Today is the national day of one of Eurovision’s more interesting countries. Back on 26 October 1955, the Austrian Parliament declared the country permanently neutral. As a result, that anniversary became Austria’s National Day.
To celebrate, let’s take a look at some of Austria’s entries in our favourite TV show over the years. Is yours amongst them?
We start with Austria’s first winner, in 1966. The late, great Udo Jürgens (born Udo Jürgen Bockelmann) had participated in 1964 and 1965 and broadcaster ORF knew they were onto a good thing and gave him another chance. This time, in Luxembourg’s Villa Louvigny, his ‘Mercie cherie’ (sung in German) scored almost double the points of next best song (from Sweden). Sadly, he died late in 2014, so was unable to be the guest of honour in Vienna the following May.
The 21st Century hasn’t been all good for the country. Apart from a win – more of which later – they did manage a sixth place with a unique act. He was Alf Poier, who became a talking point in Rīga in 2003. Being a generous soul, he brought a gift of an anthill to the mayor of the city, and had an interesting line in hats. You probably had to be there to appreciate it. His song, ‘Weil der Mensch zählt’, was not tipped to do that well due to its highly unusual style. So imagine everyone’s surprise when scored a very respectable 101 point. It wasn’t quite everyone country’s favourite song, but he scored 10 points from Iceland and Portugal. We’ll never see his like again (or his mother who’s one of his backing singers).
Back in the 1970s, Austria was not afraid of a bit of satire. In London in 1977, Schmetterlinge decided to kick up a storm with their take on the music industry. There was lots of money, lots of turning around, and a nonsensical lyric. In 2003, it may have gone down a storm. However they were probably born at the wrong time, and ‘Boom boom boomerang’ finished 17th of 18. See if you think it should have done better.
Austria has been the country of one of the contests most regular faces. A certain individual appeared on stage no less than six times. He was a soloist, a member of the credited group, and a backing vocalist. He is, of course, Gerhard ‘Gary’ Lux. Born in Canada, his finest hour came in 1985 (the best contest ever) when he finished eighth with ‘Kinder dieser Welt’ in Gothenburg’s Scandinavium. And we need more yellow shirts in Eurovision.
The last two songs we’ll look at are 21st Century fare. First, after a very lean patch – seven years in fact – a certain Nadine Beiler turned up in Düsseldorf after winning Austria’s first national final in six years. With her song ‘The secret is love’ she beat the Trackshittaz and became a breath of fresh air. She sailed through to the final, which is an achievement itself these days, but could only manage 18th out of 25, with this stunning song. Austria were back.
And so there’s only one song to finish with. More than many winners of recent contests, Thomas Neuwirth under his stage name of Conchita Wurst went to a shipyard in Copenhagen in 2014 and won hands down. Many of you were probably there and swooned when Conchita made her victory speech. I’ll just let you watch and enjoy this performance.
So what are your favourite Austrian songs? Do these feature, or have I missed something obvious? And if you are Austrian, have a great day.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland, Youtube