Sep 06

DANA – “All Kinds Of Everything”

FT + Popular63 comments • 7,084 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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  1. 31
    Kieran on 15 Mar 2007 #

    ….at least Dana has got you all takin…I enjoyed her singing and her music, give the girl a break, she did Irleand proud and she’s still going, raised a family and still proud to be Irish.

    Good on ye girl

  2. 32
    gerry brown on 2 Jun 2007 #

    i find that apart from heinz and kieran,the rest of you would,nt know a nice person if you fell over one,you would have no time for dana because shes not a piss head or a smack head,she has a faith that she believes in ,while the only faith you lot have is none,but while your there talking shit you can rest asure that dana has made more money from that little annoying song that you shit heads will ever seein your lifetime,

  3. 33
    Caledonianne on 15 Jul 2007 #

    Mince and potatoes
    Curry and rice
    Always it’s awful
    Never it’s nice
    Soggy cake
    Custard too thick
    When I am fi-i-nished
    I want to be sick.

    Am I the only one one who sang this little pastiche re school dinners about a month after the Eurovision conquest?

  4. 34
    Tom on 16 Jul 2007 #


  5. 35
    Waldo on 4 Sep 2009 #

    As has been commented upon in another place, this song bears an undoubted resemblance to “My Favourite Things”. Fraulein Maria, of course delivers her offering surrounded by the odious Van Trapp brood and sings about “raindrops on roses” and “whiskers on kittens”. It is a cracking little musical song and fits in perfectly with the situation of the film in which it is placed. Schoolgirl Dana, OTOH, perches herself on a high stool (and with legs like that why wouldn’t she?) and warbles off her own list of “tings” that “remooind me arv yoo”. Scrummy young “ting” though she was, this song was wretched. Winning Eurovision is one thing, topping the UK charts is quite another. So who bought this sugary rubbish? The UK-based Irish and old blokes with Peter Glaze glasses and mackintoshes with extra deep pockets would be my best guess.

  6. 36
    wichitalineman on 21 Oct 2009 #

    Never mind “things of the sky”, Dana’s beau also reminds her of “things of the sea”. Limpets? Spineless jellyfish? Maybe it’s a cleverly disguised kiss-off; she looked so cute, gooey-eyed and gap-toothed, no one would have believed her capable.

    I’d take this over Puppet and Congratulations, though clearly that’s not saying much.

    Future Popularist Julio Iglesias came 4th in the 1970 Eurovision with the turgid Gewndolyne. Holland’s Hearts Of Soul only finished 7th in spite of their outrageous bouffants – Bobbie Gentry alert!

  7. 37
    wichita lineman on 15 Mar 2012 #

    The arrangement, which Tom says was good enough to mark it up from a 1, was by Phil ‘I love Eurovision’ Coulter.

    Dana has a kind face.

  8. 38
    Mark G on 15 Mar 2012 #

    Rock and Roll Kids? Missed that… (or just plain erased it…)

  9. 39
    Erithian on 15 Mar 2012 #

    More likely you fell asleep halfway through it Mark – despite the title, it was aural Mogadon.

  10. 40
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2012 #

    37 – Wichita. Whenever you mention cheesy gals with “kind faces”, the Swede starts to panic. And dribble.

    38/39 – “Rock and Roll Kids” was indeed an abomination. But please don’t blame the Irish. It was clear that they were so bloody tired of winning every year that they went out of their way to select an entry so bad that it was bound to go down like a lead balloon. Unfortunately, the “Springtime For Hitler Effect” kicked in and it romped home, much to the blanket astonishment of the two old lags who sang the dreadful song. That learned ’em!

  11. 41
    Erithian on 15 Mar 2012 #

    Funny you should mention “Springtime For Hitler” in the context of Eurovision, Jimbo – I was reminded of that very sequence when I saw the clip of the Russian baboushkas doing their Eurovision song with some of the audience just watching open-mouthed…

  12. 42
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Mar 2012 #

    It’s going to be such a great night, Popular Pals! I’m going to do my signature shepherds pie, which I always complete by topping it with grated cheddar and sticking it under the grill. Fitting fare for the occasion to be sure.

  13. 43
    Lazarus on 15 Mar 2012 #

    The song is saccharine to be sure, but I can’t bring myself to hate it like most of you do, and Terry H and Sinead did a good job with it. For a somewhat belated follow-up, Dana recorded Barry Ryan’s stunning “Who Put the Lights Out” which I can remember singing (annoying the rest of the family, no doubt) during the numerous power cuts of ’73. Later on “Please Tell Him That I Said Hello” was pleasant country-pop, and “Fairytale” (the title of a later Eurovision winner) a passable stab at the disco market. Is she still in politics?

  14. 44
    wichita lineman on 16 Mar 2012 #

    She is still in politics, unfortunately. Dana is to me what Joey Barton is to several girls I know – I’m convinced I could change her.

    There was a flop between AKOE and Who Put the Lights Out; she also cut an ok version of George H’s Isn’t It a Pity as a single in ’71, and The Honeybus’s gorgeous Do I Figure In Your Life in ’72.

    Kind face, bad politics. Bah.

  15. 45
    Lazarus on 17 Mar 2012 #

    That sleeve pic makes her look a little like the Test Card Girl grown up I think.

    Someone mentioned “Those Were The Days” a little while back; “Lights Out” occupies very similar territory. A rum song for a 20 year old to be singing, certainly.

    And as for AKOE being Ireland’s best Eurovision winner, “What’s Another Year” (the only Euro song I own on 45) is a much superior song I think, likewise Niamh Kavanagh’s “In Your Eyes” although by then the winners weren’t making much impact on the charts here.

  16. 46
    Jimmy the Swede on 17 Mar 2012 #

    45 – Yes, “In Your Eyes” was surprisingly good, even though it set up “Rock and Roll Kids” the next year.

  17. 47
    mintness on 10 Apr 2013 #


    I am beyond sure that you’re wrong

  18. 48
    Mark G on 10 Apr 2013 #

    Regarding the sheet music? dunno.

    Regarding the panel? I do remember such panels..

  19. 49

    I think I looked up the thing I’m “fairly sure” about, but only on the internet! If anyone actually knows facts — and where to check them – by all means post details. I am beneath ultra-sure this would be interesting.

  20. 50
    mintness on 11 Apr 2013 #

    My apologies, first of all; drunken belligerence is not a pretty look, all the more so when viewed in the mirror.

    Panels of supposed “experts”, absolutely: they persisted right up to 1997/98 (five countries took the plunge with telephone voting in 1997, with most of the rest following a year later) and have since been restored to a 50/50 weighting alongside the public vote, ostensibly to dilute the impact of what might be gently described as “diaspora voting”. The jurors nowadays are not-instructed-but-kind-of-instructed-all-the-same to reward strong vocals and, by extension (Eurovision being Eurovision), worthy balladry ahead of bubblegum (ethno-)pop.

    Voting based purely on sheet music, though: not something I’ve ever encountered before in decades of Eurovision geekdom – although jurors did (and still do) have the option of consulting accompanying documentation, such as the lyrics and translations of those pesky foreign numbers. Lucky them!

    If anything, in fact, the juries were more firmly tied to the live broadcast in the Olden Days. Today they vote in advance after the dress rehearsal, held the night before the actual televised show – an event that has duly been rebranded the “jury final” in order to boost ticket sales. (This is something recent UK entrants have routinely failed to grasp, given their lacklustre performances during said run-throughs – the disparity between Blue’s jury and televote scores in 2011 was by no means solely due to the more televoter-friendly nature of the song and its performers.)

    By contrast, recordings of old contest broadcasts – all very YouTube-able, and terribly fun to dive into – demonstrate the extent to which there was a real live jury at the other end of each of those crackly telephone lines. Examples include Domenico Modugno having to repeat “Volare” at the end of the song presentation in 1958 – he was drawn to perform first, but the television broadcast in certain countries was disrupted, hence the need for a repeat performance – and the confusion when the Norwegian jury in 1963 was summoned but hadn’t yet completed their internal calculations. The confused spokesperson announced the jury’s preliminary results rather than begging for a few minutes’ grace, and was subsequently called back to give the actual result: a different set of points that resulted in Nordic bedfellow Denmark taking the crown instead of Switzerland, who had borrowed Esther Ofarim (of “Cinderella Rockafella” infamy) for the occasion. Needless to say, the conspiracy theories persist even now…

    Anyway, enough Euro-rambling, and sorry once again for playing the smartarse previously.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 53

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

  24. 54
    enitharmon on 11 Apr 2013 #

    Mark, have you ever tried dancing to Kenneth McKellar?

  25. 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!

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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).

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 63
    Gareth Parker on 27 May 2021 #

    At least it’s 2 minutes shorter than Mary Hopkin! 2/10.

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