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Graham Clark
Features Writer
@Maxximum23Clark
2:04 PM 2nd May 2021
arts

NOW That’s What I Call Eurovision Song Contest

For any Eurovision Song Contest fans this new compilation is a timely release as the Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam this month.

This is not, however, the songs that will be performed at this year’s competition, instead the tracks are a mix of previous winners and Britain’s entries over the years.

If you can stomach 70 Eurovision songs spread over 3 CD’s then this should be a guilty pleasure; a free afternoon in a sweet shop; the return of a noisy but much-loved friend.

What could be a better way to start though than with the 1974 winner, Waterloo by Abba. The contest launched their international career but many forget that the Swedish group had to wait a good 18 months for any subsequent hits.

The UK has won the contest a few times but we have to go back 24 years for our last victory with Love Shine A Light by Katrina and The Waves. The winner before that was Making Your Mind Up from Bucks Fizz? That was four decades ago!

Bucks Fizz's win meant the following year’s Eurovision was held in Yorkshire at the Harrogate Conference Centre - holding just 2000 attendees. Since then Eurovision has come of age and the contest is now held in an arena.

Other UK winners are represented here too: Save Your Kisses For Me - Brotherhood of Man (1976), Boom Bang-a-Bang - Lulu (1969) and Puppet on a String - Sandie Shaw (1967).

Understandably Cry Baby by Gemini (2003) is absent - this was the first time the UK received the famous ‘nul’ points and finished 26th - the last place in the contest.

Over the years big names such as Bonnie Tyler (Believe In Me), Englebert Humperdinck (Love Will Set You Free) have represented the UK but have not fared well, sadly their efforts are also not included here.

Even Andrew Lloyd Webber and esteemed songwriter Diane Warren tried to win the contest for the UK with It’s My Time (Jade Ewen) in 2009 but had to contend with coming fifth. The song itself should have won but as the contest becomes ever more political we have as much chance of winning as finding out who paid for the refurbishment of Boris Johnson’s flat!

Settle born James Newman is present with last year’s My Last Breath. The song was never performed due to the cancellation of the contest because of the pandemic. He has another chance this year with the song Embers, though that track is not included here.

There have been some winners that were not your typical Eurovision fodder such as Hard Rock Hallelujah by Lordi which was a Finnish winner in 2006, Toy sung by Netta (Israel 2018) and Rise Like A Phoenix from Conchita Wurst (Austria 2014).

Johnny Logan won the contest twice for Ireland with What’s Another Year (1980) and Hold Me Now (1987). Ireland have always had a good run in the contest and have won more than any other country.

Like it or loathe it this year's contest will be held and televised on Saturday 18th May.

I rate the compilation 4 out of 5.