CHART BEAT CHAT

Fred discusses the Eurovision Song Contest and more with readers.

WILL WE BE SAYING CONGRATULATIONS, ICELAND?

Hi Fred,

With the Eurovision Song Contest less than a month away, I agree there are a number of songs that could win. But I'm hoping Iceland's "Silvia Night" is the first wholly tongue-in-cheek winner in the contest's history... Though I'm not holding my breath.

You've told us about Eurovision success on the U.S. charts, but what about Eurovision remakes? Vicky Leandros finished fourth in 1967 with "L'amour Est Bleu," but Paul Mauriat took his version all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Have any other Eurovision remakes charted?

John Egan
Vancouver

Hi Fred,

I know you are a big Eurovision fan and have been at the competition in the past. I am very excited because this is my first time following the contest.

As I'm sure you know the show is not as well known in the United States as it is in Europe and thus does not get major television coverage. I am writing to see if you know what channel (if any) will broadcast the program in the States?

Thanks, Fred -- and my pick is definitely either Germany or Belgium!

Greg Baker

Dear John and Greg,

I have to admit, the first time I heard Iceland's entry, "Congratulations," I didn't get it. But on second listen the joke became clear to me and I fell in love with the song and the over-the-top performance. I don't know if Europe will get the joke or not.

I mentioned last week that I think Romania has the best chance of winning. There are a number of songs I rate highly, so for the curious, here are my other favorites, listed in alphabetical order: Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Malta, Moldova, Slovenia and Spain.

John, there may be others, but the first cover version of a Eurovision song to chart on the Hot 100 that comes to my mind is Patti Page's cover of "Say Wonderful Things."

Ronnie Carroll performed the song as the U.K. representative in 1963. His version entered the Hot 100 the week of June 8, 1963 and peaked at No. 91. Page's recording debuted one week earlier and peaked slightly higher, at No. 81. The winner of the 1968 contest, "La La La" by Massiel from Spain, didn't chart in the United States, but it was covered by Lesley Gore as "He Gives Me Love (La La La)." Gore's single didn't reach the Hot 100 either, but it bubbled under at No. 119.

The 51st annual Eurovision Song Contest will be held on May 20 in Athens. As in past years, there is no live broadcast scheduled by any American network, although NBC is developing an American version of the contest.

To watch Eurovision live on the Internet, go to www.eurovision.tv. The broadcast will begin at noon PT, 3 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. GMT.



A 'KISS' IS STILL A 'KISS'

Hey Fred,

It has been a very long time since I have written to you, but here goes: I am one of those chart fact purists and I hate when facts and dates get mixed up. On tonight's episode [of "American Idol"], the [contestants] had to sing a song from the year they were born. Paris [Bennett] said she was born in 1988, but she sang Prince's "Kiss," which was released in 1986!

The only thing I can think of was that the version released by the Art of Noise featuring Tom Jones [was released in] 1988. This seems to be a stretch since it was a rather peculiar song to be sung [for Paris] to go through all that trouble!

Thanks!

Greg Salerno
Greenwich, Conn.

Dear Greg,

The six finalists who sang songs from the years of their birth were given lists of songs from the appropriate years. The remake of "Kiss" by the Art of Noise featuring Tom Jones debuted on the Hot 100 in December 1988, and so was fair game.

The same would hold true for Elliott Yamin, who sang "On Broadway" for his birth-year selection. Elliott was born in 1978, the year that George Benson took "On Broadway" to No. 7. Of course, the song was originally a No. 9 hit for the Drifters in 1963.

I don't know if Paris wishes she had sung a different song, since she received the lowest amount of votes this week and was eliminated from the competition. I think she did a great job on "Kiss," as well as "Be Without You," so I'm not sure a change of songs would have saved her.



THIS FREAKS ME OUT

Hi Fred,

Last week you mentioned the biggest moves into the top 5 from within the top 40 of the Hot 100. This week you listed the songs that have had the biggest moves in the top 40. Didn't Chic's song "Le Freak" moved 37-6? If so, wouldn't that be on the list of biggest movers in history?

Thanks,
James Odenthal

Dear James,

You were the first of a several "Chart Beat" readers to point out that Chic belongs on the list of greatest movers within the top 40. The 37-6 move wouldn't qualify for the biggest moves into the top 5, of course, and this week's list was meant to be a list of the biggest movers into the top 5 but wasn't qualified as such. "Chart Beat" has been amended to reflect that qualification.