Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Germany 1976

Germany was represented by the Les Humphries Singers at the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Sing Sang Song. Sing Sang Song originally placed 2nd in the German national final but became the German entry when the winner, Der Star by Tony Marshall, was disqualified.

The final was held over two nights – 31 January and 1 February – at the TV studios in Frankfurt, hosted by Max Schauzer. 12 songs took part with six performed on each evening, with the winner chosen by postcard voting, the results of which were announced on 18 February. Der Star was the public choice by a margin of over 20,000 votes, but was later disqualified when it was discovered that the song had been performed in public prior to the national final. Sing Sang Song was therefore promoted and announced as the 1976 German entry.


01. Der Star - Tony Marshall, 118250 votes (DQ)
02. Sing Sang Song - Les Humphries Singers, 96705 votes
03. Applaus für ein total verrücktes Haus - Maggie Mae, 71882 votes
04. Komm geh mit mir - Nina & Mike, 61944 votes
05. Komm geh mit mir - Love Generation, 58846 votes
06. Es ist ein Mensch - Meeting Point, 53568 votes
07. Du machst Karriere - Lena Valaitis, 47714 votes
08. Einmal Wasser, einmal Wein - Ireen Sheer, 45032 votes
09. Der Jahrmarkt unserer Eitelkeit - Bruce Low, 43352 votes
10. Wenn du so bist wie dein Lachen - Ina Deter, 27903 votes
11. Ein neuer Tag - Piera Martell, 24525 votes
12. Das alte Haus - Tina York, 17562 votes

On the night of the final the Les Humphries Singers performed 3rd in the running order. In comparison to the slickly presented, precisely choreographed stage routines put together by other acts in the early part of the show (such as the United Kingdom's Brotherhood of Man and Chocolat, Menta, Mastik from Israel), the German presentation came across on screen as ragged and untidy in the extreme, with no apparent thought having been given to providing a focussed ensemble performance, and the audience response at the end of the song was noticeably muted and unenthusiastic. At the close of voting "Sing Sang Song" had received 12 points, placing Germany 15th of the 18 entries.

Sing Sang Song has a very negative reputation, with both song and performance often being mentioned as among the worst ever heard and seen in a Eurovision final. An open online poll of Eurovision fans rated the song as the worst of the 1970s. The Les Humphries Singers had enjoyed considerable success prior to the contest but disbanded shortly thereafter: the Eurovision disaster is thought to have been a major factor in this decision.

The Les Humphries Singers was a 1970s musical group formed in Hamburg, Germany in 1969 by the English born Les Humphries (born John Lesley Humphreys, 10 August 1940, in Croydon, Surrey, England - died 26 December 2007, in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England), who had been inspired to do his own version of the Edwin Hawkins Singers.

The Les Humphries Singers dissolved at the end of the 1970s, after Humphries had left due to tax liabilities to his English homeland, Alton, Hampshire and due to a bad result at the ESC in 1976.

In his later years, Humphries led a quiet life in London. In March 2008, the German newspaper Bild reported his death on 26 December 2007 in a London hospital from a heart attack after a severe bout of pneumonia.

The group consisted of a large number of singers of diverse ethnic origin.

The Les Humphries Singers performed a mix of popular music and gospel covers and had some success in Europe with this approach. Much like contemporary disco act Boney M., their music focused on Rhythm and blues, gospel, and disco, but often with psychedelic phasing or flanger effects on solos and bridges, and, much like James Last, much larger background choruses in the studio to emulate a live atmosphere. The Les Humphries Singers at the time brought something from the flair of the hippie movement into contemporary German-produced (but English-sung) pop music, especially due to their mixed ethnic background and peculiar fashion sense.

Two of their earliest and best known hits were Mexico (1972) and Mama Loo (1973). In 1976 they represented Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest with the Ralph Siegel title Sing Sang Song, reduced to only six singers (their usual line-ups consisted of 20 performers and up), and came in 15th place, which they regarded as the beginning of the end as a band. At the same time, they were the resident vocal band on the internationally syndicated TV series The International Pop Proms, working with James Last and other renowned artists.

They disbanded shortly thereafter the same year, but enjoyed a short comeback as a pure live act from 1991 until 1993 performing their old hits.

In 2006, the original band members formed The Original Singers without Les Humphries, but with new members, re-recording their old hits and also releasing new material.

The former members, Jürgen Drews, Tina Kemp-Werner, Judy Archer and Peggy Evers-Hartig, formed a group called the Les Humphries Singers Reunion in 2009.

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