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EUROVISION 2023 - Rock ‘N’ Roll Over?.....we think not!!

Photo - Corinne Cumming EBU

This coming week, all eyes and ears will be focused on the United Kingdom and home of the fab four, Liverpool, to be more precise.

Yes, Eurovision is descending once more into the sovereign realms of the UK bringing with it the usual flamboyance and hysteria that only the great Eurovision Song Contest can muster.

It's been 25 years since the United Kingdom last hosted the Eurovision Song Contest and of course this year we are hosting it on behalf of Ukraine, who were last years winners and as a result of our entry being the runner up.

We've seen some significant developments in its history spanning 8 decades, starting in 1956 amassing over 1500 song entries. We did love to see the bands performances in their countries traditional dress and languages, but not only that, there’s been some significant changes in styles of music that have entered and won, predominantly sentimental power ballads or quirky pop tunes of the era aside from the ABBA classics.

Erring to the rock side of music, there has also been a smattering of heavy music lurking within the contest. Blink and sometimes you might have missed it, but then again it’s been bold and brazen and in your face!

This year sees no exception with two magnificent entries coming from Australia's Voyager and the synthtastic pop-prog metal song ‘Promise’ and Lord Of The Lost, Germany’s entry, with the industrial edged ‘Blood and Glitter’.

Voyager are no stranger to the competitive elements of Eurovision, having submitted entries to the competition every year since 2015, which was officially the first year Australia was included in the competition, and narrowly missing out last year on appearing at Eurovision 2022 representing Australia.

With 2023’s entry, Voyager are definitely bringing their ‘A’ game with the song ‘Promise’ written by the band, with a wealth of performing experience, if you’ve ever seen them perform a gig live, let me tell you they smash it!! Just like their recent sold out London show at the Boston music rooms ahead of Eurovision. And what a bunch of insanely talented musicians, surely that’s a winning combination!!

They’ve also just announced their new album ‘Fearless in Love’ set for release July 14th 2023 later this year.

Let’s not overlook the enigmatic Lord of The Lost, who’s latest album ‘Blood & Glitter’ hit #1 in the charts in Germany. With 9 album releases since 2009, as well a number of orchestral arrangements being released from the band under the musical genius of Chris Harms, there is definitley a real sense that 'Blood & Glitter' brings riffs and musicality with an added touch of 80's new wave electronic drum fills. A band that has a serious history and also future, they’re also set to support heavy metal giants Iron Maiden on their extensive European tour through 2023.

Of course we remember Finnish monster metallers Lordi winning Eurovision in 2006 with ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ and who can forget Italian rock ‘n’ rollers Maneskin with ‘Zitti E Buoni’ in 2021. But it's about time we had a heavier song that rocked Eurovision once more.

Over the history of Eurovision, rock and metal acts have always been on the periphery of the competition, with plenty of ‘ could’ve been a contender’, including more recently Blind Channel with ‘Dark Side’ (Finland 2021), and The Rasmus with ‘Jezebel’ (Finland 2022) who even had a little help writing the song from none other than hitmaker Desmond Child, think Bon Jovi, Cher, Alice Cooper, Kiss etc and even that wasn’t enough; along with many major rock artists entering and not quite making it to the finals, let's take a fleeting glance at some of those that have tried and not quite got there over the decades.

Back in 1987, we saw Scottish rockers Heavy Pettin try to gain the UK slot with the track ‘Romeo’, but it just didn’t seem to quite hit the right note even with the successes of their previous album releases and major world tours with the likes of Ozzy Osbourne. They didn’t make it through the heats!

2005 brought the glam rock from Norway, with the band Wig Wam, and lead singer Age Sten Nilsen bringing the swagger with ‘In My Dreams’ but again it turned into a pipe dream for one of Norways finest rock exports.

In 2009, Sweden’s H.E.A.T had a go with their song ‘1000 Miles’ but failed to qualify. Although the song has remained a firm fan favourite and the band went on to tour the world with The Scorpions and have had major successes with a host of album releases!

In 2016 we saw prolific songwriter Tobias Sammett from Germany, with his supergroup Avantasia enter with ‘Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose’ and somehow that missed out on representing the country. But still he continues to headline some of the worlds biggest rock festivals playing to crowds of 70,000 and more!

2021 saw Norwegian rock singer icon Jorn Lande, try his hand at submitting an entry to represent Norway with ‘Faith Bloody Faith’, but alas that didn’t make it through the countries finals of Melodi Grand Prix either!

So are we doomed to continue with a smattering of rock edged songs flirting on the edge of global greatness, after all Eurovision is watched by over 180 million viewers each year?

There's an appetite that continues to grow for something a little different, a little heavier! As far as I'm concerned there is no doubt that this year, both ‘Promise’ and ‘Blood & Glitter’ are definitely major contenders.

We’ll find out soon enough!

Eurovision takes place from May 9th through to the Grand Final on May 13th 2023.

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Article By Steve Harrison

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