ESC History is one of the recurring themes on our blog. From time to time you will find new posts with funny stories, interesting details, great memories, gaffes, technical problems and special performances from 56 years of Eurovision Song Contest history (Histoire du Concours Eurovision de la chanson) on the main page of this blog. Here I would like to collect all the posts already published to make it easier for you to find them and indulge in the best of Eurovision history. By the way, if you wonder who the patroness of this theme is (see logo), you should really take a course in Eurovision History!
Here we go:
ESC History 6: Corinna May gets disqualified in 1999
Do you remember when Corinna May was disqualified from representing Germany in 1999?
Corinna May had won the national final with her anthem “Hör den Kindern einfach zu” (Just listen to the children) in front of Sürpriz, who eventually represented Germany in Jerusalem that year. What had happened? Some German media already saw May as the favourite to win the Eurovision Song Contest, when the scandal was revealed: The song had already been recorded and released in English in 1997 by another artist (“Where Have All The Good Times Gone“ by Number Nine) and thus had to be disqualified! Eventually, runners-up Sürprize were chosen to represent Germany and came 3rd in Jerusalem (including 12 points from Israel).
Corinna May tried again a year later with “I believe in god”, but that year Stefan Raab was the run-away winner with his gaga entry “Wadde hadde dude da?”. In 2002 May got the chance to represent Germany with her “I can’t live without music”,written by Ralph Siegel and Bernd Meinunger. Unfortunately she only came 21st.
Her song “Hör den Kindern einfach zu”, one of my Eurovision favourites! :
Announcement of the initial result:
ESC History 5: Boycott in 1970
Do you remember, when many countries boycotted the contest?
In 1970 all the Scandinavian countries, Austria and Portugal boycotted the event because of the voting system. The year before in 1969 4 countries had been declared winner: the Netherlands, Spain, France and the United Kingdom. All of these 4 had received 18 points. This peculiar situation meant that 25% of the participants had won the competition. Many countries demanded a change of the voting system after this incident but the EBU didn’t change anything. This lead to the boycott of all these countries resulting in the smallest numbers of participants since the 1950s! That evening a man who would become a worldwide superstar entered for Spain: Julio Iglesias and Dana achieved the first of 7 Irish wins with “All kinds of everything”:
ESC History 4: Sweden wins with a margin of 0 points
Do you remember when Sweden won with a margin of … no points.
It was 1991 in Rome. Sweden and France had fought a tough fight during the voting. When the last jury had announced their votes, Carola from Sweden and Amina from France had the same amount of points (146). According to the rules of the EBU at that point Sweden was declared the winner as Carola had gotten more 10 pointers than Amina (both had also achieved the same amount of 12 points). Had the rules of the EBU today been valid in 1991 France would’ve won, as now the number of countries you got at least 1 point from is the important figure in case of a tie, not the number of 12 points.
Carola had already participated in Munich in 1983 and had achieved a third place with “Främling”. In 1991 she won with “Fångad av en stormvind” and even returned in 2006 with “Invincible” and came 5th.
ESC History 3: A host loses her dress
… when a Swedish host lost her dress?
It was 1985 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Lill Lindfors was the host of the evening. Many see her as the best host ever, because of this little performance at the beginning of the voting procedure:
ESC History 2: Spanish entry with problems
Do you remember when a Spanish entry had some problems?
No, no! I’m not talking about this year, when Jimmy Jump “crept” into the Spanish presentation at the Eurovision Song Contest 2010. 20 years earlier the Spanish duo “Azucar Moreno” had the starting position number 1 in Zagreb and had huge acoustical problems. The conductor looked confused when the rhythmic playback started to play and the
orchestra did not. A little annoyed the two female singers left the stage again, visibly complaining about the problems. The second try worked out better and they got to sing their song without further problems. Spain reached 5th place and the song became a summer hit in many parts of Europe:
ESC History 1: Nicole sings reprise in 4 languages
Do you remember when Germany won and sang the reprise in 4 languages?
It was 1982 in Harrogate in the United Kingdom. Germany had just achieved their first victory after 27 years of unsuccessful participation. Nicole (18) started to sing the reprise. First in the normal German version, then in English, French and Dutch and thus in the languages of Germany’s former enemies. This was not planned at all, which is funnily proven by the backing singers going on to sing their lines in German ;).
BTW: Austria gave Germany 1 point. A fact that would go down into Eurovision history.