Number 12: ESC 1977

It’s Sunday night, my legs are up, and my overly-sweet drink is prepared LOL, do you people really think I do these all in one night? In my dreams. Anyway, let’s dig into another edition of Eurovision. An incredibly formal introduction by the BBC takes us into the 1977 contest. La grande nation had its last win this year but what did it beat? Let’s look.

12 (1977)

Venue: Wembley Conference Centre, London, United Kingdom

Date: 7 May 1977

Host: Angela Rippon

Countries: 18

Compared to our last contest, the BBC’s formality seems so restrictive compared to the fluff and fun from the Italians. There’s almost no fun to be had, from the competent introduction video to presenter Angela Rippon, who would be much more comfortable at a newsdesk than on the Eurovision stage. It’s not an attack against the old days of Eurovision, since hostesses like Jacqueline Joubert injected so much vigor and joy into the show, but against the stuffy way of the BBC. They’ve been old-fashioned forever! Anyway, the most noticeable change of this year, when put in it’s proper chronology, was the fact that the “any language experiment” of the 70s came to a close and all countries, except for Belgium and Germany, who had picked their English- language songs before the EBU changed the rule, returned to their national languages until 1999. Aside from that, it’s time for songs!

Song 1: Ireland

“It’s Nice to Be in Love Again” – The Swarbriggs plus Two

We’re off to a charming, if a little musty, start with this generic love song lifted by its orchestration. Like so many songs with English lyrics, the music makes everything better, here with a very distinct chorus. Lowering the volume to separate it from the verses was such a refreshing change from what would normally be a noisy bombastic thing that just irritated. And the staccato piano is instant and enjoyable. Of course an OKC comes in to change my tune but the rest of the song stands up strong against it. Lyrically, it’s an ode to falling back into a familiar and comfortable love, which is a definite change from being swept up in a stormvind av kärlek.

As for the performance, there was a definite charm to it that had something to do with the outfits, which were quite subdued and would’ve been appropriate for a long time afterwards. Vocally, it was decent but not standout; they did well enough to earn their third place. This certainly isn’t a winner but it should give back some Eurovision luck to the Irish in my table. Nice job.

Live: 7 | Staging: 7 | Lyrics: 4 | Music: 7 | Preference: 14

Total: 7.95 pts.

Song 2: Monaco

“Une petite française” – Michèle Torr

Ah oui. I could go for something like this any day. The lyrics tell the story of a country girl turned starlet, who left Provence “when she was 15” and is now conflicted about whether the cosmopolitan life was the right choice for her. Despite coming to the big city, she’s stayed relatively unscathed, never “reading her life in magazines” and always “lived her turbulent years far from Paris,” keeping her private thoughts hers. The parallelism between the line in the chorus about “leaving her children’s games” and the line in the second verse, “when I see some kinds playing around” creates a powerful reminder of what she misses and how, despite being universal, things like frolicking children can conjure up desires for a certain place. It’s very intelligent, descriptive, and simple. Love it.

Musically, the verses are totally fantastic, staying quiet with a strong acoustic Provençal-inspired guitar and some simple instruments providing the only backdrop to the lyrics. The chorus comes along and introduces the slightly overpowering orchestra and an annoying piano to the mix but the wistful feeling is still translated across this newer and vaster spectrum. However, it comes at the expense of the drama introduced at the beginning of the song, which would’ve been such a difference, compared to the other 70s entries we’ve seen. It’s a worthy score, regardless.

As the girl who “married the song,” Michèle proves that she is more than deserving of popularity in Paris with an undoubtedly formidable voice. Compared to the quiet singers from Ireland, this felt rich with passion and depth and really helped make the song believable. The blurring on the camera didn’t really add anything to the performance but the idea was decent. But what was more than decent was her dress, which looked like it was made out of napkins from the most quaint country table in all of Provence while still looking stylish. It was super. In fact, almost all of this was super. With this absolute treat, Monaco just proves even more that it belongs at the top of the table. Très bien!

Live: 10 | Staging: 8 | Lyrics: 9 | Music: 7 | Preference: 17

Total: 10.2 pts.

The absence of postcards is making this very awkward.

Song 3: The Netherlands

“De mallemolen” – Heddy Lester

This was just too much. The start was pleasant and made it seem like this would be an okay song but it just never went anywhere, until the OKC, that is. And then it just ended up passing along unremarkably. The lyrics talk about how confusing life “on the carousel” can be and how it pays to hold onto “your horse” and get through the worst of it to reach the best. Despite being too heavy on the metaphor for my liking, this is probably the best part of this song. Musically, it’s just so blah. There was nothing too memorable or offensive; it was all pretty dull.

Visually, though, this was not a dull entry. Heddy’s distinct voice made this song soar and every note was executed to perfection. It’s a peerless song, in that regard. However, the utterly ridiculous clothes looked like shredded drapes from a blind old granny’s house. It’s so awful and out of place that it’s almost hilarious. Sadly, that frock is probably the most memorable trait about this entry. What a shame.

Live: 9 | Staging: 2 | Lyrics: 6 | Music: 4 | Preference: 10

Total: 6.15 pts.

Song 4: Austria

“Boom Boom Boomerang” – Schmetterlinge

Here’s why Eurovision is so fantastic. Where else would such a derisive, anti-commercial song be exposed to an audience of millions? Absolutely nowhere, except here. The song is totally genius, pointing out how tired pop clichés like “clap along,” “boom boom,” and “ding dong“ are simply fodder with no actual purpose. The English chorus is pretty much babblespeak but the German parts, the ones not heard by a large audience, reveal the almost awkwardly upfront message about how music has changed from actual expression to the possibility of attaining either money or power. This weird yet wonderful package is presented with a playful little bow that is the music. It’s sprightly and charming and never even seems like the backdrop to a song with the lyrics “so Big Brother’s voice spoke ‘Superhits for girls and boys!’” The multiple key changes drive home the point even further.

Unlike many great songs, this one decently extended its idea into the performance. Well, aside from the creepy masks, which only got a little bit of airtime, the execution was brilliant, especially the contrast between “free-spirited“ Beatrix and the rest of the suited-out gang. The little dance during the chorus poked fun at the downright stupid choreography from Brotherhood of Man and the song overall probably called on “Boom-Bang a Bang” and “Ding-a-dong” for most of the inspiration of banality, which made me grin. The cherry on top? They sang really well! And when everything combines into one amazing package like this, I’m a very happy person. Yay for Austria!

Live: 9 | Staging: 8 | Lyrics: 9 | Music: 9 | Preference: 20

Total: 11.25 pts.

Song 5: Norway

“Casanova” – Anita Skorgan

Like the male members of Schmetterlinge, this is a pretty two-faced song. Anita herself and the general vibe of the song are the positives that almost balance out the negatives, which are everything else. To start with the dissection, the lyrics present with a terrible situation with a vague solution; Anita’s cheating “Casanova” of a husband has left for days and she’s pondering what to do. The final line of the verse, “can I take it all with a smile?” gives promise that she’ll realize that she doesn’t have to be with this unfaithful man but the chorus doesn’t provide any sort of resolution, only saying that he’s “the great Casanova, a great dancer and Don Juan of all times.” The music is flimsy, at best and bad otherwise, especially with that… instrument that features heavily in funk music. However, unlike that style of music, this song is very lightweight and unfulfilling.

Like I said, though, Anita nearly makes up for the deficiencies of the song. Her performance was good and she radiated a positive energy that struck a chord with me. Her styling was also nice; it was understated and neutral, with a hint of color in the belts. I could picture people here wearing it today. All things considered, this is a catchy, pointless pop song. And I almost like it.

Live: 7 | Staging: 7 | Lyrics: 3 | Music: 3 | Preference: 13

Total: 6.9 pts.

Song 6: Germany

“Telegram” – Silver Convention

Why is it that Germany tends to send these sugary and gimmicky pop songs so frequently? This was plainly annoying, especially with the beeps of a telegram punctuating the song. Lyrically, it’s a plea from the girl to the telegram operator to patch through a message to her “baby,” saying that she “was a fool to let him go.” Well, you probably let him go for a good reason so why grovel? Move on! Then, the overly specific message makes the song feel clunky and odd. The music is actually a little better; the strings, in particular, sound nice, but the overall feeling I get from the song is quite flat.

Unfortunately, Silver Connection wasn’t as strong live as some of their competition who have better songs. They were shrill and didn’t harmonize too well and all of the staging decisions felt strange. The outfits were appalling, the telegram machine stupid, and the choreography laughable. Oh well, it’s just a down year for Germany.

Live: 6 | Staging: 1 | Lyrics: 2 | Music: 4 | Preference: 8

Total: 4.35 pts.

Song 7: Luxembourg

“Frère Jacques” – Anne-Marie B.

Way to ruin a nice little children’s rhyme, Luxembourg. However, this scandalized, sexed-up version of the story is just fine by me. After trashing her suitors (and Jacques’ friends), Anne-Marie presents her invitation for the frère to “wake up and go sleep with her.” The simple message helps to clearly convey the message both in words and in Anne-Marie’s breathy presentation. And the scenario of an appropriate sex scandal in the church is always always more welcome that those of which we normally get news. Musically, this comes from a dark place, like a cloister lit by dim moonlight. The harpsichord and funk instrument create an intriguing atmosphere that sounds like nothing else on the night and the multiple key changes help to channel the growing energy from the lyrics at the end.

Anne-Marie’s aforementioned performance tried to be sultry and alluring but nearly ended up being amateurish, especially at the beginning. Since most of the verse was spoken word, the scales were tipped in her favor but the choruses sounded bad. The weakest park of this entry, by far, was the styling, which put the lead singer in a ridiculously boring blush frock and the backings in Austin Powers suits. If they had dressed her in something nun-inspired, it could’ve been the most controversial and memorable song of the year. But no, another inspired (read: terrible and offensive) staging idea trashed. At least I like the song enough to make up for it.

Live: 6 | Staging: 3 | Lyrics: 9 | Music: 8 | Preference: 19

Total: 9.6 pts.

Song 8: Portugal

“Portugal no coração” – Os Amigos

After about thirty minutes of trying to write this, I’m just stumped. Initially, this seemed to be a reprehensible nationalistic ode to how perfect all of Portugal was under the Estado Novo. Then I looked into the rest of the web and it turns out that it’s supposed to be about the changes Portugal underwent after the Carnation Revolution, how Paulo de Carvalho (the singer behind the revolution-sparking 1974 Portuguese ESC entry) was back, and a little about the actual history of the event and, well, I’m still not happy about this song. Even when I was skeptical, there was some lefty slant to the lyrics that I just couldn’t avoid, which makes sense now but, when my understanding was shaped with the idea that the right-wing dictatorship had chosen this song, confused me at the time. Equipped with the knowledge that the socialists and communists had come into power in 1974, everything falls into place but I’m still troubled. Even if I align with the leftists, that doesn’t mean I want a song to glorify everything the way that some former Soviet oligarch would; overt nationalism from any political direction, even mine, is never okay, in my eyes.

With that out of the way, the lyrics are typically Portuguese, dripping with drama and charm. Musically, it tries to be funky but never really does anything with that. The group performed professionally and everyone sounded, and looked, pretty good. I apologize for the pathetically short entry for this song but I’m done thinking about it.

Live: 7 | Staging: 5 | Lyrics: 0 | Music: 3 | Preference: 0

Total: 2.25 pts. (My beloved Portugal. 😦 What a stain, this is!)

Song 9: United Kingdom (Hosts)

“Rock Bottom” – Lynsey de Paul & Mike Moran

Someone get the carving knife ready because, damn, that was a ham performance by Lynsey. At some points, her intense delivery of words such as “rock” or “harmony” was nearly laughable. And all the riffing was just ridiculous. On the other hand, Mike, who was trying so hard to be John Lennon, was more than competent and did his best to make up for his melodramatic partner. Performance aside, this is a very deceiving song, as the lyricists (none other than the duo themselves) hide an anarchic message behind their simplicity; after “tragedies” and hitting “rock bottom,” no one’s helping one another (no government services, an “every man for himself” mentality, potential mobs) and they “can do anything they want,” which includes “rubbing it out and starting again,” a powerful political message. Despite that lyrical mastery, the structure of the song is far too staccato and plodding and the repetition in the lyrics is equally annoying. However, the idea of a downbeat, piano-driven pop song was a good one, the execution was just poor.

The performance was two-faced, as Lynsey crooned like a drunken primadonna given top billing on opening night. Their matching outfits verged on ludicrous but were smart enough on their own to not topple each other together. However, the conductor’s gear (and seemingly endless shots of him) finally tanked this entry, leaving only the lyrics and Mike as its savior. It’s a song I want to like but it just doesn’t do it for me.

Live: 7 | Staging: 3 | Lyrics: 8 | Music: 4 | Preference: 11

Total: 6.6 pts.

Song 10: Greece

“Mathima solfege” – Pascalis, Marianna, Robert, & Bessy

Another songs that feels like it never ends. That aggravating chorus, almost solely made up of solfege syllables, must’ve had something to do with it but there must’ve been something else at play. Whatever it was, I wish it were as specific as the lyrics, which are so precise it’s silly. Recalling a “solfege lesson” from childhood, the singers intersperse musical phrases into the message of “stay musical.” It comes off as obvious and pathetic. There’s nothing here musically, either. It just goes on and on until some watered-down grandiose event happens and then, poof, the song ends.

Performance wise, this was okay but the movements were just a sad and hopeless attempt to save this dirge of a song. Maybe it’s the insomnia talking but I don’t find too much to like about this song.

Live: 6 | Staging: 4 | Lyrics: 2 | Music: 1 | Preference: 7

Total: 4.05 pts.

Song 11: Israel

“Ahava hi shir lishnaim” – Ilanit

During the first listening of this song, something struck me as worthwhile and meaningful; something that I couldn’t pick up on right then and there. After a second listen, the plodding and dull song changed and something very nice was presented to me. Lyrically, it’s another repetitive ode to the never-ending power and life of love but these lyrics just sound breezier and more interesting than others that have done the same. The music is anthemic and, somehow, Christmas-y, giving the listener a cozy yet grand feeling. It’s sort of like an aural fireplace. Unlike the lyrics, though, the melody doesn’t fall victim to repetition and makes a few subtle but key changes to itself in the second half of the song to stay interesting.

Ilanit did a more than fantastic job with the vocals and she truly seemed confident on stage. The color of her voice is simply perfect for this kind of ballad and the backings helped, even if they looked a bit awkward. Talking of, this song’s shots were probably the most intriguing of the night. Going in at angles helped to set it apart from the rest. All things considered, there’s much to like about this song, yet little to adore.

Live: 10 | Staging: 7 | Lyrics: 6 | Music: 8 | Preference: 13

Total: 8.55 pts.

Song 12: Switzerland

“Swiss Lady” – Pepe Lienhard Band

Throughout the cringy performance, I wanted nothing more than to loathe this song and have catty things to say about it. But that is not to be because this is probably the most listenable song of the evening so far. Without trying to be cool or trendy, the light rock sound juxtaposed against the alphorn and flute actually sounds okay and its construction, aside from the random tempo increase before the chorus, is solid. And the yodelling hook was quite effective and gave the song some much needed, albeit kitschy, sense of character.

The lyrics are the story of a young Alpine musician’s courtship with a mountain girl next door. While he’s playing “rock ’n’ roll and Dixieland” music all over the place, his “Swiss lady” is “filling the world with music.” And when he returns and plays her some music before going to sleep, she surprises him with a midnight party. Despite the pointless English title and the clunky phrasing, the imagery is cute in a good way and it doesn’t feel too repetitive.

Sadly, the strengths of the song weren’t able to help the performance that much, as it felt very amateurish and bizarre. The close-up shots of the band members were just creepy and their ensembles were ghastly. Vocally, they were good but that’s certainly not what people were going to remember. At least this “Tomorrow”-esque little ditty found a spot in the top 10 on the night. Well done, Switzerland.

Live: 6 | Staging: 2 | Lyrics: 7 | Music: 7 | Preference: 14

Total: 7.5 pts.

Song 13: Sweden

“Beatles” – Forbes

Before ranting about how the declarations of the Beatles being the best group ever are full of hot air, we must look at this piece of garbage. First, the plain existence of this song is strange and downright stalker-esque. The best way to pay tribute to your idols is to be inspired by them, not to glorify them. And in this particular battle of meaningless pop, I’d take the Brits over the Swedes in a flash.

The song is a total rip-off of past schlager/ABBA clichés, from the silly trombones to the “I wanna be a ballad!” chorus; it screams pathetic. Lyrically, it’s slightly more substantive that “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” but that’s far from a bragging right. Basically, everyone loves the Beatles and they’re famous worldwide, from American teens to Swedish “great grandfathers.”

Performance-wise, Forbes sounded shaky throughout and never really found the right place for his voice. Granted, this song was always going to be about the story but this is a glaring problem. Also problematic were the rhinestone-encrusted velvety suits that the band sported. When they went for the ABBA look, they really should’ve gone all the way. All the way back to Stockholm to get away from this, what is turning out to be a dreary, contest.

Live: 5 | Staging: 3 | Lyrics: 3 | Music: 2 | Preference: 5

Total: 3.45 pts.

Song 14:  Spain

“Enséñame a cantar” – Micky

Finally, another song that I really like! This Americana-kissed (well, more than kissed, just continue the sequence) song tells the story of a troubled guy who is bewitched by a girl playing a banjo on her porch. He asks her to “teach him to sing” in an effort to cheer up his heart and make him smile. It’s just so sweet without being overly sugared! Even though it’s repetitive, I can look past it because what’s actually there is wonderful. “I looked at her smile, and without knowing why, her face illuminated and she smiled as well;” how could you not smile at that?

Musically, the banjo is a smart addition to spice up an already decent pop song. It moves along well and pares down on the harmful frills that ruin other songs. The orchestra is smartly integrated into little bursts of attention while mainly featuring as a base for the banjo. It might not be as cute as the lyrics but the composition is lighthearted and fun.

Of course, something had to dampen my love for this a little and that would be the staging. What is Eurovision without gold lamé somewhere? Thankfully for us all, the banjo player has it on her boots, shaming herself, satiating the schlager-freaks, and saddening me. The rest of the outfits are pretty awful, too, looking like curtains and tablecloths found at Goodwill donation box for the blind. Micky manages to save some of the song’s charm through his restrained performance. It almost felt a little earnest but in a good way. While I never thought I’d like a country-pop song sung in Spanish featuring a banjo, I do and I’m much happier for it.

Live: 7 (the shaky backings restrain this) | Staging: 1 | Lyrics: 8 | Music: 7 | Preference: 18

Total: 8.85 pts.

Song 15: Italy

“Libera” – Mia Martini

Now THAT’S a voice. What a fantastic performance! Despite the song descending into a battle for the biggest note in the final 30 seconds, Mia and her fabulous backings carried what remained beautifully. And before then, “Libera” had been a pretty good song. The positive, yet modern, vibe of the song was something that hadn’t been heard before on the night and it came off as utterly fresh and vibrant. The drums and guitar, combined with the staccato orchestra, contributed a great deal to that sound. Aside from that, the maracas proved to be the cherry on top, adding a little something extra to just totally elevate the song and embody the feeling of freedom and fun given off by the song.

True to that feeling, the lyrics have a strong youthful bend to them, as Mia sings about how she’s free to “understand, make a mistake, and find herself in love without being bound.” Similar to the style of Norway 1971, every line is a rendition of the simile “free as…,” which makes the already triumphant lyrics even more special. It’s certainly not the most thoughtful or meaningful song in the world but it’s really good for what it is.

But let’s forget the above-averageness of the song and focus on what might be one of Eurovision’s best performances ever. Oh my God, the energy she brought was off the charts. It totally just walloped me over the head. Every note, every riff, every sound was just stellar and powerful and rich and gasp-worthy. (Moment of clarity) It was damn good. And if that wasn’t enough, the crazy outfit just seemed to work with the song. Such a sunny song required this sunny outfit. However, the sole blemish to be found in the performance comes as the backings’ clothes, which royally stink. Tiny quibbles like that aside, this is a song that I’d like already taken so much higher by an outstanding performance. Grazie Italia!

Live: 10 | Staging: 6 | Lyrics: 8 | Music: 7 | Preference: 20

Total: 10.65 pts.

Song 16: Finland

“Lapponia” – Monica Aspelund

How did this take the inaugural top spot on the Eurovision Top 250? Aside from that awful shriek and her Sibelius Monument-inspired necklace, nothing captured my attention about this song. Musically, it’s quite competent and moves along at a nice pace. The arrangement plays well as an airy folk song with a modern twist. Touches like the piano and triangle endear the song to the listener and help to cover up blemishes like the rapid acceleration of the strings in the chorus. But as a whole, it feels like it should be background music to a public service announcement about Lapland.

The lyrics are an oddly cheery story of a siren that summons men “with the power of spells.” The witch, as she’s called, has a catch but the man, “a human being of earth,” is really not her type and she flees into the sky. After that, Monica chants, claps, and cloys through the rest of the chorus repetitions until the song finally ends. Her voice was surprisingly weak when she wasn’t leading the choral chant or sing-speaking through the verses. And it’s okay to shriek in Eurovision, provided you fall under two categories: 1) Be Kaliopi or 2) Be Rona Nishliu. Anyone else should just keep the acrobatics under control. However, this entry did succeed visually, as the white garments looked very smart. Well, at least we know that Finland has brighter moments than this.

Live: 3 | Staging: 7 | Lyrics: 5 | Music: 6 | Preference: 9

Total: 5.85 pts.

Song 17: Belgium

“A Million in One, Two, Three” – Dream Express

Are they seriously singing about employee benefits and making in roads with a boss? Ugh. It’s stunningly dumb and I really don’t want to talk about it, save for saying that covering the walls of your “10 quid flat” with “glamour” is probably the reason that you only can afford a 10 quid flat in the first place. Musically, it’s shockingly empty, with a xylophone producing much of the interest in the composition. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there’s an OKC toward then end, which pretty much dooms this song to hell, even if I sort of like the xylophone.

Vocally, the girls of Dream Express *cringe* were somewhat shrill and not great while the man sort of faded into the background. Their styling was dreadfully 70s, as they took the stage in white bell-bottoms and surprisingly competent shirts. Those shirts were probably the only good thing about this entry. No more.

Live: 4 | Staging: 3 | Lyrics: 2 | Music: 2 | Preference: 3

Total: 2.55 pts.

It’s going to take a miracle for the last song to save this contest. But if there’s anyone to do it, it’s…

Song 18: France

“L’oiseau et l’enfant” – Marie Myriam

And they did it! In easily the most modern song of the night (it’s no horse race), Marie does a spectacular job in conveying the deep and moody atmosphere given off by the composition. The parts without instruments, though, are probably the best of the three minutes. Those silky weathered undertones of her voice just rock my world. The parts with instruments don’t disappoint either. Droning brass and quick strings keep things moving and the song never once felt like it dragged. Thankfully, the two key changes actually had purpose and signaled a shift in the lyrics, which we’ll talk about right now.

The lyrics eschew traditional storytelling for a more general theme of good vs. bad and how Marie is caught in the middle. Opening with the first a cappella section, the song first describes the goodness and beauty of the world as a “wild lively boat, dancing on the waves,” and as a “song found in white sand.” Continuing with that theme of white, the lyrics go on to describe the pureness of the poet who creates love and energy of a fresh new sunrise, which also “gives us a world of love.” The second verse takes on a more conventional tone, as Marie invites her love to “light her dark sun” before returning to metaphor and talking about how those who have lost their “child’s heart” create the darkness of the world. Finally, the title is a comparison between Marie, the child trapped on a dark lonely planet, and the bird that soars above the doomed world and could act as her savior. Love it!

In a year with such hit or miss songs, they’re have been some truly amazing vocalists. Marie is certainly no exception, as each note is sung with the perfect balance of emotion and confidence. She handles the obstacles of the song, which really is a challenging one, expertly. And while yellow wouldn’t work on most people, myself included, that shade of mustard works well here. It all came together for France and they were awarded with their most recent win, in the contest and my books. Merci beaucoup!

Live: 10 | Staging: 7 | Lyrics: 10 | Music: 9 | Preference: 20

Total: 11.4 pts.

What do you think about the new (again) format?

What do you think about the new (again) format?

Along with 1997, which has been the year I’ve been typing instead of 1977 forever, this was a contest of extremes. Sure, three points had perfect preference scores but Portugal also scored a 0 there. The slightly above average score of the 70s is just preserved with this contest’s score. In the larger scheme of things, 1977 lands in the bottom five of averages, a full .5 points ahead of 1991 and about .1 points behind 2010. As far as countries go, France cracks the top five and Austria the top 10 while Portugal drops to 12th. Also, this is only the second time that my winner has won the contest, Denmark’s 1963 victory being the other instance.

As for the hosting, it was certainly done professionally but somewhat stuffy. The voting was incredibly shaky, with many interruptions by the scrutineer and some slip-ups by Angela Rippon. However, she covered well and managed to present herself as likeable and in control (“the Italy jury”), if a little awkward. The interval act was forgettable but pleasant, like many of the night’s songs. Finally, the look of the contest was quite enjoyable and highly British, in my opinion. But it’s time to close the book on 1977 and move back even further, to 1960. See you there.

Peace

-Nick

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Posted in Eurovision History
39 comments on “Number 12: ESC 1977
  1. The Anders says:

    We disagree slightly for some of the songs, but you’re right that Forbes’ “Beatles” song is a piece of rubbish. I’m a big Beatles-fan myself though, especially because of their work from Rubber Soul and onwards, but this entry from Sweden is truly taking all essence out of it. And the Beligan song is very bad too.

    I must admit I quite like the Greek song. I know there’s not much substance in it, but it’s quite catchy anyway. But we have exactly the same approach to Luxembourg – the dark flipside of disco once again. Fascinating.

    As for “Boom Boom Boomerang”: Yes they are critisizing commercialism and making satire about it. That is absolutely welcome, but the critisism in the song is somehow too primitive for me. Too unambiguous. Apart from that the song is very witty, and the choreography was funny, but to be fair, it’s so-so with the musical content.

    And then, “L’oiseau et l’enfant” is not quite the masterpiece to me that it is to many others. It’s a very good song, but somehow too little is happening in the music. I’m aware that it’s hypnotic quality plays a huge role, but it’s just not enough for me to be complete song. So: very good, but not fantastic.

    My own ranking:

    1977
    12/12:
    10/12:
    9/12: France, Luxembourg
    8/12: Israel, Italy, Finland
    7/12: Ireland, Norway, UK, Greece
    6/12: Netherlands, Portugal
    5/12: Monaco, Germany, Switzerland
    4/12: Austria, Sweden, Spain
    3/12: Belgium
    2/12:
    1/12:
    0/12:
    Average: 6,22

    • Nick P. says:

      Your Greece is my Ireland.

      Listening to it again, I agree that it’s a tad too thin on the musical front. That being said, the idea and execution is still enough to maintain its current score.

      That’s understandable. “We disagree slightly for some of the songs…” which explains why this comment is so short. I’ve got nothing else to say. 😉

  2. togravus says:

    Yay, finally I have found someone who loves Austria 1977 and doesn’t like Portugal 1977 at all. (Btw, Da Vinci’s ‘Conquistador’ is even worse when it comes to lyrics and probably my least favourite Portuguese entry ever.) I also only have DEN 1963 and FRA 1977 as winning songs being in 1st place on my lists out of the contests you have reviewed.
    Detailed results will be added once I find the time in the days to come.

    P.S. Wait until you get to Mia Martini’s 1992 performance. That one is an outstanding highlight in the history of ESC. 🙂

    • Nick P. says:

      Ooh, spooky. I’ll be awaiting that Christmas present. 😉

      That’ll be pretty soon, actually! 1992 is due up in the 19th slot, which, if my current pace is anything to go by, should be done as the first semi of ESC 2014 kicks off. 😛

  3. Patrick P. says:

    Because I haven’t watched all the performances of 1977 yet, I’ll just say this one thing:

    Aw, I really enjoy Lynsey’s hammy performance of “Rock Bottom,” but I can definitely see how it would be too much for some people.

  4. Eulenspiegel says:

    You seems to be much more generous. I find 1977 to be a very average year and there’s only three songs I really care for in this edition:

    France (12/12)
    Luxembourg (9/12)
    Finland (9/12)
    Israel (7/12)
    Italy (7/12)
    Germany (7/12)
    United Kingdom (7/12)
    Switzerland (6/12)
    Austria (6/12)
    Monaco (6/12)
    Portugal (5/12)
    Greece (5/12)
    Norway (5/12)
    Spain (4/12)
    The Netherlands (4/12)
    Ireland (3/12)
    Sweden (2/12)
    Belgium (1/12)

    Maybe I should say a few words about the Swedish entry. I don’t think it’s a bad melody to begin with. It was originally in English, called “Love can start in this old way”. The group then decided that they should enter Melodifestivalen with it, and thus they had to write Swedish lyrics for it. Their manager therefore wrote this piece of crap lyrics. Not only are the lyrics stupid in their tribute, but they are also grammatically incorrect. It shouldn’t be “vem de var” but “vilka de var”. The whole performance did also get an extra silly look because of their stage clothes, coming from the dansband culture rather than the Beatles 60’s pop they were tributing.

    Am I the only one who think that the Monegasque entry reminds a lot of “Those were the days”?

    Even if the lyrics aren’t that good, I’m at least glad that Silver Convention had something more to sing than their usual one-line.

    “L’oiseau et l’enfant” is one of my absolute favourite songs from France. I simply love the narrating style in the lyrics, linking each part with the other.

    And finally, I also love the Monica Aspelund’s screaming. So called kulning, used to call the cattle home at the end of the day. One would think though that they would rather be scared away by it. 🙂

    • Nick P. says:

      Hasn’t it been established that I (or my scoring system is) am over-generous? 😉 The only songs I can see as “average” are Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands, and Finland. Then again, that’s nearly a third of the competitors…

      The backstory for “Beatles” makes it sound like everything that could’ve gone wrong did. It’s unfortunate but the song still isn’t that great, in my eyes.

      That’s a good point about Germany. At least it felt like the song was in English on purpose, instead of most songs after 1999.

      Well, it’s not like we’re starved for choice from France. 😉

      The cattle as well as most woodland animals. Then again, this is coming from someone who’s lived in the suburbs for his whole life and doesn’t care for anything like this, yodelling included. 🙂

    • The Anders says:

      “Am I the only one who think that the Monegasque entry reminds a lot of “Those were the days”?”

      The chords in the chorus are excactly the same. But these chord changes are very common in Western popular music.

      The first four bars are based on a so-called ‘Sequence of Fifths’ (kvintskridtssekvens), where you go five notes down for every chord change. You may also recognise it from “Crisalide (Vola)” and millions of other songs and pieces of music, even from the Baroque era.

  5. well, I’m glad that not only you, Nick, but like everyone else has France #1… As a word for the rest, I have Italy 2nd, because Mia is amazing and “Libera” is very fun and laid back, but yeah “Rapsodia” will easily be your winner of 92 no doubts. Then I have UK (fun quirky song good performance), Monaco (the song’s also very famous in France actually and well performed), then Israel (great singer) and Switzerland/Finland in the good side of things. Spain is my dead last, awful song, awful performance. I also dislike Sweden and Portugal a lot, bottom 3.

    Now back to “L’oiseau et l’enfant”. It’s a cult song here in France. The next day from her victory, everyone in France knew it by heart, the record sold like little breadsticks and now we teach it to kids in middle school. It’s got a very simple vocabulary because it’s spoken outloud by a child (as said in the chorus) so it’s easy to teach a kid its simple and universal message. The fact that the first lines of the first verses are sung a capella brings an hypnotic aspect to it and it really helps “see” te lonely kid in this crazy moving-fast world that can be both beautiful and awful. I knew that song before Eurovision and it’s because I knew it did Eurovision that I got interested in the contest in the first place and decided to watch it in 1999 (I was 11 going on 12, being born in September).

    So even though it’s not in my personal top 20 of all time, it’s definitely up there in like top 30 or 40 I’d say but it really has a sentimental value to me!

    • togravus says:

      “L’oiseau et l’enfant” is one of only very few ESC songs that are still aired on German radio stations these days. In fact, next to “Waterloo” and “Satellite” it is probably the most popular ESC song ever here in Germany. 🙂

      • that’s really something, I didnt even know, was it a success in Germany then? I thought “Save your kisses for me” got a broader appeal back then?

        • togravus says:

          I don’t know about chart success but I remember that “LeO” was among the most heavily rotated song in Germany in the 80s. On the other hand, I have very rarely heard “Save Your Kisses for Me” on radio. But then, perhaps I simply have good taste in choosing my radio stations. 😉 🙂

          • ahah maybe, yeah I was referring to chat success, Brotherhood of man had a big one here but then “1, 2, 3” was hyped too so people watched and probably liked the uk song which lead us to keep sending strong songs (or at least seen as such, i.e. 78) for good results

      • Nick P. says:

        That’s interesting. Was “Ein bißchen Frieden” not popular?

    • Nick P. says:

      It sounds like Italy 1992 is one to watch, along with Poland 1995 and Luxembourg 1965. Is there anything else from 1992 that I should look out for?

      At least two of our bottom three match.

      That’s pretty crazy how big it got. The only song I can think of that achieved a similar amount of fame is “Do-Re-Mi” from Sound of Music. 😛 And it’s wonderful that this was the song that got you into the contest! Do you think it would’ve been different if another song had done that?

      • The Anders says:

        “Is there anything else from 1992 that I should look out for?”

        Indeed: Cyprus – “Teriazoume”, performed by Evridiki is a great song. There’s a nice reggae influenced song from France too. Apart from these three, well, some good songs (Greece, Sweden, Luxembourg, Yugoslavia) and some not so good songs, like always.

        • Nick P. says:

          Would this be the same Evridiki that contributed the clubby catastrophe that was “Comme ci, comme ça” in 2007? If so, I hope that her early effort was miles away from that, which it sounds like it is. 🙂

      • meaning if a song I didnt like got famous in France or that I loved a song that didnt reach fame in France?

        • Nick P. says:

          (After thinking about the poor wording of my question) Yes. I can imagine that if my first contact with ESC had been something like “Narodnozabavni Rock” instead of “Satellite,” I might’ve sought out different kinds of entries that would affect my perception of the contest. Although considering the difference in our situations, in that ESC was always somewhat present in your culture whereas it was totally unknown to me, that’s probably not applicable to you… 😦

      • togravus says:

        Cyprus and France!

      • Eulenspiegel says:

        France is my favourite from 1992 (just like many other years 😛 ). The song has a very Creole atmosphere and a rocking melody. 12 points from Louisiana! 😉

  6. BTW, the BBC went on strike just before the contest so the BBC stripped the contest to the bare essentials. It’s not much a question of “formality” than a question of “what can we do with limited people and limited budget?”

  7. The Anders says:

    By the way. If you ever wondered what was going on in the control room during the direct transmission of ESC 1977, just watch this. It includes a whole lot of swearing. (starts at 6:35):

    • The Anders says:

      Starts af 1:05, sorry.

      • Nick P. says:

        Well, that’s enough to put me off of working in live TV forever. I will admit that their anger, when contrasted against the joyful Marie, was somewhat funny. 🙂

        And what were they saying at the beginning? Was it just an introduction or were they talking about something else?

        • The Anders says:

          That was an introduction to the clip.

          It’s taken from a Danish fansite called Eurosong DK who have their own online tv channel. They always end their episodes (12 of them per year) with a so-called ‘Retro clip’ – an old Eurovision related clip, f.e. a NF song, an alternative version of an entry – or things like that.

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