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Blast from the past

Blast from the past: Belgium 1980

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. Today: the 1980 Belgian entry. Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest When Belgium first took part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, it was decided that Flemish and Walloon TV would submit a song alternately. The 1979 Flemish entry “Hey nana” was a complete failure. It took the last place. However, the 1978 Walloon entry, sung by Jean Vallée, got the best score so far for Belgium: a second place. A difficult task for Walloon TV RTBf to do it as good as they did in 1978. National final After the success of Jean Vallée, one would have expected a huge national preselection. However, “Eliminatoires Belges du Grand Prix de la chanson Europeenne” was nothing of all that. Jean Vallée hosted a small show in which 7 songs were presented; all prerecorded. There was no voting: after the show, RTBf decided that Telex was going to represent Belgium in The Hague. 1.Bruno Brel sings “Etre heureux rien qu’une heure”2.Domani sings “Toute ma vie”3.Lou and the Hollywood Bananas sing “Et puis, et puis…. rien“4.Kevin Morane sings “Ivre de vie“5.Sonia sings “La star maniaque”6.Telex sing “Euro-vision“7.Timothy sings “Parle-moi grand-pêre” Bruno Brel was a cousin of the famous Jacques Brel. Lou Deprijck was a famous singer in Belgium. Plastic Bertrand’s international hit “Ça plane pour moi” was originally sung by Deprijck. Plastic Bertrand denied that until a judge decided in 2010 that Deprijck was proven to be the singer. source: André Vermeulen, “Van Canzonissima tot Eurosong – 65 jaar Belgische preselecties voor het Eurovisie Songfestival”. Telex Telex was a three man band, made up of Marc Moulin, Dan Lacksman and Michel Moers. The band was formed in 1978; a band combining disco, punk and synthesizer pop to an exclusive sound. Their first album “Looking for Saint-Tropez” was a huge succes. The song “Moskow diskow“. Other hits were “Twist à Saint-Tropez” and “Rock around the clock“. A second album, “Neurovision”, followed around the Eurovision participation. For Telex, Eurovision came at the right moment. Because of the contest, the band was discovered by a larger audience. A few albums followed, but the group split up in 1986. However, there was a return of the trio in 2006. “On the road again” became a hit, but Telex also made their own version of “J’aime la vie“. In 2008, group member Marc Moulin passed away. Euro-vision There are not much songs in the Eurovision Song Contest with the contest itself as a subject. But that is what “Euro-vision” is about. You can find the complete lyrics and translation here. Lacksman, Moulin and Moers co-wrote the song themselves. There was no conductor. As there was no live music, which was not allowed in those days, the members of Telex decided to start the synthesizer-like machine on screen, so that at least the suggestion of live music was made. In the end of the performance, singer Michel Moers made a picture of the audience. Recently, the picture was published in the book “65 jaar België op het songfestival”, by Jasper van Biesen and Jonathan Hendrickx. Results In several interviews, the members of Telex showed their disappointment about the 17th place. Not because they thought it was too low, but because they did not become last. The UK jury gave it 1 point, Greece gave it 3 points but Portugal gave the song its 10 points! Telex blamed Portugal for ruining their chances. photo credits: fotocollectie Anefo      

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Blast from the past: Estonia 2004

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. Today: the 2004 Estonian entry. Semifinal 2004 was the first year that Eurovision knew a semifinal. The best scoring countries of the year before automatically went to the final. As Estonia was not among them, they had to participate in the semifinal first. Ten semifinalists would join the other countries in the final. Eurolaul The Estonian national final for the contest was called Eurolaul in these days. Artists and composers could submit their songs for the final, to be held on february 7th in the ETV Studios in Tallinn. Maarja-Liis Illus (as Maarja) and former winner Tanel Padar (with Slobodan River) were familiar faces for the Eurovision family. The complete field of participants was: 1.”Surrounded“, by Slobodan River, 3rd with 2080 votes2.”Dance“, by Ewert Sundja, 7th with 640 votes3.”Turn the tide“, by Zone & The Cardinals, 8th with 581 votes4.”Whatever you say“, by Charlene, 6th with 785 votes5.”I wanna stay“, by Airi Ojamets, 9th with 393 votes6.”Whenever blue“, by Hatuna & Sofia Rubina, 10th with 188 votes7.”Homme“, by Maarja, 4th with 1320 votes8.”Tii“, by Neiokõsõ, 1st with 8696 votes9.”Beautiful inside“, by Kerli Kõiv, 2nd with 3638 votes10.”I’ll give you a mountain“, by Charizma, 5th with 1157 votes Neiokõsõ The all girl band Neiokõsõ was made up of the sisters Anu and Triinu Taul, Diana Põld, Astrid Böning and Kadri Uutma. The group was made up especially for Eurolaul by producer/composer Priit Pajusaar. For the live performance at Eurolaul, and later the Eurovision Song Contest, Peeter Jõgioja joined the group. “Tii” was their only song, shortly after the Eurovision Song Contest the group split up. Tii It was said that the song “Tii” was inspired by “Sanomi”, the song Urban Trad brought to the second place in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2003. The song was sung in the Võro-language. The title “Tii” means road. You can find the entire lyrics here. Võro is a language of the Uralic language family. It is spoken by 87,000 people in the southern part of Estonia.  Results In the semifinal “Tii” received the 12 points from two countries: Finland and Latvia. Lithuania gave it 10 points. In total, the song received 57 points. That was enough for an 11th place. It was not enough for a place in the final for Estonia. photo credits: Daniel Aragay, Wikimedia Commons

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Blast from the past: Luxembourg 1956

We know a lot about Eurovision. That’s why we bring you a blast from the past every now and then. Today: “Les amants de minuit”, de Luxembourgian entry of 1956, sung by Michèle Arnaud. First contestSeven countries decided to join the first ever Eurovision Song Contest: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Because of the small number of countries, every country provided two entries. More countries showed interest, but for several reasons they didn’t participate. Luxembourg was the smallest of the participating countries, represented by broadcaster CLT (Compagnie de la Télévision Luxembourgois). SelectionNothing is known about the national selection in Luxembourg in 1956. However, it is not likely that there was one. Luxembourg only had a national selection on a few occasions in the 70s and the 80s. CLT chose French singer Michèle Arnaud to represent them. Luxembourg was, with Switzerland, one of the two countries that was represented by one artist for both the songs. For the occasion, Simone Laurencin composed one of the songs, with Pierre Lambry writing the lyrics. The other song, composed by Christian Guittreau, was called “Ne crois pas“. Michèle ArnaudMichèle Arnaud was born in Toulon at march 18, 1919.  She went to Paris, where she started a singing career in 1952. She started performing in the theatre Milord l’Arsouille. The first successful song she sang was “L’Île Saint-Louis“. After the Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, she became the permanent star in Milord l’Arsouille. She was accompanied by Jacques Lassry, who was also her conductor in Eurovision, and… Serge Gainsbourg! In the sixties, Arnaud made her own version of big international hits, like Beatles’ “Yesterday”: “Je croyais Yesterday“.Michèle Arnaud released 11 albums. In the seventies her career ended, her last single being “Cherbourg”. She passed away at march 30, 1998 in the small commune of Maisons-Laffitte. Les amants de minuitThe song was called “Les amants de minuit”, which means “Midnight lovers”. “Midnight lovers by chance meet eachother. And about what will follow, happiness or unfortunate, only the night knows.”, Arnaud sings. The full lyrics can be found here. The results are not known; only the winner, Switzerland, was announced. ChildrenTwo of Michele Arnauds children became artists as well. Daughter Florence Gruère became a photographer. Son Dominique Walter became a singer. He represented France in the 1966 Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Chez nous“.     

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Blast from the past: Serbia 2017

We know a lot about Eurovision. We want to share our knowledge by highlighting former Eurovision songs in a blast from the past. Today: Serbia’s entry from 2017. Selection Serbian broadcaster RTS decided to ask its music editors to select a participant. On February 27th it became public that Tijana Bogićević was going to be the Serbian participant for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kiev, Ukraine. She was going to sing a song written by the songwriters team Symphonix International. Borislav Milanov, Joacim Bo Persson, Johan Alkenäs and Lisa Ann-Mari Linder would take the challenge to write the song. Tijana Bogićević Tijana Bogićević was 35 years old when she was presented as the 2017 Serbian contestant. Her career started in 2001 when she sang as a backing vocal for Vlada Georgieva. In those days, she also sang in a band called Shanene. She did an earlier attempt to go to Eurovision, back in 2009. It was not a great success: her song “”Pazi šta radiš” did not get any votes in the semifinal of Beovizija, the Serbian national selection. Two years later, in 2011, she actually sang on the Eurovision stage: as a backing vocalist for Serbian representant Nina, who sang “Čaroban” to a place in the final.  In too deep The song Symphonix International wrote for Tijana was called “In too deep”. It was a song about someone who madly fell in love. “Won’t somebody save me tonight? Feels like I’ve been sentenced to life. I’m falling so deep, I’m in too deep, I’m falling so deep”, she sings. On March 11th, the song was debuted on YouTube. For promotion, Tijana went to the promo concerts in Tel Aviv, Amsterdam and Madrid. Rehearsals in Kiev The rehearsals in Kiev went well. Tijana sang well; however, there was a problem. According to many people, the song was okay, but it did not really stand out. It would therefore not be an easy match for Tijana to get into the final. Half of the journalists, present in the press centre, predicted a place for Serbia in the final. The other half did not expect Tijana to make it. Results The same thing happened when the real jury had to vote: the juries were divided. The expert jury gave Serbia an 11th place, the televoters wanted the song to be in the final with a 10th place. The televoting juries from North Macedonia and Switzerland even gave it their 12 points. It was not enough. In the overall result, Serbia became 11th and thus did not reach the final. After Eurovision This definitely did not end Tijana’s career. She released her debut album “Čudo” in 2018. It contained many of the songs she released before. The follow up of “In too deep” was the song “Dodirni me“. After that, she scored a hit song in duet with Damir Kedžo, the man who was supposed to represent Croatia in the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest. Their song, “Hram“, became a hit in Croatia in 2021.

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Blast from the past: Cyprus 1983

We know a lot about Eurovision. That’s why you’ll get a blast from the past every time. Today: the 1983 Cypriot entry “I agapi akoma zi”, sung by Stavros and Constantina. Introduction Cyprus debuted quite succesfully in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1981. The group Island reached a 6th place. A year later, when Anna Vissi was involved, they did even better: a 5th place. Expectations were high. Cyprus was the country to beat. CyBC (Cyprus Broadcasting Authority) had to look for another top song. Stavros Sideras It was no surpsise that CyBC selected Stavros Sideras to do the job. The 35 year old singer debuted in 1976 and released three full albums before he composed and directed the rock opera “The Archion“, together with Doros Georgiadis. In 1981, he wrote the aforementioned Cypriot debut entry for the Eurovision Song Contest, “Monica”, for the group Island. Sideras did not join the stage himself. As said, he wrote the 1983 entry “I agapi akoma zi”. Stavros kept on writing musicals and making albums. In the late nineties he wrote the musical “Pygmalion: the true story“. Constantina Stavros’ duopartner in Eurovision was Constantina or Dina. Her full name is Konstantina Konstantinou. She was born in Nicosia in 1963. When she and Stavros represented Cyprus in the Eurovision Song Contest she was 19 years old. She was quite unknown in those days. One year after the contest she released her debut album. It was the first of 19 albums up to date. Constantina worked together with Marinella, Anna Vissi, Constantinos Christoforou and many others. In 1997 she wrote the Cypriot Eurovision entry “Mana mou“. The song was performed by her sister Chara and brother Andreas Constantinou. They reached a 5th place. The song and performance “I agapi akoma zi” (Love is still alive) was written and composed by Stavros Sideras himself. The song was arranged by Michalis Rozakis. He was also the conductor for the duo at the contest in Munich. It was a simple love song. You can read the lyrics and translation here. The backing vocals all became (Eurovision) stars in a later time: Stelios Konstantinou was a backing vocal in 1988. Elena Patroclou (Eurovision 1991), Evridiki (Eurovision 1992, 1994 and 2007) and John Vickers (composer of the 1990 Cypriot entry) joined Stelios in the backings. Voting and results There was not much interest in the media for Cyprus, nor in the polls or at the bookmakers’. The voting became a big disappointment. Not even Greece gave points to the song. Seven countries voted for the song. Yugoslavia had the highest amount of points for the song: 6. A total of 26 points were enough for a 16th place.  

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Blast from the past: Estonia 1993

We know a lot about Eurovision! That’s why we take you back with a blast from the past! Today: Estonia 1993! Estonia’s first entry It was the first of january 1993, when several Eastern European countries joined the EBU. Among them Estonia. Finally, this young country (independent again since 1991) was able to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. Estonian TV (ETV) invited Janika Sillamaa to do the job. Janika was seven years old when she started working in the Childrens Musical Theatre Colombina. She played the main roles in a children’s musical and a children’s opera. In 1992, she played the role of Mary Magdalene in the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical “Jesus Christ Superstar”. The next step was the preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest.  On february 20, Janika presented eight new songs, one of them to be selected as the Estonian entry: 1.Lootus (135 pts., 4th)2.Ma sule ütlen (129 pts., 6th)3.Jää hetkeks (111 pts., 7th)4.Unelaul (133 pts., 5th)5.Muretut meelt ja südametuld (193 pts., 1st)6.Laulumaa (100 pts., 8th)7.Aeg on laul (140 pts., 3rd)8.Tuhast tõuseb päev (180 pts., 2nd) Eurovision So “Muretut meelt ja südametuld” became the first Estonian entry. The song, which translates as “Sorrowless minds and flames of hearts” (the lyrics and translation can be found here), was one of the seven entries in “Kvalifikacija za Millstreet”, the Eastern European preselection for the 1993 Eurovision Song Contest. Janika Sillamaa traveled to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana to do the job. Three of the seven entries would make the step to the Eurovision stage in the Irish town of Millstreet. Unfortunately, Janika’s Estonian adventure ended in Ljubljana: she became 5th. 2nd try Most of the songs from the national final can be found on Janika’s debut album “Lootus”. Janika Sillamaa did a second attempt to represent Estonia in 1998, with the song “Viime valge kuu”. The song became 4th. However, the composer of the song, Koit Toome, won the contest as a singer. She was succesful, not only as a singer, but especially for her roles in numerous musicals in Estonia. Whatever she did after her tiny Eurovision adventure, Janika Sillamaa was the first Estonian representative. Even though she did never reach the Eurovision stage.

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