Jun 5, 2013

362/917 Baccara: Parlez-vous français (Luxembourg 1978)

The first Eurovision Song Contest I remember watching from start to finish was in 1978 which was also the first contest I recorded on a compact cassette. One of the many performances I listened on this tape over and over again was done by a Spanish duo that had already become world famous for their songs Yes sir, I can boogie and Sorry I'm a lady. However, the Eurosong 362 they performed in Paris did not represent Spain, but Luxembourg.

Baccara is one of only few internationally famous artists that took part in the Eurovision to boost their career even further. Their entry Parlez-vous français was written by Rolf Soja and Frank Dostal, a german songwriting team that had written their earlier hits. 

The performance of Baccara in Paris was flawless. One of the charming details of the duo was their pronounced accent when singing in English. This time Mayte Mateos and Maria Mendiola were forced to use their equally broken French to sing the Luxembourg entry. Their other trademark was their black (Mateos) and white (Mendiola) dresses. The duo seemed to be at home on the wide stage managing to both talk, sing and dance to the song very much similar to their earlier hits.

The late 1970's Eurovision Song Contests are close to my heart (apart from being the first I watched) because of the great orchestral arrangements with the prominent use of strings. Parlez-vous français is one of the songs in 1978 which sound much better live than on record. The live version is about a minute shorter than the recorded version, the strings are mixed much higher than on record and the ending of the live version is much more effective than the fade out of the studio version.

Because of their recent hits Baccara was one of the biggest favourites of the evening. So it is safe to assume that the Luxembourg delegation was disappointed when this perfect little package came only 7th (among 20 participants). Parlez-vous français was one of the biggest hits to come out of 1978 contest. However, the career of the original Baccara would soon end in the declining sales and the differences between the singers and the record company. After splitting up in 1982 Mateos and Mendiola continued their careers both re-creating their own Baccara groups. 

Rolf Soja and Frank Dostal would return to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1986, again writing song for the Radio Télé Luxemburg.

My points 4/5.

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