I guess it’s not surprising that I like Eurovision, I love good ole pop music. But Eurovision is a different, camper, way way dodgier beast. And I love it!
Watching Linda Martin’s performance of ‘Why Me 2016’, shot me back in time to when I declared war on Norway and The Herreys for beating Ms. Martin into second place with ‘Terminal 3’. I also remember the following day’s headline, from either The Sunday Press or The Sunday World (the two newspapers of choice in our house), which read ‘Terminal 2’. Clever, but I was heartbroken even making a ‘I hate Sweden’ sign and putting it beside my bed.
My Eurovision journey starts long before 1984 though. The first song that I knew all the words to was the 1976 winner ‘Save All Your Kisses For Me’, the U.K. Entry from The Brotherhood of Man. Yes, in 2016, it’s the creepiest song ever but in 1976 it was all innocent fun.
Looking at the Irish Eurosong winners for the eighties, I can still sing the chorus of them all, even Maria Christian’s ‘Waiting Until The Weekend Comes’. But, it was always Johnny Logan that really was the star for me.
He lived in Ashbourne, Co. Meath. He was our Eurovision hero. When he won in 1980, he became the ultimate Irish poster boy and his face was plastered over my bedroom wall. Sure, saying ‘I love you Ireland’ would never do any harm.
Shay Healy wrote ‘What’s Another Year’, Johnny sang but he wrote ‘Terminal 2’ and did so well. He was more than just a singer, he could write as well.
Round about now was when I got it into my head that I could win Eurovision. Yip, ask my Mum. I was fully prepared to win. My party piece was Nicole’s 1982 winner, ‘A Little Peace’. I had sung Bucks Fizz’s ‘Making Your Mind Up’ at my Auntie’s wedding in 1981. If Dana won in 1970, Johnny won in 1980, I would win in 1990. Simples. That’s why Linda Martin didn’t win. I could accept that.
I had decided that I would be on The Late Late Show performing and chatting to Gay Byrne the week before I jetted off to rehearsals in some foreign country. I’d have an entourage, I didn’t know what an entourage was, I would have lots of assistants doing things for me, like getting me coffee and translating from foreign, strange, European languages. If Johnny Logan could sing and write more than one Eurovision winner, I surely could do it too. I just had to. Easy.
Then in 1987, disaster struck. Johnny Logan won the Eurovision with his composition ‘Hold Me Now’. My theory and hopes for winning the Eurovision were dead. I was elated that Ireland won but gutted I was wrong. I’d have to find another way to music but now, I could now never win the Eurovision.
I still kept the newspaper cuttings from The Sunday World and the garish giant Johnny Logan poster with yellow background but Johnny had ruined by Eurovision career. It’s something I’m still coming to terms with, but I don’t begrudge him his victory.
29 years later, I’m still trying to figure out how to get to Eurovision. Hey, if it’s good enough for one of The Saturdays, it’s good enough for me.
Today after nearly 3 years in the UK, I opened my treasure trove of music scrapbooks and posters that were on my bedroom wall. Here’s that Johnny Logan poster from 1980.
Get yourself stuff in the Youtube Eurovision wormhole. Here are some of the songs I remember and a couple that friends feature in.