1956 Contest Song Reviews: Belgium

The first male singer to appear at the contest was the Belgian Fud Leclerc, whose “Messieurs Les Noyes De La Seine” (The Drowned Men of the Seine) feels like it was influenced by chanson réaliste: the lyrics are sung from the perspective of a man so down on his luck due to unrequited love and (presumably) homelessness, he considers throwing himself into the Seine. It sounds like it was taken from the soundtrack of a film; I can almost see the character, likely to be very handsome and well-kept for someone out on the streets, casting dramatic glances at the Seine as he performs the song. For some reason, I feel that this entry takes itself too seriously, so I look forward to finding out the live track is any different.

On the other side of the coin, Mony Marc’s song “Le Plus Jour De Ma Vie” (The Best Day of My Life) describes the wedding day of a young woman. It is bright, with a more straightforward appeal and none of the melodrama of the other Belgian entry. This makes it easier to listen to, and easier to remember (even if only the “ding dong” refrain). I suspect in the modern day contest we’d call this a televote song, whereas Lecler would appeal more to juries on the lookout for technical ability or a highbrow option.