1959 Contest Song Reviews: France, Denmark and Italy

The contest headed to Cannes in France in 1959 after the victory of André Claveau with “Dors, mon amour” in Hilversum. Given that were an odd number of entries this year, I’ll start with a review of the first three in the running order, then return to two a day as per usual.

France comes out of the gate with a surprise: Jean Philippe’s “Oui, oui, oui, oui” (Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes) upbeat, catchy, and most strikingly, the fastest-paced song from France since Dany Dauberson’s “Il est là” in 1956. While the “oui oui oui” refrain could perhaps have been better written, the story of a couple embarking on a sailing adventure is fun and a love song with a twist. I like the burst of harp at the very end.

Returning to perform for Denmark, this time without Gustav Winckler, Birthe Wilke’s “Uh, jeg ville ønske jeg var dig” (Oh! I Wish I Was You) is a song which asserts itself quickly, providing a nice punch with forceful vocals which I’m hoping carried over into a strong stage presence at the contest itself. I’m unsure about the exact meaning of the lyrics — my interpretation from the translation I’ve found is that her character is frustrated at her lover’s ability to see her worth, hence wishing she was him so she could act upon this.

Not satisfied with third place in 1958, Domenico Modugno is back for Italy with “Piove (Ciao, ciao bambina)” (It Rains [Bye, Bye, Baby]). While this entry doesn’t have a big hook to grab you immediately like his previous entry, Modugno deilvers the tale of parting lovers in a way that makes the topic feel fresh. The music creates a somewhat haunting yet upbeat atmosphere which is amplified by the laboured way in which Modugno sings the lyrics.