17. Eurovision Song Contest
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
March 25, 1972
As Monaco could not afford to host the Eurovision Song Contest after their victory in 1971, the BBC filled in as host and the “Usher Hall” in the Scottish capital Edinburgh became the home for the 1972 edition. Originally, Monaco had approached French television and asked them to provide resources. However, France only would have agreed if the contest were to be held in France and not, as planned, in Monaco’s opera house. The EBU later decided to have the BBC host the contest again.
The voting that year was organized as follows: Each of the participating countries sent two jurors to Edinburgh. One aged between 16 and 26 and the other one between 26 and 55. Each juror awarded 1 to 5 points to each of the songs, apart from the one from their own country. The top score a country could thus award was ten points, the lowest score two points. The lowest score a country could achieve in total was thus 34 points, which explains the unusually high scores of the Bottom 5.
First up was Mary Roos from Germany. Today, she is one of the biggest stars of the schlager genre in her home country. Her “Nur die Liebe läßt uns leben” (Only Love Lets Us Live) is a praise of love itself. She performed in a long black and white, sleeveless dress. The British commentator concluded correctly after her performance: “What a confident relaxed performance from Mary Roos”. Roos did indeed perform the anthemic song in a very relaxed way. The key change added drama to the performance. At the end of the evening she came third with 107 points. The third third place for Germany in a row.
France sent Betty Mars to Edinburgh. Her song “Comé-Comédie” was reminiscient of chansons by Edith Piaf and felt like a short trip to the glorious 50s and 60s. It talks about the joy that will come when the singer and her lover will finally tell each other that they love each other. Mars performed in a white dress with puffy sleeves. Despite the unflattering outfit, she emanated style and class. The jurors may have thought it was a little too old-fashioned and only gave it 81 points, which was enough for 11th place.
Ireland sent the first song in the Irish language to the contest. Sandie Jones performed her song “Ceol an Ghrá“ (“The music of love”) in an emerald green, glittery dress. The song’s melody seems quite childish and is reminiscient of Disney songs of that period (Marry Poppins!). Whether is was the dress, the Irish language or the song, we will never know. What we do know is that the jurors only had 72 points for Ireland.
The first male performer of the evening came from Spain: Jaime Morey sang his ballad “Amarece” (Dawn) with Spanish fervency and showed off his vocal skills. The last note lasts over 10 seconds. The song is addressed to a former lover and asks whether they can “start all over again”. In a blue suit, Morey almost tips over the microphone stand at one point due to his expressive moves. The jurors were not too impressed: Spain came 10th.
The United Kingdom sent a group to Eurovision for the very first time to represent them at home. And it wasn’t just any group. The New Seekers were one of the most popular bands at the time. With songs like “I’d like to teach the world to sing” they had had international success. In “Beg, Steal or Borrow” the Seekers envisaged criminal acts (steal) to bring sunny days to a loved one. They accordingly performed in hippy-like clothes. After the contest, the song became another international hit for the group. However, the 114 points were only enough for yet another second place for the UK.
Next up were Grethe & Benny for Norway. In “Småting“ (Little Things) the duo compares the achievements of humanity (building castles, landing on the moon) with the little things of life such as sunsets and come to the conclusions that the “smating“ are more valuable. The two harmonized well on stage and gave a gentle performance. Maybe, they repeated the title of their song a little too often during the chorus. In the end Norway came 14th with 73 points.
24 year-old Carlos Mendes, who looks much older in my opinion, represented Portugal. His song “A festa da vida” (The party of life) is about seeing life as a party in order to live through the negativity of reality. The song gains in pace during the chorus seemingly to underline this message. Mendes performed the song in a black smoking and his energetic singing brought Portugal one of its best places to date: 7th with 90 points.
Véronique Müller, with a French first and German family name can only be representing the multilingual Switzerland. Müller also functioned as composer of the entry “C’est la chanson de mon amour” (This is the song of my love). She performed in a red and white flower dress, sitting on a stool and accompanying herself with a guitar. At the close of the voting the ballad had gotten 88 points and come 8th.
Malta’s second ever Eurovision entry was again performed in Maltese. The duo Helen and Joseph performed the up-tempo song “L-imħabba” (Love) in pink and white checkered clothes, which looked more like a pyjamas than an evening gown. In the song the two ask what love is and then give the answer: According to them love is “just a kiss”. They repeat the answer “kiss” throughout the song in German, Italian, English, Spanish and Maltese. They sing that all nations have the same answer to their question, which explains the repetition in the different languages. In order for everyone to understand the message, Joseph gave Helen a kiss at the end of the performance. The jurors were not impressed, however, and Malta came last again. Disappointed with the result, the island decided not to participate in the next two contest.
The BBC commentator introduced Päivi Paunu & Kim Floor from Finland as the most attractive couple of the contest. Their song “Muistathan” (Remember) was about the first time they met each other and how they had felt at the time. It starts as a ballad to then end in long “lalalalala’s” and “hey hey’s” reminiscent of the Russian song “Kalinka”. The Finnish language added its share of “differentness” to the song which came 12th.
Austria sent the trio Milestones to Edinburgh. They played guitar and converse flute and probably looked like hippies to the average viewer. Their song about a “Falter im Wind” (Butterfly in the Wind) was folk-influenced, addressed to said butterfly and dealt with the impermanence of life. Among other things, they advise the butterfly not to “fall into the sun”. The song is not too catchy but the jurors seemingly liked it and thus the 5th place Austria achieved in the end was a positive surprise.
Italy once more sent the San Remo winner of the same year to the Eurovision Song Contest. Nicola di Bari performed his nostalgic ballad “I giorni dell’arcobaleno” (The rainbow days) in a classy black suit and with unflatteringly big glasses. The song is about a young woman who gave up her childhood at a very young age to be with her lover and thus missed the best part of her life. Di Bari’s calm and professional performance received 92 points and came 6th.
Yugoslavia was represented by one of its biggest stars. Tereza Kesovija is an internationally acclaimed singer, who has had considerable success not only in Yugoslavia but also in France. The BBC commentator called her a “tremendous performer” and apparently thought she was too good for the song “A nice song, but does it take a Tereza to sing it?” She performed the mid-tempo ballad “Muzika i ti” (Music and you) with fervency and passion and could show off her vocal abilities. Tereza expresses that her lover and music are the two things she has found most happiness in. She had represented Monaco in 1966 as well and thus became the first singer to represent different countries in different languages. She came 9th.
Two guys at a guitar, a blonde and a brunette singer with a song from Sweden. Seems familiar? Well, Sweden still had two years to go till that historic first victory. At least the number of people, distribution of sexes and hair colors were already right: Family Four was the Abba prototype in 1972. The year prior they had already represented Sweden with a song about winter. This time they performed their happy mid-tempo song “Härliga sommardag” about a lovely summer’s day. The ladies were wearing yellow allegedly self-crocheted dresses. The song was simply not up-to-date enough and the jurors only awarded it 75 points.
Another male-female duo was sent by Monaco. Peter McLane and Anne-Marie Godart performed a typical French ballad, with lots of “lalala”, “amour” and “quand on s’aime”, in which they express the endless devotion they have for each other. The outfits were the biggest pinch of salt in the performance. He was completely dressed in black, she was wearing a white dress: The perfect contrast. The winner country of the previous year only came 16th in 1972.
Belgium also entered a male-female duo, but Serge & Christine Ghisoland were actually married and had had a baby daughter 5 months before the contest. “À la folie ou pas du tout“ (“Passionately or not at all”) is about the two singer’s take on love which both want to experience « passionately or not at all ». At the very end of the song they conclude “We love each other a bit much and we believe it“. To proof this they drooled over each other and were constantly touching each other throughout the performance. In the end the jurors didn’t seem to believe in it as much as Serge and Christine did. A second to last place was the result.
A Greek singer living in Germany representing Luxembourg in French. Who else could win Eurovision if not that combination. And it did! In a simple black dress with real cherries as a brooch, Vicky Leandros emanated style and class and performed her “Après toi” with such fervency, vocal power and conviction that most jurors were apparently convinced that she had to win. After her first appearance on a Eurovision stage (fourth place) with “L’amour est bleu” in 1967 also for Luxembourg, Vicky took the crown this time and created a Eurovision classic.
Last but not least, the fifth and most successful male-female duo of the evening for the Netherlands. Sandra and Andres performed their happy pop song “Als het om de liefde gaat” (When it’s all about love) with such enthusiasm that the Edinburgh even started to clap along half-way through the song. The catchy song is about the attempt of the singers to chat each other up and not being truthful doing so. In the end the jurors awarded the Netherlands 106 points.
The interval act was a performance of drummers and pipe bag players of the Scottish regiment at Edinburgh castle. The voting was only a visualization of the votes the jurors had already submitted after each performance. During the voting Luxembourg was leading from the very beginning with only the Netherlands and the UK having a shot at winning. Andres, the male part of the Dutch duo was shortly shown smoking something very similar to a joint ^^.
Here you can watch the entire contest:
Here is the full result:
|1||Luxembourg||Vicky Leandros||Après toi||128|
|2||United Kingdom||New Seekers||Bed, steal or borrow||114|
|3||Germany||Mary Roos||Nur die Liebe läßt uns leben||107|
|4||Netherlands||Sandra & Andres||Als het om de liefde gaat||106|
|5||Austria||The Milestones||Falter im Wind||100|
|6||Italy||Nicola di Bari||I giorni dell’arcobaleno||92|
|7||Portugal||Carlos Mendes||A festa da vida||90|
|8||Switzerland||Véronique Müller||C’est la chanson de mon amour||88|
|9||Yugoslavia||Tereza||Muzika i ti||87|
|12||Finland||Päivi Paunu & Kim Floor||Muistataan||78|
|13||Sweden||Family Four||Härliga sommardag||75|
|14||Norway||Grethe Kausland & Benny Borg||Småting||73|
|15||Ireland||Sandie Jones||Ceol an ghrá||72|
|16||Monaco||Anne-Marie Godart & Peter McLane||Comme on s’aime||65|
|17||Belgium||Serge & Christine Ghisoland||A la folie ou pas du tout||55|
|18||Malta||Helen & Joseph||L-imħabba||48|
Inspirations: youtube, wikipedia, Klaus Berg ogae.de – ESC Geschichte(n)