Eurovision Review – 1976: Your kisses are wasted on me

Posted: 18/10/2011 in Eurovision Song Contest Reviews

Browsing through my iTunes on a quest for inspiration I spotted the title above by the fabulous The Pipettes and couldn’t think of anything more appropriate to kick off this review. A bit negative perhaps while I don’t mean to be negative at all as I simply ADORED the 1976 Contest. The winner on the other hand…

And so Eurovision returns to first row enthusiast the Netherlands who did a splendid job in 1970 and tried to reach the same level in 1976. The idea of a flexible stage setting made its comeback and though I liked the design in 1970 a bit more I still salute the Dutch for their resourcefulness. Love the logo as well, but there were some rather odd choices on other levels: Corry Brokken, capable as she may be, looked like a school teacher and the emphasis on the flowers – from the demure fountain in the beginning to the bouquet each contestant got after performing – was somewhat outdated (well… I do have a 2011 point of view now!).

On a musical level things were A LOT better than 1975 with only four songs I didn’t care for with only my wooden spoon (see bottom of article) being extremely annoying. I was sad to see Peter, Sue & Marc  (for Switzerland) wasting their talent to that non-event of a song for example, while I thought Luxembourg was just plain oldfashioned and Ireland sounded like the Lidl version of Unchained Melody. Another one that springs to mind is Italy, which I just did not flunk because I liked the song – though it was hard to focus on because of the non-talent that is Romina Power. And bless Al Bano for being so nervous (or was he just irritated by Romina’s bleating?). I rather fancied the rest of the field and it was a tough one selecting my top ten. I decided not to include Brotherhood Of Man even though I’m not put off, for once, by their nursery rhyme. I like the tongue in cheek ending, the musical arrangement is very nice and the singer in red is funny. It simply did not cut it for me, though I can see why it won the juries over.

Here are the ones that did make it, these are the points of the Dimivision jury:

1 point: Finland – Pump pump

You’d expect me to put this way higher, wouldn’t you? They actually scare me a bit, I think they mean it! Especially the curly one, somebody get some Valium! The composition is quite weak unfortunately, aside from the genius dieeeee-ai-ai-ai and in a lesser year this would have probably made top 5 thanks to its silliness but sadly for Mega Fredi he had to eat more spinach to Popeye-ai-ai-ai his way to the top.

2 points: Norway – Mata Hari

A Bendik again! Not that you’d know by just listening as Anne Karine Strøm is less strong vocally than in her previous attempts and the fact that she’s singing in English doesn’t seem to boost her confidence at all. Aside from struggling with the language she also had the brilliant idea (mind the tone) of fiddling with a pair of sunglasses. Was the golden jumpsuit insufficiant to make it slightly ridiculous? But I secretly love the disco feeling to this, even though it’s on the verge of being too Love Boat.

3 points: Monaco – Toi, la musique et moi

Sévérine goes disco? No, Mary Christy goes Love Boat. Hm, second time I’ve used that reference and coincidentally back to back – I smell a hidden trauma. She can almost smell the trophee, can’t she? The bongo drums are too loud in the sound mix and get on my nerves and by the time the end is near I get a bit of a desperate feel from this entry. But too Eurovisionesque to pass of course.

4 points: Portugal – Uma flor de verde pinho

A bit of a Jacques Brel feeling from Carlos do Carmo, who should have gone through the effort of doing his hair before performing for an acclaimed audience of 450 million. It does add to the melancholic charm, that bewildered grey bush atop his head. Not the most cheery entry, but who said Eurovision is or needs to be fluffy and glittery all the time? Certainly not me.

5 points: Germany – Sing sang song

A shameless attempt to ride the Ding-a-dong wave obviously, but I’m a sucker for nonsense really. Though the main reason this didn’t end lower is the guy in the blue suit (who looks a bit like a Jew, dare I write – the Jew in blue) who sings terrific. God, I can’t believe I awarded points to a Siegel song. Which fits the title perfectly incidentally.

6 points: France – Un, deux, trois

As fabulous as the orchestra may be at times, sometimes a song is just not written for such purpose. This one is a prime example, sounding lovely in studio version and might I say ruined a bit live. The electric guitar that spices up the chorus gets completely lost, Catherine Ferry has to rush through the chorus and the entire atmosphere is a bit flat really. Or am I just too accustomed to the studio version?

7 points: Yugoslavia – Ne mogu skriti svoju bol

Quite the mouthful, no? No wonder they ended up 17th, no juror wants to take the effort to remember that! It means ‘I can’t hide my pain’ apparently and that’s exactly the feel I got from it: very dramatic and I love it. Though that one trumpet almost ruined it for me, but I decided to find it funny. Another top score for the Balkan country!

8 points: Greece – Panaghia mou, panaghia mou

Now I think this is one of those entries you either love or hate and I accidentally landed on the love side. The build-up is great and Mariza Koch is obviously an accomplished singer. It feels very poetic in this set-up (though I just looked up the translation and am rather underwhelmed) and is clever but real. Très Greek, très over the top and très Eurovision!

10 points: Belgium – Judy et Cie

Even as I’m writing this I’m still contemplating as to whether I should give this ten or my full douze. I’m head over heels in love with the vibe of this song. The strings are magical and sad, the whistling is surprisingly not annoying and Pierre Rapsat does a very good job. Too bad it comes to a halt so abruptly. My home country manages to surprise me in the 70’s!

12 points: Israel – Emor shalom

Pay-TV avant la lettre, this Chocolate Menta Mastik! With better harmonies obviously, and I àm a sucker for harmonies. I love the casual approach here: shaking a leg, hip and shoulder whenever you least expect it – all the while keeping the focus on their fantastic vocals. The song isn’t the most ingenious ever written, nor is the musical build-up the most complicated and mesmerizing but I think the total package is fabulous. Totally Dimi.

On the other side of the list we find Austria as my wooden spoon, with Bridget and a midget and a mameltoe. Awful.

Israel is quite the addition to the Contest obviously, but we’ll have to wait for an appearance in my all time top ten where Belgium surprisingly climbs to second place:

1             Netherlands 110 (1970 – 1971)
2             Belgium 89 (1968)
3             France 89 (1960)
4             Italy 88 (1958 – 1964)
5             United Kingdom  86 (1961 – 1965)
6             Germany 75 (1959 – 1975)
7             Sweden 74 (1974)
8             Spain 72 (1973)
9             Luxembourg 71 (1956 – 1967)
10           Finland 67 (1962)

Curious to see how this will evolve!

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