Now that the National Finals season is finished and all songs for Eurovision 2016 have been selected we now have a period of only 2 days where we wait for the rehearsals to begin in Stockholm. What better way to fill the time than to look back over the 60 years of Eurovision at some of the best and worst entries that countries have sent to the Eurovision stage. There are 43 countries going to Stockholm to take part in the 2016 edition of our favourite musical extravaganza and we continue our journey with United Kingdom who have won the contest five times, finished second fifteen times and finished third three times too. They have also finished in the top 10 a staggering eighteen times. They have come last in the Final three times also. This has all been achieved in 58 participations. You can check out the previous articles in the best and worst series for Ireland HERE ,Spain HERE, Austria HERE, Bosnia & Herzegovina HERE, Iceland HERE, Belarus HERE, Denmark HERE, Georgia HERE, Germany HERE, Cyprus HERE, Finland HERE, Belgium HERE, Hungary HERE, Switzerland HERE, Ukraine HERE,Moldova HERE, Estonia HERE, Norway HERE, Italy HERE, Slovenia HERE,The Netherlands HERE, Armenia HERE, Azerbaijan HERE, San Marino HERE, Israel HERE,Albania HERE, Poland HERE,Serbia HERE,France HERE, Romania HERE, Russia HERE, Croatia HERE, Czech Republic HERE, Malta HERE., Macedonia HERE, Lithuania HERE, Latvia HERE and Sweden HERE.
So this year the United Kingdom are represented by Joe and Jake with the song ‘You’re Not Alone ‘. We will have to wait and see if it turns out to be more of a best or worst song for the UK but the overall reaction is fairly positive so far. You can catch up on our recent article on Joe and Jakes St. Patricks Day message HERE.
So my selections for best and worst entries are based on a combination of actual results and personal taste. Now the UK have fifty eight entries to choose from making the task very difficult. There are some great songs from the UK that have deserved better results over the years but I am struggling to pick out the three best. So I will highlight more good British entries after I have picked three good and bad ones.
We have to go back nineteen years to find our first song that is one of the best for the United Kingdom. The year was 1997 and we were in Dublin to see Katrina and the Waves singing the song ‘Love Shine a Light’.
Now this was a cracker of an entry a strong anthemic song that was very well received in Dublin. It was written by the guitarist of the band, Kimberley Rew. It was originally written to support the 30th anniversary of The Samaritans but was entered into the Great British Song Contest at the last minute and went on to win and therefore go to Eurovision. The performance was simply staged with Katrina standing centre stage with two backing singers behind and two of her band members with her on drums and bass. The guitarist was a substitute for the regular guitarist Rew who did not want to appear on stage. The group had some success as far back as the mid eighties so their appearance in Eurovision was seen as a bit of a comeback. The song went on to gain ten maximum 12 points to finish easily in 1st place with 227 points.
So moving along we look at one of the worst entries for the UK. We were in Riga in 2003 to see Jemini perform the song ‘Cry Baby ‘.
Now the song was an uptempo pop ditty. For their Eurovision appearance, Chris Cromby and Gemma Abbey were accompanied on stage by three female backing singers, and a guitarist named Kirk. The performance was noteworthy for being very off key which the duo blamed on a technical problem. The song went on to finish last in a field of 26 which was a new low and got zero points which is the only time the UK have never got any points. It was also the first ever song sung in English to receive no points. Strangely enough despite the failure the media attention catapulted the single up to number 15 in the UK charts.
So now we move back to look at another best of entry for the UK. We were in The Hague in 1976 and the performers were The Brotherhood of Man with the song ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’.
Now the song was written by two of the members of the band Lee Sheriden and Martin Lee. The performance consisted of the two male singers wearing black and white suits, and the two females wearing white and red jumpsuits with matching berets, standing still and singing with minor arm and leg choreography. The bouncy jingle described the gently conflicted emotions of a young man leaving an adored loved-one in the morning as he leaves for work. The song’s final line provided the twist: that he was leaving a three-year-old behind, ending with “Won’t you save them for me…even though you’re only three?”. Now the group had been formed back in 1969 with an ever changing line up until it settled on the one that went to Eurovision. It ended up winning the contest with 164 points and went onto worldwide success selling over 6 million copies. It also catapulted the group into a major period of success throughout Europe.
Our next song that has to be considered one of the worst was in the year 2012 and we were in Baku to witness Englebert Humperdinck singing ‘Love Will Set You Free’.
This was a song that was a ballad written by Swedish producer Martin Terefe and Ivor Novello Awards winner Sacha Skarbek. Of course Engelbert had a long history in the music business dating back to the 70s and was a surprise choice when it was announced given his age. He became one of the oldest persons to perform at Eurovision. Sadly his song did not do well finishing 25th with only 12 points.
So onto our next song that was one of the UK’s best. It was in 1981 and Dublin was witness to seeing Bucks Fizz perform with the song ‘Making Your Mind Up’.
Now starting with the song it was a rock n roll style song with almost meaningless lyrics although it can be argued that they are about making the decision to commit to a serious relationship. The performance became memorable in the annuls of the contest due to the skirt pull which was used to reveal shorter skirts. The dance routine and colourful costumes helped to overlook what has since been considered as vocals that were far from perfect. However despite this it managed to gain a narrow victory with 136 points. It went on to huge chart success and is still highly regarded by fans who look back at the history. Bucks Fizz also went on to a string of chart hits for a period of years afterwards.
We now arrive at another song for the UK and it’s another of the worst ones. In 2008 we saw Andy Abraham in Belgrade with the song ‘Even If’.
It was a song that was an uptempo soul song co written by himself. Now Andy had come from the X Factor where he had been runner up. He had a minor career off the back of both that and his appearance at Eurovision. His song was placed joint last 25th with 14 points.
So I have mentioned 3 best of songs above but also have to mention the following songs as all great entries too.
2002 Jessica Garlick with the song ‘Come Back’.
1996 Gina G with the song ‘Ooh Ah …. Just A Little Bit’.
1998 Imaani with the song ‘Where Are You?’.
1989 Live Report with the song ‘Why Do I Always Get It Wrong?’.
1968 Cliff Richard with the song ‘Congratulations’.
1985 Vikki Watson with the song ‘Love Is’.
2011 Blue with the song ‘I Can’.
So there we have it folks, my little delve into British Eurovision history and some of the best and worst moments over the years. Do you agree with all or even any of my choices? Feel free to comment below.
This series will continue with another look at songs over the years for each and every country competing in Eurovision 2016 so keep coming back for more reflections of the best and worst that Eurovision has had to offer us.
Author: Andrew Main
Source: Eurovision Ireland