60 years of Eurovision by country – part 1: The 1956 originals – SWI, NET, BEL, GER, FRA, LUX & ITA

Posted: 17/08/2016 in Eurovision 60 years

 

So, the EBU celebrated 60 years of Eurovision in 2015. But it all started in 1956, so it should be celebrated in 2016, no?  So let me do the honors, and offer you my short view on every country’s track record. I’ll add my top three per country to that – in the spirit of the Olympics, that other peaceful and worldly event!

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start! It all started in 1956 with a mere seven countries – just imagine! A couple of those are in my all time top ten, but that’s more due to quantity than quality in some cases. Let’s see how they did in my book over the past six decades!

1. Switzerland

La Suisse is a bit of a #meh country in Eurovision for me. They only shine every once in a while, most of their entries are either bland or really bad. In other words: as neutral as their political nature.

As far as their winners go, I kinda tolerate 1988. Celine really sold that song for way more than it’s worth. Don’t get their 1956 win though, it’s such a dreary song. Bad way to kick off 60 years of history. Plus, it gave us decades of Lys Assia ‘gracing’ the stage. Reason enough to hate it.

  1. 1981 – Io Senza Te – Peter, Sue & Marc
    Because it’s so beautiful and dreamy, and puts the class in classic.
  2. 2011 – In love for a while – Anna Rossinelli
    Because it’s just so endearing and bubbly (pun intended). A bit lost on that stage, and those moves are a bit awkward, but the bubbles make up for that.
  3. 2014 – Hunting for stars – Sebalter
    Because man candy! And a lovely tune as well, of course. Too bad you can hardly understand what he’s on about, apart from the ‘eat you up’ of course – which is, let’s acknowledge, the most important line after all *dreams away*

2. Netherlands

As my mother tongue is Dutch, my relationship to NL is a bit different than other countries. I found most of their stuff acceptable to fabulous, until they started in English – then their somewhat unique voice disappeared. Until recently, of course.

Their winners vary from #meh (1958) over enjoyable (1959) to mesmerizing (1969) and silly-happy-go-lucky (1975). I don’t think they’ve ever really been robbed, except for the one that takes my gold.

  1. 1993 – Vrede – Ruth Jacott
    Because EPIC! Easily the most exciting peace message, full of confidence and pezaz – in both composition and performance. Still hate those last 15 seconds though.
  2. 1971 – Tijd – Saskia & Serge
    Because simply lovely and ethereal. I love it so much I dedicated a tribute to it – in which I sing both voices. Sorry for any damage to your ears and mental health.
  3. 1998 – Hemel & aarde – Edsilia Rombley
    Because of the heavenly (see what I did there?) live performance. #commoneverybody

3. Belgium

Ah, my home country, so beware! Sometimes we did send some awful shit, didn’t we? Luckily there are some prime moments to mention, such as 1973, 1980, 1983 & 2003. I really want to give a shout-out to 1968 as Claude Lombard‘s magical little song is all too often forgotten.

We only won the thing once, and we do cherish Sandra Kim for it. So don’t expect me to diss it – it’s just all kinds of wonderful.

  1. 1990 – Macédomienne – Philippe Lafontaine
    Because it’s the odd one out. I like the odd ones. And it’s so drenched in melancholy. I like melancholy.
  2. 1976 – Judy & Cie – Pierre Rapsat
    Because melancholy again. I do hate the word Judy here. Feels like redundant sucking up to international juries. #nitpicking
  3. 2015 – Rhythm inside – Loïc Nottet
    Because it’s so damn out of the box on all levels. Delicious.

4. Germany

Discovering those first decades, I was surprised at Germany’s track record. They did bring the occasional catchy song to the table. But. They kinda lost me from the ’80s on, with only the occasional glimmer of hope. Especially hate all the plastic and outdated Siegel rubbish – but those who’ve read my individual blog posts per year will surely know that.

Their 1982 winner enjoys much praise, but for me it’s way too sugary. Besides, she won in a year that is full of great entries that I’d gladly seen taking the crown instead of Nicole. And unlike many, I didn’t see their 2010 win coming. I only started to appreciate it more after she won – one of the few that managed to do that.

  1. 2011 – Taken by a stranger – Lena
    Because it’s just so fucking cool.
  2. 1975 – Ein lied kann eine brücke sein – Joy Fleming
    Because of the welly our Joy is giving us. #scream
  3. 1994 – Wir geben ‘ne party – Mekado
    Because it’s so deliciously OTT. #armography (also: damn, a Siegel song in my top three! I’ll go punish myself now)

5. France

French is my second language, so I get my fair share of being biased. Especially when it comes to La France who, up until 1999, often managed to deliver. Special mention for their 1994 entry, which was all kinds of cool. They have their moments of weakness, Les Bleus, but overall they are one of my favorite countries. Pity they crumbled after Y2K.

Five times they took the title – all in the first half of this jubilee. They went from snoozefest (1958) over children’s tune (1960) to hypnotizing (1962), haunting (1969) and dreamy (1977). And of course, my number two was capital ROBBED. Still haven’t digested that.

  1. 2009 – Et s’il fallait le faire – Patricia Kaas
    Because it and she are simply in a league of their own.
  2. 1991 – Le dernier qui a parlé – Amina
    Because IT SHOULD HAVE WON. Because it’s brilliant, different and bewitching.
  3. 1990 – White & black blues – Joëlle Ursul
    Because it took a stab at unity slash racism in its own unique and most wonderful way.

6. Luxembourg

Much like Switzerland, Luxembourg is a bit #meh. Our tiny neighbour country is sometimes too…tiny, giving us stuff that we’ve heard countless times. Kuddos to them for giving us some moments we won’t soon forget (1978, 1984 – and my entire top 3 below).

Their winners all sit surprisingly well with me, except for that win in 1983 I’ll never comprehend. It’s just so dreary. And their 1972 has been pushed down my throat a bit too much, thanks to my sweet mom. I do like the suave 1961, immortal 1965 and impressive 1973 (mostly vocally).

  1. 1990 – Quand je te rêve – Céline Carzo
    Because of the drama, the drama!
  2. 1971 – Pomme pomme pomme – Monique Melsen
    Because of the endearing simplicity of it all.
  3. 1989 – Monsieur – Park Café
    Because it’s just so damn silly.

7. Italy

I have a love-hate relationship with Italy. When they’re good, they’re great. When they’re not… Oh dear. I do like their particular passionate personalities, which lead me to brilliant moments like 1993, 1997, 2012 & 2014.

Their winners are quite okay for me. The one in 1964 was, as you’ll notice below, very much deserved. The one in 1990 was…adequate, thanks to a very catchy chorus. And let’s not forget, it’s what lead to the wonderful chaos that is ESC 1991.

  1. 1992 – Rapsodia – Mia Martini
    Because goose bumps all the way, baby. #shiver
  2. 1969 – Due grosse lacrime bianche – Iva Zanicchi
    Because this is sooooo quintessential Italian!
  3. 1964 – Non ho l’eta – Gigliola Cinquetti
    Because #classic

Up tomorrow are the next six countries: Denmark, UK, Austria, Sweden, Monaco and Norway.

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