Anorak News | The Eurovison Wars: Spain’s Attack On Cliff Richard, The British Elvis

The Eurovison Wars: Spain’s Attack On Cliff Richard, The British Elvis

by | 30th, January 2009

“DID Franco’s Spain rig Eurovision and cheat Cliff Richard out of a win?” asks the Daily Mail’s David Wigg.

Cliff, who has enjoyed hits in three millennia, has outlived bigger foes than General Franco. But can it be that the Spanish dictator fixed it so that Cliff’s Congratulations! lost the Tepid War of Eurovision by a single point to Spain’s Massiel’s forgettable La La La?

Says Wigg:

So surprising was that Eurovision Song Contest result it’s now been revealed that Sir Cliff may well have been cheated out of the title…

The allegation is that Franco fixed the show to promote Spain’s image abroad. But might it be – might it be – that Franco was no fan of Cliff, perhaps even hating “the most radical rock star there has ever been” [source Cliff on Alan Titchmarsh 2007]?

Says Cliff, now just about recovered:

“The strain of the voting was too much for me. I locked myself in the loo because I couldn’t bear to watch it. Even today, my most abiding memory is locking the door to escape the cameras during voting. I thought: ‘If I don’t win, I want to be able to weep in private.’ No way was I going to let the cameras show 100 million viewers how upset I was.”

How time change. Cliff’s toilet cubicle stoicism serves as an antiquity of its age. Now there would be a three minute and 22 seconds nationwide silence to mark the wrong, questions in the House and the singing of many lewd songs about Franco’s sexual kinks and how if wasn’t for the British Massiel would be singing in German. Ya Ya. Ya.

Mr Wigg takes us back to the scene:

After what seemed an eternity, his manager knocked on the door and broke the news: “Cliff, you’ve lost!” There were gasps in the audience at the result.


“I do remember being surprised at the time that Ireland and Yugoslavia, two countries where I was popular, gave me ‘nul points’.

“If it could be proved that the vote was rigged, there won’t be a happier person on the planet. It’s never good to feel like a loser.”

And Cliff has tasted the bitter almonds defeat since that dark night in ’68. In 1973, Cliff Richard’s Power To All Our Friends finished in third place, beaten by Luxembourg’s winner Anne Marie David (Tu te reconnaîtras) and Spain’s Mocedades (Eres tu).

In 1975, Cliff, this time with The Shadows was beaten into second spot by Teach-In from the Netherlands and Ding-A-Dong.

Was Francisco Paulino Hermenegildo Teódulo Franco y Bahamonde, Salgado y Pardo de Andrade pulling the strings, never letting up in his disappointment at Cliff’s Lucky Lips, which Franco perceived as a snide dig at his famously cleft palate and hair lip.

Not surprisingly Massiel herself, now 62, is dismissive of the voterigging suggestion. “If the Franco government were going to do anything like that, they would have given the song to someone more in tune with their regime.”

La lalala lalala lalala…

La lalala lalala lalala…

La lalala lalala la…

La lalala lalala la…

(Repeat 138 times.)

Translation: La lalala lalala lalala… La lalala lalala lalala… La lalala lalala la… La lalala lalala la…

Old Mr Anorak says he can think of few lyrics that better surmise life under a totalitarian regime.

But the damage has been done. Unless Cliff and Massiel are prepared to relive the moment and put it once more to the public vote..?

And if both are prepared to lose to the Russian, who has yet to sing…

Posted: 30th, January 2009 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts Comments (8) | TrackBack | Permalink