Monday’s Music Moves Me: Selected Songs From The Eurovision Song Contest

The 65th (it would have been the 66th, but you know, Covid) Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) finished a while ago, and Italy, represented by the glam-rock band Maneskin, won, albeit not without controversy, as their lead singer was accused of snorting cocaine at some point (they have a drug test scheduled for sometime today; not sure what happens if he tests positive). Congratulations to them!

The ESC has been going since 1956, not unlike me. Countries which participate are mostly from Europe, but Turkey, Israel, and Australia have also participated. Each country chooses a performer and a song and go to the host city (this year, it was Rotterdam in The Netherlands, because they won in 2019; next year’s will be held in Rome, Italy) and perform the song for a panel of judges, and whichever song the judges like the best wins. (It’s a little more complicated than that, but that’s the basic idea.)

I became a fan of the ESC when I learned that ABBA had won it back in 1974, and on several occasions (here, here, and here) reproduced Top 5 or 10 songs as I do for Top Ten Tuesday. What I liked about the earlier ones was that, more often than not, the songs were in a language other than English. In recent years, English has dominated, which makes it easier for those of us who speak English (with varying degrees of success) to understand the lyrics, which I guess is important to us (I tend to listen to the music and treat the vocals as just another instrument).

To build my playlist, I used the Random app to pick first the year, then the finishing position (1 through 10). And here’s the result…

  1. Ljilijana Petrović, "Neke Davne Zvezde (Some Long-Gone Stars)": From Yugoslavia. Placed 8th in the 1961 contest. Ms. Petrović passed away in 2020 at the age of 80.
  2. Mikolas Josef, "Lie To Me": From the Czech Republic. Placed 6th in 2018. He’s the most successful Czech entry to date.
  3. Conchita Wurst, "Rise Like A Phoenix": From Austria, won the 2014 contest. Wikipedia tells us that Conchita was born Thomas Neuwirth, and that she’s a singer, recording artist, and "drag queen."
  4. Ira Losco, "7th Wonder": Representing Malta, placed 2nd in 2002. This was the highest Malta had ever placed until 2005, when it was equaled.
  5. Birthe Kjær, "Vi Maler Byen Rød (We’re Painting The Town Red)": From Denmark, placed 3rd in 1989. Her performance was my favorite.
  6. Geraldine, "Toi (You)" Luxembourg’s entry in 1975 placed 5th. Geraldine Brannigan is from Ireland, but represented Luxembourg in 1975, and sings very well in French. One of the co-writers of "Toi" was Irish singer-songwriter Phil Coulter, who is also her husband.
  7. Franklin Brown & Maxine, "De Eerste Keer (The First Time)": The Dutch entry in 1996 placed 7th. Franklin Brown (né Kroonenberg) and Maxine (born Gonny Buurmeester) are two solo artists who worked together for the 1996 contest, then went their separate ways until 2005, when they got back together as part of a group called The Eurostars.
  8. Henri Dès, "Retour (Return)": Switzerland’s entry in 1970, it placed 4th. Henri is "is a Swiss French-language children’s singer and songwriter immensely popular in European Francophone countries," according to Wikipedia. He also represented Switzerland in 1974.
  9. Isabelle Aubret, "La Source (Source)": France sent this to the 1968 contest, and it placed 3rd. She won the ESC in 1962 with "Un Premier Amour (A First Love)."
  10. Birthe Wilke, "Uh, Jeg Ville Ønske Jeg Var Dig (Uh, I Wish I Were You)": Denmark’s 1959 entry placed 5th. Ms. Wilke received the sobriquet "Denmark’s Doris Day" after recording "Que Sera, Sera" in 1958. She sang a duet in the 1957 ESC with Gustav Winckler, after which they stunned TV audiences with a 13-second kiss.

You can find the Linky for this week’s MMMM at one of the blogs of the permanent hosts. WordPress.com doesn’t allow me to embed it.

And that’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for May 24, 2021.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by Marie, Cathy, Alana, and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.

19 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Selected Songs From The Eurovision Song Contest

  1. I predate Eurovision. Guess that means I’m old! My favs were your favorite, plus Conchita and Henri Des. I ended up getting the free Peacock about 40 minutes before the finals started and watching all the songs and some of the voting. It was definitely an educational topic, especially if we end up having our based-on-ESC-American Song Contest next year.

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    1. I was born like six weeks before the first one. I’ll be interested to see how much, if at all, the American Song Contest compares to it. What I like here is that these are all European entries. It’s fun to see how their favorites differ from ours.

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    1. That was the idea behind doing this. There’s a lot of pop music that comes from places other than the US and the UK, and the ESC is a good opportunity to hear some of it. Hope you enjoyed these!

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  2. Hi John – he didn’t test positive … so that solves that problem. Thanks for these – I don’t listen to it … but I will listen to the songs you’ve highlighted. We get nil ‘point’ all the time now … down on the Brits! Glad they’ve brought their own culture into the ESC … I’ll be back to listen – cheers Hilary

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  3. I loved listening to these songs and learning more about Eurovision. To be honest, I had not about this until blogging and learning from you and the others. I wonder where I could watch this? I have to say I really liked The polish lady and Conchita who has a great voice. (I am awful but the beard was distracting). My least favourite was the Swiss guy, Henri, who plays to kids…that might be why:)

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    1. Many of the salient moments of the contest are on the website (https://eurovision.tv/videos), and there’s a lot more on YouTube. It was live-streamed in the US on Peacock (the streaming service of NBC), which is $4.99 USD a month (that’s if you can even access it in Canada). Maybe one of the streaming services in Canada has it…

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  4. I didn’t watch all of it this year, but saw from about mid-way onwards. What really makes the competition fun in the UK (coz we really don’t do well with the music) is the host – Terry Wogan was brilliantly sarcastic and Graham Norton is following closely in his stead.

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      1. Yes, he was – very similar dry sarcasm, especially for Eurovision!

        He passed away a few years ago, but he always said the competition didn’t warm up until Song 9 – so it’s a UK tradition to raise a glass at Song 9 in memory of him.

        This year, I didn’t join in until much later.

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  5. John,

    This was a really good theme. I’m glad you put this one out there for us to build on. I just can’t believe how old this singing contest is. I thought when American Idol started years ago that was something unique and then all of the others to spring up on American TV hoped to ride the wave but it looks like ESC might have been the one to set the pace for others to follow.

    I thought briefly about going way back in the archived winners but decided to go with a single group that I thought I should know but didn’t. I found it cool there were a few artists, mostly older ones, who won this thing. It’ll be fun to investigate more of these stars.

    I’m going to listen to your wonderful playlist while I do some other things on the net. Thanks for sharing with us on the 4M dance floor. You’re doing a great job as honorary co-host and have a boogietastic week!

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    1. This is the daddy of all of them. It’s been around as long as I have. I like this one, because it’s music we wouldn’t get a chance to hear otherwise, as dominant as US culture seems to be.

      Hope you like the playlist!

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  6. Interestingly, this year most seemed to sing in their native language. I think it was the most non-english songs I’ve seen in a very long time. I wonder if covid had anything to do with it?

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    1. Covid might have had some effect, since they didn’t hold it last year, giving the participating countries a little more time to think about it. Or maybe they said, “Hey, we have too much English; let’s do it in [language other than English) instead!”

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