Feb 24, 2014

356/917 Harmony: 'tis OK (Netherlands 1978)

For the second time in this blog the random number generator picked a song that I had already reviewed, and so I chose the next song myself. Eurosong 356 does not change the world, but behind the smiles and fun show you find a very good song that makes the sun shine.

Eurovision Song Contest 1978 was the first one I watched from start to finish as a seven year old schoolboy. I also tried to record the contest on tape, but because of empty batteries the cassette recorder managed to tape only the first ten seconds of each song before slowing down. I would have to wait another couple of years before I got a copy of a tape with full versions of the song. It took over ten years before I saw the video recording of the contest for the first time.

One of my fondest memories of this great contest was the Dutch entry. Harmony was a perky and colourful group (apparently assembled with the contest in mind) with Rosina Louwaars as their talented soloist. Despite of their faultless performance, the song only got 37 points and 13th place in the lineup of 20 countries.

This song always gets a smile on my face. In a good "ding a dong"-fashion the melody is catchy and has a great orchestral arrangement (with ever smiling Harry van Hoof conducting). The Dutch language is cream of the cake making a nice but ordinary pop ditty a little more pecial.

My points 5/5

520/917 Kate Guldbrandsen: Mitt liv (Norway 1987)

After their first ever Eurovision victory in 1985 Norway had a good run of success until the 1980's. Quality entries and handful of good results as well. Their 1987 entry, the 520th song ever sung on a Eurovision stage was particularly anticipated since it was composed by the composer of the 1985 winning song with lyrics by another half of Bobbysocks.

An unthinkable thing happened to a dedicated Eurovision fan in 1987. I forgot to watch the first preview show on television and didn't remember it until first three songs were already presented. Even more incredible happened a year later when I missed the first episode the same way.

So I saw and heard the Norwegian entry of 1987 for the first time during the actual Eurovision final evening, when Kate Gulbrandsen opened the show with Mitt liv. Expectations were high for the song because it was written by none other than Rolf Løvland and Hanne Krogh, who had given Norway its first Eurovision victory two years earlier. Kate Guldbrandsen gave a professional but also quite cold performance and received an OK 9th place on the scoreboard.

I had also waited for this song with anticipation but didn't really get what I was waiting for. And today, 27 years later the song still gives absolutely nothing to me. Professional, yes. Well performed, yes. International, yes. But moving, no. Warm, no. Personal, no. Kate Guldbrandsen fails to reach out to me and Rolf Løvland had better songs to come both inside and outside Eurovision circles.

My points 2/5