Friday, 18 May 2012

Eurovision 2012 Countdown: The UK in Eurovision

 Hello! Today I am blogging about the five UK Eurovision winners and our hope for this year, Engelbert Humperdinck.

 The UK have done pretty well in Eurovision over the years - we have won five times, on a par with France and Luxembourg. The only country that has won more often is Ireland which has won seven times.

  I personally discovered our five Eurovision winners over time and quite independently of one another - I saw a spoof of Making Your Mind Up on Blue Peter years ago; they were doing various Eurovision songs but that is the only one that stuck in my mind for some reason - maybe because I really liked it.

 Lulu's song I heard somewhere, I'm not sure where. It must have been on telly because I when I watched it again I remembered the dress she wore. Brotherhood of Man I think I heard on Top of the Pops 2, and Sandie Shaw I only discovered pretty recently.

 Katrina and the Waves' song has the most interesting story behind it for me; it was one of the staple songs of the choir when I was at high school, and we sung it many, many times. I particularly remember singing it when we were on tour in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, and listening to it always takes me back there in my memories. I didn't know it was a Eurovision song, yet alone a Eurovision winner, for years.

 Okay, time for the songs. First up, Sandie Shaw who won in 1967 with Puppet on a String.

 I'm not going to lie; I find this rather weird and scary and I don't like it very much. I also don't like the way she is making herself sound so dependent on her lover; not a very nice view to be presenting of women.

 Next was Lulu two years later in Madrid, who won as part of a spectacular four-way tie between the UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands. Her song was called Boom Bang-a-Bang.

 From the bit of this I had heard long ago, I had thought it was a sweet, innocent, happy, light-hearted little song. However, listening to it properly and watching the video, I cannot believe the amount of daft, coy flirting she indulges in, and it annoys me a great deal her tendency to put an "ah" on the end of half the words ending in "ing" (eg; "...when we're kissing-ah.")

 Nevertheless, I prefer this to Puppet on a String. But I think that after this, the quality of the UK winners went up significantly.

 This started with Save Your Kisses For Me, by Brotherhood of Man. 

 I had known about Brotherhood of Man just from their song Angelo, and I had sort of thought that they were a one-hit wonder until I found out that they had won Eurovision with this song, which I quite like. Let's just say it's very seventies! But I do like the seventies, and I like this song. 

 In 1981 came another two-man two-woman colour-co-ordinated little group - but this was about as eighties as Brotherhood of Man was seventies. It was Bucks Fizz with Making Your Mind Up. Probably my favourite UK Eurovision winner.

 I feel the whipping-off of the skirts was a bit sexist, but otherwise I love this song and their little dance to it. And one of them looks like John Noakes. Definitely the happiest and most upbeat of our five winning songs. When I think of the UK in Eurovision, this is the song that first comes to mind.

 Finally, Katrina and the Waves, with Love Shine a Light, which I will always see as a choir song with memories attached first and foremost, and a Eurovision winner afterwards.

 I do like the way that Katrina (Leskanich) performs; she seems as though she has a lot of confidence in herself; she's comfortable on stage, and she looks like she loves the song and is really enjoying performing it. And I really like her voice as well.

 What next for the UK? Well, our Eurovision hopeful for this year is Engelbert Humperdinck, with Love Will Set You Free.

 I really like this; I hadn't really been familiar with his music before so I didn't know what to expect, but this song was a pleasant surprise. It's pretty and sweet and quite powerful. I saw him being interviewed on telly and he seemed like a nice person too. I'm hoping we might be able to do well in Eurovision this year. 

 Bring on Baku! (I'm hoping if I say that enough it might actually catch on)

 Thanks for reading.

 Liz x

Songs: Puppet on a String - Sandie Shaw - 1967
Boom Bang-a-Bang - Lulu - 1969
Save Your Kisses For Me - Brotherhood of Man - 1976
Making Your Mind Up - Bucks Fizz - 1981
Love Shine a Light - Katrina and the Waves - 1997
Love Will Set You Free - Engelbert Humperdinck - 2012

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