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on 9 March 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!
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on 9 March 2005
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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on 16 April 2006
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. 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. Also included in the new edition is a summary of the semi-finals from recent contests.

I really enjoyed the style of this author, who clearly knows his Euro stuff. 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 style makes for a very entertaining read. Here's to another 50 years of fun!
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on 14 March 2007
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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on 12 May 2005
The writer of this particular book certainly knows his stuff. That's the first impression that I got from reading this work. The facts are well presented and it highlights what happened in each Eurovision Song Contest, except possibly 1956, it was a little bit vague in that area. However, considering the whole contest that year was mysterious to say the least, nobody knew how the voting system worked because it was done in secret, I can forgive him.
What could have been useful is a table on how each country voted in each year. That is made up for however by the facts and figures at the back of the book, including a top ten of all four voting systems given in percentage form. I found that a very helpful guide in many ways. It also gives a list of all the countries that have participated in Eurovision's entries, again a useful reference.
The book layout is colourful and presented in the right way. It can be used either as a reference book or as a casual read. As a celebration of Fifty years of Eurovision, I cannot fault it. It's a must have for all fans of the contest
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on 24 February 2009
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 commentary. It's everything we fans could have wished for. As a reference book it's invaluable for settling puzzlers like just how many times Norway has come last or which singers weren't natives of the country they sang for. I'm forever dipping into my copy. Ignore the couple of reviewers here who marked this down. Clearly the book they'd prefer would be unsellable to a mainstream audience and let's face it, unless this book sells in quantities there'll be no further installments. And that is my only issue with this great book; as soon as it's published it's quickly out of date. The most recent copy stops at the 2009 contest where the fiddler from Norway triumphed. Here's hoping for a much anticipated update soon.
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on 14 March 2007
I am relatively new to the world of the Eurovision Song Contest. Although it's been running on an annual basis for over five decades, I only saw it for the first time three years ago and I just can't get enough of it. It's just amazingly wacky, camp, glitzy and weird, yet has some really outstanding music and performances and the whole voting across continents thing really is very exciting. Wanting to know more, I bought both the first and updated edition of this book and I refer to it almost every day! It tells the whole story in great detail and there are amazing statistics to pour over as well as endless pictures. It's a really great design and layout and just a really cool book. Hopefully there'll be an update every year!
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on 24 August 2006
I am relatively new to the world of the Eurovision Song Contest. Although it's been running on an annual basis for over five decades, I only saw it for the first time three years ago and I just can't get enough of it. It's just amazingly wacky, camp, glitzy and weird, yet has some really outstanding music and performances and the whole voting across continents thing really is very exciting. Wanting to know more, I bought both the first and updated edition of this book and I refer to it almost every day! It tells the whole story in great detail and there are amazing statistics to pour over as well as endless pictures. It's a really great design and layout and just a really cool book. Hopefully there'll be an update every year!
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on 5 April 2006
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.
I really enjoyed the this book and clearly the author really knows the contest inside out. 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. He's made it a very entertaining read.
Here's to another 50 years of fun!
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on 9 June 2010
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. Two things I don't like (so 4 stars only) - firstly it was advertised as a hardback and it isn't. I think all reference books should be hardback, particularly if they are described as such. Secondly, we have lost the index, which in the previous edition gave all the entries for each country; so if you wanted to know how long it is since Germany won, you could easily find out. On the plus side, we have the results for the semifinals.
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