Eurovision Song Contest 1975 Review

And here we have one of many years hosted in Sweden, which we’ll revisit several times in the next few decades. France and Malta returned and we have a new debutant - Turkey. Sadly, Greece skipped this year, but this still means a record 19 countries took part this year.

Preface

We’re off to Stockholm, after ABBA’s historical win. In just a year, they went from a rather obscure band to being famous all over Europe, though their most famous tracks like Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen were still yet to come.

We open with a comedy sketch about Sweden with absolutely no voiceover. It has variable production, but hey, stuff like this is still part of Eurovision. After it ends, we’re greeted by our host - Karin Falck. She opens with a little joke in Swedish (or at least I assume so, given the audience’s reaction - I don’t know Swedish at all) and then gives an especially charming and warm welcome to us all in English and French. As usual, it didn’t last long and we move to the first song of the night.

Songs

Netherlands - Ding-a-dong

Performed by
Teach-In
Language
English

Here’s a fun fact: I knew this song before delving into old Eurovision. It was quite regularly played on a radio station dedicated to hits from 70s, 80s and 90s. To learn that it actually came from Eurovision was quite a shock to me. Also, this was my second most listened-to track on Spotify this year.

Anyway, this is a perfect opener and would’ve definitely been chosen even if the order was decided by the producers. There’s something insanelt compelling about this. Is it the lighthearted lyrics? Is it the unbelievably catchy melody? I don’t know, so let’s examine both.

First, the melody. It’s in a minor key, which gives it a slightly sad undertone, like someone’s trying to cheer themselves up. It makes sense though, since the original Dutch version is about a breakup. In all honesty, I prefer the carefree vibes of the translation, but that might be because it’s the version I’m most familiar with. It’s also really helped by the addition of the xylophone (which, sadly, doesn’t get enough love during the song, only being player before the verses).

As for the lyrics, well. They’re a bit too repetitive. It helps that one of the verses changes its third line, but not too much. Luckily, they knew that this was a problem and included a bridge section that does recapture my attention just as I start to lose it. Not only does it save it, but it elevates it a lot. And it helps that it’s actually quite interesting musically.

Overall, yeah. Lots to say about it, but mostly because it’s a song I’m very familiar with.

Ireland - That’s What Friends Are For

Performed by
The Swarbriggs
Language
English

This entry is lovely, but it doesn’t interest me musically a lot. It sounds too much like country music. On the other hand, the lyrics are really nice and make me feel warm and cosy. This song strives to make you feel comfy and succeeds in every way. Even the country vibes go well with it, even if I don’t like country music much.

France - Et bonjour à toi l’artiste

Performed by
Nicole
Language
French

The soft piano intro sets the mood perfectly. It’s another cute entry that manages to avoid sounding too twee and saccharine. It’s a love letter to all artists, authors, painters, composers and other creative people. It’s extremely moving, especially combined with a superb vocal performance and some lovely harmonies in the chorus.

Germany - Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein

Performed by
Joy Fleming
Language
German, English

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even register the language change at the end, which means it was executed well, since I usually find them very jarring.

In general, this is a very rousing song with a great message: every song can be a bridge (which is the title of the song) between two people. Or, to quote a song that came 30 years later, “music is a language that we all know how to speak”. It’s no wonder this still speaks true to modern Eurovision fans, we’re all here to be united by music.

It’s also helped by a very dynamic and galloping instrumental. From the first note, it feels like it sweeps you away and takes you on an incredible journey. Again, I lack the necessary music theory vocabulary to describe it (I’m not that well-versed in it. I can usually recognise a major vs minor key, tell that a chord progression is boring vs interesting, but not something specific). In this case, I can tell that it’s very appealing and interesting to listen to.

Luxembourg - Toi

Performed by
Géraldine
Language
French

I think I would’ve enjoyed this song way more if Gerladine (an Irishwoman) didn’t have the same problem as Ireen Sheer last year - a horrible English accent when singing in French. This completely destroys my enjoyment of a song that isn’t that great anyway.

The piano intro to the song is also taken from the Well-Tempered Clavier by Bach, which really threw me off since I have it as my alarm ringtone. Otherwise, the instrumental is entirely unremarkable. I wouldn’t be able to remember it again if I tried, and I’ve listened to the song thrice. It’s also generally messy, sounding like a ballad in the verses and like a pop song in the chorus with no bridge between, so every change feels super abrupt.

Norway - Touch My Life with Summer

Performed by
Ellen Nikolaysen
Language
English

Again, this is quite pleasant and nice and makes me feel warm and cosy. It’s well-written and well-executed (and also quite interesting - minor verses AND major chorus?! That’s a very unusual decision, but one that works). The lyrics are well-translated and Ellen is a great vocalist who sings them very expressively.

Switzerland - Mikado

Performed by
Simone Drexel
Language
German

Not only did Simone perform this song, she also wrote and composed it. That’s very commendable, especially at 17. This reflects on her performance too - she absolutely loved being on stage, singing this song, and her infectious enthusiasm helped me get into it too.

Once again, we have verses in a major key and the chorus in a minor key. I absolutely love the rousing and bouncy instrumentation here, with the xylophone and all. That really adds catchines and fun to it.

Yugoslavia - Dan ljubezni

Performed by
Pepel in kri
Language
Slovene

This is a style you wouldn’t normally expect from a band called “Ashes and blood”. Honestly, I might’ve preferred some 70s rock (not that this contest lacks a 70s rock song, but more on that a bit later), but this more than makes up for it. It’s a really nice and pleasant listen (I feel like I’ve said this a lot about songs this year). It’s a very smooth and dreamy song that flows very naturally. I’ve listened to it many times over the years and I like it more and more every time.

United Kingdom - Let Me Be the One

Performed by
The Shadows
Language
English

And here we have it, the most modern song of the night. This is an insanely compelling rock song with performers very convincingly pretending like they’re playing their instruments live (I’ll keep pointing this out to people who like to complain about this in modern contests).

It really is just some straightforward mid-70s rock with guitar distortion and all. It doesn’t really have any flourishes, it’s all rather stipped down, which makes it work better in my opinion. I’m sure some moralists got themselves in a twist over this being in the contest - after all, we must preserve it to be exactly how it’s always been.

I especially love the bridge section, it’s easily the catchiest part of the song. It’s been stuck in my mind for years and I don’t think it’s ever getting out. The instrumental break after it where they just mess around and have fun only adds to it.

Malta - Singing This Song

Performed by
Renato
Language
English

And here we can see that Malta gave up on Maltese. From this point on, all of their songs will be in English (which is one of their national languages).

I actually really enjoy it. Sure, it’s fairly simplistic and cheesy, but it’s so upbeat and compelling too. It really makes me want to get up and dance. And sometimes that’s all I need to like a song.

Belgium - Gelukkig zijn

Performed by
Ann Christy
Language
Dutch, English

Unlike the German entry, this one had a very jarring and forced language change. It should’ve either been completely in Dutch or completely in English, especially because the two languages have completely mismatched lyrics. It feels like someone took the first half of the original Dutch version and glued the second half of the English version to it (and that’s exactly what happened, actually). They should’ve stuck to either language for the whole song.

Israel - At Ve’Ani

Performed by
Shlomo Artzi
Language
Hebrew

This is one of those “not bad, not good” songs. It doesn’t do anything wrong (well, apart from being very repetitive), but it doesn’t do a lot of things right either. It lost my interest halfway through and never managed to regain it afterwards. It really needed something extra.

Turkey - Seninle Bir Dakika

Performed by
Semiha Yankı
Language
Turkish

I love this song. I do. I just find it insanely compelling both in the instrumentation and the performance. Semiha has the most impressive vocal performance of the night for certain. How she didn’t get rewarded for it more is a mystery to me. Well, not really, she sang in Turkish and the juries have always been biased against songs that aren’t in English, French or Italian.

Monaco - Une chanson c’est une lettre

Performed by
Sophie
Language
French

The reason why I love this song is that there are so many songs that are pleasant and warm, and this is another one of those. It’s also in 3/4 time, so it sounds more waltzy than the other songs. Sophie also gives a very strong vocal performance, which is something I always appreciate.

Finland - Old Man Fiddle

Performed by
Pihasoittajat
Language
English

And here we have a country song that I don’t find boring. It has a lot of character and a fun energetic performance and got 7th place, which is very high for Finland. I’m glad it was in the contest.

Portugal - Madrugada

Performed by
Duarte Mendes
Language
Portuguese

Here we have a celebration of the fall of Portugal’s dictatorship. It’s structured very nicely and has interesting verses and a rousing chorus, but it doesn’t do a lot for me. It’s not a bad song by any means, but there have been many better songs this year.

Spain - Tú volverás

Performed by
Sergio and Estíbaliz
Language
Spanish

I really liked this. It was a calm and pleasant listen and the singers harmonised really well. I find that good harmonies always improve a song for me. It’s also helped by an arrangement that’s on the verge between mellow and epic, so it never gets too boring.

Sweden - Jennie, Jennie

Performed by
Lars Berghagen
Language
English

Sweden really wanted to send a good host entry, so they sent this. And you know what, they absolutely succeeded, at least in my opinion. It starts with a mellow piano intro, giving centre stage to Lars and his singing until kicking in a much grander orchestration when the chorus starts. It’s very soulful and has a great hook. My only wish would’ve been for it to be in Swedish instead of English because I think the Swedish version is even better.

Italy - Era

Performed by
Wess and Dori Ghezzi
Language
Italian

And here’s something that sounds nothing like what Italy has sent before and much more like Italian music I know. It’s a rousing and contemporary pop song that sounds very characteristically Italian to me, quite reminiscent of early Ricchi e Poveri (but more about them in 3 years).

With how diverse the Italian music scene is, it’s quite sad to see people reducing them to just “that male ballad country”.

Results

  1. Turkey - Seninle Bir Dakika
  2. Sweden - Jennie, Jennie
  3. United Kingdom - Let Me Be the One
  4. Italy - Era
  5. Germany - Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein
  6. Switzerland - Mikado
  7. Yugoslavia - Dan ljubezni
  8. Spain - Tú volverás
  9. France - Et bonjour à toi l’artiste
  10. Monaco - Une chanson c’est une lettre
  11. Finland - Old Man Fiddle
  12. Netherlands - Ding-a-dong
  13. Malta - Singing This Song
  14. Ireland - That’s What Friends Are For
  15. Portugal - Madrugada
  16. Norway - Touch My Life with Summer
  17. Belgium - Gelukkig zijn
  18. Israel - At Ve’Ani
  19. Luxembourg - Toi

Winners

  • Austria - 2 (1965)
  • Belgium - 1 (1961)
  • Denmark - 1 (1963)
  • France - 1 (1969)
  • Germany - 2 (1957, 1972)
  • Italy - 1 (1958)
  • Luxembourg - 3 (1956, 1964, 1973)
  • Monaco - 2 (1968, 1970)
  • Netherlands - 1 (1959)
  • Norway - 1 (1966)
  • Portugal - 1 (1967)
  • Spain - 1 (1971)
  • Sweden - 1 (1962)
  • Turkey - 1 (1975)
  • United Kingdom - 1 (1960)
  • Yugoslavia - 1 (1974)

Conclusion

Another great year. It introduced the iconic 12/10/8-1 voting system, though it would take the EBU some time to figure out that awarding the points in ascending order is much more fun and suspensful than doing it in performance order.

The interval act was a montageof Swedish paintings set to very dramatic orchestral music. Sweden definitely wanted to show off to everyone else, and who can blame them.

Even with the voting order weirdness, it was pretty good, with both the Netherlands and the UK battling it out for the win the whole time through and Italy being the clear 3rd.

I found Karin to be one of the best hosts we’ve had so far. She was just so warm and inviting, it was impossible not to get swept up by it.

In any case, I’ll see you all in 1976, for a contest hosted by Corry Brokken, the first time a former contestant would host (but certainly not the last).