The Eurovision song Contest started in 1956 and has the stated
mission: “to stimulate the output of original high-quality
songs in the field of popular music by encouraging competition
between authors and composers through the international comparison
of their work”. It is open to countries who are members
of the European Broadcast Union which includes some countries
not usually seen to be part of Europe.
seven countries took part in the first contest but over the years
the figures have grown and there were twenty six countries competing
in 2003 and it has been decided to include a qualifying round
the audiences from most participating countries are invited to
vote by telephone but originally judges were appointed from each
country to give their votes on the songs and the actual points
system has changed as time has gone on.
contest is taken much more seriously by some than by others and
whilst it is officially the song which is important it has provided
many performers with an opportunity to develop their international
It has long been fashionable to knock Eurovision but it has continued
to grow from strength to strength and is now recording viewing
figures of well over one hundred million around the world.
NEW SEEKERS AND THE EUROVISION SONG CONTEST
It is a stipulation
of the contest that the entries should be chosen from a national
competition. In the UK in the early 70s all the entries
were performed by the same artist over a number of shows usually
presented by a well-known entertainer. The
New Seekers were chosen as the artists in 1972, the first
time a group had represented the UK and they performed the songs
on The Cliff Richard Show. Cliff Richard
had already sung in the Eurovision Contest in 1968 and was to
represent the UK again in 1973.
In addition to singing the six songs the group took a larger part
in the show, singing other numbers and joining in comedy sketches.
Following on from the roaring success of I'd Like To Teach
The World To Sing this gave the group some regular national
TV coverage and triggered their massive fan-following, dubbed
by the press as "Seeker Fever".
Cliff Richard Shows helped a lot, obviously”, Lyn Paul
commented in a later interview, “because it's watched
by young people and it got so that they would watch because our
boys do have a large fan following, I think that was the beginning
On the final show, broadcast on 12th February, 1972 the
New Seekers sang all of the short-listed entries and the country
voted by post for their favourite.
Beg, Steal or Borrow was an easy winner, scoring more than
twice as many votes as the song which came second:
was released as a single with the runner up, One
By One on the other side. The group also released
a German version: Ich
Will Betteln, Ich Will Stehlen, on a single, backed by
one of Peter Doyle's compositions:
six entries were released on to albums in the UK. Beg,
Steal or Borrow, One By One and Songs of Praise were
released on We'd
Like To Teach the World To Sing and the remaining three:
Out on the Edge of Beyond, Why Can't We All Get Together? and
Sing Out all appeared on the
Look What They've Done to My Song Ma, album.
17TH EUROVISION SONG CONTEST, 1972
Song Contest has been hosted by the country with the winning
entry in the previous year but the 1971 winner, Monaco, did not
have a suitable venue. It was decided instead to hold the
contest in the UK at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Eighteen
countries took part in front of an estimated world-wide audience
of forty three million on 25th March.
New Seekers were the fifth act to sing
and their musical director, David
Mackay conducted the orchestra for the performance, In
an interview sometime later, Peter was asked how he felt on the
night: "A little bit detached if anything, because at the
best of times I'm edgy and I made up my mind that whatever happens
will happen and it worked out. I was a little nervous in
front of fifty million people." Hardly surprising,
but in spite of the nerves, Peter gave a very credible performance
as he lead the group into their song in which he shared the lead
this occasion, the judges were all gathered in Edinburgh.
There were two judges from each country, one over and one under
the age of twenty five. Each judge awarded points on a rising
scale of merit from 1 - 5 for every country except their own.
the votes were counted the radio audience were treated to a short
interview with the New Seekers.
They commented on the general high standard of the entries and
Peter picked out the eventual winner, Luxembourg when asked who
was likely to be particularly strong competition.
the votes came in from each country it was obvious that the New
Seekers would do well and when the final results were counted,
they had secured themselves a good second place:
Steal or Borrow
Die Liebe Lasst Uns Leben
Het Om De Liefde Gaat
|| I Giorni
||A Festa Da
La Chanson De Mon Amour
Paunu & Kim Floor
Kausland & Benny Borg
Godart & Peter McLane
|| A La
Folie Ou Pas Du Tout
& Christine Ghisoland
isn't everything at Eurovision and the New
Seekers' song proved to be another hit for them in various
countries and strengthened their international standing.
concerts afterwards Eve
Graham would regularly introduce Beg, Steal or Borrow,
as a song: “which did quite well for us, even though it
didn't win a certain contest!”
The New Seekers Eurovision song is now available on DVD.
Twenty four Eurovision songs from the hundreds of entries over
the years have been put together on one collection. It includes
both Beg, Steal or Borrow and the song which beat it into
second place: Apres Toi. It is also possible to obtain
a copy of the 1972 Eurovision Song Contest on DVD. More