In less than four months, we will have been to Stockholm, picked a winner and started planned to go to <insert country name here>. But did you know that Sweden’s capital is one of a select bunch of cities that have been in the title of a Eurovision song? Let’s look at some of them.
First, Stockholm’s the 2016 venue, as it was the 1975 and 2000 venue. And some would say that a good time to see it is in the snow. Well, Monica Zetterlund said so in 1963. She told us that a sailboat is a fine way to see Lake Klara, the Riddarfjärd, and the German church with its dinging-donging bells. This could be a top tip for anyone venturing out there in May. And if you find this song vaguely familiar, footage of Monica was spliced with Ms Sanna Nielsen to form an interesting duet at last year’s Melodifestivalen.
Next we move into glorious colour. Well, as glorious as colour can get in 1978. So Monaco(-Ville) has never hosted a contest, but ihe principality did win. Olivier & Caline Toussaint took us south from the host city of Paris to a place full of gardens (naturally) where Chaplin, Bardot and Juliet could have had their own secret trysts. Olivier and Caline met there it seems, and they liken themselves to these illustrious people. It’s almost like an advert for the city/microstate.
Back to black & white (yeah, I know, but bear with me) and last year’s host city has had not one, but two songs about it. I’ve picked the more name-droppy of the two. If only I’d paid attention to Eleonore Schwarz this time last year I would have known all about magicians, the Grinzing and the sausage vendor. She even mentions the Bardecker* guide book. I don’t think that would be allowed in the 21st Century.
*other guide books are available
Amsterdam has also hosted our favourite TV show. In 1970, NOS picked up the pieces after the fun and games of the four-way tie in Madrid. The noteworthy thing about this next song is that it was sung in the Netherlands’ ‘other’ capital. Everything happens there, we’re told. Maggie came fifth.
Of course, not all cities in Eurovision song titles are in Europe. In 1984 the Italians sang about the trains in the Tunisian city of Tozeur. Now as we all should know, Tunisia is in the EBU, so could participate of it wanted to. Perhaps Franco Battiato & Alice and RAI were sending subliminal messages to ERTT to have a go. It may have backfired, however, as there are no trains in Tozeur. Darn good song though.
The USA hasn’t escaped the Eurovision treatment either. There are whispers that the Eurovision format has been sold to our American cousins, so maybe one day we could hear someone in Juneau reading out the Alaskan televote. I look forward to that day. And one of those American cities that keeps cropping up is the den of inequity that is Las Vegas. George Clooney once carried out a casino heist there, and Sweden’s Martin Stenmarck decided it was worth singing about. Especially the Mandalay Bay Resort (is that more advertising?) and the infamous Strip. It almost makes you wish there could be a contest in Nevada.
Before I pick the final city, I’m going to give an honourable mention to someone so spoilt for choice, he crammed as many European cities into a song that he could. Can you spot them all? It didn’t do him any harm – he finished second equal to Italy. Here’s Liam Reilly. And, if you can see him, the legendary Noel Kelehan.
So the last song in this article is a work of genius. Some would call it contrived, others a milestone in aiming for the domestic vote. Yep, it’s written by Mr Siegel but don’t let that put you off. It’s not the first song about Jerusalem, however I thought you’d want something like this instead of some downbeat Austrian jazz. Reise nach Jerusalem – Kudüs’e seyahat was sung in, erm, Jerusalem in four languages. Behold Sürpriz in all their 1999 glory.
Which song do you like with a city in the title? Is it in this article? Or is it another one? And is there a city out there you’s like to see in a song title? Tell us what you think.
Author: John Stanton