43. Lulu, Boom Bang-a-Bang, 1969
Our second winner was better, but not much better, resembling the score of a Bavarian children’s cartoon. After her excellent work on ‘Shout’ and the title track of the 1967 film To Sir, with Love, Lulu let loose here. This is how the 60s end, not with a bang-a-bang but a whimper.
42. Live Report, Why Am I Always Wrong?, 1989
Another tearful ballad, sung by a bald man barely clinging to his ponytail. Despite lackluster performances and questionable clothing choices (tight tie, leather tuxedo jacket, beige pants), the judges still found something to admire here: he came in second, with all 12 ratings. the most perfect of the evening.
41. Lucie Jones, Never Give Up, 2017
“Siri, sing me a Celine Dion B-side.” Welsh model Jones tried unsuccessfully to inject energy, humanity or warmth into this slow-paced anthem. His lyrics were widely mocked on social media due to his unfortunate timing; it was our first appearance in Eurovision since the Brexit referendum, when Britain told Europe that we were, in fact, quite happy to give you up.
40. Scott Fitzgerald, Come On, 1988
Inhale deeply. Breathe that cheese. Like a good camembert, this slice of overblown schmaltz has only matured over time and now has a perverted kitsch appeal. Written by Bruce Forsyth’s daughter, Julie, it came incredibly close to winning, achieving an undeserved second place finish. As his namesake once said writing Gatsby, “Nothing is so odious as other people’s luck.”
39. Olivia Newton John, Long Live Love, 1974
As John Travolta would later sing, “Why, Sandy, why-yi-yi?” Before becoming famous on the big screen in Fat, the fabulous Olivia Newton John gritted her teeth through the choppy air. As she snapped the words “HAP-PY PEO-PLE”, she sounded like she was planning on biting their jugulars. The song is ostensibly about the Salvation Army, and that military beat gives it a strangely oppressive feel. It’s like something they might play on a tannoy at Disneyland in North Korea.
38. Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson, Sing, Little Birdie, 1958
Is it a bird? Is it an airplane? No, it’s a husband and wife double act. Carr and Johnson gape as the little bird flies past their eyes (animated by the orchestra’s piccolo). “Sing, little bird up there / Sing a love song!” Those with the highest twee tolerance might benefit; for everyone, this is a strong argument for the benefits of bird flu.
37. Ronnie Carroll, Ring-A-Ding Girl, 1962
It begins with such a promise. With his dark good looks and strong, steady tenor, Belfast-born Carroll wows us from the opening bars – before launching into a chorus so irritating it’s been proven to give listeners the mumps. Ring-ding-a-do? Ring-ding-a-don’t.
36. Ronnie Carroll, Say Wonderful Things, 1963
Returning to make amends in 1962, Carroll returned to Sing Forgettable Things flanked by three identical chorus girls. It’s an improvement over his previous effort (although both songs came in at #4). A lovely, traveling guitar riff elevates this above mere mush.
35. Cliff Richard, Congratulations, 1968
He may still be popular, but this insufferable earworm really has nothing to praise. Still, Sir Cliff’s kneeling dance moves deserve a round of applause. They certainly made an impression at the time: after a particularly impressive jump back, you could hear her female fans screaming with excitement.
34. Vikki, Love is…, 1985
Vikki’s underpowered ballad might not have been a prize, but her hairdresser certainly deserved a trophy. After Eurovision, the song sank without a trace. Vikki has since renamed herself Aeone and relaunched her career with more success as an ambient folk singer based in Los Angeles.