Back in the day, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands and tiny Luxembourg ruled the roost at Eurovision. During the 60s and early 70s the Grand-Duché de Luxembourg made the Top 5 nine times and won the contest five times—making it the second most successful country behind France until 1994 (when Ireland swept to the top). By the late 80’s, though, the good times for Luxembourg were over. In 1993 the Duchy—which hosted the contest four times in its bright history—put forward its last contestant.
Recently the nation’s culture minister has been talking about the contest, fueling speculation that it might return to the stage. With that in mind, let’s review our three favorite acts from Luxembourg.
#3: Sherisse Laurence with “L’amour De Ma Vie” (1986)
In 1986 Luxembourg had the distinction of presenting the 500th Eurovision song of all-time. It was something of a swan song, as it proved to be the last great entry Luxembourg delivered. Laurence, a wel-known performer in Canada during the 80s, brought big hair, a black dress, and a beautiful ballad. She gave the classic song a touch of modernity that really helped it stand out. She had to perform first that night in Bergen. But the jury still remembered her at the end of the evening, and she finished in third place behind Belgium and Switzerland. It was the last year that all songs in the Top 3 consisted solely of French lyrics.
Sherisse, a timeless beauty, now lives in Canada and keeps a low profile. She became the head of a community choir in 2006.
#2: Vicky Leandros—L’Amour Est Bleu/Après Toi (1967/1972)
Vicky Leandros made her first turn at Eurovision during the 1967 edition in Vienna. She performed “Love Is Blue”, a song that later climbed to number one in the United States, making it the most commercially successful song that year by far. The writer of Sandie Shaw’s winning song “Puppet on a String” later said that his song would have finished second in the U.K. behind “Love Is Blue.” Anyway, this performance put Vicky on the map and she represented the Duchy again five years later in Edinburgh. Her ballad “After You” easily won the 1972 edition. It was clear she would be the winner from the moment the first points rolled in. Her two entries live on as global classics. They are quality, people!
#1: France Gall—Poupée de cire, Poupée de son (1965)
Written by Serge Gainsbourg—the cheeky and irreverent singer known for wordplay—”Doll of Wax, Doll of Sawdust” changed the way people viewed the Eurovision Song Contest. Before 1965 ballads dominated the contest. They were polished and serious and formal. France Gall obliterated that. Ahead of the contest her cavalier song did not endear her to the crowds. Gall was not a favourite in Naples. In fact, it’s been reported that the song was “booed in rehearsals for straying so far from the sort of song usually heard in the Contest at this point.”
But she went on to win the competition anyway. Bizarrely the French-speaking countries of France, Belgium, and Monaco didn’t give a single point to Gall, who was already really famous at that time in those countries. Eurovision gave Gall new audiences and turned the blonde lolita into a truly international star. Regrettably, as she aged she began to distance herself from the contest. She no longer discusses it publicly.
Although these three artists shine bright, Luxembourg has give us some other brilliant artists like Nana Mouskouri (1963), Baccara (1978), Anne Marie David (1973), Corinne Hermes (1983), and Lara Fabian (1988). We all hope that Luxembourg will enter the contest once again. It may be a small country, but at Eurovision it’s a giant. Let us hear your voices! Let us see your style!
Je vois la vie en rose bonbom,