Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Continental Drift

Yesterday I mentioned that the only winner of the Eurovision song contest that made an impact on the American charts was "Waterloo" by Abba, which went to Number six in the summer of '74. But there were two other Eurovision winners - both North Americans, oddly enough - who are very familiar names as well.

In 1982, Celine Dion, who is from Charlemagne, Quebec (and the youngest of fourteen children), pulled a Zola Budd and passed herself off as Swiss in order to win the 1988 Eurovision contest with a song called "Ne partez pas sans moi." It doesn't appear that it was ever released as a single here in the U.S. The next year, her manager and future husband Rene Angelil sent her to the Ecole Berlitz to learn English, and before you knew it, "My Heart Will Go On" was inescapable.

Then, in 1997, Katrina Leskanich, straight outta Topeka, Kansas, appeared with her group Katrina and the Waves as the representatives from the United Kingdom (Katrina has lived in England since 1976). They did a song called "Love Shine a Light," which won the biggest landslide in the history of Eurovision, twelve years after "Walking on Sunshine" had ruled the summer of 1985. It went to Number Three in the U.K., but failed to chart here, and Katrina and the Waves broke up shortly thereafter. Katrina went on to record a solo cover of "Hitsville U.K." for a tribute to Sandinista! I haven't heard it.

1 comment:

A J Williams said...

Katrina's version of Hitsville is quite good. Shes still doing the Eurovision circuit these days...more info is at her MySpace page.... seems like every singer/band has a MySpace page.
Naturally, she has a self titled cd available aswell which surprisingly aint too bad, but being a fan I am biased...each man to his own I guess.