1963 Contest Song Reviews: Belgium, Monaco and Luxembourg

Belgium sent Fud Leclerc last year, so it must be Bob Benny’s turn again … no wait, it’s a new contestant! Unfortunately, Jacques Raymond’s “Waarom?” (Why?) follows the same pattern of the last few entries from his country. Straightforward ballad about love with some soaring notes — at this point it’s fine but yet another one for the “unremarkable” basket.

I don’t pretend to be a connoisseur of this era of music, but even I’ve heard of French singer Françoise Hardy, representing Monaco this year in the midst of her breakthrough as a rising star. “L’amour s’en va” (Love Goes Away) is a dusky, fairly minimal song that gives as much space as possible to Hardy’s dreamy, low-key voice, which given her popularity at the time was a good idea, even if this didn’t even come close to winning.

Speaking of stars representing other countries, Greek-born singer Nana Mouskouri turned up for Luxembourg this year with “À force de prier” (By Persistently Praying), a song in some ways out-Frenches the French. It has sweeping instrumentals, soaring vocals with big notes, and all the triumphant drama of eventually finding a person to love. Somehow, it holds together and presents itself quite well.