Wednesday 3 April 2024


The 1978 contest was held in Paris after France won the previous year and Israel became the first winners from outside of Europe.

Broadcasters in many of the non-participating Arab countries in North Africa and Asia, who had been transmitting the contest, had to cut the broadcast when it was clear Israel was going to win. Indeed Jordanian television cut the broadcast and showed pictures of flowers instead. They then tried to convince the nation that Belgium were the winners.

The song is regarded by many fans as one of the better entries in the history of the contest (not sure how they come to that conclusion) and it received points from every other competing nation bar Sweden, gaining six sets of “douze points.”.

It actually is about the way children relate to love though you could be forgiven for thinking it is about wanting to be a polar bear!

ESC factoid: The Portuguese song from 1974 "E Depois Do Adeus" started a revolution in Portugal. The song was played on an independent radio station in Lisbon on 24 April, and was one of two secret signals which alerted the rebel captains and soldiers to begin the Carnation Revolution against the Estado Novo regime

Tuesday 2 April 2024


 In 1975 the contest moved to Stockholm (after Abba won the previous year) and the winners were the Netherlands. 

The Dutch version

Teach-in had enjoyed an earlier successful career in their own country, but “Ding-a-dong” catapulted them to Euro stardom (well, for a year anyway!). 

"Ding-a-dong" was notable for being one of the Eurovision winners that had a quirky or entirely nonsensical title or lyrics, similar to Lulu’s “Boom Bang a Bang” in 1969 and Massiel’s “La La La” a year before.

It was the first song to be performed on the night, being the first time the first song was successful. This feat was followed up twice more with Brotherhood of Man (UK) the following year and Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley for the Herreys (Sweden) in 1984.

The song was performed entirely in English although in the Dutch version, lyrically it varies significantly. It reached no,13 in the UK, but was no.1 in both Norway and Switzerland (not in the Netherlands however - only reached no.3).

ESC factoid: The youngest ever main artist was 11-year-old Nathalie Pâque from Belgium. She represented France in Eurovision 1989 with the song "J'ai Volé La Vie". The oldest was 95-year-old Emil Ramsauer from the Swiss 2013-band "Takasa"

Monday 1 April 2024


Today we start a series of songs that won the Eurovision Song Contest.

We start back in 1973 when the contest was held in Luxembourg after Vicky Leandros won the previous year with “Apres Toi.” 

The home nation was represented by French singer Anne-Marie David with "Tu te reconnaîtras" who was in a three way battle with the Spanish and UK entries (Cliff Richard - Power to all our Friends).

I would go so far as to say this is my favourite ever winner of the contest. A strong song, excellently sung, by a very attractive lady. Poor old Cliff didn’t stand a snowballs!!

Anne-Marie returned to the contest 6 years later when this time she sang for her home nation in Jerusalem with “Je suis l’enfant soleil.” Again it was a 3 nation bun-fight, but sadly she was edged into 3rd.

Sunday 31 March 2024


A treat for Easter Sunday, here we have the Stones going back to their bluesy roots.

Taken from “Mick and the Boys’ 2023 album Hackney Diamonds, this is certainly the stand-out track having been rated by the Telegraph as "a thrilling, uplifting proto-gospel song that belongs in the very highest echelons of the Stones' starry catalogue". Very reminiscent to the early Stones blues/gospel style, it proves that they are certainly not a spent force musically and capable of further hits.

With guest vocals by none other than Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder on keyboards, Irish national broadcaster RTÉ deemed the track the highlight of the album, stating "this is the Stones in excelsis, a cosmic mountain range of a gospel song featuring perhaps Lady Gaga's finest-ever vocals and astounding keys and piano playing from the band's old touring partner Stevie Wonder"  

Released as the 2nd single from the album, it reached no.2 in the UK singles sales chart.

You won't hear a better track this week……

Saturday 30 March 2024


Kiki Dee is far more than the person who had the mega hit “Don't Go Breaking My Heart” with Elton John. She can boast a very successful career of her own with such hits as “Star”, “I've Got The Music in Me” and the absolutely wonderful “Amoureuse”.

Originally written and performed by French legendary artist Véronique Sanson, Kiki recorded the song in English to make it the classic it is today.

Since writing this I have dug out the original version and although simpler and not so orchestrated, I love that as well.

Born Pauline Matthews in Bradford, Kiki, now 77 is honoured to have been the first white artist to have ever been signed by Tamla Motown.

Friday 29 March 2024


 It's Good Friday Double Bubble time 😁😁

Peter Skellern was a singer-songwriter / pianist who rose to fame in the 1970s having 2 top 20 hits, “You’re a Lady” and “Hold On to Love.”

After graduating with honours from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he struggled to make headway as a concert pianist and switched to a more popular style. His debut single and biggest hit “You’re a Lady” reached no.3 in the UK and was recorded alongside the National Youth Brass Band. Featuring the euphonium, Skellern wanted the song to evoke the North of England, saying "I wanted people to see the wet cobblestones and the Lowry paintings when they heard “You're a Lady”

Initially played by Radio Luxembourg on a pay for play basis, it was picked up by Terry Wogan on the Radio 2 Breakfast show and after extensive airplay  was catapulted into a hit. Famous acts who have covered the song include Johnny Mathis, Tony Orlando and Dawn and Telly Savalas.

His 2nd hit “Hold on to Love” charted 3 years later and couldn't have been any more different from it's predecessor if it tried. With more of a rocky, modern up-to-date feel, I really like them both.

Skellern passed away from a brain tumour in February 2017 aged 69. He held a long desire to be ordained by the Church of England as a deacon and priest which he achieved six months before his death.

Wednesday 27 March 2024


For today’s TOTD we go way back in the depths of time to the land of total obscurity, where we hit on The Flames.

The Flames were a 60s / 70s band out of Durban RSA (like yesterday we are back in South Africa!). 

The Flames

Because they were popular at the height of apartheid and would have been classed as “coloured” at home, they spent much of their later career here in the UK working with the likes of the Rolling Stones and the Faces and mixing with Keith Moon (the Who), Keith Richards (Stones) and Carl Wilson (Beach Boys) amongst others.

Considered as one of the most unique bands of 60s SA, they were made up from the Fataar brothers (Steve, Edries and Ricky) along with guitarist / vocalist Blondie Chaplin. They stood out with a blend of soul/rock music tinged with an Indian blend. 

Blondie Chaplin

In 1970, after Carl Wilson and fellow BB Alan Jardine saw them perform live at a club in London’s Kensington, they travelled to Los Angeles to record an album for the Beach Boys’ Brother Record label.

After that album two of the band actually joined the Beach Boys for a couple of years with Ricky on drums (as Dennis Wilson was unable to drum at that time due to a hand injury) and Blondie on vocals / guitar (Brian Wilson was having one of his many “absent periods.” from the band). Blondie is remembered during this period as singing lead vocal on the BB’s big hit “Sail on Sailor” to which he still refers as his signature track! 

Ricky Fataar

“Sail on Sailor" was initially recorded with Dennis on lead vocal, who didn't like the song and refused to finish it. Then they recorded it with Carl Wilson on lead, but he found it too low for his range of voice, so it was offered to Blondie and became the massive hit that it was.

Ricky went on to be featured in the Rutles spoof on the Beatles and has been the drummer in Bonnie Raitt’s band for 35+ years. Blondie still performs, often with Brian Wilson and Alan Jardine, and occasionally with the Rolling Stones. Both are now in their early 70s.