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Radio Review: A Reunion with All Kinds of Everything

Dana has fond memories of winning the Eurovision Song Contest
Dana has fond memories of winning the Eurovision Song Contest Dana has fond memories of winning the Eurovision Song Contest

The Reunion

BBC Radio 4

Ah, the whole breathless beauty of it all... the gorgeous people, the outfits, the music, the politics... not last weekend, this weekend, it’s Eurovision weekend.

The Reunion was a trip down memory lane with singers and songwriters who scored big at Eurovision in the day.

It was also a meditation on how things have changed. Eurovision used to be about the song, now it’s more about the performance.

The Reunion began with a look back on history.

We were swept along from the early days in the 1950s - TV execs and their wives in evening gowns, demure performers to the more modern and definitely more big and out there affair, camp and all.

Among those at this reunion were Phil Coulter, Lulu, Dana, Pete Murray and historian Dean Vuletic.

Dana was 18 and still a schoolgirl when she won with All Kinds of Everything. She was in my cousin’s class at Thornhill in Derry – I remember the excitement of it still.

The song was written by two newspaper compositors… I never knew that.

Puppet on a String,written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, was sung by Sandy Shaw in her trademark bare feet in 1967. It won.

“You could put the kettle on for six or seven million records,” Coulter said.

Eurovision fed, clothed and educated all of his children.

Shaw didn’t like that song, we heard a clip from her saying what she really thought that it was “awful” but she’s over it.

“My grandchildren love it. The song was okay, it was just the bloody arrangement.”

Coulter pointed out that the song was not written for her but for Europe and as it sold across the globe – five to six million records – maybe she grew to like it a little bit more.

You weren’t aiming for a Grammy, it was a song for Eurovision, he said.

He talked about the song Volare that had also won and its long intro – Puppet had a long intro too, that wasn’t an accident.

Lulu, who was a star before she won with Boom Bang-a-Bang, laughed and cackled at the whole mad Eurovision thing.

This year, Ireland hasn’t made it to the final… but we have history and we’ve been up there plenty of times.

Think Dana, think Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh and Johnny Logan… so what’s another year?