Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest - 1961

Sweden chose their entrant for the Eurovision Song Contest 1961 through Melodifestivalen 1961. The Swedish national final was held on February 6th at Cirkus in Stockholm, hosted by Jeanette von Heidenstam.
Each of the songs was performed twice (firstly with a big orchestra, then with a small orchestra). The winner was chosen by the votes of 4 juries. Approximately 550 songs were submitted to SVT for the competition. The final was broadcast on Sveriges Radio TV, but was not broadcast on radio.The song April, April, performed once with Siw Malmkvist, once with Gunnar Wiklund, won. Although Siw Malmkvist won the final, she was not chosen to go forward to the ESC, mainly due to the fact that she couldn't stop laughing during her performance of April April, so she was replaced by Lill-Babs. In the contest, once more held in Cannes, she finished in 14th place.


1. April April - Siw Malmkvist/Gunnar Wiklund, 78 points
2. Vårvinter - Lill Babs/Lars Lönndahl, 71 points
2. Spela på regnbågen - Lars Lönndahl/Lilly Berglund, 71 points
4. Vår i hjärtat - Gunnar Wiklund/Siw Malmkvist, 58 points
5. Stockholm - Lilly Berglund/Lill Babs, 57 points


Lill-Babs (born Barbro Margareta Svensson on 9 March 1938 in Järvsö, Gävleborg County) is a Swedish singer and actress.

At the age of fifteen, she sang on the radioshow Morgonkvisten. The Swedish band leader and talent scout Simon Brehm contacted her and invited her to audition in his studio in Stockholm. The audition went well, and she moved to Stockholm to begin her career in show business.

In 1954, just as her fame was beginning to grow, the unmarried Lill-Babs became pregnant - a potential public scandal in Sweden of the mid-1950s. After giving birth to her daughter, Lill-Babs returned to focus on her career. However, Simon Brehm had by then found a new vocalist to take her place, Lill-Babs received an offer to tour with Kettil Olsson. A couple of years later she started to work again for Simon Brehm and went on to perform many concerts at dance palace Bal Palais and other tours.

In 1958, she went on her first self-produced tour and was cast in a movie. She released many records, which became big sellers, Svensktoppen entries and schlager standards in Sweden. A couple of songs were composed by the then relatively unknown Stig Anderson. He would go on to write several of Lill-Babs' hits in the 1960s and in the early 1970s.

During this time Lill-Babs did much of her work in West Germany, where many of her records, television shows, and movies were produced. As a result of this she became a big star in Germany, considered as popular as TV-artist Caterina Valente.

In 1960 Lill-Babs participated at Melodifestivalen with the song En Kyss, En Kyss which didn't reach the final. In 1961 she represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest with April April in Cannes where she came 10th. In 1969 she took part in the Norwegian national final for the ESC with the song Juksemaker Pipilort which came 10th. In 1973 Lill-Babs participated again at Melodifestivalen with the song Avsked Från En Vän which came 4th.

Lill-Babs' 1971 Svensktoppen hit Välkommen Till Världen, originally composed as a contender for Melodifestivalen of that year, was written and produced by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson and it is also one of the earliest recordings to feature backing vocals by all four future members of the band.

In 1974, Lill-Babs played the lead in the Swedish cast of musical Annie Get Your Gun. She received excellent reviews overall and was after twenty years in show business finally acknowledged for her talent as an allround entertainer, singing, acting and dancing. In the following three decades she would go on to play sold-out cabarets at venues like Berns Salonger and Hamburger Börs in Stockholm, often with material written especially for her by renowned Swedish writers such as poet Lars Forssell and singer and lyricist Barbro Hörberg.

At the age of 74 Lill-Babs is still going strong and still frequently touring Sweden.

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