Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s Pick of the 70s

Another day, another decade in our series in which we delve into the ESC archive and one of our editors picks out a song of a different era each day. Today, as every Tuesday, a song from the ’70s gets to be analysed inside out. Simon‘s choice was:

Norway 1978: Jahn Teigen – Mil Etter Mil (Last place)

No compilation of 70s Eurovision is complete without a flash of Jahn Teigen flailing his microphone, red trousers and vocal chords. Nor can you escape from a montage of Eurovision’s most notable fashion statements, nul-pointers, or Norwegian entries without coming across this entry from 1978. In fact, what Eurovision montage is complete without Jahn?

“Mil etter mil” (Mile after mile) counts among Eurovision’s most spectacular failures; the Norwegian entry being the first song to ‘achieve’ nul points under the current scoring system.

In a contest where legacy and history linger at the forefront, time will not erase Jahn’s three minutes of stage time the minds of many. For better or worse, Jahn’s 1978 performance is, for many, synonymous with Eurovision as it was in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

“Mil etter mil” also serves as a reminder of how European tastes and Eurovision fortunes don’t always reflect popularity at home. The song spent five months in the Norwegian top ten singles charts and was a popular choice to represent the nation. Jahn went on to continued domestic success and again stood on the Eurovision stage in 1982 and 1983 with rather better fortune, but his distinctive effort in 1978 stands the test of time as the cream of the crap.

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