ESC 1964: Overview and Song Rankings

From what I’m seeing online, the 1964 contest in Copenhagen isn’t a complete blank page in terms of visuals — some enterprising people have found a way to reconstruct chunks of the contest using the small bits and pieces of surviving footage. However, this appears to be one of the snappier contests: after some introductory music by an orchestra made up of what looks like royal guards, the hosts comes on stage and soon we’re underway. As with 1956, without knowing exactly what the performance looked like on the night I can’t make too many comments, so I’ll focus on whether songs jumped out from the pack or went by without making an impact.

The entry from The Netherlands had an urgency about it when placed in between Luxembourg and Norway which allowed me to see past the problematic lyrics.

I hadn’t noticed just how dominated this edition of contest was by male singers until I realised that six of the first acts are men, and the numbers don’t improve much for women in the second half of the contest.

I think I’ve had enough of French songs with the words “premier amour”. The entry from Germany was another energetic track which really stood out. Yugoslavia‘s magnificent intro honestly was enough to bump it ahead of many other more coherent entries. Anita Traversi for Switzerland was once again better live than in the recorded version, while Spain‘s trio of TNT was disappointing — their song was a lot more chaotic than the recording I heard.

A stage invader! What a pity we don’t have footage of that!

After an interval act which I assume was ballet from the photos available, the voting was all over very quickly, with Italy sprinting to the kind of lead by the halfway mark that was clearly going to be very difficult to chase down. Again there was a change in the points given: 5, 3, and 1 per country, which probably helped Italy in the end. I don’t really have any closing remarks for this contest except to say this was a reminder just how much this contest is a visual as well as an audio medium.

My ranking:

1) Austria — Udo Jürgens “Warum nur warum?”
2) Italy — “Non ho l’età” by Gigliola Cinquetti
3) United Kingdom — “I Love the Little Things” by Matt Monro
4) The Netherlands — “Jij bent mijn leven” by Anneke Grönloh
5) Yugoslavia — “Život je sklopio krug” by Sabahudin Kurt
6) Germany — “Man gewöhnt sich so schnell an das Schöne” by Nora Nova
7) Switzerland — “I miei pensieri” by Anita Traversi
8) France — “Le chant de Mallory” by Rachel
9) Spain — “Caracola” by Los TNT
10) Belgium — “Près de ma rivière” by Robert Cogoi
11) Luxembourg — “Dès que le printemps revient” by Hugues Aufray
12) Monaco — “Où sont-elles passées” by Romuald Figuier
13) Finland — “Laiskotellen” by Lasse Mårtenson
14) Denmark — “Sangen om dig” by Bjørn Tidmand
15) Portugal — “Oração” by António Calvário
16) Norway — “Spiral” by Arne Bendiksen