|Sweden's entry last year had
been in the English language, initiating the formal introduction this
year of the rule that a song must be in a native tongue of the entrant
nation. It is amusing therefore that the victorious Austrian entry had
its title in French: Udo Jürgens made his third appearance in as
many years with the martially inflected piano ballad "Merci
After the female-dominated events of last year, 1966 saw a moderate male revival. Domenico Modugno returned to represent Italy again with an eerie, moody thing with steel guitars, a creepy organ and an impassioned, rousing chorus, redolent of somebody in a fugue state wandering in the tower ballroom and remembering a past life. Spain, on the other hand, gave us the legendary Raphael: a sort of Spanish Cliff Richard with hints of Norman Wisdom if Norman Wisdom had been a plastic sex-toy. The United Kingdom, hedging its bets, hand posted a large Scottish tenor in a kilt.
Milly Scott, the Dutch Shirley Bassey, began her song backstage before appearing to greet her gaucho accompanists in a slightly naff piece of light Caribbean fun, then left the stage again at the end only to spoil it by returning for her applause.
Scandinavia embraced jazz with Sweden offering a memorably skittish and flirty duet from Lill Lindfors & Svante Thuresson (or is it Willie Rushton?) complete with a solo from notable jazz flautist Sahib Shihab. Meanwhile Norway had Åse Kleveland singing and playing her guitar in quintuple time and a wide-legged trouser-suit. Denmark, for its part, gave us a dynamic swing romp and accompanied the instrumental section with a dancing couple performing a hop. It did them no good: they finished 14th and ceased participation in the contest.
A Eurovision legend entered the game this year: the Finnish conductor Ossi Runne. He not only conducted but also wrote this year's Finnish entry, "Playboy": a cheeky piece of slinky, brassy pop entertainingly delivered by Anne Christine Nyström. It is the first Finnish entry to top the AView vote.
For each year's songs we apply our points in the 12-10-8 style of the modern contest, irrespective of how the voting functioned at the time. In brackets is the position the song came on the night:
Europe had Belgium and Ireland joint-fourth, Switzerland sixth, Yugoslavia joint-seventh, Germany joint-tenth, Portugal 13th, the Netherlands 15th and France 16th.
Swedish jazz: Lindfors & Thuresson.
Our winner, Ann Christine.
Europe's winner, Udo Jürgens.
"God, how I love you!" Domenico Modugno.