SPAIN – On the 29th of March of 1969, Spain saw their representative win the Eurovision Song Contest, for what has proven to be the last time. Salomé won the contest with “Vivo cantando” but had to share the award with three other participants. A first in the contest and something which didn’t dampen the victory for Salomé and for a Spain which was still under a dictatorship and watching the contest in black and white, even if TVE were broadcasting in colour.
It was the last time that TVE decided to spend big on Eurovision, with media and tourism minister, Manuel Frage hiring names such as Salvador Dalí, Amadeo Gabino, Augusto Algueró and Manuel Pertegaz. International names which meant TVE and Spain spent big on a contest which looked to lift spirits in a country embattled in student protests.
In a recent interview, Salomé has spoken of her Eurovision experience, winning Eurovision in 1968, following on from the 1968 victory for Massiel, representing a country which had won the previous year but has not won since. Salomé notes how the song “Vivo cantando” was selected out of ten other songs and how she was taken around Europe to promote the song.
A difficult task but one which was helped by having Artur Kaps on board. Kaps was an Austrian television personality who knew every European network. Salomé remembers fondly her final appearance, taking place in Madrid, she felt comfortable and confident. However she states that luck plays an important part at Eurovision. The dress she feels was key to the performance, the designer, Manuel Pertegez, had been headhunted by Christian Dior and was a genius in creating the perfect ensemble.
Made of porcelain and weighing 14 kilos, the dress produced a unique look on screen and although Salomé still owns it, it is no longer wearable due to it’s delicate nature. She doesn’t consider modern attire to be at the same level, as in today’s Eurovision, performers appear in ripped jeans and there isn’t the same effort in appearing exquisite on stage.
Among the significant things that took place at Eurovision in 1969 was that Salvador Dalí was in charge of the promotional material although it wasn´t something which Salomé noticed at the time, as well as the refusal of Austria to take part, due to the Spanish dictatorship in charge at the time, something which Salomé considers unjust, given how much effort Spain made to promote the country as a modern and efficient country.
The joint winner of Frida Boccara (France) with “Un jour, un enfant” is the song which Salomé considers the best song of that Eurovision and her worst was another joint winner, Lenny Kuhr (Netherlands) who performed “De troubadour”. The song “Vivo cantanto” went on to be produced in many languages including in Serbo-Croatian and that was something which Salomé enjoyed.
Asked about why Spain has never won again, the answer appears to be money and the fact that hosting Eurovision is expensive and TVE appear to be unwilling to commit to such a venture. At least that’s the evidence provided by Salomé when discussing Spain’s second place finish in 1979. She also feels that the contest is not as good as it used to be, that although the performers are good, the songs and the performances are more shock and less quality.
With no orchestra and the stage act being more important than the song, it becomes unwatchable and in her mind, last year’s winner was just as bad, although she blames the network rather than the artist themselves.
Salomé considers the Eurofans to be key to the ongoing survival of Eurovision, without them the contest would fail however she’s also aware that she is no longer as popular with people as she used to be, as that will always happen with performers after many years.
Concerning Spain at Eurovision, she would not say if she thought the country could win again but if it takes another 50 years to do so, she won’t be around to see it.
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Hoy se cumplen 50 años de la victoria de Salomé en @eurovisiontve con su 'Vivo cantando' y @miki.ot2018 ha querido celebrarlo visitando la escultura que adornaba el escenario del Festival en 1969… ¿Le dará suerte? 🍀😉 #eurovision2019 #eurovision #mikiot2018 #lavenda @corazontve