1963 Contest Song Reviews: United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Germany

Back in London again after the French decided not to attempt to host Eurovision for the third time in five years. Oddly enough, the British hosts are opening the contest again, with Ronnie Carroll returning for a second go. Whereas the last few entries from the UK were upbeat, peppy tunes, “Say Wonderful Things” is a sickly sweet and sappy love song which is all the worse because I understand the language in which it is sung. I’m afraid there’s nothing about this I find even slightly appealing.

I’ve give this entry from The Netherlands one thing: I think this the first time we’ve had a music box at Eurovision, and I’ll be quite disappointed if singer Annie Palmen doesn’t bring one out on stage with her for at least the first several bars of “Een speeldoos” (A Music Box). Beyond that, the format of a quasi-fairytale about a shepherd and shepherdess is unusual and there are some neat turns of phrase in the lyrics, but overall the song feels too small for a Eurovision stage: I can imagine it being sung at Christmas parties.

Perhaps building on the decent showing of last year’s schlager entry, Germany returns with a similarly upbeat and cheerful song, even though the lyrics add some ambivalence as Heidi Brühl’s character tries to slow down potential suitor “Marcel” and asks him to be a bit nicer to her. In contrast to her efforts, the song races along, so it’s an interesting tension to have. Musically there isn’t anything much on offer, which is probably why this ended up placing the middle of the field.