Eurovision Song Contest 1979
|Eurovision Song Contest 1979|
|Final||31 March 1979|
|Musical director||Izhak Graziani|
|Directed by||Yossi Zemach|
|Executive supervisor||Frank Naef|
|Executive producer||Alex Gilady|
|Host broadcaster||Israeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA)|
|Interval act||Shalom '79 (Peace '79)|
|Number of entries||19|
|Voting system||Each country awarded 12, 10, 8–1 point(s) to their 10 favourite songs|
|Winning song|| Israel|
The Eurovision Song Contest 1979 was the 24th edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It was held on 31 March 1979 in Jerusalem, following Israel's win at the 1978 edition. The event was staged at the Binyaney Ha'ooma. The presenters were Daniel Pe'er and Yardena Arazi. Nineteen out of the twenty countries that participated in 1978 also participated, with the exception of Turkey, which withdrew after Arab countries pressured it into not participating in Israel.
The winner was Israel with the song "Hallelujah", performed by Milk and Honey. Yugoslavia, who missed the 1978 Contest, also didn't want to take part nor transmit the 1979 show for political reasons. As well as being broadcast live in the 19 competing countries, the contest was broadcast in Romania, Hong Kong and Iceland.
It was the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held outside of Europe, and the first one to be held in non-Indo-European speaking country.
Jerusalem, declared by Israel as its capital while disputed under international law, is a centre for the three major Abrahamic religions and for Israel's governing institutions and several of the biggest cultural centres in the country. The venue, the largest convention center in the Middle East, hosted the contest in the Ussishkin Auditorium which seats an audience of more than 3000 where it traditionally hosts other musical events including classical and pop stars concerts.
The city's ancient, religious and modern scenery was reflected through a film which opened the broadcast. The city's history as one of the oldest and holiest in the world, was shown through the biblical and medieval monuments and sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as visitors and city's residents who frequent them while practicing their faiths. The city's governmental, cultural and educational institutions and monuments, as well as the streets and people outside the ancient wall, were shown at the opening and conclusion of the film.
The 24th contest's logo featured a combination of a G-clef, the IBA logo, and the names of all participating countries in order of appearance.
Since the Israeli Television has yet to broadcast in colour until then (except for a few special occasions), the production had to borrow cameras from the BBC, just like RTÉ did when they hosted the 1971 contest in Dublin.
The opening of the show featured a six-minute-long introduction to the various landmarks in Jerusalem.
The IBA Symphony Orchestra, directed by conductor Izhak Graziani was used to play the music of each songs (except for the Italian entry, who did not use the orchestra). This was the only contest where the orchestra is composed of 39 musicians. (The musicians they used in their national final is what they used in the contest. They just added 2 saxophonists and 1 horn since the national final had only 2 saxophonists and 1 horn. This was also the contest who had no double bass in their orchestra)
For the very first time in the history of the contest, creative postcards featuring mime artists rather than the participating singers were used between each song. The postcards featured the Yoram Boker Mime Group, and included some of Israel's leading mime artists, among them Ezra Dagan and Hanoch Rozen. The group performed on a background of illustrations created by Dudu Geva and Yochanan Lakitzevitz, that featured landmarks and typical landscapes of the respective countries.
The various themes were as following, listed in appearance order:
- Portugal – Boats and picnic baskets on a Portuguese beach; The mime performers pretend to pull a giant bottle of Porto Wine.
- Italy – A photographer using an old view camera, trying to take a picture of tourists on the background of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, when the tower keeps changing its position.
- Denmark – A mime performer dressed as Copenhagen's The Little Mermaid Statue, while other figures from famous fairytales by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (such as The Ugly Duckling) move in the background.
- Ireland – Mime performers dance in a typical Irish village, with a background of an Irish pub with the sign of Guinness, famous Irish beer brand.
- Finland – Mime performers pretending to be ice skating in a snowy Finnish forest.
- Monaco – A mime performer pretends to be a track marshal waving a flag at the motor racing Grand Prix de Monaco.
- Greece – A mime performer dressed as the Discobolus of Myron statue, standing on the Acropolis of Athens. The statue "comes to life" and throws the discus which causes an audible mayhem, and the presenters Yardena Arazi and Daniel Pe'er take a sneak pick from the columns of the Parthenon, "appalled" by the statue's conduct.
- Switzerland – Three mime performers pretend to be wooden figures of a Swiss clock, dancing. In the background there are illustrations of the Swiss Alps, a building shaped as a clock and a structure with a rooster shaped weather vane.
- Germany – A typical old German village; A depiction of a scene from the German children's book Max and Moritz. A mime performer pretending to be an old woman cooking, when two others are on the roof, stealing her chicken by fishing it through the chimney. In the background some animals are seen, as well as some creatures from the fairy tales of the German Brothers Grimm.
- Israel – Two performers dressed as two of The Twelve Spies carry a big grape cluster, pretending to be walking, when the pictures in the background move to feature the different landscapes of Israel (another performer acts as an orchard worker). Eventually, the scenery changes to a typical Israeli beach, when the two performers take off their biblical style costumes and appear shirtless, wearing modern-day swim trunks.
- France – An illustration of the famous Paris avenue of Champs-Élysées, with mime performers act as a typical French street painter, alongside a romantic couple dancing - initially with each other, and then joined by a drunk homeless who dances with them.
- Belgium – The famous painting of The Peasant Wedding, created by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, "comes to life", with mime performers pretending to be the two bakers carrying the tray of bread, each pulling to a different direction and argue. Another performer acts as one of the peasants, asking for more bread.
- Luxembourg – Two mime performers play soldiers on a turret of the Grand Ducal Palace of Luxembourg. Initially, they pretend to look out for invaders, but then they pull transistor radios out of the edge of their swords and start dancing to rock 'n' roll music.
- Netherlands – Four mime performers, dressed in old Dutch clothes, pretend to be riding an old kick scooter. The background feature a lot of windmills and some storks sit on them.
- Sweden – The background features an illustration of an enchanted forest in the snow. Two mime performers, dressed as Trolls from the Scandinavian mythology, dance in the snow, and are joined by a third "troll".
- Norway – Three mime performers pretend to be Viking Warriors sailing on a ship, facing a strong wind. The background features illustrations of the Norwegian Fjords.
- United Kingdom – Representing the 'changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the background features the fence of Buckingham Palace, but instead of the palace, beyond fence there are famous London landmarks, such as the Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral. A mime performer, dressed as an old English banker, reads a newspaper, when a life-size cardboard figure of the Queen's Guard is placed next to him. Another performer, dressed as a sculptor, places another guard figure and salutes it. He then takes the other guard figure, while the other figure suddenly "comes to life" when another performer is dressed as a guard, picking at the banker's newspaper.
- Austria – A mime performer dressed as a violinist pretends to be playing an invisible violin in a classical ballroom, and two other performers dance a Viennese Waltz. In the background there are illustrations of spectators.
- Spain – The background features a typical Spanish bullfighting arena. One mime performer is dressed as a matador, holding a red cloth and pretends to be fighting an invisible bull. Another performer is dressed as a banderillero, while three others are dressed as spectators in the audience. There are also real hats moving on the heads of some of the illustrated spectators.
Each country had a jury who awarded 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 point(s) for their top ten songs. This was the last year in which the points were announced via order of appearance, as opposed to order of preference.
The voting was extremely close. Israel gained a good lead in the early stages of the voting, but Spain eventually caught up and took a good lead themselves. At the close of the penultimate jury's votes, Israel were one point behind Spain, and only the Spanish jury had yet to give their votes. Spain ended up giving Israel 10 points, causing the crowd to erupt into enormous cheers.
The intermission between the songs and the voting was presented by a performance of the Shalom '79 Dancing Ensemble, who danced to a medley of Israeli Folk Dances. The performance was directed by the ensemble's manager and choreographer Gavri Levy.
At one point before the contest Turkey was going to participate. The country would have appeared 11th on stage (between Israel and France), represented by Maria Rita Epik and 21. Peron with the song "Seviyorum" ("I'm Loving"). However, Turkey has decided to withdraw from the contest, following pressure from Arab states, which objected to a predominantly Muslim country taking part in a contest held in Israel. Turkey did, however, take part in the contest held in Jerusalem in 1999.
- Portugal – Thilo Krasmann
- Italy – N/A
- Denmark – Allan Botschinsky
- Ireland – Proinnsías Ó Duinn
- Finland – Ossi Runne
- Monaco – Gérard Salesses
- Greece – Lefteris Halkiadakis
- Switzerland – Rolf Zuckowski
- Germany – Norbert Daum
- Israel – Kobi Oshrat
- France – Guy Mattéoni
- Belgium – Francis Bay
- Luxembourg – Hervé Roy
- Netherlands – Harry van Hoof
- Sweden – Lars Samuelson
- Norway – Sigurd Jansen
- United Kingdom – Ken Jones
- Austria – Richard Oesterreicher
- Spain – José Luis Navarro
Bold indicates a previous winner
|Peter, Sue & Marc||Switzerland||1971, 1976|
|Xandra||Netherlands||1972 (Along with Andres Holten), 1976 (as Sandra Reemer)|
|Anne-Marie David||France||1973 (for Luxembourg)|
|Yardena Arazi (as presenter)||Israel||1976 (as part of Chocolate, Menta, Mastik)|
The following tables reflect the confirmed, verified scores, which were adjusted after the live broadcast. During the voting announcement, due to a misunderstanding by the presenter Yardena Arazi, Spain appeared to award 10 points to both Portugal and Israel and these scores were added to the scoreboard. After the programme, verification confirmed that Portugal should only have received six points, leaving the total Portuguese score reduced by four points to 64.
Below is a summary of all 12 points in the final:
|N.||Contestant||Nation(s) giving 12 points|
|6||Israel||Finland, Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom|
|4||Germany||Denmark, France, Monaco, Spain|
|Spain||Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland|
This section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2021)
Listed below is the order in which votes were cast during the 1979 contest along with the spokesperson who was responsible for announcing the votes for their respective country.
- Portugal – João Abel Fonseca
- Italy – Paola Perissi
- Denmark – Bent Henius
- Ireland – David Heffernan
- Finland – Kaarina Pönniö
- Monaco – Carole Chabrier
- Greece – Niki Venega
- Switzerland – Michel Stocker
- Germany – Lotti Ohnesorge
- Israel – Dan Kaner
- France – Denise Fabre
- Belgium – An Ploegaerts
- Luxembourg – Jacques Harvey
- Netherlands – Ivo Niehe
- Sweden – Sven Lindahl
- Norway – Sverre Christophersen
- United Kingdom – Colin Berry
- Austria – Jenny Pippal
- Spain – Manuel Almendros
- Religious politicians in Israel complained about the dress rehearsals taking part on Saturday morning, thus violating Jewish religious laws, prohibiting working on the Sabbath.
- The Swiss delegation had to face a thorough security check at the airport, with the security officers demanding an explanation for the amount of garden tools they brought (which they brought for their performance).
- When calling the various national juries, the presenters greeted every country, saying "good evening" and "thank you" in their own national language. During the dress rehearsal, when Yardena Arazi called the Belgian jury, she greeted them in French, although the Belgian entry was represented this year by the Flemish broadcaster VRT. The Belgian delegation protested that their spokesperson was not greeted in Dutch. The production team apologised, and during the live show, Arazi did greet them in Dutch. Ever since, VRT presents their votes in English (except for 1987), to distinguish themselves from the Walloon broadcaster RTBF.
- During the week of rehearsals, Gali Atari, one of the members of newly formed Israeli group Milk and Honey, demanded for the name of the group to be changed to "Gali Atari & Milk and Honey". The other members of the group (Reuven Gvirtz, Yehuda Tamir, and Shmulik Bilu) expressed their objection. The argument was ended by the IBA, who told Atari that the Israeli entry has already been registered as "Milk and Honey", and according to the EBU rules cannot be changed. They did promise her, however, that should Israel win the contest, the presenters will declare the winners as "Gali Atari & Milk and Honey". Israel eventually won, and presenter Daniel Pe'er did state the name of the group in that way in Hebrew and English. However, when it was presenter Yardena Arazi's turn to declare the winner in French, she said "Milk and Honey" only, without mentioning Atari's name. Gossip tabloids in Israel claimed Arazi said before the show: "I'm not willing to take part in Gali Atari's caprices".
This section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2021)
Each national broadcaster also sent a commentator to the contest, in order to provide coverage of the contest in their own native language.
|Hong Kong||TVB Jade||Cantonese: Regina Hing Yue Tsang (曾慶瑜), Lee Chi-chung (李志中)|||
|TVB Pearl||English: George Lam (林子祥)|
|Turkey||Ankara Television||Bülend Özveren|
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