04 July 2016

Eurovision 1976: And The UK's 12 Points Go to...Switzerland!

Peter, Sue and Marc / Eurovision 1976 / Switzerland
Switzerland's Peter, Sue and Marc

"And our twelve points go to..."

Peter Sue and Marc / Djambo Djambo / Switzerland Eurovision 1976
In 1976, the Eurovision Song Contest moved to The Hague in The Netherlands following Teach-In's victory with Ding A Dong the previous year.

The same scoring system that was introduced in 1975 continued. Each jury awarded (the now familiar) twelve points to their favourite song, followed by ten and eight points etc to their next favourites.

Of course, 1976 was a special year for the United Kingdom, when the nation secured a second victory via The Brotherhood of Man's memorable ditty, Save Your Kisses For Me.

But what of the UK's twelve points? What was the country's decision?

The consensus among many of the nations which hadn't given their top mark to the UK was that France's Catherine Ferry should be 1976's winner. However, members of the British jury had other ideas. They liked Ferry's Un, deux, trois, but much preferred Switzerland's entry presented by Peter, Sue and Marc called Djambo Djambo.

Originally from Bern, the trio was no stranger to the Eurovision Song Contest having already participated in 1971 with Les illusions de nos vingt ans which placed twelfth in a field of eighteen. In 1976, however, with the help of the United Kingdom's twelve points, Switzerland managed to climb the scoreboard to finish with a total of 91 points and a highly respectable fourth place.

Djambo Djambo was typical of continental Europe's Eurovision output of the era. While ABBA had tried to inject a modicum of modernity into the Contest, Peter, Sue and Marc - who appeared to be Switzerland's sub par answer to Peter, Paul and Mary - kept it firmly in the middle of the road. A folky pop number - its staging was a little reminiscent of Mouth and MacNeal's I See A Star from 1974 - it told the story of an ageing clown named Djambo Djambo, recalling his glory days of performing in the circus.

With lines like..."And sometimes you can see him on the side-walk with little boys and girls around his feets," it had its obvious problems. Nevertheless, it succeeded in being a jaunty sing-along tune - even possessing an obligatory key change - something that seemed to appeal to British Eurovision sensibilities.

Although Djambo, Djambo ranked well, Peter, Sue and Marc decided to soldier on in their bid to win Eurovision. Sadly, it was to no avail. A failed attempt in 1978 led to a return to the Finals in both 1979 (10th place) and 1981 (4th place).

A solo effort by Marc Dietrich in 1987 could only secure the runners-up spot in the Swiss finals - the last time any of the vocal group attempted to compete for a spot in the main Final.

While they could never win the competition, Peter, Sue and Marc nevertheless left behind their own piece of Eurovision history. They represented Switzerland on four occasions, singing in four different languages: French, English, German and Italian.

The UK's Eurovision Top 3 in 1976

Switzerland: Peter, Sue and Marc: Djambo Djambo - 12 points
Ireland: Red Hurley: When - 10 points
France: Catherine Ferry: Un, deux, trois - 8 points

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