Eurovision Song Contest 1979 Review

Welcome to Jerusalem. Turkey got pressured by Arab states to withdraw, leaving us with 19 countries in the running. This is also Monaco’s last attendance until the next century, so let’s see if their send-off is good.


Hi! Welcome to the last contest of the decade. For something different, we’re out of Europe for the first time and visiting Jerusalem, so we obviously open with a lot of shots of the city, accompanied by some nice orchestral music. The British commentator (not Terry Wogan this time) also explained the history of the city to the viewers, which is good.

We have two presenters once again: Daniel Pe’er and Yardena Arazi. Yardena is a former contestant, who competed in 1976 and was the French-speaking host, while Daniel spoke English (both spoke Hebrew as well - the intro was done in Hebrew first, for example). It definitely took a bit longer than usually, but still much less than these days.


Portugal - Sobe, sobe, balão sobe

Performed by
Manuela Bravo

We have a very Portuguese-sounding disco banger from Portugal to open the contest and I’m all here for it. It got me to move my body and have fun, so I definitely can’t rank it low after this. And the performance was great too, it’s impossible for me to dislike it.

Italy - Raggio di luna

Performed by
Matia Bazar

And here we have another song with no orchestral accompaniment. And again from Italy, which is interesting. It’s clear that IBA had no idea how to mix this entry properly though. The backing vocals were mixed way too loud, so they drown out the lead vocal entirely at some point. In general, the vocals are executed pretty poorly and distract me from an otherwise decent song.

Denmark - Disco Tango

Performed by
Tommy Seebach

Yup, this is a mixture of disco and tango, just like the title promises, and it’s amazing. Tommy Seebach is one of my favourite returning performers because he brought something great every time he came back. In general though, I really like it when songs fuse two music genres (but only when they do it well), and this is an excellent example of such song.

Well done Tommy and see you again soon.

Ireland - Happy Man

Performed by
Cathal Dunne

This feels like two mediocre songs stitched together and it’s worse than the sum of its parts. The verses are a slow ballad and the chorus is loud and upbeat and the change between them is abrupt and gives me whiplash. It’s a very messy and unlikeable entry with a mediocre performance.

Finland - Katson sineen taivaan

Performed by
Katri Helena

I really love this. It’s very dramatic in all the right ways. Katri has a rich voice and a lot of stage presence and completely nails it. The instrumental is also amazing, it has a nice dramatic buildup and quite a dark feel to it. Finland was definitely starting to find their footing and we’ll witness a lot of total bangers from them in the coming years.

Monaco - Notre vie c’est la musique

Performed by
Laurent Vaguener

Monaco decided to send an absolute banger this year as a send-off. It’s a super upbeat song with lyrics about how great music is. And honestly, I got into it, it’s insanely well-composed. The bassline is memorable and catchy, the brass is great and the beat is totally addictive. My only issue is that his vocals really aren’t that great, especially near the end, which does ruin the song a bit.

Greece - Socrates

Performed by

This song has always seemed short to me, but no, it’s exactly 3 minutes long. But I guess time flies when you’re having fun.

Anyway, Greece decided to commemorate two famous people two years in a row for some reason, but I’m all here for it.h is song combines the drama so typical of Greek entries with a superb performance (both vocal and in general). Plus I find that their use of the word “superstar” doesn’t take me out of the song because it kinda fits with Greek (we’ll see another entry that uses the word “superstar” to great effect in several decades).

Switzerland - Trödler und Co.

Performed by
Peter, Sue and Marc, Pfuri, Gorps and Kniri

This is a deeply unserious performance of a very credible song. The gimmick here is that Peter, Sue and Marc (who have returned for the third time, this time singing in German) sing (and damn well - they’re amazing vocalists, especially Sue) while Pfuri, Gorps and Kniri pretend to be gardeners/farmers (the British commentator was very confused about what to call them) who pretend to play gardening instruments - watering cans, hoses, shears and so on.

And I have to say, it works. It’s a bit silly, but in a charming way. The song is catchy, well-sung and well-arranged and all six people on stage have good chemistry together. Well done to everyone and I’ll see Peter, Sue and Marc in 2 years.

Germany - Dschinghis Khan

Performed by
Dschinghis Khan

Now, I completely understand why this is a fan-favourite. It would’ve made sense if this won, it’s definitely the most complete package of the night with a fun song and an outstanding performance, but it’s just never been my absolute favourite. But I’ll admit that I always have fun when I listen to it, it’s impossible not to like this.

Israel - Hallelujah

Performed by
Milk and Honey

I know this isn’t a big fan favourite (and it’s very surprising that it won), but I’ve always loved this. It has a very clear sense of progression all throughout and great camera tricks that make it work even better.

The song starts out very simple, with one lead vocalist and no harmonies and a very barebones instrumentation that mostly consists of a piano, but really builds up over the course of three minutes. After the first verse is over, the camera zooms out and we get the second vocalist, but the instrumentation stays simple for now. It’s only after the second zoom out, which gives us the other two vocalists and a key change, that the instrumental changes to become more complex and layered. It then proceeds to have two more key changes and becomes richer with every change.

In general, this song uses a lot of tricks to stay fresh and varied throughout and it makes complete sense that it won. While it isn’t my favourite of the evening, I still think it was a great winner.

France - Je suis l’enfant soleil

Performed by
Anne-Marie David

Anne-Marie is back and she’s just as much of a wonderful performer as six years ago.This song is more intense than Tu te reconnaîtras, but it’s still every way as hypnotic and enticing as it. I also don’t agree with people who say that this song is about childhood romance. It’s clear that “enfant-soleil” doesn’t mean a literal child, just as a contrast against the love interest being an “homme-neige” (snow-man). The word “child” is most likely used metaphorically since it was common to call someone young “child”.

What’s surprising to me is that it’s likely about an escaped convict, since it explictly states that the men came after him, he went with them with “his hands above his head” and “returned to the north”. That’s a very dark theme and I love dark themes in songs.

Belgium - Hey Nana

Performed by
Micha Marah

As with all performers who didn’t like the song, you can feel a tinge of disappointment in their performance. But hey, Micha dealt with it much better than most because this actually slaps. It has a lovely instrumental and a very good performance. The lyrics let it down, but eh, it’s not like a lot of Eurovision songs are lyrical masterpieces (which is funny to say coming right after one song that is a lyrical masterpiece).

And yeah, I do prefer the song Comment ça va, which was the one the Flemmish public (and Micha herself) preferred, but that doesn’t mean this song is bad.

Luxembourg - J’ai déjà vu ça dans tes yeux

Performed by
Jeane Manson

You know the song is insanely mediocre if the music in the postcard is more interesting than the music accompanying the entry. I also have to congratulate Jeane, her pronunciation of French is actually pretty good. There’s a small tinge of an English accent, but it actually makes this more charming.

Sadly, this is a very middling ballad otherwise. It’s unexceptional in every way.

Netherlands - Colorado

Performed by

And here we have a pretty mediocre rock song sung by Sandra Reemer, who returned once again. Unfortunately, her song this year is nowhere near as good - it’s just some fairly middling American-sounding rock about how great the state of Colorado is. I’ve always found the Dutch obsession with American culture weird, but I’ll complain about it once we get to the 2010s.

Sweden - Satellit

Performed by
Ted Gärdestad

And here’s another rock song that really didn’t work out. The guitar in the intro sounds very farty and the completely recedes into the background. In general, the song feels very disjointed and incomplete. It’s trying to get me to have fun, but I can’t help but have a very plain face while listening to it. It really could’ve been a lot better.

Norway - Oliver

Performed by
Anita Skorgan

Anita is back and this time it’s with a song that suits her much more. It’s insanely cute and memorable, quite soft and dreamy, but also very effective. The hook definitely works well and the backing singers add a lot to this. There’s nothing wrong here and everything is right. It’s an insanely competent entry that was definitely designed to do well. And it did do decently well - 11th place, which was pretty good for Norway back then.

United Kingdom - Mary Ann

Performed by
Black Lace

God, why are all rock songs so boring this year? This does absolutely nothing to me, though at least it sounds like a proper rock song and I actually like the raspy lead vocals. And the performance was definitely pretty good, definitely quite likeable.

Austria - Heute in Jerusalem

Performed by
Christina Simon

And here we have a very jazzy ballad about being in Jerusalem. It’ll be honest, I actually really enjoyed it. It was slow and mellow, standing out a lot after the last couple songs, all of which were upbeat. I always appreciate creativity (though sometimes it doesn’t work out - luckily this song worked out great) and I also appreciate having a saxophone.

It sounds like something you’d hear performer in a pub by a band that’s just starting out - it has that feeling of genuineness about it.

Spain - Su canción

Performed by
Betty Missiego

I’m sorry, Spain, but I’m not a fan of this. It’s a bit too, idk, childish for me to enjoy. It sonds like something you’d hear in a cartoon. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but the children were a bad addition to this (and it’s not because I’m against having children in Eurovision - but more on that in a few years) - they’re very distracting for me.


  1. France - Je suis l’enfant soleil
  2. Denmark - Disco Tango
  3. Finland - Katson sineen taivaan
  4. Israel - Hallelujah
  5. Norway - Oliver
  6. Austria - Heute in Jerusalem
  7. Greece - Socrates
  8. Switzerland - Trödler und Co.
  9. Belgium - Hey Nana
  10. Germany - Dschinghis Khan
  11. Monaco - Notre vie c’est la musique
  12. Portugal - Sobe, sobe, balão sobe
  13. Spain - Su canción
  14. United Kingdom - Mary Ann
  15. Sweden - Satellit
  16. Netherlands - Colorado
  17. Luxembourg - J’ai déjà vu ça dans tes yeux
  18. Italy - Raggio di luna
  19. Ireland - Happy Man


  • Austria - 1 (1965)
  • Belgium - 1 (1961)
  • Denmark - 1 (1963)
  • France - 4 (1969, 1976, 1977, 1979)
  • Germany - 3 (1957, 1972, 1978)
  • 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)

France is almost at the real-life winning record by this point. But what can I say, the French entries of the 70s were mostly great.


I really enjoyed the postcards this year. They all featured fun comedic skits about each participating country (full of stereotypes, of couse, but not in a demeaning way - they felt playful and appreciative).

The British commentator actually provided some interesting information about the juries. He said that they had to arrive to the BBC by 1:30 PM, which clearly means that they were voting on live performances and not the final rehearsal as is the case these days.

I really liked the interval act - I love when they aren’t just a rehash of a country’s Eurovision history, but actually show off the country beyond Eurovision.

And the voting was interesting too, a very close race between Israel and Spain. While those songs might not have been my absolute favourites, I’m always happy about close voting.

I’ll see you all in 1980, for one of the weirdest years in Eurovision.