Eurovision Song Contest 1983 Review

Is it Germany time? It’s Germany time! Germany finally won it the previous year, so we’re off to Munich. We’re even rejoined by France (under a new broadcaster, TF1 decided they don’t give a damn about Eurovision), as well as Greece and Italy, yay. Sadly, Ireland withdrew due to strikes, which is the only time they withdrew willingly (they’ll also be relegated once, but more on that later). This, as usual, leaves us with 20 countries, which means 20 songs to get through.


Unlike last year, we’re in a major city this time, so nobody needs to explain what or where Munich is, we all already know. As na intro, we’re shown sights of other German cities like Hamburg and Berlin, as well as several others. It’s accompanied by some great music with electric guitars mixed with an orchestra. I actually enjoyed it a lot.

This time around, our host is Marlene Charell, who did her best to present the contest in German, English and French (not very successfully at times, but it’s the thought that counts). We start off by introducing every country and the performers of that country as they all assemble on stage to create a beautiful wide shot of everyone who’s going to be on stage tonight. This was also captured as a photo with every participant and the orchestra visible and it’s glorious.

The introductions take a bit of time due to being done in three languages, but we do get through them eventually and move to the first song. Also, this is the first time Eurovision was broadcast in Australia, and would continue being broadcast there until their debut in 2015 every year.


France - Vivre

Performed by
Guy Bonnet

And we start off with a very heavy song about two lovers being parted because one of them is being executed. Yeah, feel free to tell people who say that Eurovision is silly and lighthearted to go away, because it really isn’t.

For starters, it isn’t an 80s-style song, but in a good way because that helps it to remain timeless. In fact, it’s probably one of the songs that’s aged the best out of this contest. But, of course, that’s the trademark Guy Bonnet quality. Just like last time, he sits at the piano and sings his heart out, though he’s accompanied by backing singers this time, which makes the song better for me. Otherwise, the arrangement is very simple, with nothing “extra”, just like the previous time Guy Bonnet took part. And, just like the previous time, it works out in his favour.

So yeah, being normal can really work to an entry’s favour sometimes.

Norway - Do Re Mi

Performed by
Jahn Teigen

I know I often complain about saccharine songs, but I just can’t help but find this one charming. It’s rather simple and lighthearted. I have to say though, that kiss was entirely unnecessary, though it didn’t feel forced. In general, I’m usually kinda underwhelmed by this, both Jahn and Anita have had better entries before.

The most memorable part about this entry is, of course, the way Marlene forgot the name of the conductor - Sigurd Jansen - and made up the name “Johannes Skorgan” on the spot, much to Terry Wogan’s delight. Sigurd didn’t seem to mind it at all and took it all in stride.

United Kingdom - I’m Never Giving Up

Performed by
Sweet Dreams

I know that it’s weird to say this after hating on the previous UK entries, but I actually really enjoyed this. It was arranged well, taking the strengths and weaknesses of an orchestra into account, so there’s no awkwardness here. And the performance was good too, no decisions I’d call questionable here.

Actually, let’s talk about the stage a bit. It’s generally considered to be one of the ugliest in history, but I don’t really agree. Sure, it’s unconventional, but the lighting stripes in the back give it a lot of character compared to the others and allow the performers to elevate their performance just a bit.

My only issue is that it isn’t catchy at all. I’ve just finished listening to it and I’ve already forgotten the verses and most of the chorus. It’s one of several UK entries I’d never be able to recall if you asked me.

Sweden - Främling

Performed by
Carola Häggkvist

Ahhh, 80s Sweden never misses and here’s another hit. Carola will, of course, represent Sweden two more times (with total bangers), but we’ll get there when we get there. First, let’s talk about this.

Despite being very young - just 17 years old - Carola is already a very strong singer. Dancer? Not so much, but she does have some very groovy 80s moves that I find quite charming. But it’s really all about her expressive vocal performance. It doesn’t feel forced at all, she’s just a natural on stage - all smiley and happy to be there, performing a song in front of 500 million people. She wasn’t even fazed by a technical mishap at the start - the microphone was off when she sang the first word.

I really like the contrast between the chorus and the verses here. I feel like both are strong and memorable in their own right, full of hooks. Even as someone who doesn’t speak a lick of Swedish (apart from several words I’ve picked up from Eurovision), I just want to sing along anyway. So it’s unsurprising to me that it ended up scoring so well - 3rd place is nothing to sneeze at for certain.

Italy - Per Lucia

Performed by
Riccardo Fogli

Welcome back, Italy. Thank you for bringing something amazing. This is definitely one of my favourite Italian entries. Riccardo is a wonderful performer and sings it with insane convction. And it’s much better with full orchestra backing than the studio version with more of a jazz band vibe (though I admit, I love the minute-long piano intro in the studio version). I especially love the bells (as I’ve mentioned before, I love bells in songs), but it’s just generally an arrangement where every element comes together: the accordion, percussion, brass, strings and everything else. It’s one of those entries that would’ve fallen completely flat without an orchestra.

Of course, the quality of the lyrics matches the quality of the accompaniment. They list everything the singer would do for Lucia, but in a very fairytale-like manner. He wants to bind her hair with wind, prepare a feast for a whole country, be the fullest moon and so on. It’s really beautiful and so Italian, it’s insane.

I’m also going to recommend listening to his other songs, Riccardo has had many great hits over the years.

Turkey - Opera

Performed by
Çetin Alp and the Short Wave

Every time I watch an entry that has received 0 points, I ask myself if it deserved it. Here, the answer is yes, absolutely. This is an unfocused repetitive mess that tries to be everything at once. It, obviously, tries to be operatic, but only in the verses. In the chorus, it becomes an upbeat 80s pop song consisting mostly of the repetition of the word “opera”. I’ve never liked it, though I have to admit, the “opera, opera, opera” part sometimes pops up in my head out of the blue. It definitley isn’t the worst entry this year, not by a large margin, because…

Spain - Quién maneja mi barca

Performed by
Remedios Amaya

…this entry exists. I’m sorry, I’ve always hated it and listening to it again doesn’t change my opinion of it. It just makes my brain itch very unpleasantly and my ears ring. It’s an entry you either love or hate and I definitely hate it. But I don’t like being negative, so let’s move along.

Switzerland - Io così non ci sto

Performed by
Mariella Farré

This is a very meh song. There’s nothing exactly wrong with it, but it also completely fails to stand out. It’s a very normal ballad with a singer who’s a bit too shouty. At least it actually has a pretty good message about how she doesn’t like “to make love to fight boredom”.

Finland - Fantasiaa

Performed by
Ami Aspelund

Finland, you’re just cheating. You know that I love a good piano and you bring a piano nearly every year. More than that, it’s in a minor key, which I always vibe with. Ami is a great charismatic performer, just like her sister was in 1977.

This has the same theme as Främling from this same year - a mysterious stranger walks through the singer’s life. Though while Främling is more upbeat and happy, this has some sinister undertones (perhaps because this is firmly in a minor key). And I have to say, I prefer this song’s ambiance by far.

I also like this song’s flow. Sometimes, a song doesn’t really work with the cadence of Finnish, sometimes it works with Finnish as well as English, but this is a song that requires Finnish. The English version is nowhere near as good, at least in my opinion. The version in Finnish is actually catchy, which is a great achievement for a song in Finnish, a language that’s very hard to make catchy for non-Finnish speakers.

Greece - Mou les

Performed by

For something different, here’s Greece, serving up a ballad in 5/4 time. It starts out being very dreamy and floaty, I’d even describe it as ethereal. It has everything you’d expect from a ballad like this - soaring strings, the triangle and all that.

But then an instrumental break happens and it goes all jazzy. The brass kicks in, we get a very sqeaky saxophone solo (ah, Greece and not managing to execute a saxophone solo, a match made in heaven). After the break is over, we go back to a mix of the dreamy feel it had mixed with the slightly jazzier instrumentation. I think it executes this genre shift really well and doesn’t make me feel like it’s out of place.

Netherlands - Sing Me a Song

Performed by

This has a very awkward feeling. Bernadette is a good performer, but the song itself is very unmemorable and she clashes with her backing singers. Plus I’m really not a fan of the high notes in this song, they’re rather annoying. It’s also quite repetitve and overreliant on its English-language hook, so I can’t say I’m a fan. At least it has a nice message, so I can’t be too hard on it.

Yugoslavia - Džuli

Performed by

Yugoslavia is finally entering its (mostly) upbeat era and this is the first of many bangers. There’s a reason why it was a big hit all over Europe - and it’s the fact that this is catchy as hell. Its hook is guaranteed to get stuck in your brain for hours after you’re done with this.

It’s one of those songs that are just good and it’s hard to say why exactly. It’s all good at once. Though I have to say that the high pitch of the instrumental and his voice give me a headache after seveal listens. It’s why I can’t loop it, unlike a lot of other entries.

Cyprus - I agapi akoma zi

Performed by
Stavros and Constantina

I agree with Terry Wogan, it is a very pleasant entry. It has that familiar, homey feeling that makes me melt a little bit. The singers harmonise really well and the guitars are actually played live (you can see a second microphone placed right next to the guitars to capture their sound).

It’s a simple entry, but, once again, its simplicity is an upside.

Germany - Rücksicht

Performed by
Hoffmann and Hoffmann

It’s very random whether I like a ballad or not, but this is one of those times that I do. It has a very strong instrumentation with a great deal of variety and some great harmonies between the performers.

It’s also really well-written. It’s all about introspection, thinking about what went wrong during an unspecific romance. Whose fault it was, why did they fail to click.

Denmark - Kloden drejer

Performed by
Gry Johansen

On the other hand, this is extremely simple and uninteresting. It’s energetic, I’ll give it that, but it’s too energetic. It starts out energetic and finishes energetic in the same way. We don’t get any time to process the song. And the instrumental is very boring too.

Israel - Hi

Performed by
Ofra Haza

I know that “Chai” is a more accurate transliteration, but it makes me think of the drink, so I prefer the transliteration used in the show - “Hi”.

In any case, hooray. After several years of failing to wow me with their big fan favourites, I can finally agree with the fandom on this. It’s a great song with a lot of meaning (which is enchanced even further due to being performed in Germany) and a wonderful performance. It asserts the fact that Israeli people are still out there, they still live, exist and thrive, so it’s fitting that it sounds so Israeli as well (an uptemo minor key dance banger). Which makes sense, since it was composed by Avi Toledano, who was the entrant the previous year.

Portugal - Esta balada que te dou

Performed by
Armando Gama

I feel like I’m agreeing with Terry Wogan way too much this year, but yeah, it is a very pretty ballad. You can see that Armando connects with it really well - which is understandable, he wrote and composed it himself - which always enchances the performance to me. Though it, sadly, falls into the pitfall of failing to change as it progresses. To me, a ballad really needs to end differently from how it started - be it a key change, a change in the instrumentation or something else.

Austria - Hurricane

Performed by

Of all stereotypically 80s songs, this is the best one for me. It reminds me of some other song, but that’s probably because of how average it is. Still, it’s energetic in a non-annoying way and just the right amount of campy to not be tacky.

Belgium - Rendez-vous

Performed by
Pas de Deux

The main question to ask here is the following: does being unique mean you’re better than everyone else? And the answer to that question is not usually, no. But in this case, kinda. Just “standing out” isn’t enough for me to like something, most things stand out for all the wrong reasons. This is different. It’s pretty avant-garde and distinctive without coming off as tryhard or disingenuous. It’s very sincere in trying to bring something new to Eurovision and I can’t hate them for it. The lyrics (if you can call them that) are very minimal - just 9 distinct words. But I do like the catchy rhythmic instrumental.

Luxembourg - Si la vie est cadeau

Performed by
Corinne Hermès

I have to admit it, I’ve always had a soft spot for this song. It’s probably one of the least well-regarded winners, and yet I’ve gone through a phase of it being my favourite winner a couple years ago. While it’s grown off me a little, I still regard it really highly.

Firstly, Corinne is an amazing singer. She showcases her full vocal range without it feeling like a vocal excercise. The verses are relatively calm and instrospective, but the verses go all out with drama. Both serve their purpose and don’t feel weaker relatively to each other, which is lovely since I usually thing that when a chorus shifts to a major key, it loses a lot of its charm.

The lyrics are written really well too. I might be a bit biased against French lyrics in Eurovision since they use French that feels a bit too simplistic and orentated towards an international audience, this doesn’t. It goes full out with words a non-native speaker won’t know and is probbaly why it failed to chart in non-francophone countries. As the title says, it’s all about life being a gift, a gift from her lover, a stolen gift.

And yes, the instrumental is really good too. It blends a very contemporary sound with something more classic in a very compelling way. It’s hard to say which instruments it uses, but I think that was the most successful at adapting an 80s sound to a Eurovision orchestra.


  1. Italy - Per Lucia
  2. Finland - Fantasiaa
  3. Luxembourg - Si la vie est cadeau
  4. Germany - Rücksicht
  5. France - Vivre
  6. Sweden - Främling
  7. Israel - Hi
  8. Yugoslavia - Džuli
  9. Greece - Mou les
  10. Portugal - Esta balada que te dou
  11. Cyprus - I agapi akoma zi
  12. Norway - Do Re Mi
  13. Belgium - Rendez-vous
  14. United Kingdom - I’m Never Giving Up
  15. Austria - Hurricane
  16. Switzerland - Io così non ci sto
  17. Turkey - Opera
  18. Netherlands - Sing Me a Song
  19. Denmark - Kloden drejer
  20. Spain - Quién maneja mi barca


  • Austria - 1 (1965)
  • Belgium - 1 (1961)
  • Denmark - 1 (1963)
  • France - 4 (1969, 1976, 1977, 1979)
  • Germany - 3 (1957, 1972, 1978)
  • Italy - 2 (1958, 1983)
  • Luxembourg - 3 (1956, 1964, 1973)
  • Monaco - 2 (1968, 1970)
  • Netherlands - 1 (1959)
  • Norway - 2 (1966, 1982)
  • Portugal - 1 (1967)
  • Spain - 1 (1971)
  • Sweden - 2 (1962, 1980)
  • Switzerland - 1 (1981)
  • Turkey - 1 (1975)
  • United Kingdom - 1 (1960)
  • Yugoslavia - 1 (1974)


I’ve alwyas genuinely loved this year. Despite the insanely long presentation and frequent mishaps and some total stinkers from several countries, it has some of my favourites anyway. The orchestra is outstanding this year, cerainly one of the best during the orchestral era, I love the stage, it’s iconic, I love the presenter (she tried her best - they should’ve given her a partner) and I love so many songs here.

I love the voting sequence with a pretty close race between the top 4 and I don’t know, this year just gives me good vibes. You might say that it’s my comfort year. I absolutely don’t mind the voting mishaps either, like I said, she did her best. I’d say that it adds a bit of charm.

In any case, I’ll see you all for the last year (so far) to be hosted in Luxembourg.