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Blast from the past: Netherlands 1973

We know a lot about Eurovision; this is knowledge we want to share with you. Therefore we’d like to bring you a blast from the past. Back to 1973! We will talk about the Dutch entry, “De oude muzikant” by Ben Cramer.

The Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest

It was quite a successful time for The Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest. A victory in 1969, a 6th place in 1971 and a 4th in 1972. A survey among people at Dutch broadcaster NOS learned that the famous duo Mouth & McNeal were favourite to represent the country in the 1973 contest. However, they didn’t want to go. Ben Cramer was 2nd choice. And he said yes!!

Ben Cramer

Bernardus Kramer was born in Amsterdam the 17th of february 1947. His career started with a band called The Sparklings. In 1966 they first performed on television. As Ben Cramer & The Sparklings they had their first huge hit in The Netherlands: “Zai, zai, zai“. This song and his solo single “Dans met mij” (1968) were his greatest hits. Cramer took part in a lot of song contests all over the world. In 1970 he sang the song “Julia” in the Dutch national final for the Eurovision Song Contest. In 1971 he started working together with Pierre Kartner, who also wrote his Eurovision Song. Cramer was a star, but in the early 1980s his stardom began to faint. In 1981 he did another attempt to go to Eurovision. However, his song “Retour” only got 2 points and “Marianne” even ended up with zero points. In the 1990s he started a new career, as a musical star. He played roles in “Evita”, “Chicago”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Aida” and “Chess”.

National final

A circus was the scenery of the national final. Wellknown Dutch artists showed circus acts. In between the songs Ben Cramer sang four songs. The contest took place on february 28 in Carré Theatre in Amsterdam. The four songs were:

1.Kom met me mee, 3rd with 15 points
2.Melodie, 4th with 14 points (Ben co-wrote this song with Hans Blum)
3.Kom Sylvia dans met mij, 2nd with 19 points
4.De oude muzikant, 1st with 62 points

“De oude muzikant” won with a landslide.

De oude muzikant

“De oude muzikant” (the old musician) was a song about an old, forgotten musician who once was a big star in Paris. You can find the lyrics here. The song was written and composed by Pierre Kartner, the man he worked with in those days. Bens performance in Luxembourg knew a lot of struggle. Especially during the general rehearsal, Ben had troubles with the technicians, as he was not happy with the lightning. He stopped the rehearsal, while the entire jury was watching. It can be the reason for his low final score. Rumour has it that the technicians took revenge by giving Ben Cramer lousy exposure on stage.

Note that the musician in the video is composer Pierre Kartner.


Final score

Two jury members, one younger than 25 and one of 25+ formed the jury per country. They could both give a song a mark of 1-5, making it 10 per country. Only the jury in Luxembourg (7) and France (6) were a little bit enthousiastic about “De oude muzikant”. With a total of 69 points Ben Cramer only became 14th.



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