One of my favourite eurovision personalities are no longer with us as Nella Martinetti lost her battle after years of illness.
Bella Nella never got to represent Switzerland as a singer, but wrote the lyrics for four Swiss entries (three of which made top five).
Peter, Sue & Marc - Io senza te (Switzerland 1981)
Mariella Farré - Io così no ci sto (Switzerland 1983)
Daniela Simons - Pas pour moi (Switzerland 1986)
Céline Dion - Ne partez pas sans moi (Switzerland 1988)
A very nice set of songs on placings, ending in Switzerland's last victory to date. Now that must have been enough for any songwriter to gain lasting respect and appreciation, one would think.
But no, sadly not. Not when you are a rounded and robust little woman with a faiblesse for German schlager and volksmusik, which was what Nella performed herself.
She even won the Grand Prix der Volksmusik in 1986 with the bouncy little number Bella Musica and she mainly sung catchy little numbers like this one:
Nella Martinetti - Forte fortissimo
Universally, for some reason, female performers doing lightweight music seem bound to attract ridicule. Nella was no exception. Her outgoing personality paired with an unfortunate ability to tell the press a bit more than they needed to know about her private life turned her from award-winning singer and composer into a laughing stock.
In recent years she stated in interviews that she knew all of Switzerland was laughing at her, adding that she has cried more than laughed during her life.
The question I ask myself is why the world of showbiz has to be like this. Male singers can go on performing, doing their same act far longer than is appropriate without losing their fans. Female singers get laughed at.
I can't help feeling that the world could have been a whole lot nicer to Nella. As for her music, love it or loathe it, but as a performer it is obvious that she just wanted to amuse her audience.
I wish they would have had the wit to laugh with her, not at her.
Nella Martinetti - Bella Musica