18
Mar 09

NICOLE – “A Little Peace”

FT + Popular71 comments • 4,622 views

#500, 15th May 1982

In the world of Marvel and DC Comics, the 100th, 200th (etc) issues of a title were considered real milestones. To maximise sales of these anniversary specials, the companies would often use them to launch particularly big storylines: deaths, marriages, epic battles. But often this meant that the run of issues immediately before the anniversary were especially poor – the title would be in a holding pattern, putting out meaningless and unmemorable issues to kill numbers before the big one, and following it would become a chore. If the long-awaited 500th issue also turned out to suck – well, you can imagine how frustrating that was.

Anyway, here’s Nicole, Eurovision winner, earnest German lass, 500th UK Number One. Singing a song about peace – who could object to that? Not the Eurovision juries, who must also have appreciated the absolutely thumping key change at two minutes and the flowery string arrangement throughout. I’ve never been able to shake off a basic cynicism whenever a Eurovision entrant plays the peace card – of course every Song Contest entry is calculated but this seems such a clumsy gambit. Judging by the way the tactic has withered since the introduction of Eurovision democracy I’m not alone in this.

The only thing that stops Nicole’s song being completely dreadful (in fact raising it all the way to quite dreadful) is the way she redeems the key change with the yearning counter-melody of “we are feathers on the breeze / sing with me my song of peace”. It doesn’t make sense, but nor does her apparent belief that a leaf falling from a tree will be better off if there is someone below. Otherwise this is feeble fare – a crass bid for campfire immortality at the youth outreach group.

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Comments

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  1. 51
    Erithian on 20 Mar 2009 #

    I enjoyed the letter in When Saturday Comes in the early 90s, at the time when Jean-Pierre Papin was at his peak for Marseille, where the writer said that whenever the commentator shouted “Papin!” his dad replied “Nicole!”

  2. 52
    Alan on 20 Mar 2009 #

    Tom’s progress report (i know how much he wants this)

    #1 Al Martino – 16 September 2003

    #50 Anne Shelton – 24 October 2003 (1 month)
    #100 Anthony Newley – 20 May 2004 (7 months)
    #150 Gerry & Pacemakers – 19 November 2004 (6 months)
    #200 Beatles band – 14 March 2005 (4 months)
    #250 Garry Puckett – 17 August 2006 (17 months)
    #300 Tony Orlando et Dawn – 20 November 2006 (3 months)
    #350 Ray Stevens – 23 October 2007 (11 months)
    #400 Julie Covingtons – 28 May 2008 (7 months)
    #450 Specials – 20 October 2008 (5 months)
    #500 nicole – 18 March 2009 (5 months)

    overall averaging 2 reviews a week

  3. 53
    Erithian on 20 Mar 2009 #

    Or to put it another way (cut & pasted from Christmas)
    2003: No 66, Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire (Jan 58) – 66 reviewed from Sep-Dec
    2004: No 167, Peter and Gordon – A World Without Love (Apr 64) – 101 in the year
    2005: No 222, The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine (Aug 66) – 55
    2006: No 302, T Rex – Get It On (Jul 71) – 80
    2007: No 362, Mud – Lonely This Christmas (Dec 74) – 60
    2008: No 477, Shakin’ Stevens – This Ole House (Mar 81) – 115

  4. 54
    peter goodlaws on 21 Mar 2009 #

    Tom…you’ve created a MONSTER!!!!!!

  5. 55
    Tom on 21 Mar 2009 #

    I’m aiming for 150 this year, by the way. But with a baby arriving in May that might go awry.

  6. 56
    LondonLee on 21 Mar 2009 #

    As the father of a two year old I can tell you it will.

  7. 57
    плoxaя on 20 May 2009 #

    Эх… :) Вы бы знали что про Вас пишут в других блогах :)

  8. 58
    mike on 21 May 2009 #

    My recollection is that this was the last Eurovision winner to be a big UK hit.

    Not so; Johnny Logan’s “Hold Me Now” reached #2 in 1987, Katrina & the Waves “Love Shine A Light” reached #3 in 1997, Dana International’s “Diva” reached #11 in 1998, Charlotte Nilsson’s “Take Me To Your Heaven” reached #20 in 1999, XTM & DJ Chucky’s Eurobosh cover of The Olsen Brothers’ “Fly On The Wings Of Love” reached #8 in 2003… and this year’s winner “Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak is at #3 in the midweeks.

  9. 59
    DietMondrian on 13 May 2010 #

    I recall my parents were indignant at this winning, as they thought it was a deliberate rebuke from the rest of Europe to the UK for our waging the Falklands War, which was about a month old at the time.

  10. 60
    Billy Smart on 9 Jan 2011 #

    Actually, on reflection, I think that ‘One Step Further’ by Bardo is one of the best pop things ever. Just look at the joyous and imaginative routine that they devised for it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCxIEP21gZM

  11. 61
    Pete on 25 Sep 2011 #

    The people upstairs must be shaking their head and wondering what kind of nonsense is he listening to now.

  12. 62
    malmo58 on 14 Jan 2012 #

    I live for the day when Tracey Ullman’s parody of this from Three Of A Kind (as ‘Rissole’) gets slung up on Youtube.

  13. 63
    James BC on 7 Apr 2014 #

    but I’ve never knowingly heard this song and it doesn’t sound very good to me. I should have come (might have been due) a couple of weeks later since Madness are one of my favourite groups.

    Nicole may have been a pioneer in one sense – was she the first singer to be known by just an ordinary first name? There had been Lulu and others before, but those were at least unusual names, whereas Nicole is completely unexceptional (maybe not to Germans though?). I hope Adele, Monica, Lloyd, Annie, Robyn, Louise, Emma, DJ Jean and the rest recognise the debt they owe her.

  14. 64
    PurpleKylie on 29 Aug 2014 #

    Excuse the late post, I’m just digging up on the old Eurovision #1s on Popular.

    This is my favourite entry of the 1982 contest. I of course refer to the original German version “Ein bißchen Frieden”, admittedly the English version makes it rather syrupy so I understand the really negative review Tom gave it here, but I think it’s a sweet, simple song that was performed very well on the show.

    I can’t believe that this was the last Eurovision winner to hit #1 here, maybe one day that’ll change but it might be a bit too much to ask…

  15. 65
    JLucas on 4 Apr 2015 #

    Nicole cropped up (alongside Johnny Logan, Brotherhood of Man and many others) at Eurovision’s 60th Anniversary Concert which was broadcast on BBC1 yesterday, looking remarkably well preserved. She got rather emotional after receiving one of the most enthusiastic ovations of the night.

    Must be the first time A Little Peace has seen a primetime outing in the UK in many a year.

  16. 66
    Lazarus on 4 Apr 2015 #

    Yes she did look pretty good for 51 – not that that’s any great age of course. I watched it with some foreboding, when I realised it was going to be the original performers reprising their winning songs I thought “oh, it’ll be mainly the recent ones then.” But there was a good mixture – we went back to 1973 with Anne Marie David – and it was quite entertaining to see the likes of Herreys and Bobbysocks again. The show itself isn’t until 23rd May though – it seems to get later every year. I’m sure the Eurovisions of my youth were held in April, and early April at that – the first June competition can’t be far away.

    Also, quite funny that the best they could do for France was to get the woman who finished 4th in 2001! Two points last year, you may remember.

  17. 67
    JLucas on 4 Apr 2015 #

    I think Natasha St Pier and Rosa Lopes (the Spanish singer whose entry only came 7th) were included because they’re still big names in their own countries. The show is broadcasting all over Europe so they have to be as inclusive as possible.

    Plus France haven’t actually won since 1977. Natasha was the last one to get close (and she should have won in my opinion).

  18. 68
    Jimmy the Swede on 6 Apr 2015 #

    Anne Marie David seems to have turned into Dana. They look quite similar, I think. Actually, I wonder why Dana didn’t perform “All Kinds..”. Back in the day (1973), I was totally smitten by Anne Marie, who was truly gorgeous. Nicole, nine years later, was a bit different. By then, I was 21 and Nicole 18. She was the ultimate girl-next-door and pretty as a picture. Seeing her today and she is a beautiful woman. Her eyes swelled up after she had sung and was clearly moved that the enormous cheering and appluase was all for her. Dear old BOM also played a blinder. Not sure, though, how a couple of comments the female co-presenter treated us to (“Homosexuals…” and “Graham is a queen”) would have gone down in some quarters.

  19. 69
    Erithian on 7 Apr 2015 #

    Oh I’m sure those remarks were pitched knowingly to the audience there Jimbo. Come to think of it, to represent France they could have had the Provence-born singer of their excellent 1979 entry, “Je suis l’enfant-soleil” – which finished 3rd – one Anne-Marie David.

    Last year I worked with the Luxembourg delegation at a major international event, and when it was all over I relaxed in the delegation office and YouTubed on their laptop their back-to-back Eurovision winners, the aforementioned AMD and Vicky Leandros’ “Après Toi” from the previous year. Good way to wind down.

    If I’m not mistaken there wasn’t a single mention of Cliff in the entire programme – odd.

  20. 70
    lockedintheattic on 7 Apr 2015 #

    They had a clip of Cliff singing Congratulations in one of the various clip-medley sections

  21. 71
    Jimmy the Swede on 7 Apr 2015 #

    It’s a good job they didn’t show Webby performing PTAOF in ’73. Not even his greatest admirers could have thought that dance was a good idea.

    Erithian – It wasn’t really the audience I had in mind! And yes, both of those back to back winners for Luxembourg were performed by non-native daughters – Anne-Marie being French and Vicky Greek.

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