From Zack: Roy is the president of OGAE REST OF THE WORLD. If you know Roy, you know that he is one of, if not THE biggest RALPH SIEGEL fan. So when we found out that RALPH SIEGEL would return to EUROVISION 2013 with SAN MARINO’s entry, Roy decided to take a look back at Ralph Siegel’s illustrious Eurovision career. Although his last Eurovision victory was in 1982, and his last appearance in a final was 2006, there is no denial that you cannot think of Eurovision without thinking of RALPH SIEGEL.
At ESC UNITED, we want to put the focus back on the totality of the entries. That means we want to honor everyone involved, particularly the composers. This will be the first of many retrospective looks at composers involved in Eurovision. When you think of Eurovision, what are some other composers that immediately come to mind? We’d love to hear from you, and perhaps in a future post, we will honor them as well!
With the news that Ralph Siegel will be the composer of San Marino’s entry in Malmo, Sweden, it will be the 21st time that Ralph will be the composer of a song at the Eurovision song contest.
It is interesting that this milestone is being reached in Sweden. Ralph’s first song was BYE BYE I LOVE YOU for Ireen Sheer in 1974 in Brighton. The winning song that year of course was Abba with WATERLOO. Ralph’s song for Luxembourg took 4th place.
His second song was SING SANG SONG for The Les Humphries singers. They represented Germany in De Hague and the song ended in 15th position. Personally this is one of his weakest songs, but the group has achieved a lot of success even in countries such as South Africa.
Next up was 1979 and once again for Germany, this time with Dschinghis khan and the song with the same name. It was the first of several songs he wrote together with Bernd Meinunger as the lyrist. The Eurovision song contest was in Jerusalem. Dschinghis khan has one of the strongest connections to South Africa with one of its members, HERMAN LOUIS POTGIETER being South African. He actually went to the same high school as me, just several years ahead of me. The group scored also several massive hits with songs such as Rome and Moscow.
1980 was a good year. Ralph had two songs at Eurovision in De Hague. The first was for Katja Ebstein who made her third appearance at Eurovision and came second with THEATER. The second song was again for Luxembourg. It only reached the 9th position but LE PAPA PINGOUIN by Sophie & Magaly became a million seller.
His 6th appearance came in 1981 in Dublin with Lithuanian born Lena Valaitis and JOHNNY BLUE. This too reached 2nd position.
Then came Harrogate in 1982 and Ralph’s dream came true. Nicole took EIN BISSCHEN FRIEDEN into first position and recorded multiple language versions of it. I myself have 81 covers of Ein bisschen frieden with many of them by South African singers.
1985 was a fairly disappointing year. Ralph’s song in the German selection, DIE GLOCKEN VON ROM sung by Heike Schafer, was a red-hot favourite but Wind won it with Fur alle. Luckily he was able to attend Gotenburg with another song for Luxembourg. It was called CHILDREN, KINDER, ENFANTS and performed by six famous solo singers namely Margo, Frank Olivier, Chris Roberts, Malcolm Roberts, Ireen Sheer and Dianne Solomon. I liked this song that mixed several languages in one but it managed only 13th position.
Ralph bounced back in 1987 and went to Brussels with WIND – their song was LASS DIE SONNE IN EIN HERZ. Due to the fact that certain sections of the German people got tired of Ralph and Bernd writing songs all the time, they actually entered the song originally under another set of names. The song gave WIND another 2nd place.
1998 saw him entering with the mother and daughter duo, Maxi and Chris Garden and the song LIED FUR EINEN FREUND. This is not only my top German entry ever; it is also my top Eurovision entry ever for any country. This song is so good and I nearly had a heart attach when it came just 14th and French song I dislike won and made Celine Dion a superstar.
1990 was a united Germany and Ralph entered with FREI ZU LEBEN sung by Chris Kempers & Daniel Kovac. I love this song but it managed only 9th position in Zagreb. Maybe if they had sung in Serbian, it could have done better? Bles Bridges covered it in English as LET ME LOVE YOU and went double platinum with it.
Ralph is returning to Malmo where the 1992 Eurovision song took place and he had WIND there with TRAUME SIND FUR ALLE DA. This is my personal favourite of the 3 Wind entries, but it did not do well – getting only 16th place. As Ralph himself said “Dreams are not enough”. Hopefully he will get a better result in 2013 in Malmo.
1994 and Eurovision was in Dublin and Ralph had WIR GEBEN’NE PARTY by Mekado (Melanie, Katy and Dorkas). One of them was the child of a Dschinghis khan member. The song reached 3rd place.
1995 and my first accredited Eurovision and I love ZEIT by Bianca Shomburg who sounded so much like Celine Dion. Dublin did not bring Ralph the same good luck as 1994 and the song ended only in the 18th place.
In 1999 we all journeyed to Jerusalem and Ralph had the song REISE NACH JERUSALEM – KUDUS’E SEYEHAT by Surpriz. It was indeed a surprise for him to be able to go as the song originally picked for Germany was disqualified.
2002 in Tallinn was a low point for Ralph. He took Corinna May with I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT MUSIC. Corinna was the girl selected in 1999 for Eurovision but disqualified, so maybe Ralph felt he had to make up for that disappointed and write this song for Corinna which won the German selection but the rest of Europe did not like it at all and it ended in position 22nd.
We were off to neighbouring Riga in 2003 and with Lou and LET’S GETR HAPPY. I think Ralph was happy enough it ended in 12th position.
In 2006 we were in Athens and Ralph had written the song for Switzerland this time. It has the beautiful title IF WE ALL GIVE A LITTLE but unfortunately when it came to points, the various countries gave too little. It only ended in 15th position. The concept of using 6 individual singers, 3 male and 3 female from a variety of countries seemed like a winner, when you have females from Switzerland, Israel and Bosnia and males from Sweden, Malta and Portugal/Germany. Unfortunately for some reason, unknown to me, this did not have the affect I thought it would with the song getting points from a variety of countries. Some agency at the United Nations adopted the song and it is really a typical anthem and ideal for Eurovision.
In 2009 he wrote the song from Montenegro and it was called JUST GET OUT OF MY LIFE. Andrea Demirovic sang it and it missed the final by two points at the Eurovision in Moscow.
2012 saw his 20th entry, this time for tiny SAN MARINO. The song was originally called THE FACEBOOK SONG but the E B U stood firm on trademarks and the title was changed to THE SOCIAL NETWORK SONG – OH OH – UH – OH OH and sung by Valentina Monetta. Personally I think the song would have done better in Baku if a young pop female has sung it.
Now we are getting ready for Malmo and lets hope Ralph brings us another classic.