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The "Eurovision Song Contest": The Official History [Paperback]

John Kennedy O'Connor
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 April 2006
The fun and the feuds, the high points, the dismal lows, the scandals, the most outrageous outfits, the innovators and the copy cats, this glorious book captures the singular flavour of Eurovision, charting its journey from the first competition in 1956 - just seven entrants, broadcast from a tiny venue in Switzerland with a studio audience of 200 - to the international extravaganza watched by 300 million viewers that it has become today. It's a completely unique event in modern pop music, with its own agenda entirely, that has spawned almost as many anti-heroes as it has stars. Updated to include Eurovision's 50th birthday in 2005, and illustrated throughout with colour and black and white photos, and rare memorabilia including artwork for singles, this book is a nostalgic and resplendent celebration of an at times eccentric competition that is adored by hundreds of millions around the world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Carlton Books Ltd (3 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844422402
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844422401
  • Product Dimensions: 27.6 x 21.6 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,698,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

John Kennedy O' Connor has been a fan of Eurovision ever since he can remember. He has every single sleeve for every Eurovision entry, and is passionate about the show. He is an Englishman living in San Francisco and this is his first book.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boom Bang-a-Brilliant! 9 Mar 2005
Format:Hardcover
One of TV's greatest phenomenon's and longest running show's, The Eurovision Song Contest reaches it's 50th edition in 2005 and (ironically for a BBC show) Carlton Books are publishing this remarkable book to mark the occasion, in conjunction with the European Broadcasting Union.

Author John Kennedy O'Connor has wonderfully captured the spirit of this annual tele-visual kitsch fest in a lavishly illustrated book spanning the entire history of this much maligned show that started as a one off event in a small Swiss theatre in 1956, with just seven competing nations, and is now a two-day event featuring upwards of forty countries, some from well beyond Europe's borders.
Covering all the highs and lows of the competition and including intriguing and little-known backstage gossip and anecdotes, O'Connor's style is wonderfully entertaining and provides a genuinely interesting and slightly ironic tribute to the contest and the stars and songs that have featured in it over the years. The book is divided into two distinct sections. The monochrome era of the show from 1956-1967 is covered in double page chapters; whereas the colour broadcasts from 1968 all get four pages each. The entries and results for every year are included alongside numerous and very rare colour and black and white photographs of the artists as well as artwork for all the winning singles, together with their international chart history. Most fun of all, O'Connor has compiled a fascinating "Eurofacts" section that covers all of the trivial statistics that fans crave and that intrigue the general viewers. If you want to know what colour scheme is best to wear if you want to win - you'll find it here! Most people know which nation won the most contests, but which country finished 16th most frequently?
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic! 9 Mar 2005
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
A great book for fans of the cheesiest contest on TV - evocative and nostalgic, it brings back my memories of a 70's family huddled over their makeshift score sheets whilst simultaneously giving Norway nul points. Only Wogan himself could do better. Who remembers Frizzle Sizzle, the barefooted foorsome from Holland? and could you ever forget Dana International the Transexual Israeli entrant? This is the definitive guide and a must have for this years annual eurovision party (complete with official drinking game). It is both funny, yet respectful compendium of a contest that has launched some great talents into the pop charts, and Celine Dion
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The History Book on the Shelf.... 16 April 2006
Format:Paperback
One of TV's greatest phenomenons and longest running shows, The Eurovision Song Contest reached its 50th edition in 2005 and (ironically for a BBC show) Carlton Books published this remarkable book to mark the occasion, in conjunction with the European Broadcasting Union. This paperback edition updates the book to include the 2005 contest in Kiev and brings all the stats and facts up to date ahead of this year's contest in Athens.

Author John Kennedy O'Connor has wonderfully captured the spirit of this annual tele-visual kitsch fest in a lavishly illustrated book spanning the entire history of this much maligned show that started as a one off event in a small Swiss theatre in 1956, with just seven competing nations, and is now a two-day event featuring upwards of forty countries, some from well beyond Europe's borders.

Covering all the highs and lows of the competition and including intriguing and little-known backstage gossip and anecdotes, O'Connor's style is very entertaining and provides a genuinely interesting and slightly ironic tribute to the contest and the stars and songs that have featured in it over the years. The book is divided into two distinct sections. The monochrome era of the show from 1956-1967 is covered in double page chapters; whereas the colour broadcasts from 1968 all get four pages each. The entries and results for every year are included alongside numerous and very rare colour and black and white photographs of the artists as well as artwork for all the winning singles, together with their international chart history. Most fun of all, O'Connor has compiled a fascinating "Eurofacts" section that covers all of the trivial statistics that fans crave and that intrigue the general viewers.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! 14 Mar 2007
Format:Hardcover
I've been into Eurovision for as long as I can remember and always wondered why there wasn't a definitve guide and history published before. This book fills that gap perfectly. Everything you'd want to know and loads of things you've probably never thought of. Certainly the Eurostats section has tons of stuff to mull over. I really think this is a great book with great layouts and illustrations. Love the look of the author too! Yum!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boom Bang-a-Brilliant! 5 April 2006
By ESC Fan
Format:Paperback
First released in 2005 to celebrate 50 years of The Eurovision Song Contest, this is a newly updated paperback version of that book.
Author John Kennedy O'Connor has wonderfully captured the spirit of this annual tele-visual kitsch fest in a lavishly illustrated book spanning the entire history of this much maligned show, now including the 2005 contest and a small section on the contest's semi-finals from the mid-nineties onwards.
Covering all the highs and lows of the competition and including intriguing and little-known backstage gossip and anecdotes, O'Connor's style is entertaining and provides a genuinely interesting and slightly ironic tribute to the contest and the stars and songs that have featured in it over the years. The book is divided into two distinct sections. The monochrome era of the show from 1956-1967 is covered in double page chapters; whereas the colour broadcasts from 1968 all get four pages each. The entries and results for every year are included alongside numerous and very rare colour and black and white photographs of the artists as well as artwork for all the winning singles, together with their international chart history. Most fun of all, O'Connor has compiled a fascinating "Eurofacts" section that covers all of the trivial statistics that fans crave and that intrigue the general viewers. If you want to know what colour scheme is best to wear if you want to win - you'll find it here! Most people know which nation won the most contests, but which country finished 16th most frequently? Which nation is best at choosing the winner, or worst for that matter? Who conducted the most number of entries and for the most number of nations? It's all here and a lot more.
Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice item
I bought this book as a Chrsitmas gift. It arrived promtly. The reciepient has told me they enjoyed the product
Published 6 months ago by Susan Harvey
5.0 out of 5 stars Birthday present
I read the previous reviews for this item before buying and found them really helpful.

This book was a present and I know naff alls bout Eurovision the other comments... Read more
Published 6 months ago by miss s l barnard
5.0 out of 5 stars a must have for eurovision fans
If you're into Eurovision you should have bought this book already :). Seriously this books is filled with loads of intresting information on every single year of Eurovision. Read more
Published on 19 Feb 2011 by prinsesje85
5.0 out of 5 stars A Eurovision Fan's Must have publication.
I bought this product as a gift but it appears to be a very comprehensive history of Eurovision. It gives details of all the entries over the years along with scores and final... Read more
Published on 5 July 2010 by Mrs. Caroline J. Weston
4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing update
I had bought the 50th anniversary edition of the Eurovision Official History and loved it; but it is now 6 years out of date so I bought the new edition, which takes it up to 2009. Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2010 by John Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Eurovision Trivia
Absolutely brilliant book! Every contest covered, including 2009. Interesting trivia at the back detailing facts ranging from the number of winning songs sung in English to the... Read more
Published on 26 May 2010 by S. Richardson
5.0 out of 5 stars The story is more interesting than the music
I've never cared for the Eurovision song contest. A few good songs - even a few great songs - have emerged from it, but the vast majority of Eurovision songs are of a questionable... Read more
Published on 1 Jun 2009 by Peter Durward Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Eurovision? You'll love this!
Any Eurovision fan will treasure this 200 page trip down memory lane. John Kennedy O'Connor's labour of love is packed with voting tables, photos, statistics and a year-by-year... Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2009 by Vauxhall1964
5.0 out of 5 stars Updated & Expanded
I bought the two earlier editions of this book, but I wasn't sure I was going to get this new version, as the 2nd hadn't really added anything much, other than the 2005 chapter. Read more
Published on 28 Mar 2007 by Big Boris
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
I've been into Eurovision for as long as I can remember and always wondered why there wasn't a definitve guide and history published before. This book fills that gap perfectly. Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2007 by Sandy Price
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