Okay – they won’t be quite so secrets after I publish a blog post about them! Eurovision week is upon us again, and this year AUSTRALIA have an entry. No, I have no idea how they justify that but we do love the world’s biggest song contest here in Australia.
Have I ever personally been to Eurovision? Sadly, no. The closest I got was when I went to Turkey in 2004 and was in Istanbul on the night of the final. I spent the evening in Taksim Square where there was a big screen and a small crowd. As Turkey is in the East of Europe, it started quite late – after nine maybe 10pm, to be better for TV in the UK and Western Europe. It was a lot of fun to be there at the time and I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning to watch all the votes and see Ruslana take away the Ukraine’s first win.
Inspired by many posts I’ve seen in the last week or two, I’ve decided a post or two on the competition that encompasses so many countries was in order. So, let’s start with some of the songs I absolutely loved (that didn’t win) and then I’ll do another post talking about the strangest entries I remember. My Eurovision exposure is not as good as other bloggers going around, I confess the last few years have not grabbed my interest, and I only really started watching with keen interest in 2003.
Parlez-Vous Francais? [Baccara]
Actually I like the English version better, but this is classic Eurovision from Luxembourg in 1978, and always gets me tapping and singing along when I hear it.
Stronger Every Minute [Lisa Andreas]
This one is a beautiful love song bashed out by a fifteen year old girl from Britain. Singing for Cyprus. Well, you don’t have to be from the same country to sing for it. Olivia Newton-John has sung for the UK for example, and a few years ago the singer for Germany was also an Australian. This was from the 2004 competition so the first time I heard it I was in Taksim Square in Istanbul under the big screen.
Shady Lady [Ani Lorak]
2008 and the Ukraine, who gave us Ruslana and Tina Karol, give us this show stopper sing by Ani Lorak. What it is about the Ukrainian entries? There seems to be a theme running through them, especially at this juncture in time. It’s an incredibly catchy tune and the light box is very clever as part of the act too. Not sure the lyrics make a lot of sense, which is always the hallmark of a good Eurovision track.
Northern Girl [Prime Minister]
This one is definitely in the ‘so bad it’s good’ category, yet I still think is quite catchy. I was particularly happy to find a clip with Terry Wogan’s commentary leading into the song. It’s a little cruel, but funny nonetheless! This is Russia’s entry from 2002 and I think still my favourite entry from this country. AND the group are all dressed in white. They used to all be dressed in white you know.
Mr Nobody [Anzej Dezan]
How this didn’t make it to the 2006 final, I will never know. It’s one of the greatest Eurovision songs EVER. Anzej Dezan hails from and sings for Slovenia, and I tell you when this song comes on wherever I am I turn it up to full and belt it out. And do the dance moves too!
Questa Notte [Bonaparti.lv]
When you think of opera singers belting out a powerful tune in Italian, you KNOW they are from Latvia. This is passionate and rousing! Bravo! From 2007.
Words for Love [Lior Narkis]
Oh secret of deepest secrets this toe-tapping number from Lior Narkis of Israel encompasses several languages and shows you don’t have to have a lavish act to be appealing visually. Hmmm. Yesss. LOVE IT! The first contest I watched in full too – 2003. Very special.
Saw this on another person’s list of songs that should have won and I have to agree. Chiara hails from Malta and has entered the contest at least three times, with no ultimate success (she’s managed second), but this powerful ballad belted out is moving and heartfelt. Gives me goosebumps and I’m not afraid to admit it.
Vi Maler Byen Rod [Birthe Kjaer]
Finally, this number is from 1989, Birthe is a big time singer down Denmark way, and this song is so good I can sing along to it and don’t know a single word of Danish. That I didn’t learn from this song that is! Watch the whole act, there’s a brilliant moment where the conductor grabs a microphone and becomes a backing singer!
And there you have it readers – who’s a Eurovision fan and what are your favourites? Many thanks to Geoff Wallis for the inspiration. May the Journey Never End!