Happy victory anniversary! Today, 20 years ago, Katrina and the Waves took Europe by storm in Dublin with Love Shine A Light.
I vaguely remember being in the room when Katrina won the contest in 1997, As a 12-year-old boy, Eurovision was an annual thing we watched at home, but a European music competition with lots of songs in different languages, wasn’t so much on the top of my priority list.
That all changed when I started to follow the contest as a fan from 2004 onwards. As I digged deeper into the Eurovision archives, Love Shine A Light, was a song I immediately recognised. Not surprisingly, after the song won the contest, it became a top ten hit in Belgium.
Evergreen Eurovision Classic
Across Europe Katrina and her Waves scored a top ten hit, reaching the top three in the UK, Austria and Sweden. While it’s no incredibly huge commercial success, compared to other winners, the UK’s last winner is an absolute evergreen;
I found this wonderful description of an evergreen on the Playmyjamz blog which describes Love Shine a Light perfectly;
..an evergreen song can be defined as any kind of song that is always fresh in your memory; as fresh as the time you first heard it. In most cases, many evergreen songs outlive the artist who sang them. They are usually one in a million. They come once in every five years or there about, from any genre of music. An evergreen song is that kind of song that most folk call the Old School Song; they are the kind of songs that catch the attention of the old, the young and the upcoming, all at a time. They are the songs that you can’t just erase the joy, the fulfilment and the lovely memory they bring to your heart whenever you hear them or whenever you are tempted to sing them…
Isn’t this the perfect fit for Love Shine A Light? I was very lucky last year to attend Eurovision: You Decide! where Katrina performed the winning song. And that just blew everyone away. It’s an incredibly special power to have. Check out the performance from last year’s national final below:
However, we also need to acknowledge that in the last twenty years the UK have seen a steep decline at Eurovision success. Since Love Shine A Light the UK has managed a top ten result three times. Girl band Precious and boy band Blue should also be considered as redeemable acts, having both finished just outside the top ten in 1999 and 2011.
In 2003, the inevitable happened, when the UK hit a nil points for the very first time. Since, the UK has been struggling to hit a chord with the European audience, being almost destined for a place within the bottom ten or to put it mildly, last five.
There is hope however, since last year the BBC reintroduced Eurovision: You Decide! as it’s national final to select a singer and song. This year, the final was won by Lucie Jones and I Will Never Give Up on You. (Check out our review here). It’s on her shoulders to bring back UK Eurovision glory.
While it’s by no means a Love Shine A Light, I do have the impression the UK are slowly but surely getting back on the right track. Does that mean I’m expecting another Love Shine A Light, at some point? No, in fact I hope they don’t as I don’t think the type of song would be able to win it again. But having something captivating and uplifting, that grabs you from start to finish, must somehow be just around the corner.