In a week celebrating Eurovision comebacks, Simon delves into the dusty 1970s archives to relive a Norwegian dynasty that never quite got to grips with the contest.

Norway 1976: Anne Karine Strøm – Mata Hari (18th place)

In 1973, the four member of the Bendik Singers swooped, bopped and swung their way to a respectable seventh place with “It’s just a game“. Thankfully for them it is, as follow-up attempts hit rock bottom, with only one song finishing below them in the space of three years.

After a reasonably successful 1973, Anne-Krine Strøm (the blonde one) won the ticket to represent Norway as a solo singer in 1974. She picked the other three-quarters of the Bendik Singers as her backing vocalists. Despite their best ooo-ing, Anne-Karine’s “The first day of love” ended the night in last place.

Red-haired Bendik Singer, Ellen wasn’t put off though. She was back as a solo singer the following year, but only Turkey’s ill-fated debut saved “Touch my life with summer” from propping up the table.

Somehow, Norway was sure Europe needed more Bendik action, and Anne-Karine was back in 1976 with “Mata Hari”. Here we have ill-advised costumery, nonsensical lyrics, and curious misappropriation of a historical figure. As we know, all of these go down brilliantly at Eurovision. Last place.

At this point after a reign of 4 years, the four members of the Bendik Singers realised the best strategy; stop.

Chief Editor: A non-schlager Europhile who's been doing this ESC writing malarkey since 2008, usually championing Eurovision's alternative or quirky offerings. My role at Xtra isn't too dissimilar from my previous life as a school teacher, but they're a well behaved class. Also responsible for dropping bum notes on a piano.

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