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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boom Bang-a-Brilliant!
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...
Published on 9 Mar 2005 by Nick - A Euro Addict

versus
11 of 82 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
I bought this book hoping for a new view, a new way of introducing 50 years of the greatest musical extravaganza the world have ever seen - but alas I have to admit that this publications in no better (or worse) then the other 2 previous publications entitled "Eurovision Companion" which were published in 1998,1999 respectively; The problem in both cases is that they are...
Published on 27 May 2005 by Daniel Herzog


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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!
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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
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
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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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!, 14 Mar 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boom Bang-a-Brilliant!, 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Reference book for Eurovision., 12 May 2005
By 
Neil Blanks (Portsmouth, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The story is more interesting than the music, 1 Jun 2009
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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 quality. So why did I buy this book? Well, I saw it at a very low price when I was hunting for bargains and my instant reaction was No! But on further reflection, I realized that it might be useful to me. First, the statistical information might occasionally be useful to me as a reviewer. Second, the actual story of Eurovision, especially the dubious voting practices, might be of interest in itself. Reading about Eurovision wouldn't force me to actually listen to any of the music, so I decided to buy and do not regret the purchase.

There are between two and four pages devoted to each year's contest from 1956 to 2006, plus a Euro-stats section that brings together all kinds of statistics, some of which are more useful than others. One of the tables shows which countries have competed most frequently. Only Germany has entered every contest, though it failed to pre-qualify for the final in 1996. Britain (in 1956 and 1958) and France (in 1974 and 1982) have each missed two contests. France's omission in 1974 was due to the death of their president a few days before. Other statistics show how many times each country has won or finished last in the main contest. Statistics are also shown for individual performers, composers and conductors, as well as for pre-qualifying (which the book incorrectly calls semi-finals - even if this is the official term, it`s still wrong). One of the intriguing aspects of the pre-qualifying is that it offers no real guide to how those songs will do in the main contest, even relative to each other.

The very first contest was staged in 1956 and featured just seven competing nations although three other nations including Britain declared their interest too late, so were excluded. That first contest allowed two entries from each nation, since when one per nation has been the rule. From the very first contest, the music performed at the contest has mainly steered clear of popular trends although there have been exceptions. Even when internationally popular songs made their debut at Eurovision, they didn't always win, though Abba proved that they do occasionally. Did you know that Volare began life as a 1958 Eurovision entry, coming third under a different title? The winning French entry succeeded in France but nowhere else.

Voting controversies are an integral part of Eurovision. The first major controversy occurred in 1963 when, it seems, there were problems with the Norwegian jury. After trying to cast their votes at the appointed time, they actually cast their votes at the end, but some of the numbers were different. With their original votes, Switzerland would have won instead of Denmark. Another controversy came in 1968 when Britain's Cliff Richard lost by a single point to the Spanish entry. This time, the Germans were suspected. (Surely not revenge for a different type of contest two years earlier?) Controversy over votes has been a feature of Eurovision ever since, and not just about individual entries. Much has been said about political voting. We know that some countries will always vote for their friends and against their enemies. Being just a song contest supposedly unconnected with politics, this type of voting is frowned upon but surprises nobody. As this book only covers the period to 2006, it necessarily omit's the 2007 contest, in which eastern European countries voted almost exclusively for each other, resulting in the total domination of the contest by these nations. I've heard talk of splitting this contest, already unwieldy, into east and west, but I don't know if it will actually happen. Meanwhile, they keep changing the voting system in the hope of minimising corruption.

The book also gives an insight into the rules governing the contest. Apparently, the rules are (or at least were; rules can always change) strict about the language used to sing the song, but not about the nationality of the performer. Yes, Eurovision is a world unto itself.

From a musical perspective, Eurovision is as irrelevant as it ever was, but with all its shortcomings - or maybe because of them - it has a fascination all of its own. This book does a good job of reflecting on the contest's ups and downs, but doesn't tempt me to investigate the music further.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Eurovision? You'll love this!, 24 Feb 2009
By 
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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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Updated & Expanded, 28 Mar 2007
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. But when I saw this new 2007 book, I was really impressed with the expansion of the Eurostats and the new 2006 chapter. Plus, the annoying errors from the first book seem to have all been corrected, which is welcome in something that really is the definitive guide to my favourite show. I really like the Lordi cover too! Really recommend this book to any Eurovision fan as a must have and a great book for anyone to read in general.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice item, 8 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official History (Paperback)
I bought this book as a Chrsitmas gift. It arrived promtly. The reciepient has told me they enjoyed the product
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The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official History
The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official History by John Kennedy O'Connor (Paperback - 1 April 2010)
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