Eurovision Again continued its third season of revisiting classic contests this past weekend. Broadcasting on Saturday, September 18th at 9 pm CET, this month’s edition took us all the way back to Eurovision 1968!
The EBU worked in conjunction with the BBC to bring us further into the past than Eurovision has gone before. Eurovision Again previously broadcast the 1969 contest in earlier this year in June. In 1968, Spain earned their first of two wins with Massiel’s “La La La”.
About the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest
The 1968 contest was the third contest to be hosted by the United Kingdom, although it was their first as the defending champions following Sandie Shaw’s win with “Puppet on a String” in 1967. The UK previously hosted the 1960 and 1963 contests in London when the Netherlands and France, respectively, declined to host.
This contest also took place in London at the iconic Royal Albert Hall. Katie Boyle hosted the show for the third time, and unlike the present-day contests, the show lasted a mere 100 minutes. Seventeen countries participated, with no debuts, returns, or withdrawals.
1968 also marked a technical feat for Eurovision: for the first time, the contest was broadcast in full colour. Many acts took full advantage of the new technology by wearing many bold colours onstage. In addition to traditionally black suits, the men were seen in various shades of orange, blue, and – in the case of Ireland – green. The women wore an array of colourful outfits, including Massiel’s iconic flower-patterned dress.
The voting here also predates the present “douze points” system. Each country sent a ten-member jury, and each member got one vote. Spain won the contest by one point over the UK – yet another of its 15 runner-up results – after a slight technical issue whilst Yugoslavia awarded their points. Unlike the previous two editions of Eurovision Again, which used a digital scoreboard provided by David Hughes, this edition retained the original scoreboard for the voting sequence.
One more rule that has since been abolished: acts could only consist of soloists or duets, which posed a problem for Yugoslavia, who sent the band Dubrovački trubaduri. In the end, the two lead singers Luci and Hamo served as the official artists while the rest of the group performed as backing singers. More on them later…
Some Notable 1968 Eurovision Entries
There were quite a few notable entries in 1968, ranging from the classic ballads to a more up-beat Swinging Sixties sound. In the case of our winner, “La La La”, its original singer, Joan Manuel Serrat, intended to sing it in his native Catalan. However, Francisco Franco, who still ruled over Spain at the time, insisted it be sung in Spanish, and Serrat was replaced by Massiel. Catalan finally made its Eurovision debut thanks to Andorra in 2004.
Other memorable 1968 entries included:
- United Kingdom 🇬🇧 – Cliff Richard’s “Congratulations” became one of the most well-known British Eurovision entries ever. He also seems to have inspired the wardrobe of one Austin Powers with his blue suit and over-sized cravat. He went to Eurovision once more in 1973 with “Power to All Our Friends”.
- Yugoslavia – Dubrovački trubaduri brought the party with “Jedan dan” (One Day), complete with rennaisance faire attire in glorious red and orange. They even incorporated the lute! They finished in seventh place, but they’re number one in our hearts.
- The Netherlands 🇳🇱 – Ronnie Tober represented The Netherlands with the song “Morgen”, which finished in joint-last place with one point. He is one of the earliest LGBT+ participants at Eurovision, though he was not out at the time.
- Luxembourg 🇱🇺 – There is something a bit eerie about “Nous Vivrons D’Amour”. Perhaps it’s because its singers, Chris Baldo and Sophie Garel, look about as uncomfortable as one can be in a duet. They finished in eleventh place.
- Sweden 🇸🇪 – Claes-Göran Hederström brought endless charm to his entry “Det börjar verka kärlek, banne mig”, which finished in fifth place. The title alone merits a chuckle: in English, it translates to “It’s Beginning to Look Like Love, Damn It”.
- Norway 🇳🇴 – Odd Børre’s “Stress” certainly lived up to its name, from the quick tempo to the constant repetition of the lyrics. He finished in thirteenth place.
The Fan Voting
As with each edition of Eurovision Again, the fans could vote for their favorite entries. The final results were tabulated and published after the broadcast.
Though many predicted that the UK would prevail in 2021, Spain retained their crown. Less than one hundred points separated the top three. The UK retained second place while Yugoslavia rose from its original seventh place to third. Finland saw the largest change in ordinals, leaping from its original 16th place to 7th. Luxembourg, on the other hand, fell from 11th place to last.
Eurovision 1968 will be available to watch for one month until the next edition of Eurovision Again on October 16th.
Did you watch Eurovision Again 1968? What year would you like to re-visit next? Let us know in the comments or on social media. Be sure to follow ‘THAT Eurovision Site’ on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
News Source: EBU, Eurovision Again
Photo Source: EBU