Ey Sham”, it is “Ahava Hi Shir Lashnayim” that ends up highest in the battle between those entries.
Ilanit came back to the contest after continuing her success at home in Israel, with a much anticipated win, it has always baffled me why this song never done well at that contest, even with the strong entries on show that year. Unlike Ey Sham, the song starts out quieter for longer and builds to a great crescendo this makes Ilanit’s voice more fragile at the start, but when song gets to its final stages her voice strengthens. Yet she only managed to garner 11th place, 7 places lower than her 1973 performance (ludicrious).
“Love is for everyone, so sing it loud”
- “T’en Va Pas”- Esther Ofarim- Switzerland, 1963
This is such a Disney song, I thought this from the first time I had heard it. This is one of the songs that really makes me want younger/newer fans to look back at the older contests and see how good it was. 1963 had such big names in it, some not fully realised at the time like Nana Mouskouri as well as Ronnie Carroll and Francois Hardy. Esther Ofarim was a big star in Israel, but as they didn’t debut for another ten years, she lent her services to the Swiss nation.
She has such a beautifully strong voice, a rich and deep but very feminine and was the perfect choice to sing this song. In a year like 1963, to me the original ‘Vintage Year’ this was a real gem, and the fact it almost won (Thanks Norway!), makes it even better.
Esther really came to prominence in the U.K. 5 years later when she and her Husband at the time Abi Ofarim scored a massive number one chart hit with “Cinderella Rockefella”.
‘I would never leave this song on the cutting room floor’
Come back next week, as I will be counting down my top 20 and finally revealing, My All Time Eurovision Song. 😀