Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Road To Baku - Lys Assia

I know, christmas is up first, but it’s already so busy on the Eurovision 2012 that Eurocovers will take an early peak on artists who are trying to get to Baku by means of their national finals.
Switzerland has a very extensive preselection (more info here) with well over 200 songs participating in various broadcasters pre-pre-pre voting extravaganzi.

One artist that of course caught everybody’s attention is Lys Assia, who enters the selection with C’était Ma Vie penned by 'Mister Eurovision' Ralph Siegel with lyrics by 'Mister L’Oiseau Et L’Enfant' Jean Paul Cara.
The song is a big orchestra driven ballad reminiscing of the olden days. It's Lys Assia's My Way or This Is My Life (The Shirley Bassey one). I don't know if there's a place for the rather old fashioned entry in todays Eurovision field, but it's great to see the old gal is still at it.

Update: Broadcaster SF has announced that Lys Assia will proceed to the Swiss National Final on December 10. Congratulations!
Another Update: Lys Assia ended 4th in the Swiss national final. Read all about the winner here at the Baku Collection.

Eurovision fans will of course know (and some even remember) the Grand Dame / Grand Ma of Eurovision as the first ever winner of our annual music fest. With the song Refrain, written by Geo Voumard and Émile Gardaz, Lys Assia won the initial edition of the Eurovision Song Contest back in 1956.

In 1956 each of the seven participating countries had two songs in the (radio only) competition. Switzerland selected  Lys Assia with Das Alte Karussell (The old Carousel) and the eventual winner Refrain.

The Swiss must have loved Lys a lot as she went on representing the country in 1957 with L'enfant Que j'Étais (The child that I was, 8th place) and in 1958 with her best effort Giorgio (2nd place, brilliant song).

Lys Assia’s biggest hit was not any of her Eurovision songs (although Giorgio did quite well in several pre historic charts) but her version the evergreen Oh Mein Papa (1950). Other hits include Arrivederci Roma (1956) Deine Liebe (1957), Ein Kleiner Gold'ner Ring (1961) and Die Sterne Von Syrakus (1962).

In my book there are three Eurovision songs Lys Assia covered. There may be more, as Lys Assia must have recorded about a million songs in the 50’s and sixties.

Italy 1961: Al Di Là (Betty Curtis)
In Italian with the Dino Olivieri Orchestra
- on EP Philips 431 054, also LP San Remo's greatest hits 1958-1966

Denmark 1963: Dansevise (Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann)
Der Sommer ging voruber (German)
- single Telefunken U 55705

U.K. 1963: Say Wonderful Things (Ronnie Carroll)
Zwei blaue Vergißmeinnicht (German)
- single Telefunken U 55705
(Both 1963 songs were released on the same single)

Bonus Adorable Lys - A medley recorded in 1964 with the Addy Flor orchestra sung in English, German, French and Spanish including a bit of Refrain.

Related Eurocovers posts and links
Geo Voumard / Jula De Palma (Refrain), Flo Sandon's (Refrain)
Ralph Siegel: Dschinghis Khan (Moscow weeks) Dschinghis Khan (Korea) I Can't Live Without Music (Russia) Ein Bisschen Frieden (Korea, Norway, Korea II)
Jean Paul Cara: L'Oiseau style Zouk

Eurovision 2012 - The Baku Collection
Shopping: Lys Assia at BeaRecords

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