It’s the biggest of the big 5, well in terms of population anyway, and provides the biggest TV audience after the UK. Germany have also has entered Eurovision more times than any other country. This year will be their 61st appearance in the contest. So, I have plenty of choice for my top 5 German entries of all time! In fact, I have so many to choose from, that aside from my number 1, I’ve found it impossible to get this into a top 5 (well done, Germany!) so I am breaking with my own self-imposed rules and making this a top 10. You will notice the 1970s and early 1980s feature heavily – Germany’s most successful period in the contest. Also note – all but one of these songs are in German!
10. Roger Cicero “Frauen regier’n die Welt” (2007, 19th place, 49 points)
Brave and different, this swing entry, sung in German, stands out from both recent German entries and current Eurovision songs more widely. I enjoy seeing different musical styles at Eurovision, and songs sung in native languages. Sadly, Roger died in March 2016 at the age of 45, but he’ll be remembered fondly by the world of Eurovision.
9. Katja Ebstein “Diese Welt” (1971, 3rd place, 100 points)
Katja represented Germany three times – this was her second entry (the first was the previous year, 1970). She achieved a remarkable record at Eurovision – twice in third place, and once as runner-up, just falling short of achieving Germany’s first Eurovision win.
8. Mary Roos “Nur die Liebe läßt uns leben” (1972, 3rd place, 107 points)
Germany has a long history of sending strong solo female singers, and for sending them multiple times and Mary Roos is no exception, representing Germany in 1972 and 1984. This was by far her more successful entry, ensuring Germany finished in third place for a third year in a row.
7. Mekado “Wir geben ‘ne Party” (1994, 3rd place, 128 points)
Upbeat and fun, this girl group provided mid-90s Eurovision with a much needed toe-tapping, bum wiggling number. Sorry it’s not the best video, but best I could find of their actual Eurovision performance.
6. Lena “Taken By a Stranger” (2011, 10th place, 107 points)
Germany’s second Eurovision winner, Lena, returned to defend her 2010 title in Düsseldorf in 2011. In my view, this is a much better song than her winning “Satellite”. It didn’t reach quite A cool and stylish number in a distinctly German way – and the only song in this list to be fully sung in English.
5. Joy Fleming “Ein Lied kann eine Brücke sein” (1975, 17th place, 15 points)
Bit of a curveball this one maybe, but I enjoy it – an unashamed guilty pleasure! I suspect the reason it did so badly (in those days 17th place wasn’t mid-table finish, it was very near the bottom) is that this was during the brief period before 1999 when countries could sing in any language they liked – inevitably, then as now, many chose English – Germany did not.
4. Dschinghis Khan “Dschinghis Khan” (1979, 4th place, 86 points)
A song that may need no introduction! A Eurovision classic, somewhat implausibly performed by Germany in Jerusalem of all places, it’s an amalgam of Eurovision and Boney M. Complete nonsense and a whole lot of fun!
3. Katja Ebstein “Theater” (1980, 2nd place, 128 points)
Katja’s third and final appearance at Eurovision, she went one better than her two previous performances, finishing as runner up to Johnny Logan, and making her the most successful artist to have taken part in the contest, without ever winning. There is something of the musical, Cabaret, about this I thought – and it gets a place in my German top 3.
2. Lena Valaitis “Johnny Blue” (1981, 2nd place, 132 points)
The highest placed Lena in my top 10 is not the Lena who will be more familiar to recent viewers of Eurovision. This Lena came close to winning back in 1981 with a classy song and performance and came very close to denying Bucks Fizz their famous victory – there were just 4 points in it!
1. Nicole “Ein bißchen Frieden” (1982, winner, 161 points)
What else could it be? Nicole’s win was never in doubt once the jury votes started to come back, and she achieved a huge victory. It remains one of the biggest selling Eurovision winners, selling over 3 million copies, and topping the charts across Europe, including the UK. The English version she released remains the last Eurovision winner to reach number 1 in the UK. Seeing Nicole at Eurovision’s Greatest Hits (the 60th anniversary televised concert that I was lucky to go to) and her emotional reaction to the massive reception she got after singing her song was very touching.
So, what did you think? With a bigger list, I had more opportunity to pack in my faves – were yours all there too? Let me know in the comments!