My top 5 songs from…Greece

Completing the Top 5 series is the Mediterranean country that regularly brings party bangers with an ethnic flavour to the contest. The 2000s and early 2010s proved to be glory days for Greece with mostly top 10 results and their first (and still only) win. Such are the numbers of party bangers from Greece that it merits a top 10!

Just missing out

Like with Israel, just wanting to highlight a couple of good ones that didn’t quite make it – but still worth checking out 🙂

Paschalis, Marianna, Robert and Bessy “Mathima solfege” (1977, 5th place, 92 points)
Kleopatra “Olou tou kosmou i Elpida” (1992, 5th place, 94 points)
Marianna Zorba “Horepse” (1997, 12th place, 39 points)

10. Elpida “Sokratis” (1979, 8th place, 69 points)

My pick from the older Greek songs, this maintained a strong start for Greece in its early Eurovision years (4 top 10 results in 7 contests) before they tailed off in the 1980s and 90s. This is similar to a lot of the Israeli entries I like – ethnic, pretty uptempo and a strong chorus. There will be a similar theme to many of my Greek picks!

9. Katy Garbi “Ellada, chora tou fotos” (1993, 9th place, 64 points)

Another catchy Greek entry with a 90s flavour this time – again moderately uptempo, Greek ethnic sounds and a catchy chorus. What’s not to like!

8. Anna Vissi “Everything” (2006, 9th place, 128 points)

A rare ballad in this list and this is very sentimental and emotional inclusion. Greek Cypriot Anna Vissi had been a big pop star in the Greek speaking world for a long time and had previously represented both Greece and Cyprus at Eurovision in the early 1980s. With Greece finally winning in 2005, she got the chance to represent Greece on home territory with this emotional power ballad – both the song and the crowd’s reaction give me a few goosebumps!

7. Helena Paparizou “My Number One” (2005, winner, 230 points)

It’s the song that brought Greece its first (and currently only) win. Helena had come close for Greece in 2001 as part of group Antique (finishing 3rd – Greece’s best placing to date at that time) but it was her solo effort that finally got Greece that win. Helena herself Swedish-Greek – a winning combination for Eurovision it would seem!

6. Eleftheria Eleftheriou “Aphrodisiac” (2012, 17th place, 64 points)

Not one of Greece’s better recent results, it’s still another classic Greek party banger – and I favour this slightly over “My Number One”, although I do like them both.

5. Freaky Fortune feat. RiskyKidd “Rise Up” (2014, 20th place, 35 points)

A disappointing result for this group, but it had the whole venue rocking (including all the commentator booths that actually shook and swayed). It’s a fab song on the dancefloor too, but much like the trampolining they did at the end of the live performance, likely to leave you a bit short of breath. Some British interest here as well – RiskyKidd was born in London and you can tell he still has the London accent in his rap parts of the song.

4. Sarbel “Yassou Maria” (2007, 7th place, 139 points)

From one London-born Greek to another – the towering Sarbel was born and raised in Southgate in London. And it’s another cracking Greek party banger…

3. Kalomira “Secret Combination” (2008, 3rd place, 218 points)

My favourite of the female solo Greek party bangers of the 2000/10s, the UK also loved this, giving it 12 points (when it was televote only). In fact the majority of my top 10 all scored pretty highly with the UK public vote (and jury)…

2. Giorgos Alkaios & Friends “OPA!” (2010, 8th place, 140 points)

Friends who know me might be surprised this isn’t my number one, but it comes close. It doesn’t try and be anything other than a very Greek party banger – and throws in some attractive male dancers as well (are they really your friends, Giorgos?). Add in the infectious “Opa” chorus, and the mobile phone ringtone that pops into the song, and you’ve got another Eurovision dancefloor favourite – and another douze points from the UK…

1. Koza Mostra feat. Agathonas Iakovidis “Alcohol Is Free” (2013, 6th place, 152 points)

So, it wasn’t a Greek uptempo cheesy pop song that made my number one – but a very uptempo, funny, Greek folk ska/punk/rebetiko song. I think expectations were not that high initially for this, but the song and, more importantly, the band’s performance, is just so energetic and infectious, you can’t but help get into this. The band were so good live at the London Eurovision Preview Party (and those boys enjoyed partying after!) and it was great to see that live performance carried to the Eurovision stage and coming across so strongly on screen. The inclusion of rebetiko singer Agathonas Iakovidis also really works. Certifiably brilliant madness!

Hope you enjoyed this very party song-heavy list – and do let me know if you have others you would have included or changed around the order!

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