57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Boom Bang-a-Brilliant!, 9 Mar. 2005
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? 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.
I really enjoyed the style and wit of this author. He has successfully managed to produce an in depth look at the contest without taking it all too seriously and yet write a genuinely enthusiastic and fascinating history of the competition that everyone loves to hate. His flair with words is wonderful and makes for a very entertaining read. Here's to another 50 years of fun!