Day of Valdemar - Denmark's Five Iconic Eurovision Entries
Gottag!!! Today it is June 15 otherwise known as the Day of Valdemar and Reunion day. Ja, we are celebrating Valdemar II of Denmark's victory in a battle in Estonia in 1219 as well as Sønderjylland (otherwise known as “South Jutland”) in re-joining the rest of Denmark in 1920 to become the nation as we know it as today.
The southernmost Scandinavian country was the first of the Nordic countries to enter the Contest in 1957. Denmark had initially intended to enter in the inaugural 1956 competition but they were late in submitting their application and thus missed out.
Denmark has competed in the Contest 48 times, participating in the final 44 times, victorious three times and finishing last once. They first debuted in 1957 but more on that later.
Join us (pun intended) in waving the Dannebrog proudly just like it fell from the sky on that day in 1219 as we celebrate Denmark’s Five Most Iconic songs in the Eurovision Song Contest.
1. Gerthe & Jørgen Ingmann- Dansevise English translation- Dance song, English title- I loved you (1963- 1st place)
Denmark's first win came six years after their debut. Not only was this song the first Scandinavian song to win the contest but it was also the first winning song performed by a duo.
Both performers continued to have chart success in Germany with in their post Eurovision Song Contest careers with Jørgen also enjoying success in the USA and Canada. Grethe had also participated in numerous Danish pre-selections for the Eurovision Song Contest but was unsuccessful each time.
Sadly though, the Ingmanns’ love did not last forever as the couple divorced in 1975. Gerthe lost her battle with cancer in 1990 at age 52, Jørgen passed away in 2015 at age 89.
2. The Olsen Brothers- Fly on the Wings of Love (2000- 1st place)
The last winners of the 20th century or the first winners of the 2000s depending on how you look at it, Jørgen and Niels "Noller" Olsen bought home the crystal microphone for the first time in 43 years for Denmark’s second win.
Performing as a duo since 1972, they have released 13 albums and numerous singles in the European market although none of those have enjoyed the success of their Eurovision winning hit.
Fly on the Wings of Love charted in 8 countries, reaching number 1 in Sweden. In their homeland, the song sung in their native Danish Smuk som et stjerneskud was also a chart topper.
In addition, Fly on the Wings of Love was covered by Spanish dance act- XTM featuring DJ Chucky. This version charted in 5 countries and held the number 1 position in Ireland, finishing 2003 as that country’s 11th highest selling single for the year.
3. Kirsten og Søren- Ka' du se hva' jeg sa'? English- Do you see what I said? (1988- 3rd place)
Well we know a certain Canadian chanteuse won in 1988 but Kirsten og Soren otherwise known as Hot Eyes had their third tilt at the Contest that year…and finished third.
1984-1990 were a bit of a golden era for Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest. They finished in the top 10 six times in that period. We could have gone with any of Kristen og Søren/Hot Eyes’ entries but we have gone with this one as Kirsten is heavily pregnant in this performance and she gave birth to her son only three weeks later. Also this was the highest place of their three entries with Det' lige det (1984) finishing 4th and Sku' du spørg' fra no'en? (1985) finishing 11th.
Kirsten tried unsuccessfully to compete as a solo artist after the professional duo broke up and has forged a stellar musical theatre career while Søren co-penned Vi maler byen rød for Birthe Kjær, Denmark’s preceding entry which also finished in…you guessed it- 3rd place. 4. Emmelie De Forest- Only Teardrops (2013- 1st place)
Danish earth færie, Emmelie was a strong favourite in 2013 so it was really no surprise when she won that year continuing a recent trend of barefoot winners. Emmelie went on to write 'Never Give Up On You' for 2017 UK entrant, Lucie Jones who finished 15th.
She has since re-invented herself as an indie rock artist and released an album in February 2018. Emmelie regularly posts videos on her YouTube channel in which she performs cover versions of her favourite songs and showcases her musical talent utilising an array of musical instruments and experimenting with other musical implements such as vocoders.
Recently she participated as a judge in this year’s controversial Romanian National Final- Selecția Națională.
5. Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler- Skibet skal sejle i nat English: The Ship Will Be Leaving Tonight (1957- 3rd place)
What would Eurovision be without some controversy? Yeah well, nothing says iconic more than leaving your mark on debut does it? In this case, our rather cosy Danish friends outraged the audience with an 11 second kiss at the end of their performance. Lithuania’s Monika Linkytė and Vaidas Baumila have nothing on these guys!!!
Naturally a few folks were outraged. However, Birthe also went on to compete in the 1959 Contest, finishing 5th with 'Uh, Jeg Ville Ønske Jeg Var Dig' English- Oh, I wish I were you. She went on to have a career in radio, television and film. Unfortunately Jørgen was killed in a car accident in 1979. He was 53.
Well, that is it for Denmark. Until next time- Skål.