Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Road To Moscow 4: Let's Dans With Thorleifs

Melodifestivalenfever has taken over Sweden and Europe in full force. Even though there are many great acts in the selection (Alcazar! Markoolio !!, E.M.D. !!!BWO !!!!), it's a modest year for artist doing Eurocovers.
In round one there was Marie Serneholt, one time A*Teens singer who has recorded Waterloo with her top teen band as their first pre-success single. In the same round there were the Scotts, a Dansband who recorded the 1968 entry Det Börjar Verka Kärlek Banne Mej on their 2008 CD (and #1 album) Jag Tror På. Oss. Marie was axed straight away and the Scotts will return to the 2nd chance round 'Andra Chansen'.
This weekend it's round four and another Dansband, party veterans Thorleifs try their luck with Sweet Kissin’ In The Moonlight.

Dansband culture
Everytime a 'hardcore' Dansband enters the Swedish preselection Melodifestivalen it's a bit of a row in the Swedish press. Somehow it's never a problem when female dinosaurs of the Dansband variety abuse the hottest ticket of the year for a comeback attempt, but when it's a dansband it's always too tacky, too cheap, too whatever.
Dansbands are bands that play live music for people to dance and party, think weddings, townsquare festivals. They play all the 50's to 80's hits, often in Swedish but also in English.. With an overpriced drink or six in your gut they soon become the best band in the world because dansbands are utterly professional and know how to get a party started (and going).
When Arvingarna won the Swedish selection in 1993 they were ridiculed (But their entry Eloise still is a mighty fine pop tune and it ended 7th). And when the testosteron overload from the steamy Brandsta City Släckers participated in full firefighters gear (2002 & 2003) SVT allegedly banned them from any future participation.
And now there's Thorleifs, Dansband since about 1812. They're supposed to be too old, too corny etcetera, but Eurocovers is having none of that. Dansband music is a Swedish phenomenon which belongs in Melodifestivalen just as much as all the Schlager Queens (yay Shirley, yay Velvet) and the token Alternative Entry That Always Ends Last in the semi semi semi pre.
Thorleifs made about 30 (thirty!) albums since 1973 and they once had ABBA as their warming up band. Not many bands can say that.
They recorded their first single Ra Ta Ta in 1970.

I found details on three Eurovision covers by Thorleifs.
In 1981 they released the LP Johnny Blue. The title track is a cover of the German entry by Lena Valaitis (2nd) . And there's Du Hänger Väl Med Up which is Making Your Mind Up, Bucks Fizz's U.K. 1981 winner.
A third cover is an Sax instrumental of Swedish entry Stad I Ljus (Tommy Körberg, 1988) which appeared on the album Stadens Ende Spelemann.

Thorleifs most recent album is Förälskade from 2008, available from most Swedish webshops like CDON who also stock the Scotts album.
Dansbandmusik is very much alive and Förälskade is one of Thorleifs most successful albums to date, their 2nd # 1 album after 1976's Skänk Mig Ding Tankar.

The Road To Moscow 1 - Hera Björk (Denmark/Iceland), Tapani Kansa (Finland), Nucha (Portugal)
The Road To Moscow 2 - Čuki from Slovenia
The Road To Moscow 3 - Wenche Myhre (Norway), Đorđe Marjanović (Serbia)

For those interested in the releases and the latest news of/on the impending Eurovision Song Contest I have created a new blog: The Moscow Collection.
Here you can find all the latest release info and all details on versions, remixes, promos etcetera. Official links, where to hear the new songs and where you can buy the latest CDs, it's all there.
The new blog replaces the yearly word documents (like the Belgrade Collection and so on). Go check it out now!.

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