A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Monday, January 31, 2011

France 1967: avoiding the subject of death

The 1967 French Eurovision entry was, like most French entries in those days, subject of an internal selection at French television. Songwriters of varying fame and talent sent in their demos, with or without a suggested performer, and a jury had free hands to select the final entry.

For the 1967 selection, successful songwriting duo of Hubert Giraud and Pierre Delanoë had written two power ballads, both sung by the young and promising Noëlle Cordier: "Il doit faire beau là-bas" and "Il est mort le soleil". Most people involved were convinced the latter would be the one chosen by the jury.

According to an interview that Noëlle gave for CocoricoVision (the magazine of OGAE France), someone let fellow singer Nicoletta hear "Il est mort le soleil". As she was a bigger name, the entry was taken from Noëlle (who was pretty upset at this) and handed in with Nicoletta as suggested performer instead.

Nicoletta - Il est mort le soleil (France internal selection 1967)

But the jury got cold feet when hearing the song. According to OGAE's sources, they did not like the idea of sending a song mentioning death in its title to a light-hearted song contest like Eurovision. Several jaws must have dropped as the jury decided to nominate Noëlle anyway.

Nicoletta didn't have to stay disappointed for long: she had one of her biggest hits with this track, which was also translated into English and covered by Ray Charles and Tom Jones among others as "The Sun Died".

Noëlle Cordier, on the other hand, made quite an impression in Vienna and ended in third place with one of the most bitter and heartbroken lyrics of all time (read them in translation here ) and one of my personal favourites of all time.

Noëlle Cordier - Il doit faire beau là-bas (France 1967)

What would the juries have thought of Nicoletta and her song about the sun and the summer dying once the heart is broken? Most probably Sandie Shaw would have won anyway.

As for the effort of keeping death out of Eurovision. It worked fine until Monaco decided to enter a song about the world being blown to bits in a nuclear apocalypse. Read more about that here .

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