1962 Contest Song Reviews: Switzerland, Yugoslavia and the United Kingdom

We start today’s review with France’s 1959 entry Jean Philippe breaking new ground by being the first singer to represent a second country — this time, Switzerland. “Le retour” (The Return) isn’t about his own return to the contest, but about second chances in life. It is a fairly relaxed ballad after the dramatic opening, and Philippe certainly delivers it that way, at times verging on spoken word. Probably the highlight of this song is the pulsing brass beat in the background.

Perhaps there is something lost in translation, but the lyrics of Yugoslavia’s “Ne pali svetla u sumrak” (Don’t Turn on the Lights at Twilight) appear to be about two cigarettes extinguishing in an ashtray as a broader symbol of lovers going to bed. This unusual approach in itself is a welcome change of pace, and Lola Novaković’s warm voice adds an extra layer to the dreamy nature of the song. The recording I have sees a saxophone crash into her vocals during the first verse, which is rather jarring in the context, so I’m interested to see whether this pops up in the live version as well.

The United Kingdom continues with its trend of sending theatrical songs. This time it’s Ronnie Carroll with “Ring-A-Ding Girl”, an upbeat, sunny number about love at first sight eventually leading to marriage. The song itself is smooth and keeps the listener engaged, but the “ring-a-ding” refrain is not as catchy as it should be given it forms the core of the song. This doesn’t leave the lasting impression (for better or worse) than the last few British entries have done.