1978 Logo ©  EBU

Basic information

Date: 
22 April 1978
Venue: 
Palais des Congrès, Paris, France
Broadcaster: 
TF1
Presenter(s): 
Denise Fabre and Leon Zitrone
About the contest: 

The French organisers came up with the novel idea of showing the artists going from the green room to the stage. Between songs, the act who was about to perform got into a lift. At the bottom, they would greet the previous act before going on to the stage themselves.

Turkey and Denmark entered again, bringing the number of participants up to 20, a record at the time. Perhaps the best known act was Baccara, who had had a big Europe wide hit with the Disco anthem, Yes Sir, I Can Boogie. Jean Vallée represented Belgium for the second time, while Ireen Sheer sang for the second entry, this time for her adopted country, Germany. Future winner Cheryl Baker was part of Coco and Björn Skifs sang the first of his two entries for Sweden.

The 1978 contest gave the world Jahn Teigan. His over the top performance earned him the most famous ‘nul points’ in the history of the contest. You won’t hear him complaining though, as this notoriety helped his career no end. Someone else who did more than all right afterwards was Ireland’s Colm T. Wilkinson. He had a very successful career in musical theatre, including the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, where he made the part his own and became recognised around the world as the characters premier exponent.

Trivia: 
Only the BBC could do this! British listeners tuning into the contest on their radios were listening to the Spanish song when it was interrupted for some travel news. The reporter was apologetic, gave the apparently vital information and normal broadcasting resumed.

Results

Pos.CountryParticipant(s)SongtitlePointsRank
1
Ireland
Colm T. Wilkinson
Born to Sing
86
5th
2
Norway
Jahn Teigen
Mil Etter Mil
-
20th
3
Italy
Ricchi e Poveri
Questo Amore
53
12th
4
Finland
Seija Simola
Anna Rakkaudelle Tilaisuus
2
=18th
5
Portugal
Gemini
Dai-li-dou
5
17th
6
France
Joël Prévost
Il Y Aura Toujours Des Violons
119
3rd
7
Spain
José Vélez
Bailemos Un Vals
65
=9th
8
United Kingdom
Co-Co
The Bad Old Days
61
11th
9
Switzerland
Carole Vinci
Vivre
65
=9th
10
Belgium
Jean Vallée
L'amour ça Fait Chanter La Vie
125
2nd
11
The Netherlands
Harmony
't Is Ok
37
13th
12
Turkey
Nazar
Sevinçe
2
=18th
13
Germany
Ireen Sheer
Feuer
84
6th
14
Monaco
Caline and Olivier Toussaint
Les Jardins De Monaco
107
4th
15
Greece
Tania Tsanaklidou
Charlie Chaplin
66
8th
16
Denmark
Mabel
Boom Boom
13
16th
17
Luxembourg
Baccara
Parlez-vous Français?
73
7th
18
Israel
Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta
Abanibi
157
1st
19
Austria
Springtime
Mrs. Caroline Robinson
14
15th
20
Sweden
Björn Skifs
Det Blir Alltid Värre Framåt Natten
26
14th
About the songs: 
Colm T. WilkinsonColm T. Wilkinson Ireland - Colm T. Wilkinson - Born to Sing (English)

Music/Lyrics: Colm T. Wilkinson/Colm T. Wilkinson

Conductor: Noel Kelehan

Colm opened the contest by giving the best performance of the night. It was more than a little over the top, but totally genuine. Born to Sing tells the story of a man more committed to his music than any woman he meets.

 Jahn TeigenJahn Teigen Norway - Jahn Teigen - Mil Etter Mil (Norwegian)

Music/Lyrics: Kai Eide/Kai Eide

Conductor: Carsten Klouman

Other songs before and since have failed to score, but this is easily the most famous. It’s actually quite a nice song, but Jahn’s vocals were louder and a lot more intense than this essentially calm song needed. Maybe that’s why he received no points.

 Ricchi e PoveriRicchi e Poveri Italy - Ricchi e Poveri - Questo Amore (Italian)

Music/Lyrics: Dario Farina, Mauro Luisini/Sergio Bardotti

Conductor: Nicola Samare

This is arguably one of Italy’s weakest entries. It never really gets going, and the outfits didn’t help. 

Seija SimolaSeija Simola Finland - Seija Simola - Anna Rakkaudelle Tilaisuus (Finnish)

Music/Lyrics: Reijo Karvonen/Anna Rakkaudelle Tilaisuus, Seija Simola

Conductor: Ossi Runne

The Finnish song starts off very quietly and the volume increases only slightly for the chorus. There is an attempt at a big finish, but it’s more of a limp than a burst over the line.  

 GeminiGemini Portugal - Gemini - Dai-li-dou (Portuguese)

Music/Lyrics: Victor Maméde/Carlos Quintas

Conductor: Thilo Krassman

There are far too many repetitions of the title to keep the song interesting. Turn down the volume and enjoy the performance instead. 

 Joël PrévostJoël Prévost France - Joël Prévost - Il Y Aura Toujours Des Violons (French)

Music/Lyrics: Gèrard Stern/Didier Barbelivien

Conductor: Alain Goraguer

This has all the elements needed for a classic French ballad, but somehow manages to be as dull as the proverbial ditchwater. The fact it finished third was probably a case of home advantage.

 José VélezJosé Vélez Spain - José Vélez - Bailemos Un Vals (Spanish)

Music/Lyrics: Ramón Arcusa, Manuel de la Calva/ Ramón Arcusa, Manuel de la Calva

Conductor: Ramón Arcusa

Perhaps in an effort to please the hosts, there are a few words in French. The drama in Jose’s voice isn’t quite matched by the arrangement, but isn’t far away.

 Co-CoCo-Co United Kingdom - Co-Co - The Bad Old Days (English)

Music/Lyrics: Stephanie de Sykes/Stuart Slater

Conductor: Alyn Ainsworth

Until the slump which started at the end of the nineties, this was the worst placing for any United Kingdom entry. Dressed like escapees from the circus, Coco performed enthusiastically and eleventh place was slightly lower than the song, a jaunty sing along, deserved. 

 Carole VinciCarole Vinci Switzerland - Carole Vinci - Vivre (French)

Music/Lyrics: Alain Morisod/Pierre Alain

Conductor: Daniel Janin

Vivre moves along pleasantly enough at a mid-tempo pace. While it’s pleasant enough, it drifts along without going anywhere and is a bit forgettable.

 Jean ValléeJean Vallée Belgium - Jean Vallée - L'amour ça Fait Chanter La Vie (French)

Music/Lyrics: Jean Vallée/Jean Vallée

Conductor: Jean Muzy

Jean first appeared in the contest in 1970. This beautiful ballad oozes class and integrity. Jean remains seated at the piano for the first half of the song before standing up and moving to centre stage until the end. 

 HarmonyHarmony The Netherlands - Harmony - 't Is Ok (Dutch)

Music/Lyrics: Eddy Ouwens/Toon Gispen, Dick Kooiman

Conductor: Harry van Hoof

Swirling strings grab the listener from the first note and the song never releases its grip. The trio sing well enough and their dance routine is co-ordinated, if a little dated now.

 NazarNazar Turkey - Nazar - Sevinçe (Turkish)

Music/Lyrics: Daghan Baydur, Onno Tunc/Hulki Aktunc

Conductor: Onno Tunc

Three years after its debut in the contest, Turkey came back for its second entry. The ladies and gentlemen in the quartet split the singing duties evenly between themselves, sometimes harmonising. There are lots of strings and a definite Turkish flavour to the song.

 Ireen SheerIreen Sheer Germany - Ireen Sheer - Feuer (German)

Music/Lyrics: Erich Leissman, Jean Frankfurter/John Mőring

Conductor: Jean Frankfurter

Having represented Luxembourg four years earlier, Ireen carried the banner this time for the country which had given her most success. Feuer is an out and out Disco floor filler and Ireen’s performance is full of joy. 

 Caline and Olivier ToussaintCaline and Olivier Toussaint Monaco - Caline and Olivier Toussaint - Les Jardins De Monaco (French)

Music/Lyrics: Paul de Senneville, Olivier Toussaint/ Didier Barbelivien, Jean Albertini

Conductor: Yvon Rioland

The verses sound a little old fashioned, but the song is saved by a more punchy and catchy chorus. 

 Tania TsanaklidouTania Tsanaklidou Greece - Tania Tsanaklidou - Charlie Chaplin (Greek)

Music/Lyrics: Sakis Tsilikis/Yannis Xantoulis

Conductor: Haris Andreadis

Tania was suitably attired and, musically, the arrangement borrows some of the style from Chaplins era, stopping short of being completely Chaplinesque.

 MabelMabel Denmark - Mabel - Boom Boom (Danish)

Music/Lyrics: Mabel/Mabel

Conductor: Helmet Olesen

The Danes have always enjoyed having fun at Eurovision. This song was unlikely to be seen as the most credible musically, but would have cheered anyone up. A big bass drum was also brought on to add a bit more to the ‘boom booms’. 

 BaccaraBaccara Luxembourg - Baccara - Parlez-vous Français? (French)

Music/Lyrics: Rolf Soja/Frank Dostal, Peter Zenter

Conductor: Rolf Soja

Baccara had recently had a big hit with Yes Sir, I Can Boogie and this is very much part two of that song. The vocals were nothing more than ok and the choreography was sensibly simple.

 Izhar Cohen and the AlphabetaIzhar Cohen and the Alphabeta Israel - Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta - Abanibi (Hebrew)

Music/Lyrics: Nurit Hirsh/Ehud Manor

Conductor: Nurit Hirsh

At first glance, the winner has the kind of title that critics of the contest point to in order to illustrate what they perceive as lyrical banality. The truth is that it uses the language Israeli children use to talk to each other. There are elements of Disco, complemented by Izhar’s white suit. 

 SpringtimeSpringtime Austria - Springtime - Mrs. Caroline Robinson (German)

Music/Lyrics: Walter Markel, Gerhard Markel/ Walter Markel, Gerhard Markel

Conductor: Richard Österreicher

The mysterious Mrs Robinson is the object of the singer’s affections.  The all male trio were dressed almost identically and each played a guitar.  

 Björn SkifsBjörn Skifs Sweden - Björn Skifs - Det Blir Alltid Värre Framåt Natten (Swedish)

Music/Lyrics: Peter Himmelstrand/Peter Himmelstrand

Conductor: Bengt Palmers

Like the Belgian song, this is a piano based ballad which stands out but somehow failed to gain the points from the juries that it deserved. Like Jean Vallée, Björn starts at the piano and finishes on his feet. 

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