30
Sep 06

DANA – “All Kinds Of Everything”

FT + Popular62 comments • 5,881 views

#284, 18th April 1970

 

It was pointed out to me in the pub last week that this record is actually the best of Ireland’s Eurovision winners, a claim with horrible implications that may sadly be correct. It also shows off two of the Song Contest’s typical idiosyncrasies. Firstly, a tendency to reward attempts at universal messages, expressed as simply as possible (and in this case as tweely as possible). This tendency has actually been almost wiped out since the Contest’s marketers started emphasising the kitsch aspects and actually courting their gay audience – the shift from Dana to Dana International. Or it may be that the European public’s taste for nursery-rhyme pop has collapsed: no bad thing if so.

The second oddness about the Song Contest is that the strength or even competence of a singer’s voice is rarely an issue. This sets it against the 00s wave of TV talent shows, which tend to focus on singing but apply a very narrow definition of what a ‘good’ voice is (one totally unrelated to my pragmatic definition: ‘suits the song’). In Eurovision a technically weak voice can win easily given a performance with character and a strong song, and this allows for some endearing and exciting victories. Dana isn’t one of them: her strained warble (“a snowflake or twooooo”) may suit the extreme limpness of her song but it’s painful to hear.

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Comments

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  1. 51

    I have lodged in my head — from literally years ago, long before the internet — the “fact” that originally Eurovision, as a song contest, was judged not on the performance but the “actual song” (meaning the written version of the song). However I have no idea why I think this.

  2. 52
    enitharmon on 11 Apr 2013 #

    @51 Erme, because it’s true? I don’t remember the very early days except that some of the songs were part of the aural wallpaper of my infancy (“Sing, Little Birtdie”; “Are You Sure?”) but I do recall that it would be anounced that this year’s Song for Europe would be sung by Kenneth McKellar, Ronnie Carroll or whover, and there was a competition whereby the singer sang six songs on a Saturday night and the public voted by post via the form printed in the Radio Times. Only much later, post-ABBA probably, did it become the festival of camp it is today.

  3. 53

    O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
    How can we know the dancer from the dance?

  4. 54
    enitharmon on 11 Apr 2013 #

    Mark, have you ever tried dancing to Kenneth McKellar?

  5. 55
    Jimmy the Swede on 11 Apr 2013 #

    Never mind bloody Kenneth McKellar, I’m still livid that our very own house band St Etts were stitched up by Bonnie Tyler just as they were poised to take the contest by storm with “Mucky Sue”. There’s just no justice in the world!

  6. 56
    thefatgit on 4 Jul 2013 #

    Here is as good as any place to say RIP Bernie Nolan. She lost her fight to breast cancer aged 52.

  7. 57
    Lazarus on 6 Jul 2013 #

    You could have posted that under the ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ thread in fact, as the Nolans were part of The Crowd – their only appearance on a UK number one as far as I know – but yes, sad but not unexpected. “I’m in the Mood … ” is an unashamed G- P- for me and 1981’s terrific “Attention to Me” better still.

  8. 58
    Patrick Mexico on 22 Sep 2014 #

    #33: Curry and rice was enough of a “thing” in the UK in 1970 to be a school dinner? Bloody ‘ell. Now I’m a seasoned connoisseur of (British) Indian cuisine, but after hearing parents’ horror stories about Vesta ready meals and Fray Bentos pies, I’m kind of glad I didn’t develop tastebuds until 1990.

  9. 59
    lonepilgrim on 25 Oct 2017 #

    Even as a 10 year old at the time I thought this was simpering drivel. I even prefer the bouncier ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Puppet on a String’ for at least having some energy

  10. 60
    Joe Newman-Getzler on 23 Nov 2017 #

    Time to take my requisite position as both Eurovision defender and music buff (hard to balance, as you’d guess) to stand up for “Rock and Roll Kids.” Non-Eurovision fans think it’s just boring and as stupid as typical Eurovision tracks, Eurovision fans think it’s boring and should’ve lost to Poland (which was great, to be fair). No, not a genius piece to be sure, but you gotta understand: Eurovision-wise, it’s practically Beethoven. Solemn reflection on life and how it’s passed you by is so uncommon that of course it’ll stand out there, even if it wouldn’t on, say, coffee house radio. There have been better Eurovision songs, but lord help me, it’s one of my favorites. (Don’t worry: for every Eurovision song I listen to, I listen to five Pixies songs as penance).

  11. 61
    Mark M on 23 Nov 2017 #

    Re60: Reckon you’re misreading the crowd here – a number of Popular commentators over the years would have demanded that you listen to Eurovision contenders as penance for the sin of listening to Pixies.

  12. 62
    Martin F. on 3 Dec 2017 #

    You can keep your Gorniaks – the discerning fan’s choice from the 1994 line-up is, of course, Russia’s Youddiph and her “frock of the contest” (© Sir Terry). The sheer (мело)драма of that final held note, as the camera zooms out, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra’s reliably duff drumkit collapses with a flump and a torrent of fiery fabric is unleashed. It still makes me come over all funny, I tell you.

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