April 6,1974 the battle of Waterloo

I remember during music lessons at school we would discuss the 2 super groups that emerged from the 1970’s. The first one was Queen and the other one was ABBA.

Both band of course did not start out with those names. Queen was called Smile first and ABBA’s origin was in the pop, folk and jazz scene of Sweden. Benny Andersson was a member of a popular Swedish pop-rock group, the Hep Stars.

Björn Ulvaeus began his musical career at the age of 18 ,as a singer and guitarist, as the frontman of the Hootenanny Singers, a popular Swedish folk–skiffle group. He started writing English-language songs for his group, and even had a brief solo career alongside. The Hootenanny Singers and the Hep Stars sometimes crossed paths while touring.

Anni-Frid “Frida” Lyngstad sang from the age of 13 with various dance bands, and worked mainly in a jazz-oriented cabaret style. She also formed her own band, the Anni-Frid Four. In the middle of 1967, she won a national talent competition with “En ledig dag” (“A Day Off”) a Swedish version of the bossa nova song “A Day in Portofino”.

Agnetha Fältskog was the singer with a local dance band headed by Bernt Enghardt who sent a demo recording of the band to Karl Gerhard Lundkvist. The demo tape featured a song written and sung by Agnetha: “Jag var så kär” (“I Was So in Love”). In 1972, Fältskog starred as Mary Magdalene in the original Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar and attracted some very good reviews.

On June 1972 the four released their debut single called “People Need Love” but the single was released with the band name ‘Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid’ not the catchiest of named to be honest, so in 1973 the band and their manager Stig Anderson changed the name to ABBA.

In 1975 the band had their international break through with “Waterloo” at the 1974 Eurovision song contest, which was held in Brighton on the south coast of the United Kingdom, on April 6. However Waterloo was not the first choice of the band to be used at the Song contest, They initially planned to enter the song “Hasta Mañana”for the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.

I think things would have turned out very different for the band. I reckon very few people would have remembered the name ABBA.

But as we all know they entered “Waterloo” for the contest making musical history and a legacy that still lives on to this day. Even young kids will know the song Waterloo and ABBA , mostly because of teh musical Mamma Mia and its sequel though.

The musical did spark a revival for ABBA music although their music has always been popular. In a May 2013 interview, Fältskog, aged 63 at the time, stated that an ABBA reunion would never occur: “I think we have to accept that it will not happen, because we are too old and each one of us has their own life. Too many years have gone by since we stopped, and there’s really no meaning in putting us together again” It has been rumoured that they were offered a billion US Dollars to tour again, but I believe that was all though, rumours.

The two men were and still are successful as song writers and composes. In 1983 they began collaborating with Tim Rice in writing songs for the musical project Chess. Which had 2 massive hits with “I know him so well” and “One night in Bangkok”

All of this though started off with the song Waterloo ,inspired by the 18 June 1815 battle of Waterloo.

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The Eurovision Song contest- The bizarre songs.

Lordi

No matter what you think of the Eurovision song contest, there is no denying it is a global cultural event. It might not be to everyone’s liking but it is a global cultural event nonetheless.

And it is truly global not only because it goes out live to nations across the world, bit also the last few years Australia has entered the competition.

Even last year’s winner,Israel, although Israel has strong historical,political and economical ties to Europe, geographically it is technically in Asia. But it does ly at the junction of three continents: Europe, Asia and Africa.

However this blog is not a blog about geopolitical situations but as alluded to a blog about the more bizarre songs which competed in the song contest throughout its history. I literally could pick dozens of songs  but I am sticking to the ones that stood out most for me.

Staring with probably the most bizarre band ,Lordi from Finland with their song “Hard Rock Hallelujah”, what makes this even more bizarre it actually won the competition in 2006.

 

In 1979 the Germans tried to win the contest with the band “Dschinghis Khan” who had a song with the very original name “Dschinghis Khan”. They reached the 4th place.

In 2003 the Belgians came up with the idea to enter the contest with a song in a made up language. The band “Urban Trad” the song “Sanomi” They reached the 2nd place.

If the contest was measured on the most bizarre songs Belgium would definitely be the winners. In 1980 the band “Telex” entered with the song “Euro-Vision”( I wonder where they got the idea for the title).It ended on the 17th place.

In 2007 the Ukraine came up with a song in Ukranian,German,English and some made up words.But to be honest there wasn’t that much text really. The song “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” the artist “Verka Serduchka” Funny enough it also reached the 2nd place.

Ending with the nation that won the Eurovision the most. Ireland won the competition 7 times. But I don’t think that anyone expected a Turkey to win the competition and yet in 2008 Ireland’s national broadcaster,RTE, did just that. They send a turkey named Dustin asking Europe for 12 points, Hence the title “Irlande Douze Points” strangely enough it didn’t reach the finals.

 

On  May 14 the whole circus starts again with the the 2nd semi finale on May 16th and the Grand Finale on May 18th.

Pssst, come here!Although I am supposed to be a rocker and a serious music fan, I will be watching it, but don’t tell anyone.

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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The Eurovision song contest

Eurovision_Song_Contest.svg

Tonight is the first semi finals of the annual circus called the Eurovision Song contest. I have to be honest though, I do like it. It basically goes against everything I like,music wise, the whole bizarre circus and the politics behind it I do find entertaining.

In case you are in doubt it is political you only have to look at last year’s winner. Ukraine;Jamala-1944.

Let’s just look at the history of probably the biggest Television event in the world.

The history of the Eurovision Song Contest began with an idea of Sergio Pugliese, of the Italian television RAI, and then approved by Marcel Bezençon of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The contest was based on the Italian Sanremo Music Festival and was designed to test the limits of live television broadcast technology.

.The first contest took place on 24 May 1956, where seven nations participated.  It was won by Lys Assia for Switzerland, with the song refrain.

As the Contest progressed, the rules grew increasingly complex and participation levels rose to pass forty nations at the end of the 20th century. As more countries came on board over subsequent decades and technology advanced, the EBU attempted to keep up with national and international trends.

Ireland won the contest 7 times, followed by Sweden 6 times.France, Luxembourg, United Kingdom 5 times and the Netherlands 4 times.

Of the 7 times Ireland won it, 3 times were by Johnny Logan.

1024px-Eurovision_Song_Contest_1980_-_Johnny_Logan_3

Twice as a performer and in 1992 as the composer with the song Why me? sung by Linda Martin.

Ireland also had one of the most bizarre contestants, a Turkey called Dustin. It was really as a protest against the geographical bloc voting which became evident at the end of the 1990’s and early 21st century,after the introduction of tele-voting and the removal of the jury votes.

 

Finland who mostly got 0 points or at the most just a few points was the surprise winner in 2006 with a Heavy Metal band called Lordi. Although many people complaint about this, it does show the diversity of popular music on display at the Eurovision.

 

In general the winners do not enjoy too much success or longevity in the music industry, however there were 2 acts that were able to build a career on the back of their wins at the Eurovision

In 1988 Canadian born Celine Dion entered the contest for Switzerland with the song “Ne partez pas sans moi” she became a global mega star afterwards.

The band that really is associated with the Song contest is of course ABBA, in 1974 they won with their song Waterloo, this catapulted their career into the stratosphere. Their fame was at par with bands like Queen, the Beatles and the Rolling stones.

 

Going back to the diversity of the Eurovision in 1998 and in 2014 the contest was won by transgender/sexual  contestsants, 1998 Dana International for Israel with the song”Diva” and 2014 Conchita Wurst for Austria with the song “Rise like a Phoenix”

The

In 2009 the contest was won by Norway’s Alexander Rybak with his self-penned “Fairytale”, which received a record-breaking 387 points out of 492, at the time the highest total score in the history of the contest.

Finishing up with the song that won the last time for the Netherlands. In 1975 Teach In won the contest with the song”Ding A Dong” (hey it was the seventies)