A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Monday, October 10, 2011

R.I.P. Ingvar Wixell

The internationally renowned opera singer Ingvar Wixell has passed away, at the age of 80.

In 1965, he was selected internally to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest in Naples. His graceful appearance and smooth voice was meant to make the judges focus on melodic qualities instead of voting for the young lasses performing the songs.

The winning song of the national contest caused a bit of a stir on home ground, as it beat the slightly more commercial bossa nova "Stilla och tyst" and was considered a bit too sophisticated to go down well. A musical gourmet meal thrown at an audience that usually prefers hamburgers.

Ingvar Wixell - Annorstädes vals (Sweden 1965)

In Naples, the Swedish delegation deemed themselves chanceless but, in an attempt to increase the possibilities of anyone understanding, it was decided for Ingvar to perform the song in English. This was not against the rules, but the EBU officials were not amused and added a clause about everyone having to sing in (one of) their native languages from 1966 and on.

For me, this stands out as a most enchanting and appealing little song with a superb delicacy and finesse, especially the original Swedish lyrics were written with a very light and poetical touch.

And again, the great masses understood nothing. Apart from the three Swedish entries never recorded by the original performer (1958, 1960 and 1966), this one possibly has the distinction of being the least selling Swedish eurosong ever (in a tight battle with the 1994 entry).

Ingvar Wixell - Absent Friend (Sweden 1965)

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