Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest - 1958

After the German victory in 2010 and the victory of Azerbaijan in 2011, I posted an item about every German and Azerbaijani participation at the ESC. This year I'll do the same about every Swedish contribution at the ESC, starting with 1958.

Sweden made its Eurovision Song Contest debut in 1958, in Hilversum, The Netherlands.

Alice Babs was selected by Sveriges Radio to represent her country. The song Lilla Stjärna was originally called Samma Stjärnor Lysa För Oss Båda, but was on Alice's demand, re-written. Songwriter Åke Gerhard was not happy with this, and forbid the song to be commercially released. It took 40 years before it finally was released.


Alice Babs (born Hildur Alice Nilsson on January 26, 1924) is a singer and actor from Kalmar, Sweden. While she has worked in a wide number of genres like Swedish folklore, Elizabethan songs and opera, she is best known internationally as a jazz singer. Making her breakthrough in Swing It Magistern, she appeared in more than a dozen Swedish language-films.

In 1958, she was the first artist to represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest, finishing in 4th place with the song Lilla Stjärna. The same year, she formed Swe-Danes with Ulrik Neumann and Svend Asmussen. The group would later tour the United States, before dissolving in 1965. A long and productive period of collaboration with Duke Ellington started in 1963. Among other works, Alice Babs performed his second and third Sacred Concerts that were originally written for her. Her voice had a range of more than three octaves; Duke Ellington said that when she did not sing the parts that he wrote for her, he had to use three different singers.

Alice Babs currently resides in Sweden.

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