During this season, in several places around the world, there are special celebrations of twins. So I thought it could be interesting to look back and see what twins have brought us at Eurovision. Going through the sets of Eurovision twins, I came across the Kessler twins. Alice and Ellen Kessler participated in 1959 with the song „Heute Abend wollen wir tanzen geh’n (Tonight we want to go dancing)”.
The Kessler twins performed in Cannes
Eurovision in 1959 was held in Cannes, France, following the victory of André Claveau with the song “Dors, mon amour”. In 1959 there were 11 nations participating, the Kessler twins represented West-Germany. The point system was rather different back then, every nation had 10 points that they could distribute at their will. Giving the possible maximum score, one nation could in theory achieve 100 points. The winner, Teddy Scholten from Netherlands got 21 points. The Kessler twins got 5 points, finishing in 8th place.
Even though Alice and Ellen did not score very high in the contest, they brought something new to Eurovision. They brought their song and lyrics to live, as in they did what they sang about, “Tonight we want to go dancing”. So they performed a dance routine which was unique to Eurovision at that time.
As for me personally, first and foremost I just find this song really cute and adorable. Secondly, I feel like I can connect to the energy these ladies bring. But more about Alice and Ellen’s energy and career later on. First I will let you read what three of our team members think about this song and the twin theme in general. Do you think they would have picked the same twins?
It’s hard for me to judge songs that competed in the 50’s, as for me they are all really sweet. About this german entry, even tough I like it, my favorite German song of that decade remains to be “Telefon, Telefon”, a song that as “Heute Abend wollen wir tanzen geh’n” was in my opinion, very innovative. At least for the contest. It’s not very common to see elaborated performances as this one during those first two decades.
My favourite eurovision twins are Sophie and Magaly, the Luxembourgish entrants in 1980. I feel so nostalgic when I listen to that song. We used to sing it in Kindergarten, but with Portuguese lyrics. My kindergarten was during the first years of the 21st century, so you can see how popular this song was, even after more than 20 years. I’m just sorry to know that their life´s weren’t as successful as they deserved, and with a happy ending as the story of their song.
A cute journey down memory lane with the Kessler twins. These were simpler times, when even the party songs could be presented without the need for gimmicks or special effects. In the early days of the contest, it was a common theme to present a musical and cultural theme of your home country, but the Kessler twins stood apart with their Big Band pan-Atlantic sound. It may be generations ago, but the message isn’t unfamiliar. With lyrics like “we want to dance, dance non-stop to the early morning” and “we’ll leave our worries at home”, there are countless songs today that promote the same #yolo attitude. But modern attempts sure won’t have outfits quite the same!
I think the Kessler twins are super cute and fun, and I love the fact that they actually have a performance! Their act is one of the first to include any kind of dancing/show in the history of the contest, and I feel that their performance opened the door for more “action” on the Eurovision stage. I’m also pretty impressed by the way they use what little stage there was back in 1959. Their song is also kinda fun and cute, and I’m a bit surprised that they didn’t finish higher.
We have seen quite a few twins in the history of Eurovision, and for me there are two that stand out from the bunch; Sophie and Magaly and their “Papa Pengouin”, and Gökhan and Hakan Özoğuz (founders of Athena) and their “For Real”. I have really fond and fun memories connected to “Papa Pengouin”, but at the same time I have to admit that Athena and their rock/ska is much more my kind of music. So, if I had to pick one, I would go with Gökhan and Hakan.
What have the Kessler twins been up to?
The Kessler twins were born on August 20th, 1936, meaning they will be 81 years old in just a couple of weeks. Alice and Ellen’s career started in 1942 and they have been active since. Not only do they look alike, they also seem to get along very well, since they stuck together in their professional life. Even on Wikipedia their occupation is listed as “Twin entertainers”.
They became quite popular in Germany and Italy. In addition to singing and dancing, they have also acted in several movies. Back in the day they even did a couple of magazine covers; Life Magazine in 1953 and Italian Playboy in 1960.
And as a conclusion, you can see in this medley they performed at 80 years old; they still bring the same, if not more, energy to their performances!
Had you heard “Heute Abend wollen wir tanzen geh’n” before? What do you think of Alice and Ellen’s performance? If you were to pick a favorite Eurovision twin performance, what song would you have chosen? Feel free to share your thoughts.