A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tobson takes on Melodifestivalen 1984

In most people's minds, 1983 stood out as a success due to the tremendous breakthrough of Carola and her sensational third place in Munich. Perhaps thanks to this, the Swedish final stayed out in the districts (as opposed to returning to Stockholm) and this time Gothenburg took on the task.

SVT Göteborg proved to be fast learners and presented a final that was much more solid than the one in 1982. It was colourful and most entertaining, given the standard of your regular entertainment shows back in the mid-1980's. The level of competing entries was much higher and everyone was eager to see if there was a new Carola-phenomenon in making.

What transpired later was that the selection process was a bit suspicious as Bert Karlsson - the head of the Mariann label - had debated with members of the jury before the final cut had been made and made sure they changed their minds to include his new act Herreys in the lineup.

Picture borrowed from oppetarkiv.se

10. Per-Erik Hallin / Labyrint
At the time he was almost more famous for providing the Swedish voice for Donald Duck than for his own singing, and Per-Erik wanted to use Melodifestivalen as a platform for himself. The song, with its religious theme, means well but makes no greater difference. Most probably chosen for the sake of diversity.
Grade: 1/5

9. John Ballard / Rendez-vous
Written as a schlager parody, stapling every conceivable musical and lyrical cliché in existence, before getting taken very seriously by performer John Ballard himself. Very popular at the time but I have no warmer feelings for this.
Grade: 1/5

8. Rosa Körberg / Schack och matt
Tommy's baby sister had been the front woman of a rock band before ending up with this surprisingly standard schlager. Not a bad song as such but the vocal performance leaves quite a lot to be desired.
Grade: 2/5

7. Janne Önnerud / Nu är jag tillbaks igen
Another case of when a pretty good little schlager is wasted on a complete mismatch of a performer. This guy was experienced and well-known at the time but takes his entry nowhere and especially misses the opportunity of doing anything with the pretty good lyrics of the verses.
Grade: 2/5

6. Thomas Lewing / Tjuvarnas natt
Another mismatch but the other way around. Young Lewing has the voice as well as the looks and squeezes as much as anyone ever could out of this song. An amusing bagatelle but nothing more than that.
Grade: 3/5

5. Göran Folkestad & Lotta Pedersen / Sankta Cecilia
It is endearing to think back, knowing he was supposed to be the big star and she was hired to be his cheerful but anonymous sidekick. Today Lotta Engberg is one of Sweden's major household names while nobody knows what happened to Göran Folkestad. Bouncy but nowhere near as outstanding as the juries thought is was.
Grade: 3/5

4. Herreys / Diggi-loo diggi-ley
Most professional. Sweden had never seen anyone perform like this on a melodifestivalen stage before. Effective in every way, but I never fully recovered from my 1984 Diggi-loo diggi-ley overdose and just can't place it higher than this in my list.
Grade: 3/5

3. Elisabeth Andreasson / Kärleksmagi
Chips broke up pretty quickly after the 1982 melodifestival and while Kikki's solo career took off like a rocket it never looked good for Bettan. Bert Karlsson had advised her not to take on this one, and during rehearsals she famously lost her nerves and started singing badly. Luckily some singing lessons and a certain career offer from Norway would come in handy later in the year, but this pretty suggestive little piece would deserve more appreciation too instead of just being remembered as the song that almost wrecked Bettan.
Grade: 3/5

2. Vicki Benckert / Livet är som ett träd
Borderline aggressive/cheerful, this little gem really stands out as the closing number of this lineup. Vicki had written the lyrics to three of the ten songs in the running and kept the best one for herself. She'd seen enough focus more on being a studio musician and would famously show up in Tommy Nilsson's backing group in Lausanne in 1989.
Grade: 3/5

1. Karin & Anders Glenmark / Kall som is
Clearly the best pop song on offer. Bert Karlsson (or possibly Bruno Glenmark, depending on who's telling the story) objected to this one not being cheerful enough and maybe that's why the juries kept their points down. After one solo attempt each, this brother/sister-act decided it was better to sing together and had notable success under the name Gemini, co-produced by Björn & Benny.
Grade: 4/5

A strong and consistent lineup that was surprisingly hard to rank. Is "Kärleksmagi" really that good? Should "Schack och matt" come in so low? At the time, Herreys was the clear and deserved winner and the boys would have deserved a bit of a warmer reception from Swedish showbiz in general.

In a parallel universe:
Never argue with a winner. If the selected song goes on to win the ESC, it was the right choice. I would still have wanted to know what would have become of "Kall som is" on a Eurovision stage. The 1984 jury manifested a clear disinterest in anything bold or experimental, so probably the Glenmarks could have scraped in at a 7th place or so. Possibly.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Erik, I totally agree with your Top 3, despite having a soft spot for Diggi loo! Kal Som Is is soooooo 1984, it hurts to think it didn't make it to Luxembourg. And Vicki Benckert...wow! It's like Katrina & the Waves before even Walking on Sunshine...