A trip to Stockholm : Day 4

On the final day, I woke up quite early to have this view by the window.

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A quad in the centre of Stockholm with a window like roof for some offices that were underground. I thought this looked cool.

Also there was an old style lift in the building, apparently of a kind you can sit in…

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For our last morning in the Swedish capital, we thought a visit to Ikea would be unavoidable especially considering that Stockholm obviously holds the world’s biggest store…

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After this nice domestic like trip where I found out that I could actually understand really well when real people were really speaking to me in Swedish, we took the free Ikea bus, to go back to the centre of Stockholm. Yeah Ikea bus, it’s free and it’s really good when the Ikea is quite a few miles away from the city centre, like pretty much all the commercial zones in the world….

Our final stop was quick but not unpleasant. It took us the southern quarter of the city ; Södermalm, leaving thus no main part of Stockholm unvisited by the end of our trip. There, we went to the Söderhallarna  (the southern halls), a bit like a shopping centre with a very pleasant inside market.

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And although I didn’t take pictures of it because I was too busy buying half of the stuff in it, we also stopped at The English Shop, which I wish existed in France too.

We headed to the city’s coach station afterwards, to get our Flygbuss back to Skavsta Airport. Finally, we enjoyed a wonderful sunset coming like a delightful present to end this stay in the best of ways.

 

 

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Ein Lied für Luxemburg 1984

Ein Lied für Luxemburg was the national selection held in Germany to select an entry for the 1984 Eurovision Song Contest.

12 songs had made the preselection round, to compete in the TV final that took place on 29 March 1984.

With 10 fictional jury members each, awarding scores using the current Eurovision system, this is what Joshua and I came up with.

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As always, you’re obviously free to share your opinions about these !

 

Sanna Nielsen : I’m In Love (2011)

Released on March 2, 2011

1 Devotion : HIT

Sounds like a Celine Dion track without the screaming.

2 I’m In Love : HIT

It can only be a hit. Lol

3 Part Of Me : HIT

Pleasant song to listen

4 Not Afraid To Love : HIT

This sounds a bit more like Celine Dion for the screaming but still manages to be pleasant.

5 If You Were Mine : MISS

There’s no real catch in this

6 Can’t Stop Love Tonight : HIT

This sounds very Swedish

7 Demolition Woman : MISS

Nothing exciting about it, this style doesn’t suit her at all, and thus why it also sounds so messy.

8 This Time Love Is Real : HIT

Very nice.

9 Take Me Home : HIT

Pleasant song.

10 Foolish Heart : HIT

Curious tone in this song, sounding quite different than the rest heard so far.  There’s a kind of interesting energy in it.

11 Just Like That : HIT

Great dramatic tone in it, really sounds like a movie soundtrack. Not sure if it’s wholly as pleasant on the though.

12 Paradise : HIT

Correct ending for a pretty good album in general.

This album is pretty good on the whole, and really makes us understand how the future success happened because it all appears as the natural continuity of this. What I like about this album is that it can be quite surprising in quality, especially when as a Melodifestivalen/Eurovision fervent you’d expect more songs like I’m In love, and not surprising in the wrong way.

Germany and the Eurovision – Part 1: Rough Start

by Joshua Reduch

The Eurovision Song Contest (or Grand Prix, as most Germans still call it) has had its high ups and deep lows among the german viewers in its almost 60 years old history.

In my next four articles I want to give you a closer look at the sometimes very difficult relationship between Germany and the Eurovision we all love.

Today, I will focus on the first 24 contests from 1956 to 1979:

After the Second World War, the destroyed Germany recovered itself with a successfull industry. The so called ”Wirtschaftswunder” (Economy miracle) has managed to make people more confident and happy after years full of war. But also the television broadcasters put up amazing shows to entertain. One of these was the ”Grand Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Europénne 1956” or for the ones who are not fluent in French: the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956, held in the beautiful city of Lugano, Switzerland.

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Freddy Quinn

The never seen before concept of countries sending their most talented singers who perform a song and hope to get the maximum amout of points from the juries was not an instant success.

At this time, Television was still something for upper class families and devices costed up to thousands of German Marks. A lot of money in these times.

The first german participants were Freddy Quinn and Walter A. Schwarz. While the latter did not become a star afterwards, Freddy Quinn managed to become one of the biggest singers of the 50’s and 60’s in Germany.

Germany did good in the further contests, but after none of the entries has become a big hit, that makes the Eurovision known among the german population.

That changed in 1962 when Conny Froboess sang her song „Zwei kleine Italiener“ in Luxemburg. The song about two hard-working Italian workers who miss the bright sun in their home country was an instant classic and the first ESC Song to achieve the No.1 spot on the german charts, although it only placed 6th.

So, after a No. 1 hit, Germany should have got some better placings in Eurovision? Well, unfortuneately they did not. In 1964 and 1965 Heidi Brühl and Ulla Wiesner even placed last with ”zero points”. After these failures, german Broadcaster ARD and its flagship Das Erste decided to change their selcetion procedure and selceted their acts internally. This didn’t make things better with the exception of 1968 when the beautiful norwegian Wencke Myhre placed 6th.

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Katja Ebstein

But finally in 1970, a red-haired hippy girl entered the stage and sang ”Wunder gibt es immer wieder“ (Miracles keep on happening again and again). I’m talking about the wonderfull Katja Ebstein. She was the first act for Germany who placed in the Top 3, which wasn’t really hard that year, because only twelve countries competed. After the 1970 contest, she released English, Spanish, Italian and even Japanese versions of ”Wunder gibt es immer wieder”.

The broadcaster was so satisfied about her performance that they asked her to do it again in 1971. In a national final she sang six songs and again she placed third at Eurovision with ”Diese Welt” (This World). Just a few years later, she achived her biggest result in Eurovision, but I will talk about that in the next article.

Most Germans thought that the streak of great placings has now come to an end, but fortuneately they were wrong. 23 year old singer Mary Roos placed third again for the third time for Germany with her power ballad ”Nur die Liebe lässt uns leben” (Only love let us live). She also returned several years later and is known as the Grand Lady of Schlager. In 2013, she was the head of the jury in „Unser Song für Malmö“ and even announced the votes:  

Then things got a little worse again: Gitte only placed 8th, although she was a hot favorite to win, Cindy & Bert (Germany’s biggest Schlager duo ever!) placed last in 1974.

The german public was confused. Why is Germany bad at Eurovision? Germany, the country with the biggest populaton of the participating countries and the third most important music industry in the world (After US and UK). Even the Beatles started their career in Hamburg and released songs in German in their early years. What does it take to win?

And in 1976 they thought they found the answer: Les Humphries Singers! With hits like ”Mexico” and ”Mama Loo” they even performed in the USA. The thing is that this was already some years before their Eurovision performance. At the end, they placed 15th.

In a documentury about the band, german member Jürgen Drews (who is one of the biggest Party-Schlager singers in Germany and especially in Mallorca) said: ”It was a bad song. We should have done it a few years earlier. The magic was already gone.”

For the 1976 Contest ARD did something very controversial and I’m not talking about selecting internally. No, they sent a song in English! Ok, more countries did that while the language rule did not exist. English is indeed widespread in german choices today, but in 1976 this was a brave move. Silver Convention did a nice job in London and placed a respectable 8th place.

To end today’s article I will tell you something about Germany’s most loved Eurovision entry (which did not win): ”Dschinghis Khan” by the band of the same name. From the very first time the song was performed in the national final, people danced and sang along. Although it only placed fourth in Jerusalem, the song is played at every party and I have even heard it at the Public Viewing for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in my hometown.

So, Germany had a rough start in the first contests, but still they placed in the Top 3 a few times. It’s nice to see that ARD did not lose its interest in the Contest even after some painful failures.

Next time, I will focus on the Contest for 1980-1999 with Germany’s first win and the big chances after the Fall of the Berlin Wall which even affected Eurovision.

What is your favorite entry from 1956 to 1979? Let us know in the comments below!