Eurovision Review – 1972: A night at the mental institution

Posted: 09/10/2011 in Eurovision Song Contest Reviews

Quite the bunch, the line-up Edinburgh had in stall for us. By the time we got to 1972 Europe had clearly realised  they needed something to stand out of the crowd but when everybody’s trying to do the same the result is one gigantic mess. And that is of course the main reason why we love Eurovision: nothing’s crazy enough.

Speaking of crazy – ixnay on they c-word, I know I know – some of the performers really looked like they were performing at the talent show at your local mental institution. The Austrian bunch that called themselves The Milestones (again, what’s in a name) were the front runners on that level for me. From the opening with the flute over the manic guitar playing to the bewildered shouting in the microphone: this was an odd experience. They were followed on stage by Italian Nicola di Bari who did little to erase the mental atmosphere. Topped off with the French wannabe Piaf, the Maltese creep, the Swedish child of the corn and the Dutch carneval this truly was a … unique … bunch to watch.

Speaking of watching: fashion obviously started to play an important role in getting noticed but my inner Tim Gunn didn’t deem a lot of them worthy I must say. I was very surprised, but I àm a child of the eighties so little did I know, to see the trend of the very long skirts from hip to floor which are not at all flattering. Certainly not when they are two inches too short and you can see ugly orthopaediclike shoes – I’m looking at you, Sandra Reemer! A lot of colour though, so I’m a happy bunny, but some simply did not work: the love for polyester (France), orange plastic features (Switzerland), spinach-and-cream sparkles (Ireland) or an overdose of gold (Yugoslavia) are simply NEVER ok.

Speaking of quality: the standard of songs was more than decent with more than half of them getting an approving nod. The ones that fell behind were really atrocious I fear, amongst which our own entry. Serge & Christine Ghisoland went for lame schlager and did not manage to convince. I am not too fond of Christine’s sound, and as she had the dominant vocal role it was a test for my nerves. She reminded me a bit of Ellen Barkin, be it the low class version.

So no Belgium in my top ten this time, let’s take a look at the ones that did make it: here are the points of the Dimivision jury.

1 point: Germany – Nur die Liebe lasst uns leben

What, no Katja Ebstein? Minus ten! Wait, Mary Roos seems to be doing an ok job. Although I expect her to burst out in Wunder gibt es immer wieder at any moment. The only one to nail the fashion part on the head right, and I love the backings in yellow. The bongo drums are too loud in the soundmix though and don’t really match the schlager feeling. Confident performance, but I can’t say I’m mesmerized.

2 points: Finland – Muistathan

While I don’t care at all for the slight Greek accent that turns into a full blown Sirtaki tribute I do like their emotional rendition and Kim Floor‘s voice is slightly divine. The violins are to die for.

3 points: Luxembourg – Après toi

Ah, Vicky‘s back with a vengeance! I loved her and her song back in 67, now the love has cooled a bit I have to say with this uninspiring song that has a chorus which is too flat to convince me. She’s doing great again, but when you’ve got only a hollow slogan to work with you can only go that far. But really, who ever told you those grapes were a good idea darling? Glad you left the rest of the fruit basket in the dressing room though.

4 points: France – Comé-Comédie

The ghost of Piaf takes the stage, emphasised by an overload of polyester. It’s too staged for its own good really, and I snickered a bit when I realised Betty Mars had the same hairstyle as Sévérine in 71. She does perfectly what it says on the tin but a bit of real emotion could have done this a world of good. Still, I love the cliché Parisian vibe.

5 points: Yugoslava – Muzika i ti

Gone are the days Yugoslavia gave us folky rhymes from an unknown world, they give us a genuine Eurovision anthem here! Clearly inspired by Sévérine I’d say, and Tereza does give her all. Perhaps too Eurovision by numbers to secure a higher spot in my top ten, and that outfit did not help at all. Look at that, no ET joke at all. Wait…

6 points: Spain – Amanece

Another classic example of right song – wrong singer. I love the build-up at the beginning and the flow of the chorus, but Jaime Morey was really not the best choice to interpret the song. He’s a bit of an Elvis-the-fat-years type, no? I am jealous of his suit I must admit. But with a (good) female singer this would have probably challenged my number one.

7 points: Sweden – Härliga sommardag

Hm, having a flashback here: soft verses in an odd combination with a happy chorus, airline outfits, Little House On The Prairie vibe, seasonal topic, good singing – it must be Family Four. Makes me happy I have to say, even though the blonde one seems to have no colour in eyes and resembles the Children Of The Corn – scary! Borderline childish, but they save it in the verses. Tralla en trall!

8 points: Ireland – Ceol an ghra

Time for spring, summarized in less than three minutes. Love the dreamy feel about this, induced by both the strings and the Gaelic language. It all sounds a bit old skool, in the same league as Non ho l’eta even (especially in the bridge) and I can’t help but love this. Cute!

10 points: United Kingdom – Beg, steal or borrow

A real classic over here in Belgium, and with good reason: this is so happy and well composed, you can’t help but love this really. But I must say I think the sound mix in this live version is complete off, I really wanted more emphasis on the build-up with exploding strings towards the end. Instead we get a focus on the electric guitar to give it a bit of a country feel and that was not the right option for me. Vocally all sounds very well, the male lead in particular is in great shape. I was torn but I eventually was too let down by the live sound to award them my douze.

12 points: Portugal – A festa da vida

In an amazing reversal of fortune Carlos Mendes gets my trophee, after finishing second to last in my 1968 list. It’s only 2:08 so it must be one of the shortest songs in ESC history but what it lacks in length it makes up for in emotion and drama. Love the vibe here, with dark early disco-soul sounds, a fantastic interpretation by Mendes and great support by the backings. I wouldn’t have minded a 5 minute version of this. Gold.

I don’t think my woorden spoon will come as a surprise: it’s the travelling ward that is Austria. Brace yourself before clicking the link. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Not a lot of movement in the all time top ten, after two consecutive victories the Dutch are left empty handed this year as I did not really care for Als het om de liefde gaat. It’s not like they’ll soon be threatened now, is it. Meanwhile Portugal and Ireland are knocking on the door of the top ten…

1             Netherlands 102 (1970 – 1971)
2             United Kingdom  83 (1961 – 1965)
3             France 75 (1960)
4             Italy 70 (1958 – 1964)
5             Belgium 68 (1968)
6             Luxembourg 66 (1956 – 1967)
7             Sweden 62
8             Germany 56 (1959)
9             Finland 56 (1962)
10           Spain 50

So, that’s all dramatic French ballads out of the way, right? Right?

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