photo credits: Nationaal Archief, Den Haag
We know a lot about Eurovision and we want to share this knowledge with you! Therefore we’d like to bring you a blast from the past. Today: 1970 runner up Mary Hopkin.
United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest
We already talked about the British Eurovision winners in this blast from the past. But what we didn’t mention are the many times that the United Kingdom organized the contest because other countries couldn’t. That started already in 1960, when The Netherlands were not able to organize the contest so soon after their first time. The contest went to the Royal Festival Hall in London. Three years later France faced the same problem. The brand new BBC TV Studio in London was the place to be. When Monaco won the contest in 1971, Monegask tv was not able (or willing?) to organize the contest. We went to Scotland instead, to Edinburgh. Two years later, Luxembourg couldn’t have the contest for a second year in a row, so we went to Brighton. And most recently, when Ukraine won the contest in 2022 while at war, it was again the United Kingdom taking it over; this time in the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
National final 1970
Six songs all were sung by Mary Hopkin on the 7th of March. Cliff Richard was the host of the contest. People were able to vote by postcard, and one week later the results were made public.
- Three ships, 60,330 votes, 3rd
- Early in the morning of your life, 15,090 votes, 6th
- I’m going to fall in love again, 74,640 votes, 2nd
- You’ve everything you need, 39,360 votes, 5th
- Can I believe? 42,180 votes, 4th
- Knock knock (who’s there?), 120,290 votes, 1st
As you see, “Knock knock (who’s there?)” won with a landslide, having almost double the votes of the runner up “I’m going to fall in love again”.
Mary Hopkin, born on 3rd May 1950 in Pontardawe, Wales, is a renowned British folk singer hitting the charts in the late 1960s and 1970s. Her journey to fame began in the late 1960s when she appeared on the British television talent show, “Opportunity Knocks”. Her ethereal performance caught the attention of none other than Paul McCartney, who was then looking for artists for the Beatles’ newly formed Apple Records label. McCartney signed her, and under his guidance, Hopkin released her chart-topping single “Those Were the Days” in 1968. The song quickly became an international sensation.
Mary represented the UK in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Knock, Knock Who’s There?”. Her debut album “Postcard”, also produced by McCartney, showcased her ability to blend folk with pop, creating a sound that was both fresh and reminiscent of older, simpler times. She took a hiatus from the music world in the mid-1970s to focus on her family.
In the years that followed, Hopkin explored various musical avenues, collaborating with a range of artists and dabbling in different genres. Her collaborations with the famed producer Tony Visconti resulted in several acclaimed albums, including “Earth Song/Ocean Song”, which is considered by many as one of the seminal folk albums of the 1970s.
Knock Knock (Who’s There?)
“Knock, Knock Who’s There?” is a catchy, upbeat pop song that achieved considerable fame in the early 1970s. Its most significant claim to fame is being the United Kingdom’s entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970. The song was a strong contender in the competition, ultimately finishing in second place. Given Eurovision’s vast audience, this placement ensured that the song reached millions of listeners across Europe and beyond.
The lyrics of “Knock, Knock Who’s There?” combine a playful, almost nursery rhyme-like quality in its chorus with verses that express themes of love, hope, and anticipation. The song’s arrangement, characteristic of the era, features a blend of pop and orchestral elements, giving it a full, melodious sound.
Following its appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest, “Knock, Knock Who’s There?” enjoyed commercial success, especially in the UK where it reached the number two spot on the charts. Its popularity cemented Mary Hopkin’s status as one of the leading British singers of the time, complementing Mary Hopkins earlier success with hits like “Those Were the Days.”