Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s pick of the 70s

It’s time for another Eurovision pick from your escXtra team. It’s Tuesday so as usual we bring you a song from the 70s, and this week Rodrigo has chosen the song.

Belgium 1978: Jean Vallée – L’amour ça fait chanter la vie (2nd place)

The 70s was, in my eyes, a decade of inexplicable winners with the notable exception of ABBA (and, potentially, Vicky Leandros and Marie Myriam).
1978 was no exception, seeing Israel achieve the first of their three wildly undeserved victories. What makes this year particularly frustrating is what was left so close to the victory but shamefully in the runner-up position: Belgium’s masterpiece ‘L’amour ça fait chanter la vie’.
Jean Vallée returned to the contest in 1978 after a mediocre result in 1970 and seemed to be in for the big prize. His entry remains a timeless power ballad, one that could be placed in any year and still do well. It should be considered a big Eurovision classic and, instead, had to settle for ending second because a big piece of trashy indescribable song beat it for no apparent reason. ‘L’amour’ is powerful, passionate, beautifully composed and written and it was performed with a feeling that is hard to translate to words. Playing back the 78 contest is always an exquisite experience because you get treated to this marvel. On the night, only Sweden agreed with my view that Israel didn’t really deserve victory, being the only country to award them no points at all.
So, 78 remains one of the biggest mysteries in the history of the contest for me. Because of the upbeat nature of A-ba-ni-bi it is repeatedly played in all sorts of Eurovision events. This just adds lemon and salt to the wound. But in the silence and peace of my flat, I can always enjoy a moment to listen to Jean Vallée and remember that, no matter how much time has passed, there will always be a difference between class and trash. He is, of course, in the former group.

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