REAL GONE’S EUROVISION GOLD, Part 3: Almost Famous – The Silver Contenders

Previously at Real Gone, we’ve celebrated the Eurovision phenomenon by posting our three favourite and faintly ridiculous clips and also highlighted the occasions when the UK made royal arses of themselves with, frankly, quite awful performances. In this third instalment of Real Gone’s Eurovision Gold, we take a more rounded look at what makes Eurovision so much fun, with a few clips from runners-up. …And remember, enjoying Eurovision has nothing to do with musical taste. We’d never listen to this stuff at any other time of year…it’s about huge spectacle, high camp and, more than occasionally, flat out trashiness. You know you love it.

Linda Martin – ‘Terminal 3’ (Ireland, 1984)

Written by Johnny Logan, this tune – like something written by Bjorn and Benny and performed by Pat Benatar – combines parping horns and AOR leanings, creating a slightly over the top arrangement. In an attempt to give things a universally understood theme and to bring Europe together, this optimistic song is about travelling, although you’ll note she’s not singing about lost luggage and getting a stiff arse while her flight is held up somewhere… The slightly camp approach seems to suit Martin who takes every line and over-performs in the necessary manner, while looking as if it’d be dangerous to go within four feet of her with a naked flame. Airport terminals never sounded so urgent.

Wind – ‘Let The Sun In Your Heart’ (Germany, 1987)

On the surface, this is superbly awful. It’s worth remembering, though, that in 1987 cod-reggae was quite prominent, with even once respected reggae acts like Aswad and UB40 delving into thin sounding reggae-pop with abandon. With that in mind, this wasn’t too far removed from some of the year’s more empty pop, while it’s summery and optimistic campness makes it perfect for Eurovision. These German chaps seem to be having a great time – even the dude on the bass who’d later masquerade as one half of Milli Vanilli.

Edyta Górniak – To Nie Ja (Poland, 1994)

Every contest has its share of “this is my moment” triumph over tragedy songs, so it’s only fair our list of silver medallists should include one too. In 1994, it was Poland’s turn to do the typically French thing and enter a Celine Dion-esque wailer, eyes closed and fist clenched looking for Eurovision gold. It’s nicely arranged, all things considered with a pleasing guitar tone – on that brief moment the guitar is allowed to rise above the huge string section. It had a good chance of winning, being a strong example of Eurovision’s more serious side, but got pipped at the post by Ireland with a dull sub-par Elton John style tune – resulting in Ireland winning the contest for an unprecedented third time in a row, inspiring a comedy classic.

Rollo & King – Never Ever Let You Go (Denmark, 2001)

A light country jaunt delivered by two Danes, one of whom looks suspiciously like Andy Bell. This gold standard easy listening pop scored highly with the Eurovision judges despite a lack of visual stimulus. It’s a shame about the shrieking woman – she really lets the side down. Without her, it’s possible to hear pop bint Olly Murs chewing his way through this ditty in 2013, only with rakish hat and a string of yeahs and nos thrown in for good measure.

Verka Serduchka – Dancing Lasha Tumbai (Ukraine, 2007)

Counting in German, a horrible dance tune with a definite eastern Euro flavour, radiation suits, cross dressing, blokes running about with things stuck on their heads… It’s hard to know what they were thinking, but easy to see why it this performance – and let’s be honest here, it’s the performance that counts – came in second place. This is every reason why you love Eurovision. Surely these guys would have been Eurotrash regulars with Antoine de Caunes if he were still on the telly at this point.

LT United – We Are The Winners (Lithuania, 2006)

Although this look at Eurovision was always supposed to be about the runners up – those who found themselves in an unlucky second place, the Oates to the Hall if you will – we just had to make an exception for LT United, who finished in 6th place in the 2006 contest. This is simply superb; a rare case of something that never stops being funny – we’ve a football chant, a man who looks like Chris De Burgh’s brother and shouting through a megaphone while a bald man has a seizure. That makes them winners with us!

May 2013