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The Seventies Music Archives
  • UK Top 20: December 16, 1972 Ft. The Moody Blues 2019-08-02T17:23:00.004+01:00
    The Moody Blues
    New at Number 15: The Moody Blues

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 16 December, 1972

    With the festive season of 1972 now in full swing, the British charts began to reflect the celebrations with the appearance of one of the first classic Christmas pop songs to show in the listing: Happy Xmas (War is Over) courtesy of John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Harlem Community Choir. The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards also contributed to the Yuletide festivities with their rendition of Little Drummer Boy.

    Elsewhere, Chuck Berry was enjoying his fourth and final week at Number 1 as Little Jimmy Osmond waited in the wings to claim the crown the following week.

    The Moody Blues made a welcome return to the UK hit parade as did The Four Tops with their first hit single on their new record label.

    These four new entries meant that it was farewell to singles by The Shangri-Las, Gilbert O'Sullivan, The Stylistics and Shag.

    Read on...

    Image: Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 - negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang, bestanddeelnummer 923-9509 [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl], via Wikimedia Commons

    Chuck Berry at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (01) - Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 02 (03) - Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane 
    • 03 (02) - The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 04 (08) - T. Rex - Solid Gold Easy Action 
    • 05 (09) - Little Jimmy Osmond - Long Haired Lover From Liverpool 
    • 06 (06) - Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 07 (05) - Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 08 (07) - Michael Jackson - Ben 
    • 09 (04) - Rod Stewart - Angel / What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) 
    • 10 (16) - Roy C - Shotgun Wedding 
    • 11 (13) - Blue Mink - Stay With Me 
    • 12 (10) - The Jackson Five - Lookin' Through the Windows 
    • 13 (11) - David Cassidy - Rock Me Baby 
    • 14 (12) - The Strawbs - Lay Down 
    • 15 (21) - The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin 
    • 16 (23) - John and Yoko/Plastic Ono Band With the Harlem Community Choir - Happy Xmas (War is Over) 
    • 17 (17) - Jeff Beck - Hi-Ho Silver Lining 
    • 18 (25) - The Four Tops - Keeper of the Castle 
    • 19 (18) - Gladys Knight and the Pips - Help Me Make It Through the Night 
    • 20 (28) - The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - Little Drummer Boy
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    15: The Moody Blues: Nights in White Satin

    A welcome re-release brought The Moody Blues back into the UK Top 20 with their 1967 single Nights in White Satin, taken from the album Days of Future Passed.

    Having previously peaked at Number 19, the track had already surpassed that position and was about to crack the Top 10 at Number 9.

    In the States, it would perform even better. The 1967 release didn't even break into the Hot 100, but on this occasion it would manage to climb all the way to Number 2 for a couple of weeks - only kept off the top by Johnny Nash's hit, I Can See Clearly Now.

    16: John and Yoko/Plastic Ono Band: Happy Xmas (War is Over)

    And so to one of the first specific Christmas songs to become a hit on the British chart - even though it had to hang around a year before its UK release.

    Originally released in the USA the previous December, Happy Xmas (War is Over) had to wait until December 1972 before it could be released, due to a disagreement with Northern Songs, a music publisher.

    It was an instant success, eventually reaching Number 4 and turning into a Christmas classic in the process. Apart from its appearance in the charts of 1972, it has resurfaced on numerous occasions over the years - most notably following Lennon's death when it peaked at Number 2 in 1980. Of course, it has also featured on many Christmas compilations over the years helping it to remain in the public conscience.

    18: The Four Tops: Keeper of the Castle

    The Four Tops were making their third appearance on the British charts during 1972, but significantly, this was the quartet's first hit on their new record label, ABC-Dunhill, following their departure from Motown.

    It performed respectably, as well. In the States, it was their first Top Ten hit since 1967's Bernadette - which, incidentally, had reappeared on the British chart to fair success just months earlier.

    This week's Number 18 would be its high point in the UK before hastily falling away.

    20: Royal Scots Dragoon Guards: Little Drummer Boy

    The Pipes and Drums and the Military Band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards - to give them their full artist title - returned to the charts following the staggering success of their Number 1 single, Amazing Grace.

    This time, to help celebrate the Christmas season, they were on point with their rendition of the oft recorded, Little Drummer Boy.

    Although this would reach Number 13, it is probably best remembered sung in duet by David Bowie and Bing Crosby as part of a medley coupling it with Peace on Earth.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 25 Rockin' and Rollin' Greats

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

  • UK Top 20: December 9, 1972 Ft. Gladys Knight 2019-07-19T21:45:00.003+01:00
    Gladys Knight
    New at 18: Gladys Knight along with her Pips

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 9 December, 1972

    Christmas 1972 was just around the corner and it seemed as if  Chuck Berry would continue to maintain the Number 1 position over the festive period. However, a challenger had just appeared on the horizon and My Ding-A-Ling's days at the top of the pile were now numbered. 

    Berry's challenger came in the form of a nine-year-old, a member of a family which was all over the charts at this time, The Osmonds. Nevertheless, Little Jimmy's new single was not the highest new entry on the chart as T. Rex's latest release came crashing into the Top 10 at Number 8. Further, with two re-releases disappearing from the Top 20, another 1960s hit reappeared while Gladys Knight and the Pips returned for the first time in five years.

    So four new entries this week meaning we said farewell to hits by 10cc, Lieutenant Pigeon, Neil Sedaka and Chris Montez.

    Read on...

    Image: Kingkongphoto & from Laurel Maryland, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    Chuck Berry at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (01) - Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 02 (02) - The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 03 (04) - Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane 
    • 04 (06) - Rod Stewart - Angel / What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) 
    • 05 (05) - Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 06 (03) - Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 07 (16) - Michael Jackson - Ben 
    • 08 (---) - T. Rex - Solid Gold Easy Action 
    • 09 (27) - Little Jimmy Osmond - Long Haired Lover From Liverpool 
    • 10 (09) - The Jackson Five - Lookin' Through the Windows 
    • 11 (18) - David Cassidy - Rock Me Baby 
    • 12 (13) - The Strawbs - Lay Down 
    • 13 (12) - Blue Mink - Stay With Me 
    • 14 (07) - Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair 
    • 15 (10) - The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You 
    • 16 (21) - Roy C - Shotgun Wedding 
    • 17 (17) - Jeff Beck - Hi-Ho Silver Lining 
    • 18 (28) - Gladys Knight and the Pips - Help Me Make It Through the Night 
    • 19 (15) - Shag - Loop Di Love 
    • 20 (08) - The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's Number 1 and New Hits:

    08: T. Rex: Solid Gold Easy Action

    The latest in a long line of hit singles by Marc Bolan and T. Rex was a new entry to the UK chart this week in 1972.

    Solid Gold Easy Action was a stand alone single release by the group, not having been featured on any album up to this point.

    With such a strong debut, one would have expected the single to leap to the Number 1 slot in no time, but instead it would take another four weeks to reach its peak position of Number 2.

    Barring re-releases, it would also mark the final time that T. Rex would have one of their records finish in the Top 2 - the last of eight original releases to do so.

    09: Little Jimmy Osmond: Long Haired Lover From Liverpool

    With the popularity of the Osmond family gathering apace, it was now the turn of the youngest sibling, Jimmy, to take on the British Singles Chart.

    Written by Christopher Kingsley whose own 1969 version had flopped, Osmond's record company decided to record his version and the rest, as they say, is history.

    Having leapt eighteen places this week, it would be at Number 1 in two weeks time. Staying there for five weeks it was 1972's Christmas Number 1, eventually selling over a million copies.

    At the time, Jimmy Osmond was just nine years old and still holds the record as the youngest person to have a chart topper on the UK Singles Chart. IMHO, it's quite possibly one of the worst.

    16: Roy C: Shotgun Wedding

    Roy C is Roy C Hammond, an American soul singer and songwriter whose major claim to fame is this 1966 recording, Shotgun Wedding.

    With the burgeoning popularity for re-releases in the UK, this was the latest in a long line of Sixties records finding renewed success during the early to mid-1970s.

    Although a Top 20 hit on the Billboard R&B chart during the mid 60s, British record buyers seemed to really enjoy the ricochet element of the recording and sent it to Number 6 in 1966, nearly repeating the feat in 1972 when it settled at Number 8.

    18: Gladys Knight and the Pips: Help Me Make It Through the Night

    One of Kris Kristoffersons's most recorded songs following Sammi Smith's 1970 cover is Help Me Make It Through the Night.

    Smith's recording made no impact in the UK, so it wasn't until the end of 1972 that the song would climb the British Top 20 - courtesy of Gladys Knight and the Pips.

    Instead of the country flavour of Smith's recording, Knight gave it a soulful rendition which was more in step with British tastes. As a result, the single would climb to a peak of Number 11, spending 17 weeks on the Top 50.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 25 Rockin' and Rollin' Greats

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

  • UK Top 20: December 2, 1972 Ft. Blue Mink 2018-08-13T11:05:00.002+01:00
    Blue Mink / Stay With Me
    New at Number 12: Blue Mink

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 2 December, 1972

    With Christmas 1972 fast approaching, it was perhaps not a big surprise that Chuck Berry continued to hold on to the Number 1 spot for a second week with his novelty tune, My Ding-A-Ling

    Further down the listing, you can't help but notice the increasing collection of teenage heartthrobs (both contemporary and past) cramming the Top 20 - singles by the Osmond family, the Jackson family, David Cassidy and - from the 1950s and 1960s - Neil Sedaka and Chris Montez all featuring.

    Four new entries this week, though, meaning we said goodbye to The Carpenters, Alice Cooper, Junior Campbell and Archie Bell and the Drells.

    Read on...

    Chuck Berry at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (01) - Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 02 (02) - The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 03 (04) - Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 04 (08) - Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane 
    • 05 (05) - Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 06 (10) - Rod Stewart - Angel / What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) 
    • 07 (03) - Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair 
    • 08 (06) - The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack 
    • 09 (13) - The Jackson Five - Lookin' Through the Windows 
    • 10 (09) - The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You 
    • 11 (11) - Chris Montez - Let's Dance 
    • 12 (31) - Blue Mink - Stay With Me 
    • 13 (20) - The Strawbs - Lay Down 
    • 14 (12) - Lieutenant Pigeon - Mouldy Old Dough 
    • 15 (07) - Shag - Loop Di Love 
    • 16 (25) - Michael Jackson - Ben 
    • 17 (19) - Jeff Beck - Hi-Ho Silver Lining 
    • 18 (28) - David Cassidy - Rock Me Baby 
    • 19 (22) - Neil Sedaka - Oh Carol / Breaking Up Is Hard to Do / Little Devil 
    • 20 (16) - 10cc - Donna
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's New Hits:

    12: Blue Mink: Stay With Me

    Making an impressive 19 place jump into this week's Top 20 was Blue Mink, the six-piece combo which included the likes of Madeline Bell, Roger Cook and Herbie Flowers.

    Co-written by Flowers, Stay With Me was the group's fifth consecutive Top 20 hit - a slow, melodic ballad which would eventually peak at Number 11 during an initial 15-week run on the charts.

    16: Michael Jackson: Ben

    While still a major player in the Jackson 5, Michael Jackson's solo had taken off with singles such as Got to Be There and Ain't No Sunshine.

    However, it was a song originally intended for Donny Osmond which took Jackson to the top of the charts in the USA and into the UK Top 10 for the fourth consecutive time.

    Ben was the title song to the movie of the same name, a horror film about a young boy and his pet rat.It was nominated for an Oscar in 1973 for Best Original Song (losing out to Maureen McGovern's The Morning After), but won a Golden Globe for Best Song.

    In the UK, the single would eventually peak at Number 7.

    18: David Cassidy: Rock Me Baby

    By this time, David Cassidy's chart career was faring much better in the UK than it was in his homeland. His heartthrob status, passionately nurtured by his British fans, almost inevitably guaranteed him a high placing on the hit parade.

    This time, the sales for Rock Me Baby were not quite as enthusiastic as they had been for his previous two solo singles - probably due to the fact that it was the title track to his latest album and that it was not the syrupy ballad that fans had come to expect from him.

    The track was uptempo, trying to be more rock'n'roll and less middle of the road, but Cassidy's vocals - while good - did not really suit this type of song.

    Consequently, it peaked at a lower Number 11 in the UK and proved to be his final US Top 40 hit (No.38) of the 1970s.

    19: Neil Sedaka: Oh! Carol/Breaking Up is Hard to Do/Little Devil

    In a year full of re-releases, it was Neil Sedaka's turn to return to the British charts bringing Oh! Carol back into the listing for the first time since it peaked at Number 3 in 1959/60.

    One of the main reasons for its reappearance was because of RCA's MAXI-Million series of releases, which brought together a small collection of an artist's previous hits on one 45rpm record.

    While Oh! Carol was the lead track, it was backed with Breaking Up is Hard to Do (No.7, 1962) and Little Devil (No.9, 1961) - all well-known songs from Sedaka's back catalogue.

    It afforded him his first UK Top 40 hit in a decade, bringing him back to the British public's attention just ahead of the relaunch of his 1970s chart career.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 25 Rockin' and Rollin' Greats

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

  • UK Top 20: November 25, 1972 Ft. The Strawbs 2018-08-05T19:13:00.000+01:00
    Lay Down / The Strawbs / 1972
    New at No.20: The Strawbs with Lay Down

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 25 November, 1972

    Having completed two weeks as the UK's Number 1 record, Gilbert O'Sullivan relinquished the top spot in favour of Chuck Berry the artist with the nation's new best seller: My Ding-A-Ling

    Further down the listing, we lost Top 20 hits from Python Lee Jackson, Family, Johnny Nash and Harley Quinne as the latest releases from The Strawbs, The Jackson Five, Rod Stewart and Slade entered the top section of the charts.

    Read on...

    Chuck Berry at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (02) Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 02 (07) The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 03 (01) Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair 
    • 04 (06) Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 05 (08) Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 06 (03) The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack 
    • 07 (04) Shag - Loop Di Love 
    • 08 (---) Slade - Gudbuy T'Jane 
    • 09 (10) The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You 
    • 10 (23) Rod Stewart - Angel / What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) 
    • 11 (09) Chris Montez - Let's Dance 
    • 12 (05) Lieutenant Pigeon - Mouldy Old Dough 
    • 13 (21) The Jackson Five - Lookin' Through the Windows 
    • 14 (14) Archie Bell and the Drells - Here I Go Again 
    • 15 (15) The Carpenters - Goodbye to Love 
    • 16 (13) 10cc - Donna 
    • 17 (11) Alice Cooper - Elected 
    • 18 (17) Junior Campbell - Hallelujah Freedom 
    • 19 (20) Jeff Beck - Hi-Ho Silver Lining 
    • 20 (26) The Strawbs - Lay Down
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's New Hits:

    08: Slade: Gudbuy T'Jane

    Taken from the album Slayed?, Gudbuy T'Jane was Slade's fifth consecutive Top 5 UK hit and one of a few of the group's single releases during this period not to make Number 1.

    It peaked at Number 2 - kept from the top by this week's Number 1 by Chuck Berry.

    It fared well across Europe too, as well as becoming the band's biggest hit in the United States where it reached Number 68.

    10: Rod Stewart: Angel/What Made Milwaukee Famous

    Rod Stewart's latest release was issued as a double A-Side in the UK, coupling a cover of the Jimi Hendrix song Angel (included on his Number 1 album, Never A Dull Moment) with another cover - the country flavoured What Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me) listen here, originally recorded by Jerry Lee Lewis in 1968.

    Stewart brought soul to Angel, while watering down the country characterisation of Milwaukee, instead giving it a more pop/country feel.

    It all worked, as the single continued to climb the chart, giving Stewart another Top Five record, peaking at Number 4.

    13: The Jackson Five: Lookin' Through the Windows

    The Jackson Five's previous single, Little Bitty Pretty One, had failed to make an appearance on the British listings but the the title track from their latest album had no such problem.

    Lookin' Through the Windows marked a change in Michael's voice, moving from the boyish soprano to the more recognisable tenor of his later career.

    It also changed the family's fortunes in the UK, as it became their first Top 10 single since I'll Be There in late 1970 - eventually reaching a peak placing of Number 9.

    20: The Strawbs: Lay Down

    Generally known for their folk rock roots, it would take around three years since the release of their first album for The Strawbs to appear on the singles listing.

    Lay Down would be the song to bring them into the charts - in fact, their record label A&M confirmed that this was the band's first real attempt to crack open the singles market.

    It worked; no doubt helped by their appearance on Top of the Pops, dressed as glittery glam rockers resplendent in accompanying make-up.

    The song would climb to Number 12, ultimately starting a short-lived, but memorable, singles chart career.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 20 All Time Greats of the 50s

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

  • UK Top 20: November 18, 1972 Ft. The Osmonds 2018-07-27T19:00:00.000+01:00
    The Osmonds 1971
    The Osmond Family raid the UK Top 10

    Presenting the UK Top 20 music chart for the week ending 18 November, 1972

    Under increased pressure, Gilbert O'Sullivan managed to maintain his grip on the UK Singles Chart with his affectionate composition for his manager's daughter, Clair.

    Further down the chart, Osmondmania was responsible for the two highest new entries as both Donny and his brothers claimed neighbouring spots within the Top 10. Just two other "new" songs slipped into the listing (one a re-release, the other a cover song) as singles by Judge Dread, Elvis Presley, Gary Glitter and Peter Skellern fell out of the Top 20.

    Read on...

    Gilbert O'Sullivan at Number 1

    The Chart: 

    • 01 (01) Gilbert O'Sullivan - Clair 
    • 02 (06) Chuck Berry - My Ding-A-Ling 
    • 03 (08) The Shangri-Las - Leader of the Pack 
    • 04 (05) Shag - Loop Di Love 
    • 05 (02) Lieutenant Pigeon - Mouldy Old Dough 
    • 06 (21) Donny Osmond - Why 
    • 07 (27) The Osmonds - Crazy Horses 
    • 08 (20) Elton John - Crocodile Rock 
    • 09 (15) Chris Montez - Let's Dance 
    • 10 (19) The Stylistics - I'm Stone in Love With You 
    • 11 (04) Alice Cooper - Elected 
    • 12 (07) Python Lee Jackson - In a Broken Dream 
    • 13 (03) 10cc - Donna 
    • 14 (11) Archie Bell and the Drells - Here I Go Again 
    • 15 (09) The Carpenters - Goodbye to Love 
    • 16 (13) Family - Burlesque 
    • 17 (10) Junior Campbell - Hallelujah Freedom 
    • 18 (12) Johnny Nash - There Are More Questions Than Answers 
    • 19 (23) Harley Quinne - New Orleans 
    • 20 (22) Jeff Beck - Hi Ho Silver Lining
    *Previous week in brackets; Climbers denoted in red; New entries in bold

    Stream This Week's New Hits:

    06: Donny Osmond: Why

    Osmondmania in the UK continued to gather pace as Donny returned to the British Top 10 for the third time in a row, this time with yet another cover song: Why.

    Originally a Number 1 hit in the USA for Frankie Avalon at the cusp of the 1960s and topping the UK chart for Anthony Newley in January 1960, Osmond revived the song for his adoring fans - most of whom would have never heard the original(s).

    The result was a UK Number 3 hit - achieving a 20-week run on the listing - while it stalled at Number 13 in the singer's homeland.

    07: The Osmonds: Crazy Horses

    Even though Donny's much more sugary solo offering only just beat his brothers (and himself) into the Top 10 this week, The Osmonds' rockier Crazy Horses would finally become the bigger British hit peaking at Number 2.

    Instantly recognisable by its 'wah! wah!' intro, the song's subject matter now seems more than a little ahead of its time: the environment, ecology and particularly, large petrol-thirsty cars harming the planet with choking fumes.

    It became the brothers' debut British hit, while it peaked at Number 14 in the States to become their sixth Top 20 entry there.

    19: Harley Quinne: New Orleans

    A group of session musicians was brought together to promote a production from the Roger Cook and Roger Greenaway songwriting team - namely New Orleans.

    When the song began to climb the charts on the back of the glam rock phenomenon, faces had to be added for TV appearances. Thus, Harley Quinne was born.

    While New Orleans managed a Top 20 placing (this week's No.19 peak), its two follow-ups failed to ignite public interest and the Harley Quinne venture was ditched.

    20: Jeff Beck: Hi Ho Silver Lining

    Some might call this a cover version as a band called The Attack released this song in March 1967, a few days earlier than the Jeff Beck rendition.

    In a year full of re-releases, Hi Ho Silver Lining was another single revisiting the British charts, this time managing a peak position of No.17 (originally No.14 in 1967).

    It would make yet another sojourn to the listing in 1982, but failed to make much headway on that occasion (No.62).

    For comparison, here's The Attack's version.

    The UK Number 1 album this week:
    • Various Artists: 20 All Time Greats of the 50s

    The American Top 10 (Click to play tracks)

    The song at Number 8 in the USA this week was by The Delegates and called Convention '72, a parody record about the American Presidential contenders - and unavailable to stream.

The Eurovision Song Reviews
  • Review: Bulgaria | Intelligent Music Project | Intention 2022-03-16T17:00:00.001+00:00

    Artist: Intelligent Music Project
    Song: Intention

    Bulgaria managed to beat Albania to the punch this year by becoming the first nation to announce its entry for the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest. The Intelligent Music Project will perform the song Intention in the hope that it will return the country to the Top Five for the first time since 2017.  

    Flag Bulgaria
    If last year's winner is anything to go by, to excel at Eurovision you need to stand out from the crowd through either sound or visuals, but ideally both. Måneskin had each in spades, along with a kind of undefinable charisma and passion. Bulgaria's supergroup follows the Italians' rock path although they veer off in a more conventional direction with a perfectly acceptable slice of classic rock that wouldn't sound out of place circa 1981.   

    Intention is constructed very much in a way one might have expected a single release from Rainbow or Whitesnake back in the day. Some crashing guitars, thumping drums and a raspy lead singer, this time in the form of the seasoned Ronnie Romero who has enjoyed time with the aforementioned Rainbow. 

    While one can't fault the professionalism and undoubted experience of the group, in many ways the track sounds out of place for a Eurovision song, although many could have said the same thing about Måneskin's offering. By comparison, though, it doesn't feel as if it ticks all of the required contemporary/modern boxes, instead appealing to the more mature "Dad" vote.
    While the power of Zitti e buoni felt like a metaphorical fist to the stomach, Intention feels more of a stern slap on the wrist. Not as edgy nor as gritty. Intelligent Music Project has proven skills, both musically and vocally, but it's fair to say that this entry may struggle to gain universal appeal.

    What do you think?

  • Eurovision 2021 Semi-Final 1: How They Stack Up 2021-05-22T15:23:00.000+01:00

    Let's take a look at ten of the first semi-finalists for the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest and some personal thoughts on what might and might not qualify for the Grand Final on May 22.

    1. Lithuania: The Roop - Discoteque

    Like many of the artists this year, The Roop return and this, their 2021 effort, was one of the early favourites but has recently faded in the face of more supposedly-popular entries.

    The whole concept showcases the quirkiness that the modern day Contest demands: crazy choreography and staging, bright costumes and a song that worms its way into your head whether you want it to or not!

    Consequently, I can see this qualifying for the final with ease. Once there, it's the type of presentation and song that is likely to stick in the memory of the casual viewer. It should do well and a Top 10 place is not out of the question.

    2. Slovenia: Ana Soklič - Amen

    Ana is back in the competition too and has, unfortunately, been hidden away in position two by the producers - the notoriously difficult Eurovision starting place. 

    Ana is no slouch in the vocal department though and sings Amen - a big, ballsy ballad - with great aplomb. The backing track emits some distinct gospel vibes throughout and Ana takes us and the song to church! 

    However, although she is probably the one of the most accomplished vocalists in the competition, she is going to need some divine intervention to help her through to the final. This semi-final looks tough and I feel Ana will be one of its casualties.

    3. Russia: Manizha - Russian Woman

    Manizha replaces Little Big as Russia's Eurovision representative with an empowering anthem aggrandizing the development of the Russian Woman.

    Even after hearing the song several times, it's still not one which has climbed my personal ranking very far. At first, I didn't care for it at all but once it reaches its 'Fiddler on the Roof' style refrain, it becomes a little more tolerable. 

    Whether Europe will tolerate it enough to push it through to the final is debatable. Personally, I wouldn't miss it at all but Russia is one of those countries which somehow gets through to the final come what may. A borderline finalist.

    4. Sweden: Tusse - Voices

    Another production line entry from Sweden as young Congolese/Swedish singer Tusse confidently brings Voices to the Eurovision stage.

    He is a product of the Idol factory, winning the country's version back in 2019 and has since successfully woven his way through the Melodifestivalen minefield.

    Now, there's a lot to be said for Sweden's Eurovision selection process as the country's recent successes can attest. However, now and again, the technique can throw up something so formulaic it could have been written by a robot. Voices has that quality about it.

    No surprises here from Sweden (even the obligatory key change), but with their track record, I've no doubt it will qualify and feature in the overall Top 10.

    5. Australia: Montaigne - Technicolour

    See the main page review here.

    6.  North Macedonia: Vasil - Here I Stand

    Vasil is another survivor from the 2020 contest and this time around he is singing Here I Stand, a song which he has also written for the event.

    Now, there's no denying that Vasil can sing. He is a classically trained baritone which is more than evident from this somewhat overblown ballad. To be honest, you would more likely hear this on a Disney movie soundtrack or as part of a West End musical rather than on the Eurovision stage.

    There is nothing wrong with it, per say. It's just likely to be forgotten among more striking up-tempo entries in what has become a tough semi-final. A non qualifier, I feel.  

    7. Ireland: Lesley Roy - Maps

    Ireland offers up Maps this year as its entry and the returning Lesley Roy should be heading in the direction to the final if her live vocals hold up.

    It's a perky bop of a song which should get you strutting your stuff around the kitchen, even if you don't know what the heck Lesley is going on about.
    Her diction isn't so great - or it might just be my aging ears - so it's tough to make out where her maps are taking her.

    A berth in the final should be her final destination, but this is one of those entries that could just as easily be left at the starting gate.

    8. Cyprus: Elena Tsagrinou - El diablo

    Cyprus has decided to go with a bop-by-numbers composition called El diablo sung by Greek singer, Elena Tsagrinou - so expect 12 points from Greece!

    The track ran into trouble early on when the Church of Cyprus and many members of the Cypriot public objected to the lyrics concerning love of "el diablo". Nothing came of it, but what's more surprising is that Lady Gaga hasn't had something to say about the song, as you would be forgiven for thinking that - in part - you're listening to Bad Romance.

    Nevertheless, it's well executed and has become one of the favourites to raise the Eurovision trophy. A definite qualifier and a Top 5 pick.

    9. Norway: TIX - Fallen Angel

    TIX's win at this year's Melodi Grandi Prix upset all the KEiiNO fans but, hey, Fallen Angel (Ut av mørket) is the better song.

    Written by the phenomenally successful TIX, the track is somewhat autobiographical, as it deals with his depression caused by childhood bullying over his affliction from Tourette Syndrome.

    That said, the song is an impressive composition in its own right; a soaring ballad with a memorable chorus and impactful presentation. It's the sort of package that Eurovision is all about, helped by the relatable back story which is very much an in focus topic.

    The staging is a little overblown for my liking but I hope this entry does very well. A qualifier that deserves a Top 10 ranking at the least. 

    10. Croatia: Albina - Tick-Tock

    Having won Dora 2021, the Croatian preselection process, Albina's Tick-Tock faces off against its "banger" competitors in this semi-final.

    In that quest, it could do really well as Croatia is presenting one of its strongest entries in years, courtesy of the attractive Albina. This anthemic dance track contains a very catchy chorus and feels like a radio hit, which I mean as a compliment. 

    Croatia has not done well for several years, but if Tick-Tock progresses to the final – undoubtedly! – it could be on track to its strongest placing in more than a decade. Yeah, qualifier.

    Lack of time has prevented any further reviews this year, but currently the bookies favour two of the Big Five countries to raise the winner's trophy: Italy or France. Could it be either of them or will we be heading to Valetta in Malta for the 2022 contest. All will be revealed on May 22!

  • Austria: Victor Bueno | Amen 2021-03-23T16:47:00.000+00:00

    Artist: Victor Bueno
    Song: Amen
    Semi Final 2: First Half

    It's been a bumpy few years for Austria at the Eurovision Song Contest since Conchita Wurst's victory in 2014. This year, Victor Bueno has been given a second opportunity to improve the country's fortunes with the song Amen which is a completely different proposition to his 2020 cancelled effort, Alive

    Austria Victor Bueno Amen
    Where the latter took on a funky Bruno Mars/Justin Timberlake vibe, Amen gives Victor the chance to show off his accomplished vocals on a respectable breakup ballad. The lyrics are fairly repetitive, bog standard, heartbreak clichés but there is a nice progression as the song develops.

    As Amen begins, Bueno is in reflective, almost claustrophobic, mood. However, around the halfway mark there is an explosive change of tone and the mood switches as if the singer has finally been been released from the shackles of a doomed relationship.

    Victor delivers all of this with the angst one would expect of the material and he has sufficient charisma to attract quite a few votes. He is up against some pretty tough competition in his semi-final though, and the song probably doesn't have enough of a wow factor to push him too far up the scoreboard. 

    However, I'm willing it to make the Grand Final as I believe it's good enough to earn a spot. Very much a borderline hope, though.

    What are your thoughts?
  • Australia: Montaigne | Technicolour 2021-03-21T17:56:00.001+00:00

    Artist: Montaigne
    Song: Technicolour
    Semi Final 1: First Half

    Australia doesn't mess around with its approach to Eurovision - having ranked near the top of the scoreboard more often than not since they first took part in 2015. Aria Award-winner Montaigne returns this year as the country's representative with her song, Technicolour - an ear-splitting tale of courage, vulnerability and solidarity. 

    Australia Montaigne Technicolour
    While the singer's stage presence may be striking - she now sports colourfully cropped hair, heavy makeup and chains -  her song is pretty much the opposite. Well, in truth the song is not too bad, it's just Montaigne's performance of it that doesn't cut the mustard.

    Dami Im, Isaiah Firebrace and Kate Miller-Heidke all brought accomplished vocals to Eurovision and, in Kate's case, the bonkers factor. Unfortunately, Montaigne brings neither if her recent live performance of Technicolour is anything to go by (see above). She was whiny and off-key throughout, something which will not convince viewers to rush to vote for her.

    Personally, the song does nothing for me and 2021 could well be the first year that Australia misses the Grand Final.

    What are your thoughts? 

  • Albania: Anxhela Peristeri | Karma 2021-03-18T17:40:00.000+00:00

    Artist: Anxhela Peristeri
    Song: Karma
    Semi Final 2: Second Half

    Eurovision wouldn't be Eurovision without a dramatic ballad or ten, preferably sung at top volume by a woman accompanied by a dance troupe of worryingly clad beefcake. On that front, the highly attractive Anxhela Peristeri and her Festivali i Këngës staging more than delivered back in December. Albania's song is called Karma and our buxom Anxhela manages to belt out the high notes with all the subtlety of a police siren on a council estate.
    However, the song is cleverly constructed around some big moments - both instrumentally and visually. Before ramping up to the final agonising chorus, the song begins serenely with hints of Eastern promise. It builds slowly to an instrumental mid section where Anxhela is thrown around on stage like a rag doll by said beefcake who are dressed in what must have been an end of season job lot of gold lamé.

    Whether that FiK staging (see here) will make the journey to Rotterdam remains a mystery, but the original mix of Karma certainly won't. There have been some slight changes to the song, mostly to the instrumentation, since it was first performed. Nevertheless, Anxhela has the vocals to fill the Eurovision stage in May, easily good enough to suck up a few fortuitous votes. 

    Great vocals and big lungs, though, will probably not help her in what has become a relatively strong semi-final, competing with the likes of  pre-competition favourites such as Switzerland, San Marino, Iceland and Greece. It's always possible that Karma may score enough points to scrape into the Top 10 but I fear that this typically melodramatic power ballad from Albania will miss the cut.

    What do you think?

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