Five Iconic Eurovision Entries to mark Greek Independence Day
Today March 25 is a national day in Greece marking the ‘Greek War of Independence’.This day is the traditional starting date of the war in 1821 against the Ottoman Empire. Greece official declared its independence on January 15 in 1822.
Greece has been part of the Eurovision Song Contest since 1974. Their first representative was Marinella, one of the most popular female vocalists at the time, with her song ‘Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ'αγόρι μου’ (Wine, sea and my boyfriend), which was accompanied by the Greek traditional instrument, the bouzouki. The song finished in 11th place.
Over the decades Greece had various degrees of success. They found their feet in 2001 with Antique’s ‘(I Would) Die For You’ finishing in 3rd place. It would begin a succession of over ten Top 10 Eurovision entires over the following decade and a half, during which time Greece was known for it euro ethnic pop bangers.
Let’s look at our top five most iconic entries from Greece:
5. Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy - ‘Μάθημα σολφέζ’ (5th place - 1977)
This is one of Greece’s lesser known entries now, but was very popular in Greece at the time. Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy were the first group of singers to represent Greece and managed to achieve Greece’s first Top 5 finish with ‘Μάθημα σολφέζ’ (translates to ‘Solfège Lesson’). Greece wouldn’t reach the Top 5 again for another 15 years when in 1992 Kleopatra finished in 5th place with ‘Όλου του κόσμου η Ελπίδα’ (The Whole World's Hope). Bessy Argyraki from the group became a popular singer in Greece. She went on to record Greek covers of well known pop hits and Eurovision songs.
Bessy collaborated with Robert Williams to do a Greek cover of the 1975 Italian Eurovision entry ‘Era’ by Wess and Dori Ghezzi. You can listen to their slightly faster tempo Greek cover here.
4. Anna Vissi - ‘Everything’ (9th place - 2006)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the iconic Anna Vissi!
Her Eurovision entry ‘Everything’ was met with huge reception when Greece hosted the Contest in 2006. The chorus of the song is like an ode to her fandom and Greece itself for sticking by her all these decades. She sang it with such pride. The song was written by Anna Vissi herself, together with her ex-husband and musical collaborator for the last 30 years Nikos Karvelas.
She is no stranger to the Contest as she represented Greece in 1980 as Anna Vissi & The Epikouri with ‘Autostop’ which finished in 13th place. She also represented Cyprus in 1982 with ‘Mono i agapi’ which reached in 5th place.
3. Antique - (I Would) Die For You (3rd place - 2001)
After a two year absence Greece returned to the Eurovision Song Contest with Antique a Swedish-Greek pop duo comprising of Nikos Panagiotidis and Helena Paparizou.
A fan favourite ‘(I Would) Die For You’ re-ignited Greece’s passion for Eurovision creating a Golden era for Greece where over the next 13 years they would managed to qualify in every Grand Final and reached the Top 10, ten times, becoming one of the most successful countries in the 2000’s.
Antique rose in popularity in Greece, Sweden and throughout the Greek diaspora around the world, with hits like ‘Opa Opa’ and ‘Dinata Dinata’. Interesting fact, ‘Opa Opa’ was written by Giorgios Alkaios who represented Greece in Eurovision 2010 with the song ‘OPA!’.
2. Sakis Rouvas - Shake It (3rd place - 2004)
Three years after Antique’s 3rd place at Eurovision, Sakis Rouvas would storm into the Contest to replicate their success. He energised the stage with his white suit jacket and ripped jeans to give us his infectious performance of ‘Shake It’.
After Paparizou’s win in 2005, Sakis had the privilege of hosting the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest held in Athens, along with Maria Menounos. But that wasn’t enough for him.
Sakis would make his return to the Contest in 2009 with ‘This Is Our Night’. He gave it his all with a super generic performance including backing dancers, anti-gravity leaning moves, a travelator, and a lifting platform revealing the Greek flag. Not over the top at all! Giving him a 7th place finish.
1. Helena Paparizou - My Number One (1st place - 2005)
It just wouldn’t make sense if this wasn’t number one in our most iconic Greek Eurovision entries. Where Helena Paparizou made her epic return to the Contest to take the trophy for Greece.
The song itself incorporates traditional Greek music elements into a contemporary pop dance song. The songs arrangement includes a bouzouki and a Cretan lira.
‘My Number One’ was a significant victory for Greece in 2005. It is Greece’s first and only Eurovision win. It was a time just after the successful 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, and when Greece had won the UEFA Euro 2004 Football Championship. After the Eurovision win, Greece won the 2005 FIBA European Championship - EuroBasket. Those years were of great pride for Greece and its people.
It was so difficult to chose just five iconic entries for Greece. Honourable mentions have to go to Sophia Vossou’s passionate entry ‘Η ανοιξη’ from 1991, Kalomira’s ‘Secret Combination’ from 2008, Giorgoa Alkaios & Friends’ energetic entry ‘OPA!’ from 2010 and Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovidis with ‘Alcohol Is Free’. Check them out!
And there we have it, our most iconic Greek Eurovision entries.
We hope you enjoyed our countdown.
Who would you put in your top five?