ESC 1958: Overview and Song Rankings

Black and white television can sometimes make it difficult to distinguish between the sets of early Eurovision, but the first thing you notice about 1958 is that the Dutch organisers have surrounded the orchestra with floral arrangements, and given an extra bunch to the part of the stage where the singers stand for good measure. This contest didn’t feel hugely different to 1957 in terms of the general atmosphere, but Hannie Lips, the Dutch host, didn’t introduce every song with an overview of the lyrics: presumably this was left to the commentators (which is what happened in the broadcast I watched).

Italy’s entry was about as good as I imagined it would be, with Modugno delivering the song well both times, after his initial performance didn’t screen in all countries due to a technical error — the first of an occasional trope at the contest.

I was pleasantly surprised by Fud Leclerc’s performance for Belgium: he is a natural performer and sold his song so well it went up a few places in my ranking.

The French entry was a decent winner in the end. The song never entirely convinced me, and I thought Claveau’s delivery was a bit excessive at times, but it certainly was one of the better entries on the night.

Sweden’s minute of “la la la” was about as awkward as I thought it would be, and Denmark’s diary prop was not as useful as the delegation might have hoped: once Rastenni took it with her to the microphone, it just got in the way.

Speaking of poor prop usage, Germany’s vinyl records and “Miss Jukebox” sash were distractions that only served to make the song seem even more commercial and gimmicky than it already was in audio form.

Lys Assia was charming as always for Switzerland and thanks to a surprisingly exciting voting sequence where the final country (Italy) decided the result, she almost became the first person to win the contest twice.

My ranking:

1) Italy – “Nel blu, dipinto di blu” by Domenico Modugno

2) Switzerland – “Giorgio” Lys Assia

3) Belgium – “Ma petite chatte” by Fud Leclerc

4) France – “Dors, mon amour” by André Claveau

5) The Netherlands – “Heel de wereld” by Corry Brokken

6) Sweden – “Lilla stjärna” by Alice Babs

7) Denmark – “Jeg rev et blad ud af min dagbog” by Raquel Rastenni

8) Germany – “Für zwei Groschen Musik” by Margot Hielscher

9) Luxembourg – “Un grand amour” by Solange Berry

10) Austria – “Die ganze Welt braucht Liebe” by Liane Augustin