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Blast from the past: Belgium 1973

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, we will have a look at 1973, when Nicole and Hugo represented Belgium with the song “Baby baby”. Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest Belgium is one of the countries that participates in the Eurovision Song Contest from the first moment on in 1956. The only Belgian victory came in 1986, with Sandra Kim and her song “J’aime la vie”. However, in recent years Loïc Nottet (2015) and Blanche (2017) reached the top-5, both with a 4th place. National Selection In 1973, the national final Liedjes voor Luxemburg was held on February 25th. The song presentation can be found on Youtube, sound only. Although five quite big names in Flanders participated, Nicole and Hugo were the big favourites, as they missed the contest in 1971. Rita Deneve, “Ga met me mee”, 0 pt., 4th Nicole and Hugo, “Jij en ik en wij”, 0 pt., 4th Ann Christy, “Bye bye”, 1 pt., 3rd Kalinka, “Nooit ga ik van je heen”, 0 pt., 4th Liliane Dorekens, “Morgen”, 0 pt., 4th Rita Deneve, “Vrede voor iedereen”, 2pt., 2nd Nicole & Hugo, “Baby, baby”, 4 pt., 1st Ann Christy, “Meeuwen”, 0 pt., 4th Kalinka, “Home sweet home”, 0 pt., 4th Liliane Dorekens, “Kiss, Kus, Kuss”, 0 pt., 4th For the Dutch speaking: a lot of information about the national final can be found in “Van Canzonissima tot Eurosong – 65 jaar Belgische preselecties voor het Eurovisie Songfestival“, written by André Vermeulen. Nicole & Hugo The duo existed of Nicole Josy (Nicole van der Palm, born October 21st 1946) and Hugo Sigal (Hugo Verbraeken, born November 10th 1947). Both had a solo career before they met in 1970. Nicole already attempted to go to Eurovision in 1968. The first success of the duo came in 1971, when they won Canzonissima, the Belgian preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest, with the song “Goeiemorgen, morgen“. Unfortunately, Nicole got jaundice and had to stay in bed. The duo was replaced at the contest in Dublin. In December, 1971 became their happy year after all: Nicole and Hugo married. Two years later, they won the Belgian preselection again, and now they were able to go to Eurovision. Unfortunately they came last, but no one ever forgets the purple suits the duo was wearing. In 1974, they proved their success on another contest: the World Popular Song Contest in Tokyo, where they placed 2nd. It brought them several international tours in the 1970s. In 1984, they toured throughout the world on a cruise ship. A comeback came in 2004, when Nicole and Hugo participated in the Belgian preselections again with the song “Love is all around“. Although they didn’t win, the song became a hit. It was followed by several hits in Dutch like “Ik denk aan jou“, “Verliefd“, “Pastorale” and “Schietgebed“. In 2015 the duo decided to retire. On November 4th 2022, Nicole Josy passed away. Baby, Baby The song the duo sang at Eurovision in 1973, “Baby, baby” was composed by Ignace Baert, with lyrics from Erik Marijsse. A very remarkable line in the song was one Nicole sang: “Een vrouw kan niets alleen” (A woman can’t do anything alone). The song reached the 28th place in the Belgian charts. In Eurovision, most of the countries awarded it 5/10 or less, only Monaco and Spain awarded it with 6/10 votes. Therefore, the song became 17th and last.      

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Nicole Josy passed away

Today, the sad news came to us that Nicole Josy passed away. Nicole was the female half of the duo Nicole & Hugo. In 1971 Nicole Josy and her husband Hugo Sigal would participate in the Eurovision Song Contest. With the song “Goeie morgen, morgen” they won the Belgian national final. Unfortunately, Nicole got jaundice and had to stay in bed. At the Eurovision Song Contest, the two were replaced by Jacques Raymond and Lily Castell, who had to rehearse the song and dance in haste. A new chance came two years later. Again Nicole and Hugo won the national final. With the song “Baby, baby” they could participate this time. Unfortunately, the duo came last. Yet their performance was unforgettable. This was mainly due to the bright purple suits that the two wore. In 2004 the duo again made a bid for Eurovision participation. However, they did not succeed with their song “Love is all around”. In 2015, the two decided to stop and enjoy a well-deserved retirement. Nicole had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for some time. However, she did not die from that. She fell on her head at home. She died from the injuries she sustained. Nicole was 76 years old.

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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 points2.Melodie, 4th with 14 points (Ben co-wrote this song with Hans Blum)3.Kom Sylvia dans met mij, 2nd with 19 points4.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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