Sunday, 13 May 2012

Eurovision 2012 Countdown: Ireland, the Eurovision experts?

 Hello! Fáilte!

 I cannot do a Eurovision blog without celebrating Ireland as arguably the most successful nation of all time when it comes to Eurovision. They have won seven times - the most any country has ever won the competition. And it is from Ireland that hails the only man to have won Eurovision twice as a performer: Johnny Logan.

 On top of this, Logan has also written the winning song on a third occasion; this time it was performed by Linda Martin. This means Logan has won three Eurovision titles, as either performer, songwriter or both, which is something that has never been achieved before or since.

 Ireland's first Eurovision victory came in 1970 with "All Kinds of Everything," performed by Dana.

 Now, I had heard this song long before I knew it had been a Eurovision song (this was all before my time) and I hadn't liked it very much. I found the song somewhat annoying, although I had to admit she had a very good voice. I heard it on a CD and had no idea how young she was either; finding out that she was only nineteen has impressed me as her voice sounds like that of a grown woman with a lot of singing experience.

 The lyrics of the song are also quite pretty. It's just the tune that I'm not keen on. However, I have to concede that if it won for Ireland that has to be a good thing (I am half Irish, so I do feel some loyalty towards them in Eurovision. However, I don't indulge in "neighbourly" voting! I vote for what I feel is the best song on the night).

 The next time Ireland won Eurovision was ten years later, in 1980, with the first of Johnny Logan's winning performances, "What's Another Year." I do like this song, though I much prefer his second winner, in 1987, "Hold Me Now."

 What's another year is quite nice and bouncy and bittersweet. And I cannot help but be reminded of Claude François with both the look and the sound. Overall I really like it, but as I said, "Hold Me Now" is certainly my favourite. I know it is somewhat generic as a love song and as a Eurovision song, but I still love it!

Time will be kind once we're apart."


 "...forever in love.
What do you say when words are not enough?"

 These are probably my favourite lyrics. I just can't stop listening to this song. It's amazing ♥

 The next event that occurred for Ireland Eurovision-wise was the phenomenon of winning three years in a row, which has never been achieved by any other country.

 The first of these victories was in 1992, with Linda Martin and the song, "Why Me?" which was, again, written by Johnny Logan. I think this man had found the winning formula by this point for writing a successful Eurovision song - he had written "Hold Me Now" which won, and he had previously written "Terminal 3," for Linda Martin, which came second in the 1984 competition.

 Here is Why Me?

 I feel I should mention that this contest took place in Sweden, which I guess might explain the large Viking ship in the background. 

 I like this song, but not as much as Hold Me Now. Nevertheless, I think Linda has a good voice and the lyrics are nice, especially the opening lines: 

 "Sometimes I watch you passing by my window.
And sometimes I watch you passing through my dreams."

 Pretty ♥

 The next year, 1993, was won by what has become quite possibly my favourite Eurovision winning song. It is beautiful, haunting and performed by a wonderful singer. It is "In Your Eyes," by Niamh Kavanagh.

 The first clip is the song at Eurovision; the second is the music video, which I really like, but which I feel somehow adds to the dark and spooky feel of the song.

 I find the song absolutely beautiful though, and I love her voice. I saw an interview with her from when she represented Ireland in Norway in 2010 (more on that later) and she came across as a thoroughly pleasant and down to earth person, which is nice.

 I think this is one of the most worthy Eurovision winners there has ever been, and I especially love how it is not a generic Eurovision song - not a bouncy, upbeat number nor a crowd-pleasing ballad. This song is unique; it is a love song but with a slightly dark tone to it, and it is sung with such honesty and emotion. I love Niamh Kavanagh and I love this song.

"In your eyes, I see the light, leading me home again.
It's heaven in your arms my love; my heart is in your hands.
In your eyes, seems so right, I see forever in your smile,
This woman is a child again, when I look in your eyes."

 I love the musicianship of this song too. There is a lot of debate about whether to bring back the live orchestra to Eurovision finals and I think this song is proof that an orchestra can really work and really add something quite special to a song.

 The next year Ireland won was 1994, the year I was born. They won with "Rock 'n' Roll Kids," from Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan. It was written by Brendan Graham, who also wrote the 1996 winner, "The Voice," by Eimear Quinn. I find this very strange, as the two songs are so incredibly different that I find it hard to believe that they were written by the same person. 

 I think Roll n Roll Kids is quite a nice, sweet song, and The Voice I like; but I don't really have any strong feelings about song either, I'm afraid. My favourite Irish Eurovision winners have to be Hold Me Now and In Your Eyes.

 1996 was the last time Ireland won Eurovision, but they have since entered some very good songs, such as It's For You, again by Niamh Kavanagh, which was entered into Eurovision 2010 in Norway. This I just adore:

 She hasn't changed a bit; still incredibly beautiful and talented. I also greatly enjoyed this interview from the competition: 

 She seems nice and the song is lovely. It's such a disgrace that she came third from last, but we all know that sadly, nowadays Eurovision voting is rarely based around song quality.

 Of course, like last year in Düsseldorf, this year we will again have the indescribable joy of watching Jedward represent Ireland at Eurovision. I am somewhat cynical about this; once was amusing and actually quite a good idea because they suit classic upbeat Eurovision songs; but twice? Surely Europe have seen enough of them! This was my reaction to finding out that they would be Ireland's Eurovision entry in Baku this year.

 However, something very strange happened: I listened to the song and I actually really liked it. Which I find hard to believe, but it's true. I've actually listened to it quite a lot since discovering it. I will let you make your own decision on it:

 I also thought I'd take the time to say that I really like the Eurovision graphics for this year. Pretty and sparkly ♥

 Anyway, Jedward: On the one hand, I'm sure there are a million people in Ireland more talented than them. On the other hand: this song is bouncy, upbeat, happy and could actually win Eurovision. Hmm. Not sure what to think. 

 Anyway, that is Ireland's Eurovision story so far. I hope they can triumph many more times in this competition, because they certainly seem to have a knack for winning it!

 And there is always the best Irish Eurovision entry that never was: My Lovely Horse, from Father Ted.

 This should have been entered one year, it might actually have won! The perfect Eurovision song.

 Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this journey through Ireland's Eurovision history; they can almost certainly be called the most successful Eurovision nation ever, which makes me very proud of my Irish heritage.

 That being said, the UK haven't done that badly either in Eurovision over the years... I will definitely also do a blog entry on the UK's Eurovision history at some point during the countdown.

 For now, thank you for reading my blog, and I hope you enjoyed it.

 Nine days to go until the first semi-final!

 Eleven days to go until the second semi-final!

 Thirteen days to go until the final!

 Bring on Baku!

 Liz x

All Kinds of Everything - Dana - 1970
What's another Year? - Johnny Logan - 1980
Hold Me Now - Johnny Logan - 1987
Why Me? - Linda Martin - 1992
In Your Eyes - Niamh Kavanagh - 1993
Rock 'n' Roll Kids - Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan - 1994
The Voice - Eimear Quinn - 1996
It's For You - Niamh Kavanagh - 2010
Waterline - Jedward - 2012
My Lovely Horse - Father Ted - 1996

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