Here Are Eight Good Things that Came Out of Sixty Years of Eurovision
1: France Gall & Serge Gainsbourg
The eighteen year-old French ye-ye singer France Gall was chosen to represent Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest 1965.
The song chosen was “Poupee de cire, poupée de son” written by Serge Gainsbourg — known for his provocative compositions and steamy relationship with Jane Birkin.
The lyrics of the Eurovision song suggested that the singer was trying to escape the controlling personality of a Svengali character — and that was, in fact, at least half true. Gall later admitted that she had felt manipulated by Gainsbourg right from the start.
2: Milly Scott
Milly Scott is a singer and actress of Dutch Surinamese origin and was the first black singer to appear in the contest (1966).
Her song “Fernando en Filippo” was about Fernando — a guitarist from Santiago — who was in love with a girl from San Antonio. There is some controversy that the song only reached sixteenth position and Scott later claimed that this was partly due to racism.
3: Agnetha Faltskog
Long before the fame of ABBA, when Moroccan singer Frida Boccara delighted the audience with the French entry ‘Un Jour, Un Enfant’ (joint winner in the competition in 1964) the label continued to record versions of the song in different languages to sell across the continent.
Although Frida was able to record her own song in various different versions, she was not able to cut in Swedish. Agnetha stepped up to record it on her behalf.
4: Julio Iglesias
The Spanish singer/songwriter and world superstar represented Spain in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in fourth place with Gwendoline (written by Iglesias himself.)
The song was then recorded in five languages and went on to gain success.
It proved to be the turning point for Julio’s career.
5: Australia Entering the Contest
In 1972 the UK was beaten into second place by Vicky Leandros (Apres Toi).
But the strong UK entry ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’ was performed by a very successful band…
‘The New Seekers‘ included two Australian Artists (Peter and Marty.)
Peter Doyle was already a thriving Australian artist — releasing more than forty records in the Australian continent, before heading to Britain to join the new project.
Marty Kristian was actually born in Germany but grew up in Melbourne.
The following year, 1973, another Australian (born in England, but emigrated over) named Olivia Newton-John sung ‘Long Live Love’ for Great Britain.
6: Canada Entering the Contest
Celine Dion (born Quebec, Canada) won for Switzerland in 1988 (singing a song co-written by Turkish composer Atilla Sereftug.)
It was performed in French. “Ne partez pas sans moi” (“Don’t Leave Without Me”) and was a clear winner.
It is generally accepted that this song helped launch the international career of Dion.
7: Gina G’s Cut-Down Dress
The UK exposed another Australian in the competition in 1996 — this time it was Gina G — born Gina Maria Gardine in Melbourne.
On the night she wore a fabulously cut-down dress [you can find the video if you search] that had been famously rejected by Cher ( suggesting that it was too revealing for Cher… of all people!)
It was fabricated out of tiny gold discs and designed by Paco Rabanne.
She had the dress trimmed to about half its original size. The effect was stunning (but the song was sung poorly ‘Ooh Aah… Just A Little Bit’ and placed eighth.)
8: America Winning the Contest
In 1997 America won the contest for Britain.
Katrina Leskanich was born in Kansas, but eventually settled in Norfolk, England, in 1976.
She inherited an existing band near Cambridge (England) and soon Katrina started making waves in Canada.
It was there that she found some recording successes.
In 1997 the band won the song contest for the United Kingdom with “Love Shine a Light” written by the band’s English guitarist Kimberley Rew.
Words: @neilmach 2015 ©