Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s Pick of the 80s

It’s Wednesday, which means we travel back to the 1980s from today’s pick of Eurovision past. Peter has chosen today’s song, which is an early glimpse of a future Eurovision icon.

Greece 1980: Anna Vissi – Autostop (13th place)

Any recent Eurovision fan will be familiar with Anna Vissi, and her triumphant homecoming performance at the Athens contest in 2006. Well, except it was neither triumphant nor homecoming seeing as she finished 9th and is from Cyprus, but still who could argue with that 15,000-strong crowd, who were eating out of the palm of her hands? This was an established diva at the top of her game, performing to adoring fans.
Well we all have to start somewhere, right?
Rewind 26 years, and Anna Vissi had already made a name for herself in Greece, with a couple of successful singles and albums under her belt, but she was still fresh-faced when she stepped out on stage in The Hague with her backing group The Epikouri (one of whom was her Anna’s older sister Lia who would go on to represent Cyprus herself in 1985). Now I don’t know Anna Vissi personally, but I have a hunch that given everything she accomplished in her career thereafter, this jaunty ode to hitch-hiking might be something she’d rather forget.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it, and if there were such a thing as a guilty pleasure at Eurovision, this would be one of mine. The namechecking of various countries, the repetitive lyrics, and the cheesy choreography that is almost a parody at certain times all put one in mind of a song that might go down a storm at kids’ clubs in holiday resorts, and indeed I’m slightly surprised it hasn’t found an extension to its life in that role.
As a performer of something like this, you might find it toe-curling, as indeed might most listeners, but for me it’s just a catchy, summery, harmless piece of fluff, and I’m so glad Ms Vissi hasn’t attempted to delete it from the internet.

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