June 2009 Archives
Any blog connected with music has to mention the passing of Michael Jackson today. It would be foolish - not to mention disrespectful - to attempt to spin the most spurious of connections between our favourite event and one of the few truly international popstars who ever walked this planet, so we won't. Instead we shall pass on our respects to his many fans, some of whom may even wander in here from time to time and move on to, ironically, the first Contest to be staged in his lifetime.
Winner 1959: Teddy Scholten performs Een Beetje for the Netherlands
Following Andre Claveau's dreary little snoozer winning in 1958, French telly must have had a major guilt trip over Volare not wining and showed how grateful they were for victory by pulling out all the stops to put on the classiest show so far inside Cannes' Palais De Festivals.
The stage was made up of three revolving platforms. When it was each country's turn to perform, the stage revolved, revealing each perma-smiling act - trying their best not to fall over when the stage stopped turning - with a suitably nationalistic backdrop pasted behind them. The UK had the Houses of Parliament on a very cloudy day.
Right, I've cleared it all up about Wibbly Wobbly Man.
There was a song with a wibbly wobbly connection in the running to represent the UK at the very first Eurovision (if the BBC hadn't withdrawn from the event).
However, it was actually called Wibbly Wobbly Moon and it was performed by none other than a young Petula Clark in the Festival of British Popular Song - what they called A Song For Europe in those days.
Thank you very much to Nick Deller on the ESC Nation messageboard for his help with my wibbly wobbly crisis.
Apologies to regular reader KMatthews and anyone else who enjoyed A Bluffer's Guide to the 1956 Eurovision Song Contest.
Further research has shown that Shirley Abicair was not set to sing something called Wibbly Wobbly Man if the UK had gone to Switzerland, but the far less interestingly titled Little Ship.
We can also tell you that the other song intended to be sent by the BBC was performed by Denis Lotis and The Keynotes.
So, from which corner of my memory did Wibbly Wobbly Man - possibly the best song title ever conceived - come from? I'm starting to worry.
The third Contest was held in a Dutch TV studio (Host city Hilversum is - and remains - the centre of the Netherlands telly world) filled with tulips and Hannie Lips (the latter being the name of the hostess, stop that childish giggling at the back).
Winner 1958: Andre Claveau performs Dors, Mon Amour for France
Winner 1957: Corry Brokken performs Net Als Toen for the Netherlands
This is not an example of pioneering cinema from the late 1800s. This is footage of the second Eurovision Song Contest, staged in Frankfurt, Germany, in March 1957 and someone clearly put the grainiest quality film stock they could find in the machine which recorded this momentous event for posterity.
There's a fair few months to get through before the 40-odd participating nations start the important job of choosing their song for Norway. So, what's Boom Bang a Blog going to do in that great big Contest-less gap?
I'll tell you. We're going to give you the inside track on every single Eurovision there's ever been. Imagine regaling your fascinated chums over dinner, a drink, or even a date with the various factoids and statistics that will be coming your way over the coming months. Then imagine how you're going to rebuild your social life after everyone stops inviting you out for dinner, drinks or dates.
But never mind all that. Shall we start at the very beginning? Step aboard Boom Bang a Blog's Eurovisiony TARDIS as we whisk you back to the very first Contest. It's Lugano in Switzerland. It's May 24, 1956.
Hot off the presses this morning is the exciting news that sisterly combo The Nolans are getting back on the road for an arena tour in the autumn.
You may be thinking why this news has turned up on a blog dedicated to the Eurovision Song Contest, but this is as good a time as any to reveal that, 30 years ago, those Blackpool-based siblings were considered the hot favourites to win the 1979 British heats and represent the UK at that year's Contest in Jerusalem, Israel.
Tragically, the song they performed at that year's Song For Europe was not the mega-hit I'm in the Mood for Dancing, but the tropically themed Harry, My Honolulu Lover. Which I've never heard.
Rumours abound in the crazy mixed-up world of the internet that Ireland may (but to be honest, probably won't) withdraw from next year's Eurovision in Oslo.
If it happens, it's got nothing to do with the fact we haven't seen an Irish entry in the final since 2007 (and that year they were only saved from nul points with five points from the Albanian jury). No, it's the very real world problem of money - and the fact there's not a whole lot of it around at the moment.
Although other countries have had to rethink their Euro participation through lack of Euro (San Marino sat out this year for that very reason), this is a whole different cage of lobster - Ireland has carried home the trophy seven times, more than any other Eurovision nation.
Admittedly, their sixth and seventh winners (Rock'n'Roll Kids and The Voice) are possibly the dullest songs ever to take the title, but even so - it just wouldn't be a Eurovision without the Irish. Also, the last Irish victory was in Oslo in 1996 - can they resist not sending a song and singer to a lucky city?
But even if the world is left waiting until 2011 for another Irish Eurosong, in the words of the Emerald Isle's favourite Contesty son, Johnny Logan: "Hold Me Now."
Oh no, sorry: "What's Another Year?"
Think they'll be in Oslo. Don't you?
They just keep coming. Another tune with a Eurovision connection is very close to the top spot in the UK charts this week.
Swedish Idol winner Agnes Carlsson is doing rather well chart-wise at the mo (she's at number three) with a song called Release Me.
But what a lot of the interviews and features surrounding her single seem to omit is this appearance in the final of the 2009 Melodifestivalen with the Philadelphia sounds of Love Love Love.
This was actually Boom Bang a Blog's favourite out of all 32 contending for the Swedish nomination, but it only managed eighth place on the night Sweden chose its song for Moscow. Do you think it would have done better than Malena with La Voix?