So I thought I'd do a little special and rank the songs of Melodifestivalen each year for the 1980's and what place is better to start than at the beginning?
The 1980 Melodifestival was held in the largest studio available at SVT Stockholm and was the first edition in many years to be broadcast live. Ten songs were in the running, presented in a fairly relaxed way by television veteran Bengt Bedrup, and Tomas Ledin finally won on his fifth attempt.
|Picture borrowed from svt.se|
If I had been the omnipotent jury, this is how I'd rank the songs:
10. Chips - Mycke' mycke' mer
The first edition of Chips - featuring Kikki Danielsson and Lasse Holm - was the red hot favourite to win and the song the relatively new label Mariann had pinned its hopes upon. I can see the charm but the song is weak and the lyrics even weaker. Not bad but nothing to write home about.
9. Paul - Tusen sekunder
Quite an elegant little ballad that was later recorded also by Chips in an English version. Melodic and pleasant but Paul - former known as Paul Paljett - isn't much of a performer and makes very little of his song. Would have needed a much more convincing act to get anywhere.
8. Kenta - Utan att fråga
"Off-beat" is nowhere near enough to describe this odd entry by occasional singer Kenta, more known from a number of documentary films about young people at the outskirts of society. Rather poetic but not really my cup of tea.
7. Lasse Lindbom - För dina bruna ögons skull
Written by Per Gessle at the height of his career with his first band Gyllene Tider. He didn't want to enter himself and Lasse Lindbom feels like a pretty poor replacement that lets the song down a bit. Good and unusual chorus, however.
6. Eva Dahlgren - Jag ger mig inte
Eva Dahlgren didn't want to be there. She wanted to be somewhere else. Any place would do. And you could sort of tell. Her lyrics hint at her not being at ease in this competition and in the end she refused to even smile to the cameras. She'd go on to do fantastic things in the Swedish pop world, but Melodifestivalen just wasn't her thing.
5. Tomas Ledin - Just nu
A fairly good rocker and clearly my favourite of Tomas Ledin's solo attempts in Melodifestivalen but the live version never reaches the climax of the studio version. I like my rock songs with sharper edges.
4. Tania - Åh, sjuttiotal
Tania was one of those talents that Mariann records never quite knew what to do with. She had an intriguing voice and presence but never got the right material. This is a good effort, marred by an ill-advised decision to sing the whole thing in a falsetto voice. Also, there are limits to how much you can borrow from other songs and get away with it. Anyone not thinking about Abba's "Gimme Gimme Gimme" after hearing this one can please raise their hand.
3. Janne Lucas - Växeln hallå
A silly but hyper-effective little song about longing for someone you've fallen head over heels in love with but ending up with a snotty receptionist on the line instead. A big hit and an evergreen and deservedly so.
2. Ted Gärdestad & Annica Boller - Låt solen värma dig
Last year's winner came back in the company of his then girlfriend, armed with a song that is obviously a plea against nuclear energy. The presence of this song is nothing short of a mystery. Sweden held a referendum on whether to discontinue its nuclear plants or not a few weeks later and this lyric should normally have been deemed too politically charged to be performed on tv at the time. Also, Ted's record label manager - the incomparable Stikkan Andersson - was famously pro-nuclear power. How did he allow this song to go through? It's a catchy little protest, however. Arguably better than Ted's entry for Jerusalem the year before.
1. Liza Öhman - Hit men inte längre
I'd love to peek into this parallel universe where Liza and her attitude-packed piece of disco rock had represented Sweden in The Hague. It was enough to kick-start her solo career that would result in her being awarded the title "Female Singer of the Year" in Sweden 1980. The best one by a mile.
Quite a good year and Tomas Ledin is an OK choice. My guess is still that Liza would have scored better internationally, perhaps somewhere around 7th place. (And if Ted would have won, I predict all hell would have broken loose over the content of the lyrics.)