Luxembourgish National Day - their five best entries
Happy Luxembourgish National Day! Today marks the official birthday of the Grand Duke of
Luxembourg, despite the ruling Grand Dukes birthday falling in April, this day since 1962 has been used to celebrate the Grand Duke’s, or Grand Duchesses’ birthday. Originally selected as a summery alternative to the then reigning Grand Duchess Charlotte 23rd of January birthday, this day has come to be a celebration of all things Luxembourgish.
Luxembourg first debuted at Eurovision in 1956, with Michelle Arnaud achieving a joint second place finish with her two songs, "Les amants de minuit" and "Ne crois pas". Since then, Luxembourg has gone on to finish in first place a staggering five times, in 1961, 1965, 1972, 1973 and 1983, with an additional 17 top ten results over their 37 years of entries. Impressive stuff!
Yet despite Luxembourg’s tremendous success, in 1994 Luxembourg officially withdrew from the Eurovision Song Contest, and has yet to make a reappearance, in spite of overwhelming support from OGAE Luxembourg.
While this former giant is no longer competing, on their national day of celebration let’s recap and remember some of their greatest entries.
5. Jean-Claude Pascal - "Nous les amoureux" (1961 – 1st place)
Suave and charming, Jean-Claude Pascal with his entry, “Nous les amoureux”, took the trophy in 1961 for Luxembourg, with the result following a last-place finish, Luxembourg was finally rewarded with a win some five years after joining the contest. French born Jean-Claude Pascal, later returned to the contest in 1981 with the entry, "C'est peut-être pas l'Amérique" finishing in a somewhat disappointing 11th place as a past winner.
4. Michèle Arnaud - "Ne crois pas" (1956 - 2nd place)
Being Luxembourg’s first official entry Michèle Arnaud’s “Ne crois pas” was bound be remembered as iconic, yet this simple French bop, with its effective uses of horns and strings has remained fresh in the 63 years since it was first performed. Interestingly, and perhaps setting a precedent for Luxembourg, Michèle Arnaud was a French singer, beginning the long list of Luxembourgish entries sung by French, and non-Luxembourger, singers.
3. Anne-Marie David - "Tu te reconnaîtras" (1973 – 1st place)
Again, Luxembourg struck gold with French-born Anne-Marie David and her song “Tu te reconnaîtras", giving the country its first back-to-back win, and cementing Luxembourg as a Eurovision powerhouse with four wins to its name. "Tu te reconnaîtras" with it’s almost sleepy chorus, echoing the song’s lyrics of dreaming, and since been immortalised as a Greatest Hit of Eurovision in the BBC’s 60th Anniversary Concert.
2. France Gall - "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" (1965 – 1st place)
French-born France Gall became the second ever Luxembourgish entrant to win the contest back in 1965, with her unforgettable song "Poupée de cire, poupée de son". Whilst her singing was somewhat questionable, her song impressed the juries, despite being allegedly booed by the crowd at rehearsals for straying too far from the Eurovision cookie cutter. Regardless of her performance, Gall went on to further release "Poupée de cire, poupée de son" in German, Italian and Japanese, and became one of Luxembourg’s most memorable contestants.
1. Vicky Leandros - "Après toi" (1972 – 1st place)
Perhaps the most successful song commercially to come out of all the Luxembourgish entries is Vicky Leandros, "Après toi", which won the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest with 128 points. 1972 marked the second time Greek-born Vicky Leandros represented Luxembourg, having previously represented the country in 1967 with the fourth-placing "L'amour est bleu”. “L’amour est bleu” went on to becoming one of the biggest worldwide hits of the year, being covered by several artists, and rocketed Leandros to international acclaim. With her 1972 entry Leandros sold over six million copies, with the song being recorded in seven languages and peaking at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, “Après toi” is remembered as an example of Eurovision and worldwide success.
Thank you for joining us on our Luxembourgish journey, will we see them at Eurovision? Only time will tell...