Eurovision at 60: a Celebration

ANGIES ALLSORTS SHOW 160 RADIO LEIGHTON 13/05/15

My playlist is a musical odyssey around Europe to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Eurovision. Some winning songs, lots of contest trivia and places visited will take you from France to Vienna in 14 songs.
Eurovision began 60 years ago in the Italian speaking canton of Switzerland in the city of Lugano. The European anthem heralds the start of the show.
1. CHARPENTIER’S TE DEUM PRELUDE (Noel (NOT Nigel) Rawsthorne on a church organ: France)
Ireland the “Emerald Isle” the most successful country with seven wins. So I will assume for this show that Dublin could be considered the “Emerald City”.
2. SEEKERS with EMERALD CITY (Ireland; tune Ode to Joy by Beethoven-Germany; Seekers-Australia)
Australia invited to participate in the 60th anniversary contest. Aussie DNA runs through the contests history really, especially since Seekers member Keith Potger formed and managed the New Seekers. They represented the UK in 1972 coming second with Beg, Steal or Borrow. Other UK representatives with Australian roots include Olivia Newton-John in 1974 coming 4th and Gina G in 1996 coming 8th. And Ireland’s Mr Eurovision Johnny Logan with 2 singing and 2 composer Eurovision wins is also Australian born!
3. DANA with ALL KINDS OF EVERYTHING (Ireland’s first win in 1970)
Ireland has been happy hunting ground for the UK with two of our five wins (81, 97) being there. We have also won in Austria 67, Spain 69 (first equal with Spain, France & Netherlands) and in The Netherlands 76.
4. DANA INTERNATIONAL (Israel win in 1998)
Israel was the last country to win on British soil and the difference in style between the two “Dana’s” is marked. The 28 year difference gives the Israel song the advantage of disco, big ballad, dance and possibly trance elements within it.
5. NANA MOUSKOURI with THE WHITE ROSE OF ATHENS (Greece)
Nana Mouskouri represented Luxembourg in 1963 coming in 8th.
Considered the most important song from Eurovision is the Italian entry for 1958 which came in third. Nel Blu Di Pinto Di Blu sung by Domenico Modungno went on to win the Grammy Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It has been recorded by several artists and is better known by another name Volare.
6. DEAN MARTIN with VOLARE (Italy)
The least likely place for the contest to be held is in Portugal, as the country has failed to secure a win since participating for the first time in 1964.
7. FRANK CHAKSFIELD with OLD LISBON (Portugal)
The UK has held the Eurovision Song Contest eight times although we have only won it five times. 1960 London Royal Festival Hall; 1963 London BBC TV Centre; 1968 London Royal Albert Hall; 1972 Edinburgh Usher Hall; 1974 Brighton Dome; 1977 London Wembley Conference Centre; 1982 Harrogate International Centre; 1998 Birmingham National Indoor Arena. But although the UK has won five times the country has come second 15 times so all in the UK is probably the most successful country in the competition statistically. At least two of those second places was by a mere point-Sir Cliff Richard with Congratulations and Scott Fitzgerald with Go. At least Scott came second to an artist who became a global star Celine Dion (1988 Switzerland-Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi).
8. FREDDIE MERCURY & MONSERRAT CABBALLE with BARCELONA (Spain)
The Netherlands was the scene for Brotherhood of Man winning with Save All Your Kisses For Me. In the twelve point era (adopted in 1975) this has been the song with the highest percentage of marks 80.39% (164 from a potential 204 points). Other songs have scored higher but at a time with far more countries participating and voting. Ironically as there has been no “nul point” country since 2003, the UK’s only zero scored song Cry Baby by Jemini has gained the lowest score statistically as well.
9. BEAUTIFUL SOUTH with ROTTERDAM (Netherlands)
When the UK has held the contest France has been the most successful with two wins (60, 77) with Spain (68) , Luxembourg (72), West Germany (82), Israel (98) and Sweden (74) being the others. I inadvertently left out Denmark’s win in 1963 during my show and wrongly attributed a third French win instead (they had won in 62).
10. NICOLE with A LITTLE PEACE (West Germany win in 1982)
Great alumni of the Eurovision Song Contest who have represented the UK include Matt Monro (64), Kenneth McKellar (66), Sir Cliff Richard 68 & 73), Mary Hopkin (70), The Shadows (75), Bonnie Tyler (2013), Engelbert Humperdinck (2012).
11. MATT MONRO with FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (Russia)
Engelbert Humperdinck was 76 when he performed but is not the OLDEST PERFORMER. That accolade goes to Emil Ramsauer the 95 year old who represented Switzerland in 2013. In contrast the YOUNGEST WINNER is Sandra Kim singing J’Aime La Vie for Belgium in 1986.
12. ABBA with WATERLOO (ABBA for Sweden 1974 win and Waterloo for Belgium)
The Vienna Boys Choir was the interval act when Austria held the contest in 1967 and Sandie Shaw won for the UK with Puppet On A String. I wondered if the interval act this year might involve the Boys Choir or the Lippinzer White Horses (possibly a bit messy). Of course Vienna would be an ideal place for a ball room dance perhaps involving Austrian composer Mozart. In 1974 the interval act was very British.
13. THE WOMBLES with MINUETTO ALLEGRETTO (UK dancing to a Mozart symphony)
The 60th anniversary Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Vienna on May 23rd. Can Electo Velvet find success there as Sandie Shaw did in 1967? We shall have to wait and see. My musical journey ends here…
14. ULTRAVOX with VIENNA (Austria)
You can listen to my show here:  https://soundcloud.com/angies_allsorts/eurovision-at-60-radio-leighton-show

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