8. Tony Marshall – Der Star
Back in 1976, Germany had a national final, loaded with big names. Local names, guys. It’s not like Cliff Richard appeared there. Anyway, some big stars there: Lena Valaitis, Ireen Sheer, Piera Martell – All these girls wanted the ticket to Eurovision. But they had some fierce competition. Schlager idol Tony Marshall entered the selection, as well as the Les Humphries Singers. The latter had a European hit with a song called Mexico a few years earlier, Tony did the same with Schöne Maid. A true battle of the titans. The people of Germany were asked to choose between the twelve competitors. They voted by mail, so the results took a while. When the results came in, over two weeks after the show, Tony had won it: 118,250 votes versus 96,705 for the Les Humphries Singers. As Tony sang: He’s the star!
What was the skandal?
Tony had forgotten the key rule of Eurovision. All songs must be original. No covers allowed. Then why, good old Tony, did you choose to cover a song performed by Nizza Thobi? Nizza was offered this song by her label, she recorded it and the label eventually dropped her and went with Tony. So far, no issue. Until Nizza went to court and the court ruled that the song (along with other material) belonged to Nizza Thobi. The original is not easy to find (Trust me, I’ve tried), but the Germans knew they couldn’t send Tony Marshall to The Hague: Even the court was clear. So when this skandal evolved, the broadcaster soon asked the Les Humphries Singers to jump in and Sing, Sang, Song their way through Eurovision.
How would this have done?
Well it surely would’ve done better than the miserable fifteenth place with a mere twelve points the Les Humphries Singers picked up. It’s no winner, definitely not, but I’d say a lower top ten would’ve belonged to Tony’s possibilities. Tony didn’t mourn for long: He continued his career and scored pretty well after his national final debacle.