As part of the substitute fayre we were offered to replace the annual camp-fest, the Eurovision Song Contest, this year cancelled for the first time in its 64-year history (due to you-know-what) U.K. viewers were offered the chance to vote on what they considered to be the best ever song from the contest - though we were given a choice of only 19 of the previous winners, thus ruling out dozens of non-winners which in many cases were, in my opinion, superior to those that came top in given years.
The selection of these few songs - which included no less than four of the U.K.'s five winners ('Puppet on a String' strangely not making it) - were decided by a panel of 'experts' and celebrities, many/most (all?) of them far too young to having watched the original presentations going back to 1956, unlike myself.
Anyway, the winner was predictable. Though I've been a lifelong ardent fan of ABBA, I do still recall how disappointed I felt way back in 1974 when this came out on top. And in all the years since then my view hasn't changed. There's no doubt that the song made a bigger 'splash' than any other Eurovision song in the contest's history, and did more for the performers than anything else ever did - nothing else comes even close - but as for being a 'great' song I must take issue. In ABBA's own subsequent canon it rates, at best, as only 'middling' and I've never been able to understand why it won.
However, to be honest, it's been very rare when what I rated as the best song was the one that was the ultimate victor. The last time that happened was Norway's 'Fairy Tale' performed by Alexander
Rybak's boy-faced, hottie fiddler in 2009. But more often than not I'm left flummoxed, sore, and even a bit angry, at the choice of winner.
Out of the 19 songs offered which could be voted on I'd have given mine to the U.K.'s 'Brotherhood of Man's 'Save your Kisses For Me', also, incidentally, the most successful Eurovision song of all time in terms of record sales.
Having stated my view that 'Waterloo'was not a worthy winner for the 'greatest' Eurovision entry, it's only fair that I offer a couple of my own nominations for that title -
'L'amour est bleu' which finished a relatively lowly fourth for Luxembourg in 1967 - an instrumental version under the title of (what else!) 'Love is Blue' reached #12 in the U.K. in 1968 but actually topped the American Billboard charts for a full five weeks in that same year.
'Hallelujah' from Israel's group 'Milk and Honey' in 1979 which, although it won, wasn't deemed by the panel of being of sufficient merit to be included in those which could be voted on.
'Tom Pillibi', France's 1960 winner.
And I nominate one which will ruffle a few feathers, but it's honest - for the U.K., Cliff Richard singing - no, not 'Congratulations' - but 'Power to All our Friends', which finished a very respectable 3rd in 1973, the top three in that year being very close in score - and a song being, I think even now, one of the 'greats', knocking spots off most other entries both before and since. Unfortunately, when it came to the actual performance in contest, Cliff distracted from the song by his unintentionally comic leg movements. But it really was a classic song.
There are perhaps another score or more of songs I could offer for consideration, most of them non-winners, but got to draw the line somewhere.
And having got all that off my chest, I feel better now - though could still do without having to listen to that infernal 'Waterloo' ever again!
5 hours ago