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Word of Mouth - Eurovision

Word of Mouth // Education // Jan. 3, 2017

If I said to you... kitsch and camp, smoke machines, pop/rock with strange accents, over-sized flags, and a bearded lady, I bet 99 per cent of you would instantly think of, wait for it…… yes, the Eurovision Song Contest.

Eurovision is now 60 years old and is probably the most popular European event on the continent after football - almost 200 million people now watch the live broadcast each year. Once scorned upon, Eurovision is now fantastically popular.

Switzerland both hosted and won the first ever Eurovision in Lugarno in 1956. Mind you there were only seven countries competing.

Lys Assia won with the song Refrain which, even today, sounds refreshingly beautiful.

The more I listen to that, the more I like it.

Perhaps you might prefer one of Switzerland’s more controversial entries. Bring on the smoke and wind machines and the vampire teeth with DJ Bobo’s entry from 2007.

 The song’s lyrics upset the more conservative Swiss.

50,000 Swiss people signed a petition to withdraw the song from the contest. They accused the song of Satanism and claimed it could encourage teenage suicide. The song bombed at Eurovision but Vampires Are Alive entered the Swiss charts at number three.

Switzerland did win one more Eurovision in 1988 but with an imported singer from French Canada with a hairstyle described as poodle-like. Her name, Celine Dion and still today many people still hold Switzerland guilty of launching the career of Madame Dion.

The Swedish group ABBA is the most successful Eurovision Song Contest winner. Waterloo marked the end of Emperor Napoleon but launched the Swedish pop band at the 1974 Eurovision. They went on to sell about 400 million records including the hit single Money Money Money. 

Follow the glitz, glamour, beards and talent on the Eurovision instagram page.

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