PUBLISHED: 20:01 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 20:01 16 May 2019
Cliff Richard competing in 1973 – he actually entered twice but didn’t win. Picture: ARCHIVE
Millions will watch the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday- but what’s the secret of its appeal? Readers and staff have been choosing their favourite songs.
Which Eurovision song won your heart? Making Your Mind Up can be hard … but Abba’s Waterloo is still an all-time favourite for many.
Fran Nantongwe, a teacher at Reepham High School and College, said: “I remember watching ‘Waterloo’ on the Eurovision Song Contest when I was 10, and knowing it would win. It felt like a real moment. I still watch that clip on YouTube, from time to time. I also loved Making your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz- it was so upbeat. A fabulous Eurovision song.”
While Waterloo may be the most famous Scandinavian winner, it wasn’t the only one. Julian Gant said via Facebook: “I like any of the Swedish entries… Abba, Carola, Charlotte Nilsson/Perrelli, Eric Saadi, Loreen, Robin Stjernberg, Sanna Nielsen, Mand Zelmerlow, Robin Bengtsson. They always know how to turn out a belter of a tune!
Daniel Featherstone agreed.
“I can see them doing it again this year. Euphoria by Loreen (Sweden’s winner in 2012) is still my all-time favourite. That’s when Eurovision turned a corner for me!”
Euphoria by Loreen is also the favourite of Suzi Sparrow, who chose it “because it’s an upbeat, catchy dance track. And Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi, again catchy for a rock track and the costumes were awesome!”
Twitter user Ally said: “Heroes is my favourite with Fairytale as a close second.
I do have to admit that Euphoria is technically the best song to ever come out of the Eurovision Song Contest, but that is more an objective observation than my personal preference.”
And Catriona Colville said: “For me it has to be Salvador Sobral’s 2017 winner. Never been so emotional over a song before.”
Debbie Turner went for the Netherlands winner from 1975 – “Ding-a-Dong by Teach-in. Fabulous.”
Ding-a-Dong also got David Bullock’s vote. He said: “It just reminds me of sitting round as a family watching it and knowing that there were no divisive strategies to vote for anything. other than the best song.”
Harley Gallagher, a digital marketing apprentice from Norwich, said: “My all-time Eurovision is a tough question as there have been so many crackers. It would have to be Calm After The Storm by The Common Linnets from 2014. A beautifully-written song with impeccable staging.
“Another great song would have to be Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente from 2018. An amazing song about the effects of terrorism. The raw passion from the Italian performers was perfect and a top five finish was fully deserved.
‘We couldn’t believe it was an actual song’
Liz Nice said:”My favourite Eurovision song is A-Ba-Ni-Bi (the winning song in 1978, performed by Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta for Israel). I remember my brother and I watching that and just cracking up. we couldn’t believe it was an actual song.”
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Paul Geater writes: “There were many brilliant Eurovision songs in the 1970s, but my all-time favourite is from 1985, Norwegian group Bobbysocks’ winning La Det Swinge (Let It Swing).
“For a country famous for “nul points” to come up with such a catchy, upbeat number that I can still remember to this day was astonishing. Sadly the duo did nothing else (not on this side of the North Sea anyway), but that song makes them true Eurovision legends.”
It’s not only the most famous songs that have their followers. Lynne Mortimer writes: “I’m pretty sure no one else will go for this. It is Lapponia and I can still hum the chorus! It was the Finnish entry in 1977, performed in Finnish (which is why I can’t recall the words) by Monica Aspelund. Wikipedia tells me it received 50 points, placing 10th in a field of 18. It became the first Finnish entry to be awarded with a maximum score (given by Ireland) since the start of the 12 point tradition in 1975. It would remain Finland’s sole maximum score until 2006.
“The song was released in 20 European countries and was a top 10 hit in Finland and Sweden. It was not the best song Eurovision has ever given us but, for me, it was far and away the most memorable (apart from winning UK entries and Abba’s Waterloo).
Jake Foxford has two very different choices. He writes:”Everyone’s favourite Norwegian fiddler, Alexander Rybak (look him up, he’s adorable) won with ‘Fairytale’ in 2009, simultaneously winning the hearts of millions, popularising the violin in pop music again and setting the biggest-ever winning points margin. Ignore his second attempt and middle-of-the-table finishing in 2018, it’s nowhere near as good.”
“We’ll get to hear my other favourite open the show this year as well, with Netta’s ‘Toy’ winning the competition for Israel last year. Waving golden cats, chicken noises and kimonos – I finally felt like somebody else shared my three big interests.”
Nobody chose Cliff Richard’s iconic Congratulations
Tom Potter said: “I have three – off-the-wall performances. What Eurovision’s all about. Guildo Hat Euch Lieb, by Guildo Horn for Germany in 1998, Divine by Sebastien Tellier for France in 2008, and Run Away by SunStroke Project for Moldova in 2010. I think I liked them all for the same reason. They were thoroughly odd, even a bit unsettling in the case of Guildo Horn, and stood out among a cavalcade of Balkan ballads.”
Craig Flatman also chose SunStroke Project, but went for their 2017 entry, Hey Mamma, saying: “It is so catchy, especially with the sax guy.”
For Elaine Dove, “It’s Tornero – Romania 2006! I went to my first Eurovision event in Birmingham 2007 and was dragged onto the dance floor by a bunch of strangers to this song and I’ve never looked back.”
Perhaps surprisingly, British entries didn’t seem to get much love from readers – and nobody chose Cliff Richard’s iconic Congratulations. However, Gary Mason chose “some of the UK entries from the last 40 years – Mary Ann by Black Lace, I’m Never Giving Up by Sweet Dreams, Love Games by Belle and the Devotions, Love Is by Vikki, Ryder Runner in the Night by Ryder, and Give a Little Love Back to the World by Emma.”
Going back to a slightly earlier era, Sue Hughes said on Twitter: “Had to be Puppet on a String by Sandie Shaw. It’s happy, and I was so little I associate it with a world when there was nothing at all I needed to worry about. Could we bring those days back, please?”
Andrew Donovan also chose “Puppet on a String – Sandie Shaw with no shoes!” And Mike Robinson went for Boom Bang a Bang by Lulu.
For Judy Rimmer, the first contest she ever saw, in 1970, was the best, but she was torn between two great songs.
She writes: “I was allowed to stay up and watch even though it was past my bedtime, because I was such a big fan of Mary Hopkin, who represented Britain in Amsterdam with Knock, Knock, Who’s There? I had seen her sing live with Tommy Steele in Dick Whittington at the London Palladium the previous Christmas – one of the first visits to the theatre that I remember.
“I was so disappointed that Mary only came second – but then I instantly fell in love with the song which beat her, All Kinds of Everything by Irish singer Dana. Such a beautiful and heartfelt lyric and a memorable tune.”
Of course, not everyone loves Eurovision.
Victoria Moffatt said on Twitter: “I’m a total Eurovision Scrooge. It’s always on over my birthday weekend. Hate it!”
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