A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Liechtenstein and Eurovision

As stated in my last post, the song "Un beau matin" by Vetty was a Eurovision parody and not - as stated on the record sleeve - the 1969 Liechtenstein entry for Eurovision. But what do we know about the tiny state and their relationship to the ESC, then?

Flag from Wikipedia
It is known that Liechtenstein made a brave attempt to participate at the 1976 Eurovision and that a song - "Little Cowboy" performed by Biggi Bachmann - was selected for the purpose. Reliable sources even claim that the song was selected by the national parliament, supposedly on a day without too heavy items on the political agenda.

However, disappointment hit Vaduz as the EBU rejected their entry. The ESC is a competition not between countries but between EBU member broadcasters and as Liechtenstein didn't even have a national radio station at the time they were hopelessly left out in the cold.

The same reliable sources claim that Switzerland - in a grand gesture - offered to compete under the name of "Switzerland & Liechtenstein" in The Hague. Dutch tv rejected the idea as the long name wouldn't fit on the scoreboard.

Biggi Bachmann continued her career, releasing at least two singles, and participated in the 1979 Swiss final where she ended second last singing "Musik Musik". After that traces of her are scarce, leading me to believe neither one of her singles propelled her into any major grade of stardom. As far as I know, "Little Cowboy" was neither recorded nor ever made public in any way.

In 2008, Liechtenstein became the last european country to have their own tv station. 1FLTV is strictly speaking not a state broadcaster but a private channel, however have they voiced an ambition to join the EBU as well as the Eurovision Song Contest. To date, these plans have come to nothing.

Unlike what is stated here and there online, 1FLTV has never been rejected by the EBU. They have simply never applied to be an active member, for reasons best known to themselves. In these grim times of financial crises, it seems likely that the owners would be reluctant to plunge headlong into any costly projects.

Until they have a change of heart, Liechtenstein remains the only independent and internationally recognised state in Europe not to have participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, alongside the Vatican state.

Eurovision and Wikipedia

Last night I heard the news that the first ever participant to grace a Eurovision stage - Jetty Paerl of the Netherlands - had passed away at the respectable age of 92. I decided to check her up on Wikipedia - as I knew little about her other achievements - and stumbled across another one of these strangely inaccurate "facts" that often surround the Eurovision Song Contest.

Wikipedia screen capture

You can see for yourselves, it bluntly states that this first Eurovision was only broadcast on radio and not on television. A small thing in this large universe, perhaps, but I still believe encyclopedias should be correct. Otherwise I could just as well write my own.

There seems to be a fraction of the eurovision fanbase so desperate to participate and contribute that they don't mind inventing things or, perhaps, just jump to conclusions and never take a second to doubt (or verify) what they came up with.

Even more strange is the fact that the inaccuracies often remain without being corrected or removed. I think if somebody wrote on Wikipedia that the moon is made of cheese or that Ireland is mainly inhabited by elves, it would be corrected rather soon.

The real problem is that the longer an inaccuracy is left to linger, the more people will believe it. Finally it will become a "truth". Like Liechtenstein 1969, for instance.

In 1969, French record label released an EP including the song "Un beau matin", a parody of the typical eurosongs of its time, and the cover stated the song to be the entry of Liechtenstein for the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest. Just as a joke. To make sure nobody took it seriously.

Vetty - Un beau matin

Still today, disturbingly often, you see serious texts claim that Liechtenstein really intended to take part in Madrid but for unknown reasons never appeared.

This is just one of the many stories that seem impossible to get rid of. Like dandelions they keep popping up everywhere, reappearing shortly after you think you extinguished them.

Life would be so much easier if people checked their sources and tried to verify their facts a little bit better. Until then, we all have to keep our heads calm and not believe everything we read.

Not even on Wikipedia.