Eurovision Through the Years – In this series I will (in irregular time intervals and non-chronologically) present a year of the Eurovision Song Contest. We will look at songs and singers, hosts, gossip, interesting stories and funny incidents. Today we will take a close look at the 29th edition. You can find all reviews we already published here: Eurovision Through the Years: The (Hi)Story
The 29th Eurovision Song Contest in 1984 was held in the Grand Théatre in Luxembourg in the Principality of Luxembourg. The hostess was the only 19-year old Désirée Nosbusch, who presented the show in a refreshingly lax manner. She did seem nervous at times, but managed to cover that up with a cheeky attitude: Incidentally, she addressed the supervisor of the EBU with the informal “tu”. In her way too big jacket, she was one of the few highlights of the contest that year. Nosbusch also used her fluency in Luxembourgish, German, English and French effectively, by making her announcements in one of these languages often switching from one to another within the same sentence. The conductor of the orchestra that year had also been Nosbusch’s music teacher. Well, Luxembourg is not too big, is it?
The Luxembourgish broadcaster seemingly tried to give a very modern impression. Elements of the stage probes (imported from the Netherlands) could be changed according to the performance (today the giant geometrical figures seem rather “unsightly”, though). The postcards were mostly in the style of the early computer games of the time and included (stereo)typical themes for each country. Greece withdrew as well as Israel that, as had happened before, could not participate due to a national memorial day. As Ireland returned, a total of 19 countries sent a song. During the intro of the contest, the orchestra played instrumentals of all five Eurovision winners from Luxembourg.
The first entry of the evening would also turn out to be the winner. Sweden sent “The Herrey’s”, three brothers living in the US with Swedish citizenship. The three belong to the Mormon Church which created a minor scandal in Sweden. Their happy 80s pop song “Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley” is about the lead singer discovering a pair of golden shoes that he puts on and immediately feels like dancing. Naturally the three wore golden shoes and added a slick dance routine to the visual image. Swedish Eurovision participant Tommy Körberg called them “the dancing deodorants” in the Swedish press due to their very clean cut hair. The name stuck with them for the rest of their career. Many countries voted for the song that had not been a favorite before the contest. 10 years after ABBA Sweden had won again- incidentally for the first time in Swedish.
Up next was the host country. Luxembourg sent the model Sophie Carle, who asked for “100% d’amour” (“100% of Love”) to share it with everybody everyday. Maybe Luxembourg should have sent a singer instead. Sophie performed off-key for most of the performance which she later blamed on the loud keyboard and drum machine accompaniment. The song is a mid-tempo ballad with typical 80s elements. Her style of singing is similar to that of Vanessa Paradis, rather child-like. She smiled herself through the performance and tried to turn on the charm. It apparently worked for many: 10th place with 39 points was probably more than deserved.
France sent Annick Thoumazeau, who, before her Eurovision participation, had merely recorded a song for a television show. Her “Autant d’amoureux que d’étoiles” (“As Many Lovers as Stars”) is a dramatic ballad. In it, the singer promises her undying love to her partner and remarks that they are not the only ones as there are “as many lovers as stars”. She performed the song with her big voice in a red gown with sequins. The jurors voted it into 8th place.
After their last place with nul points with a more ethnic song in 1983, Spain sent a more conventional and commercial effort to Luxembourg. The group Bravo, two men and two ladies, performed their song entitled “Lady, Lady” which is about a “lady” who lost her love a thousand years ago and is still waiting for his return. The group performed well and received a warm reaction form the audience in Luxembourg. The song also became a big hit In Spain and West-Germany. The jurors liked it as well: Spain came 3rd and their last place the year before was forgotten.
Dollie de Luxe represented Norway. The duo, formed in 1980 had won the Spellemannprisen with their debut album. The happy pop song “Lenge leve livet” is a praise to life and the singers tell the listeners to live life to the full as no one knows what lies in the future – or the after life. They performed in suits reminiscent of judo outfits and had red ribbons in their hair. One year before their eventual triumph, Norway had to suffer yet another set-back: They came 17th with 29 points.
The United Kingdom was represented by Belle and The Devotions. The trio presented what was supposed to be an homage to the sound of the Supremes. In their song “Love Games” they lament that their lovers played “love games” with them and broke their hearts. The main focus was on Belle, with the other two mainly dancing around her. Some backing singers were hidden in the stage props to support the girl’s singing. The song is quite catchy but when the main line “We were only playing love games” is repeated for the 17th time, it starts to get annoying. However, the UK’s performance was the most colorful of the night, with the trio dressed in bright day-glo colored outfits. Belle had dyed her hair platinum blonde (with lime green highlights) while the other two went for red and yellow. After the performance there was auditable booing in the audience. Rumor has it that this was not due to the song, but due to English soccer fans that had rioted in Luxembourg the year before. The 7th place for Belle and the Devotions was the third worst showing for the UK up until then.
Cyprus sent Andy Paul to Luxembourg, a Greek-Cypriot singer who had emigrated to the United Kingdom in the early 60s where he was influenced by singers like Cliff Richard and Engelbert Humperdinck. His song “Anna Maria Lena” is a melodic love ballad directed at the titular character. Paul sings that all he sings is her name. He performed in an unflattering, grey outfit, showing his chest hair. Without help from Greece that year, Cyprus only came 15th.
Belgium was represented by Jacques Zegers. In his song “Avanti, la vie” he urges the listeners to progress with their life and to maybe even “revive Rome” (the word “Avanti” in the chorus being Italian). He was supported by four backing singers in red and white dresses, standing one meter behind him and swinging along to the melody. The rather forgettable song did surprisingly well: 5th place with 70 points.
Up next was Ireland. The Emerald Island sent young singer Linda Martin to Luxembourg. She performed a song written by the Eurovision winner of 1980, Johnny Logan. Logan would later also win the 1987 edition. Furthermore, Logan wrote another song for Linda Martin, with which she won the 1993 contest. In 1984, the song “Terminal 3” about a woman who waits for her lover, who “was away for too long”, to return came second beaten rather narrowly to Sweden. The main motive of the song is the line “Terminal three: Flight’s on time” announcing the arrival of the singer’s lover. The song is a driving mid-tempo ballad and was performed by Martin in a white suite with three backing singers standing on a higher platform.
Denmark sent the duo Hot Eyes known in Denmark under the name of Kirsten and Søren. The male part of the duo, Søren, dressedin black leather pants, only appeared marginally in the performance with the focus on Kirsten who wore a rather unflattering ensemble with a red fly, white blouse and black pants, that made her look like a waitress. She had a visible gap between her upper front teeth. The cuteness this “beauty mistake” created was destroyed by her unflattering hair cut. After their performance at the Danish national final, Kirsten had pushed Søren into a swimming pool near the stage. The song is still known as the “Swimming Pool Song” in Denmark. At the time it was impossible to use this gimmick at Eurovision. The real title of the entry is “Det lige det” (“That’s just you”). The happy and quite catchy pop song is about a woman who is waiting for her lover to come to her. Denmark had its best showing since their win in 1963 and came 4th.
The Netherlands presented a conventional ballad. Maribelle had entered two songs into the Dutch national final, they came first and second. The winning song “Ik hou van jou” (“I love you”) is a ballad that Maribelle performed confidently. The song was a favorite to win the contest and thus the 13th place was very disappointing. Many critics later blamed the bad result on Maribelle’s admittedly unflattering outfit. Maybe the song got lost in between the loud (both musically and visually) other performances. The song has become a fan favourite though and has been covered by many singers in the Benelux countries where it is considered a classic.
Just like Belgium, Yugoslavia sent a song with an Italian title. “Ciao, amore” is about saying goodbye to a lover. The duo Vlado & Isolda were constantly touching, and drooling all over each other. Isolda already had some Eurovision experience: She had been the backing singer of Daniel Popovic the year before. It didn’t help her or her duet partner: Yugoslavia only came 18th, second to last.
The song that would come dead last came right after. Austria sent the virtually unknown Anita with the song “Einfach weg” (“Just Get Away”). In the song Anita talks about her desire to leave her life behind her as she “can’t stand it anymore”. The song was a domestic hit, but the European jurors only awarded it 5 points (4 from Denmark, one from Ireland) and thus Austria came dead last 21 points behind Yugoslavia. Maybe Anita’s outfit, a light pink dress with a pink belt contributed its share to the catastrophic result.
Up next was a familiar face from Germany. Mary Roos had represented her country in 1972 and had come third with her song “Nur die Liebe lässt uns Leben”. Since then Roos had cemented her status as one of the biggest names in the German schlager scene. Her song “Aufrech gehn” is a dramatic ballad, in which Roos tells herself to “Walk tall” after her lover left her and she tells him that she won’t be waiting for him. The song is quite autobiographical as Roos had just divorced her husband Werner Böhm. Her vocal performance that night was not as good as usual and her entire performance seemed quite pale, which she later blamed on the emotional crisis due to her divorce and the significance of the song. The jurors did not spare her a bad result: Her 13h place was a disappointment for Germany. It has since, however, become a classic and a fan favorite.
The band Beş Yıl Önce, On Yıl Sonra (5 years ago, 10 years later) had come second in the Turkish national final in 1983. In 1984, they tried again, won with the song “Halay” and thus represented Turkey in Luxembourg. The two women and two men, wore light blue and white outfits and performed the song with a simple dance routine. “Halay” is about the popular dance of the same name with the singers claiming that they dance and sing with much love and don’t consider foreigners as strangers. Turkey came 12th.
Finland sent the son of Russian immigrants, Kirka to represent them in Luxembourg. Kirka had an illustrious career in Finland and his 1984 entry “Hengaillaan” (“Let’s hang around“) is one of his biggest hits. The up-tempo song is sung to a fellow traveler, suggesting not to find a hotel room for the night, but instead to “Hang around” in the train station during the night, until their train leaves. The energetic performance came 9th which is one of Finland’s better Eurovision results.
“Rainy Day” was the name of the trio that represented Switzerland. In their song they asked: “What color is the sunshine”(If you’re called Rainy Day, its not a surprised you don’t know the answer to that question). They later answer their own question by saying that the colors are different for everyone and depend on our feelings. The ballad was quite forgettable and Switzerland deservingly came 16th.
Once more, Italy sent the winner of that year’s San Remo festival. As happened to so many Italian entries, Alice & Franco Battiato were the hot favorites before the contest and the song became a hit in several European countries after the show, but the jurors only voted it into 5th place. The song “I treni di Tozeur” (“The trains of Tozeur”) may have been too intellectual. It is about a train line in Tunesia, built in the early 1900s at an enormous cost of human lives and finances. It was mostly built for the King and to impress foreign dignitaries and became a symbol of oppression. Furthermore, during the performance, three female opera singers dressed in the Italian national colors, were standing silently behind the two lead singers only to add one sentence in German: “Doch wir wollen dir ihn zeigen/Und du wirst…” taken from Mozart’s Zauberflöte, near the end of the performance.
The last song of the evening came from Portugal, whichwas represented by Maria Guinot, who at her second attempt had won the Festival da Cançao and thus the right to represent Portugal. In the ballad “Silêncio e tanta gente” (“Silence and so many people“), Guinot reflects on life and says that it is often silence that tells her what she wants to say. She accompanied herself at the piano and wore a classy black gown. The song came 11th.
While the juries were taking their decision, the interval act entertained the audience. It was the Prague Theatre of Illuminated Drawings, which presented a silent movie-like performance with an “animated” horse. Each jury in the 19 countries had 11 members that were “normal people wie du und ich” as Désirée put it and had no connection to the music industry. During the voting, Sweden got 12 points a total of 5 times. However, before the last (Portugese) jury announced their votes, Ireland and Sweden were only 6 points apart. When Portugal awarded Ireland only 2 points, it was clear that Sweden had won the contest. The 12 points from Portugal went to Spain who were thus able to push Denmark into 4th place. Before the winning reprise was performed (partly in English) the hostess said “I had so much fun and hope to see you again next Saturday at the same time”, it’s not clear whether she was joking or made an honest mistake.
Here is the full result:
|2||Ireland||Linda Martin||Terminal 3||137|
|4||Denmark||Hot Eyes||Det lige det||101|
|5||Belgium||Jacques Zégers||Avanti la vie||70|
|6||Italy||Alice & Franco Battiato||Il treni di Tozeur||70|
|7||United Kingdom||Belle & The Devotions||Love Games||63|
|8||France||Annick Thomazeau||Autant d’amoureux que d’étoiles||61|
|10||Luxembourg||Sophie Carle||100% d’amour||39|
|11||Portugal||Maria Guinot||Silencio e tanta gente||38|
|12||Turkey||Bes Yil Önce On Yil Sonra||Halay||37|
|13||Netherlands||Maribelle||Ik hou van jou||34|
|14||Germany||Mary Roos||Aufrecht gehen||34|
|15||Cyprus||Andy Paul||Anna Maria Elena||31|
|16||Switzerland||Rainy Day||Welche Farbe hat der Sonnenschein?||30|
|17||Norway||Dollie de Luxe||Lenge leve livet||29|
|18||Yugoslavia||Vlado & Isolda||Ciao amore||26|
Inspirations: youtube, wikipedia, Klaus Berg ogae.de – ESC Geschichte(n)