Summer is coming, and with it come summer hits. As always with music, some people – and if you’re reading a blog about Eurovision in June, you probably belong to them – see things a bit differently than the charts. So here is my non-exclusive list of 10 Eurovision summer hits of the last 60 years, with an emphasis on current music, as you might need a summer playlist of songs that can be played to non-fans as well. Also, this will be a bit of a replacement for SOTW, which is currently on summer break as my internet connection and computer access are limited over the next few weeks. I apologize for not publishing the announcement on time – I though I did but apparently didn’t publish it.
1. ITALY 1958: Domenico Mudugno – Nel blu dipinto di blu
This one is so obvious it’s hardly fun to include it, but you can’t deny the mother of all ESC classics AND summer songs a spot in this list, even though enough people on this world will have no clue this was a Eurovision song originally. Despite looking terribly wrong (not even bad, just so wrong) Domenico delivers a performance that captivates me. And watching it tells you instantly where he’s from – who outside Italy could move his hands that passionately when singing? This is a must-have for any summer playlist that doesn’t have a defined genre where it doesn’t fit, ESC or not. And if your playlist is supposed to be rap, or metal, or EDM, or whatever… there’s probably a fitting cover version.
2. FINLAND 1981: Riki Sorsa – Reggae OK
Yes, I admit it, I just searched for an excuse to put this song onto my blog. I absolutely love reggae, especially in summer, and while this is terrible to look at and it’s cheap “hotel lobby reggae”, it’s still more fun than many of the overly serious things I come across when looking at the successful songs of older Eurovision editions. Also, Finland is probably the country I expected the least to send a song like this, and I don’t think I ever heard Finnish reggae music before or after discovering this one. Definitely a good song if you have to make a compromise between reggae fans and Eurovision fans, which is why my dad has it on at least one CD I burnt for him.
3. ITALY 1987: Umberto Tozzi & RAF – Gente di Mare
Back to Italy, and back to “That was ESC? NO WAY!”-land. First of all, congratulations for looking like a normal person despite taking part in 1987! I placed it into a summer list, but for me personally, it always sends me back to February 2011 when I visited Rome with my Latin class. Probably that’s why I love it so much, or probably because it’s such a beautiful song, transporting perfectly what is Italian feeling for me. Makes me wanna sit on an Adriatic beach with a glass of Italian red next to me and Aisha in my lap (to avoid confusion, I talk about my guitar, not a certain Latvian singer. Even though one named the other.) watching the sun sink behind the horizon. And what is better for a summer playlist than such a feeling?
4. DENMARK 2000: Olsen Brothers – Fly On The Wings Of Love
Denmark and Finland. Would you have expected two Nordic countries in a summer playlist, after just four songs? Honestly, I didn’t notice it before, but Denmark is a great address for summery, happy songs, even though they tend to get a bit of critics for that. I could also have included Soluna Samay, or Basim, or Anti Social Media, but the Olsens were the one who caught my attention for this list, first of all because they seem to have so much fun, making them very likeable. But also because it came before all those I mentioned, because it is a song that deserves a special mentioning on here and because it will stay in my head for hours again now. Thanks, Denmark.
5. CROATIA 2007: Dragonfly feat. Dado Topic – Vjerujem u ljubav
We’ll stay with the slightly older guys for a second. If the summer is hot and you don’t have the energy to dance to ska, you cut the BPM in half, and reggae is born. When it’s summer and you don’t feel like playing a rock song at full speed, you take it a bit slower and get Vjerujem u ljubav, probably the most underrated Croatian entry ever. It was even hard to find a good video of this song, and when I finally did I remembered why: It simply sounds much better than it looks. Still, laid back rock is one of the best kinds of music for a summer grill party by the lake, and if you wanna add some Eurovision to it, put this on your playlist.
6. PORTUGAL 2009: Flor-de-lis – Todos As Roas Do Amor
One way of adding a feeling associated with summer is, for me, adding a street musician vibe. And that’s what these Portuguese did, in a rare case of Portugal actually having a clue of what they’re doing. I assume RTP sent its three wine drinkers responsible for the NF to an extended holiday and let someone take over who actually saw a post-2000 contest. Of course the whole thing gets enhanced by one of the most spectacular stages (I’ll let you decide if it’s in a good or in a bad way) of the last years and the beautiful colours on the backdrop as well. I feel as if I’m in the streets of Lisbon again…
7. FRANCE 2010: Jessy Matador – Allez Ola Ole
What are you doing when you’re done with hanging by the Adria beach, or in the streets of Lisbon, or on a Caribbean island owned by Finns? You go dancing, don’t you? Or probably you go to football match, and France provided the right sound for both in 2010, when Jessy Matador did (justifyably) a little bit better than his nation’s team at the FIFA World Cup with a song that sounds as if it was designed for the latter. Probably that’s why Jessy doesn’t even bother to wear a French jersey for the video, he already knew Brazil (or is it South Africa?) would be a better choice. Oh, and the girl singing “ça va chauffer, je sens le truc monter” always makes my inner 14 year old laugh, so… très bien, everything I want is in this song!
8. MOLDOVA 2012: Pasha Parfeny – Lautar
Sometimes, countries suddenly get a streak of right choices done. Moldova had one from 2010 until 2012 for me, and apparently also for Europe. The last part of it is such a brilliant party song that this list wouldn’t be complete without Lautar. It combines pretty much every musical style I like into a big pile of YAY! that efficiently that I can’t help but sing along loudly whenever I hear it, and that’s what you need for a good summer party song. I still can’t believe how many songs I placed above Moldova back in 2012, but luckily, I finally see this as the awesome song it is.
9. GREECE 2013: Koza Mostra – Alcohol Is Free
You can’t make a list like this without including at least one Greek song, as the nation became our main provider for ethnic summer party fun after the Turks went back to kebab rock, gay sailors and, eventually, Turkey. Eurovision has seen surprisingly many ska experiments over the last years compared to the popularity of that kind of music in radio or charts (or is it just Switzerland?) and I’m certainly not complaining. This is probably the best example for it, also because it has by far the best title of them. And because I used it to invite people to my 18th birthday.
10. SWITZERLAND 2014: Sebalter – Hunter Of Stars
I don’t know if the song has grown on me or if the feeling of coming 13th is so pleasant that I connected the two in my head, but I have started to love this song soon after the contest even though I had some problems with it before. Now I see it as what it is, our best effort for a long time, and the one time Switzerland actually learned to smile in ESC and got rid of its serious attitude. Also, it was the song that brought me together with Red Panda Girl and her boyfriend in Vienna. Just hearing it brings a smile on your face and you whistle along, no?
As I said in the beginning, this list is not complete, and it’s not written in stone either. Did I forget something? Did I put something on it that doesn’t belong here? Feel free to tell me!