Sweden’s third city, Malmö, was chosen to play host to the 37th contest in the home of the local ice-hockey team. Because The Netherlands returned after withdrawing the year before, and no country pulled out, a new record number of 23 countries took part. Yugoslavia was in its final days as a country, and its break up would have major implications for the future of the contest.
Linda Martin helped Johnny Logan achieve the full set of victories. In 1980, he won as a singer. In 1987 he won as singer/songwriter and this time, he won as the writer. Why Me? Had always been the favourite, although the competition was of a higher standard than Johnny had previously faced.
The United Kingdom had got used to finishing in the top five, but fortunes had recently been on the wane. In an effort to improve things, the BBC changed the selection process from a multi artist contest, to one singer format. West End star, Michael Ball, was persuaded to take up the baton. The result was a record number of entries for the ‘A Song For Europe’ contest. Eight songs were chosen and the winner was written by three young unknowns, who had been up against more established songwriters. Michael entertained everyone in Malmö and gave one of the all time great performances in achieving second place.
Serafin, Evridiki and Tony Wegas made their first Eurovision appearances, while Linda Marin, Mia Martini and Sigga from Iceland’s Heart 2 Heart made their second, and Wind its third.
The points were awarded in the usual way. Juries awarded points from 1-8, then 10 and finally 12.
Todo Esto Es La Música
Nous On Veut Des Violons
Ze Rak Sport
Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida
Monté La Riviè
I Morgon är En Annan Dag
Amor D'água Fresca
Heart 2 Heart
Nei Eða Já
Mister Music Man
Marion Welter and Kontinent
One Step Out Of Time
Lotte Nilsson and Kenny Lübcke
Ålt Det Som Ingen Ser
Ljubim Te Pesmama
Träume Sind Für Alle Da
Wijs Me De Weg
|Spain - Serafin - Todo Esto Es La Música (Spanish)
Music/Lyrics: Alfredo Valbuena, Luis Miguelez/Luis Miguelez
Conductor: Javier Losada
Serafin gave the contest a melodic and solid opening. Everything was uncomplicated, from the tune to the presentation.
|Belgium - Morgane - Nous On Veut Des Violons (French)
Music/Lyrics: Claude Barzotti/Anne-Marie Gaspard
Conductor: Frank Fievez
Sixteen year old Morgane arrived in Malmö fresh from her debut single topping the Belgian charts. Nous On Veut Des Violons was her second release and she performed with the shy charm that had won over the accredited journalists all week during rehearsals. Given the title, there are no surprises contained within the arrangement.
|Israel - Dafna - Ze Rak Sport (Hebrew)
Music/Lyrics: Kobi Oshrat/Ehud Manor
Conductor: Kobi Oshrat
Dafna came through one of the highest quality national finals of the year. Her backing singers had problems in rehearsals with the positioning of their microphones, which were eventually hung around their necks. Ze Rak Sport is up-tempo and was suitable in what was an Olympic year.
|Turkey - Aylin Vatankos - Yaz Bitti (Turkish)
Music/Lyrics: Aldogan Simsekyay/Aylin Ucanlar~
Conductor: Aydin Özari
It was a family affair for Turkey. The composer (who somewhat worryingly hit the very high note every time) and his sons made up Aylin’s backing group. The song is flavoured with Turkish and European influences and is a bit underwhelming.
|Greece - Cleopatra - Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida (Greek)
Music/Lyrics: Christos Lagos/Christos Lagos
Conductor: Haris Andreadis
Traditional Greek rhythms and melody made this a strong contender, as did Cleopatra’s performance.
|France - Kali - Monté La Riviè (French)
Music/Lyrics: Kali/Rémi Bellenchombre
Conductor: Magdi Vasco Noverraz
This is the first, and so far last, Eurovision song to be sung in Creole. France continued its recent trend of entering songs with music from specific parts of the world. The tactic had earned it two successive second places, but didn’t work this time.
|Sweden - Christer Björkmann - I Morgon är En Annan Dag (Swedish)
Music/Lyrics: Niklas Strömstedt/Niklas Strömstedt
Conductor: Anders Berglund
The hometown favourite had a lovely ballad. However, while it moves along freely and unspectacularly, it lacked the impact to make it memorable in a field of 22 songs.
|Portugal - Diná - Amor D'água Fresca (Portuguese)
Music/Lyrics: Dina/Rosa Lobato de Faria
Conductor: Carlos Alberto Moniz
Diminutive Dina was very lively and so she should have been. There are more fruits than a supermarket in her song, which is a cheerful clap-along full of bounce.
|Cyprus - Evridiki - Teriazoume (Greek)
Music/Lyrics: George Theophanous/George Theophanous
Conductor: George Theophanous
Written by Evridiki’s husband, Teriazoume is quietly powerful. The false endings keep the listener guessing and Evridiki was seductive in her performance.
|Malta - Mary Spiteri - Little Child (English)
Music/Lyrics: Georgina Abela/Raymond Mahoney
Conductor: Paul Abela
Mary’s big ballad came across very well in the Isstadion, but unfortunately, some of the grandness was lost through the camera lens. Mary had the voice necessary to give the vocal performance the song needed to be a contender.
|Iceland - Heart 2 Heart - Nei Eða Já (Icelandic)
Music/Lyrics: Fredrik Karlsson, Grétar Örvarsson/Stefán Hilmarsson
Conductor: Nigel Wright
Heart 2 Heart was essentially Stjórnin, the group that represented Iceland in 1990, with a few more members. The song was a crowd pleaser and a mood lifter.
|Finland - Pave - Yamma Yamma (Finnish)
Music/Lyrics: Pave/Heikki Haarma
Conductor: Olli Ahvenlahti
Pave seemed to have aspirations to be a rocker, but rock songs don’t have lyrics like Yamma Yamma does. The whole chorus is that one word repeated several times
|Switzerland - Daisy Auvray - Mister Music Man (French)
Music/Lyrics: Gordon Dent/Gordon Dent
Conductor: Roby Seidel
Daisy was only in the contest because the song that won the Swiss final was disqualified. They should have stuck with the other song! Mister Music Man is really just The Stripper with lyrics.
|Luxembourg - Marion Welter and Kontinent - Sou Fräi (Luxembourgish)
Music/Lyrics: Jang Linster, Ab van Goor/Jang Linster, Ab van Goor
Conductor: Christian Jacob
Sou Fräi is only the second cong to represent Luxembourg is Luxembourgish instead of French. Her outfit looked not so much spray painted as splash painted. The song is a nice mid-tempo number which you will hum along to, but won’t make you dash for the ‘repeat’ button.
|Austria - Tony Wegas - Zusammen Geh'n (German)
Music/Lyrics: Dieter Bohlen/Joachim Horn-Bernges
Conductor: Leon Ives
A big personality with a big voice; it’s one of Austria’s best, but perhaps it’s position in the running order, plonked immediately before the eventual top two, did it no favours. Tony’s voice sounded slightly strained in some sections of his epic ballad.
|United Kingdom - Michael Ball - One Step Out Of Time (English)
Music/Lyrics: Paul Davies, Tony Ryan, Victor Stratton/Paul Davies, Tony Ryan, Victor Stratton
Conductor: Ronnie Hazlehurst
Michael earned every penny of the large fee he was reported as having been paid by the BBC. His voice, charismatic stage presence and dynamic performance lifted One Step Out Of Time beyond where this up-tempo song would otherwise have finished.
|Ireland - Linda Martin - Why Me? (English)
Music/Lyrics: Johnny Logan/Johnny Logan
Conductor: Noel Kelehan
Johnny Logan completed his hat-trick of victories with another ballad. Linda was an experienced singer and paced herself to be at her peak on the big night.
|Denmark - Lotte Nilsson and Kenny Lübcke - Ålt Det Som Ingen Ser (Danish)
Music/Lyrics: Carsten Warming/Carsten Warming
Conductor: Henrik Krogsgaard
This is not a lovey-dovey duet expressing eternal love. It’s a couple trying to sort out their relationship but, being Danish, it’s done in a jolly way.
|Italy - Mia Martini - Rapsodia (Italy)
Music/Lyrics: Giuseppe Dati/Giancarlo Bigazzi
Conductor: Marco Falagiani
Having finished second in the Sanremo festival, Mimì, as she was affectionately known, was asked to perform in the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time. This is a true Italian song, full of sincerity, emotion, intensity, with a hint of desperation.
|Yugoslavia - Extra Nena - Ljubim Te Pesmama (Serbo-Croat)
Music/Lyrics: Rade Radivojevic/Gale Jankovic
Conductor: Anders Berglund
This proved to be Yugoslavia’s last entry. In fact, the country was already started to disintegrate. It went out in style with a song that starts softly and builds verse by verse to end the song and Yugoslavia’s participation on a high musically, if not high on the scoreboard.
|Norway - Merethe Trøan - Visjoner (Norwegian)
Music/Lyrics: Robert Morley/Eva Jansen
Conductor: Rolf Lôvland
Perky Merethe won many friends with her jolly personality while she was in Malmö. She even found time to laugh while she performed her anthem to save the planet, a theme that would crop up with boring regularity in years to come.
|Germany - Wind - Träume Sind Für Alle Da (German)
Music/Lyrics: Ralph Siegel/Bernd Meinunger
Conductor: Norbert Daum
The same name, but a very different line up to the Wind of the 1985 and 1987 contests. The subject matter is the same, ’peace for all’, but the result was more deserved than the previous two.
|The Netherlands - Humphrey Campbell - Wijs Me De Weg (Dutch)
Music/Lyrics: Edwin Schimscheimer/Edwin Schimscheimer
Conductor: Harry van Hoof
The accordion made a rare appearance. Wijs Me De Weg tries to be a floor filler of a dance tune, but doesn’t quite achieve it. That said, it’s still a worthy tune and may have benefited from using a backing track rather than the orchestra.