Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s pick of the 70s

Welcome back to our new daily series, as we travel back in time and one of our editors picks out a song each day from Eurovisions gone by and puts it into the spotlight. Today is Tuesday, which means we move to the 70s and Peter brings you his pick from the Eurovision archives.

Germany 1977: Silver Convention – Telegram (8th place)

The 1970s were a strange time for Eurovision’s relationship with mainstream pop music and the charts. On one hand, the contest had started to produce international chart hits on a fairly regular basis (moreso than it would manage until very recently), but conversely, the sound of what was doing the business in Eurovision was mostly worlds apart from what was popular outside of it.
I was not to come into the world for some years yet, but I would imagine that when modern pop sounds of the time did find their way into the competition, it was both refreshing and jarring at the same time. The song I’ve chosen today is one example of this.
Silver Convention had already scored disco hits on both sides of the Atlantic with songs like ‘Fly Robin Fly’ and ‘Get Up and Boogie’ before they were chosen to represent Germany. Thankfully, the song was already set in stone when it was decided that the language rule would be reinstated in 1977, so ‘Telegram’ was allowed to remain in English. I say thankfully, not because I’m against diversity of language at the contest, but there are just some musical styles that are naturally Anglophone, and it’s hard to imagine a German ‘Telegram’ being quite as catchy.
In hindsight, it seems like the song rather under-performed by finishing 8th, but it’s just one of many examples of the recipe for pop success being somewhat different to the recipe for Eurovision success at the time. That, and the fact that anything that sounded remotely “American” was still jury poison.
Nevertheless, I feel this has stood the test of time, and whilst one doubts that there was a Euroclub back in those days, I’d imagine that this would have gone down a treat – I mean, look at that choreography!

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