Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s Pick of the 50s & 60s

Hello everyone and welcome to another week of picks from the past courtesy of our escXtra editors. Today, as is usual for Monday, we’re looking at a song from the earliest period in Eurovision’s history, but more unusually, Peter has chosen not to opt for a song he feels affectionately about – indeed, quite the opposite. Here he is to tell us more…

Luxembourg 1967: Vicky Leandros – L’Amour Est Bleu (4th place)

I’m going for a bit of a different approach for my pick today, and before I start, I’d like to point out that I really like Vicky Leandros. I think ‘Apres Toi’ is a quality winner, I have a soft spot for some of her ropey German schlager, and 16 year-old Peter was gutted when she was beaten by Texas lightning in the German national final. I wouldn’t say I’ve avidly followed her career, but I think I admire her enough to be able to say, “Vicky, what the hell was this all about?”
‘L’Amour Est Bleu’ is an all-time Eurovision classic, and certainly one of the best known songs from its era. I suppose I can see why – the easy-to-understand lyrics and the repetitive melody make it stick in the brain more than some other songs from this time – but I have always found it incredibly grating.
The song follows the increasingly successful formula of a young, innocent-looking girl singing a commercial pop song. It was a formula that worked here but unlike previous successful examples however, this had no heart or edge to it, and has a fairly basic “I love you, I’m sad now you’ve gone away, I’m happy that you’re back” theme using increasingly strained ‘colour’ analogies.
A better performer could have possibly extracted something from the song’s basic story but fresh-faced Vicky fails to do that. Hunched over and bobbing about, she’s not nearly as captivating as France Gall or Gigliola Cinquetti and she almost looks like she’s been lobotomised, inanely grinning her way through the ‘heartbreak’ section of the song.
This might explain why some of the best known versions of this ‘Eurovision classic’ are instrumental, but I can’t even get on board with that, as musically I can’t find anything interesting about it at all, and it just goes on and on and on before ending on an absolutely horrendous major chord.
No, I may not personally agree with all of those entries heralded as legendary, but I think this is the only major case where I do not get it at all. Thank goodness Vicky came back 5 years later and redeemed herself!

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