Brighton, a relatively unknown town on the south coast of England, was the venue of possibly the most famous of all contests. There were acts whose names are familiar to people who aren’t fans of the contest; Gigliola Cinquetti tried to be the first singer to win the contest twice, Olivia Newton-John went on to star in Grease, one of the biggest films of the 1970’s, and of course there was Abba. Having failed to win the Swedish selection one year earlier, Abba travelled to Brighton surely unaware of what was about to happen to them. It was the last time that the most iconic of Eurovision presenters, Katie Boyle, played host.
There was also a song which started a war! In 1974, the Portuguese revolution started. The signal for the army to start overthrowing the government was the playing of E Depois Do Adeus on the radio.
France did enter the contest with a song called La Vie A Vingt-cinq Ans to be sung by Dani. However, in the week leading up to the contest, French president, Georges Pompidou died, and the decision was taken to withdraw from the contest.
The voting system was changed again. Each country selected ten people to be jury members, and they each awarded one point to their favourite song.
Keep Me Warm
Long Live Love
Canta Y Se Feliz
Anne-Karine Ström and the Bendik Singers
The First Day Of Love
Krassi, Thalassa Ke T'agori Mou
Natati La Khaiai
Bye, Bye, I Love You
Celui Qui Reste Et Celui Qui S'en Va
Fleur De Liberté
Mouth and MacNeal
I See a Star
Cross Your Heart
Cindy und Bert
Mein Ruf Nach Dir
Paulo de Carvalho
E Depois Do Adeus
|Finland - Carita - Keep Me Warm (English)
Music/Lyrics: Eero Koivistoinen/Hector
Conductor: Ossi Runne
Despite having a strong melody, Keep Me Warm somehow doesn’t quite deliver. It’s likeable and has a sing-along quality, but something to leave a lasting impression is missing.
|United Kingdom - Olivia Newton-John - Long Live Love (English)
Music/Lyrics: Valerie Avon, Harold Spiro/ Valerie Avon, Harold Spiro
Conductor: Nick Ingman
Olivia, who was brought up in Australia, was asked by the BBC to sing for the country of her birth. Long Live Love has a marching style arrangement and was given a chirpy delivery by Olivia.
|Spain - Peret - Canta Y Se Feliz (Spanish)
Music/Lyrics: Pedro Pubill Calaf/ Pedro Pubill Calaf
Conductor: Rafael Ibarbia
Peret looked very serious (and slightly silly with the microphone hanging from his shirt)as he urged everyone to ‘Sing and Be Happy’. It’s very Spanish and likeable without sounding like a winner.
|Norway - Anne-Karine Ström and the Bendik Singers - The First Day Of Love (English)
Music/Lyrics: Frode Thingnaes/Philip Kruse
Conductor: Frode Thingnaes
Anne-Karine was part of the Bendik Singers when the represented Norway in 1973. This time, she was given top billing - probably because she was married to one of the writers. She seemed to enjoy her place in the spotlight.
|Greece - Marinella - Krassi, Thalassa Ke T'agori Mou (Greece)
Music/Lyrics: Yorgos Katsaros/Pythagoras
Conductor: Yorgos Katsaros
Marinella stood rather awkwardly on the stage as her backing group performed the first few bars of Greece’s debut song. The bouzouki gives the song a very Greek feel, and it also sounds quite jolly.
|Israel - Poogy - Natati La Khaiai (Hebrew)
Music/Lyrics: Dani Sanderson/ Dani Sanderson, Alon Oleartchick
Conductor: Yonathan Rechter
Poogy were an odd collection of men with a nifty line in tank tops. Natati La Khaiai is very melodic with a consistent tempo which makes you listen to the song from start to finish. The English version, I Gave Her My Life, has to be one of the best and funniest English versions.
|Yugoslavia - Korni - Generacija 42 (Serbo-Croat)
Music/Lyrics: Kornelije Kovac/Kornelije Kovac
Conductor: Zvonimir Skerl
There were doubts before the show was broadcast as to which language Korni would choose to sing their anti war song. The sound of bombs falling is even included for effect.
|Sweden - Abba - Waterloo (English)
Music/Lyrics: Benny Andersson, BjőrnUlvaeus/Stig Anderson
Conductor: Sven-Olaf Walldoff
This is where it all began! Waterloo has the double female vocal and full arrangement which would become Abba’s trademark. The conductor even dressed up as Napoleon.
|Luxembourg - Ireen Sheer - Bye, Bye, I Love You (English)
Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Michael Kunze, Humbert Ibach
Conductor: Charles Blackwell
Brit Ireen was a star in Germany but made her first appearance in the contest for Luxembourg. The song starts slowly and builds into an uncomplicated sing song.
|Monaco - Romuald - Celui Qui Reste Et Celui Qui S'en Va (French)
Music/Lyrics: Jean-Pierre Bourtayre/Michel Jourdan
Conductor: Raymond Donnez
Romuald’s third and final Eurovision entry is a big ballad which he delivered very professionally. A good swansong for him.
|Belgium - Jacques Hustin - Fleur De Liberté (French)
Music/Lyrics: Jacques Hustin/Frank Gérald
Conductor: Pierre Chiffre
After spending the previous couple of years trying something gentle or fun, Belgium sent a passionate ballad. Jacques was up to the task.
|The Netherlands - Mouth and MacNeal - I See a Star (English)
Music/Lyrics: Gerrit den Braber/Hans van Hemert
Conductor: Harry van Hoof
Party time!! Mouth bursts with charisma as he and Maggie MacNeal smiled their way through the happiest song of the contest. The performance probably won them a few points, even though the song was a strong contender for the top spot anyway.
|Ireland - Tina - Cross Your Heart (English)
Music/Lyrics: Paul Lyttle/ Paul Lyttle
Conductor: Colman Pearce
Wearing a dress whose pattern did indeed cross her heart, Tina certainly enjoyed her three minutes. There was more to enjoy about the Irish song than there had been for a few years.
|Germany - Cindy und Bert - Die Sommermelodie (German)
Music/Lyrics: Werner Scharfenberger/Kert Feltz
Conductor: Werner Scharfenberger
This is one of the less interesting entries from Germany. Even Bert didn’t seem too interested, although Cindy did her best.
|Switzerland - Piera Martell - Mein Ruf Nach Dir (German)
Music/Lyrics: Pepe Ederer/Pepe Ederer
Conductor: Pepe Ederer
The pattern of soft verse and slightly more intense chorus remains throughout the song. It’s all a bit dull.
|Portugal - Paulo de Carvalho - E Depois Do Adeus (Portuguese)
Music/Lyrics: José Calvário/José Nisa
Conductor: José Calvário
Not many songs can claim to have started a war. In 1974, the playing of this song on the radio started the revolution. Ironically, the song is quite uneventful and passes by almost unnoticed.
|Italy - Gigliola Cinquetti - Si (Italian)
Music/Lyrics: Daniele Pace, Mario Panzeri, Lorenzo Pilat, Corrado Conti/ Daniele Pace, Mario Panzeri, Lorenzo Pilat, Corrado Conti
Conductor: Gianfranco Monaldi
Ten years after she charmed Europe as a teenager, Gigliola returned with another soft ballad. She couldn’t quite emulate her previous success.