Caros audiophiles, in honour of this weekend's 55th annual event, this week we are going to "celebrate" the "music" of the Eurovision Song Contest! Oh no, I hear? Oh yes! There really have been (a few) great popular songs that first serenaded our ears at this ridiculous but amusing circus extravaganza, where singers have represented countries that they are not nationals of, participating countries that are not European can be Eurovision for one night...and where one winning female singer happened not to be female! These days the transparently political voting (democracy at war?) of the Baltic and Balkan States ensures that the 'old guard' of the West can never win. So 'Nul Points' Norway have now won 3 times!
But established reputations were never respected. Some famous singers have taken part, but they usually do not win: did you know that Julio Iglesias, Nana Mouskouri, Amalia Rodrigues, Olivia Neutron-Bomb and Cliff Richard have all participated and lost? Only an unknown Celine Dion was a winner (for Switzerland, even though she is Canadian).
Eurovision has its historic moments: everybody remembers ABBA's Waterloo and, in Portugal at least, the significance of Paulo de Carvalho singing, in 1974.
Some other hugely popular songs started life in Eurovision: Volare (1958), Puppet On A String (1967), L'Amour Est Bleu and Congratulations(1968), Tu Te Reconnaitras (1973), Save Your Kisses For Me (1976)... I struggle to think of more recent ones.
Ironically perhaps, one of the most historic moments of Eurovision was not even a song: in 1994 part of the Riverdance show was performed for the very time during the interval before the voting - and received the longest and loudest standing ovation of that night, and every night when it plays around the world!
So here I present a few of my favourite Eurovision songs, strangely all by female singers, plus a video which celebrates Portugal's persistent participation, but which actually represents quite well the story of Eurovision.
Gigliola Cinquetti - Non Ho L'Eta - 1964 Italy (the winning song, and the earliest Euro song I remember as a child)
Vicky Leandros _ Apres Toi - 1972 Luxembourg (even though she is Greek, but she was anyway the winner)
Amina - Le Dernier Qui A Parle - 1991 France (the first time I can recall when a country tried to offer something different; she should have won and changed the face of Eurovision):
Friderika - Kinek Mondjam - 1994 Hungary (even though I don't understand a word; a beautiful simple song well sung; if the rules at that time had permitted her to sing in English or French, maybe she might have won)
Portugal 1964-2008 (well...funny to see how the fashions and haircuts changed through the years!):
So what about Eurovision 2010? Honestly, I don't really care, but maybe I will watch it and who knows, maybe there will emerge one memorable song, one bright comet among the asteroids. Which means almost certainly it will not win...
A proxima (centauri),
A proxima (centauri),