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.
Colm T. Wilkinson
Born to Sing
Mil Etter Mil
Ricchi e Poveri
Anna Rakkaudelle Tilaisuus
Il Y Aura Toujours Des Violons
Bailemos Un Vals
The Bad Old Days
L'amour ça Fait Chanter La Vie
't Is Ok
Caline and Olivier Toussaint
Les Jardins De Monaco
Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta
Mrs. Caroline Robinson
Det Blir Alltid Värre Framåt Natten
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|Denmark - Mabel - Boom Boom (Danish)
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’.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|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.