Nobody said it was easy being a Eurovision fan in the 90s

A few days ago I attended the presentation party of an online music website with Loreen and Alaska as guest stars. After seeing these two artists who are somehow related to the Eurovision Song Contest performing together got me thinking about how different is to be a fan now as it was in the 90s.

Last Thursday the online music website Deezer was presented in Spain, and celebrated in style by an event in the Sala La Riviera in Madrid. Among the guest artists was Loreen, the most recent winner of the Eurovision Song Contest. She was the most awaited by the small group of fans who were in the venue with banners on which was written the name of the artist. Her performance consisted of her 2011 Melodifestivalen song My Heart Is Refusing Me and, of course, she also sang her Eurovision entry Euphoria.

Another of the guest artists were the band Fangoria who were presenting their latest single entitled Dramas y Comedias. Perhaps you do not know who they are as you do not recognize them by that name, but surely you remember Alaska, who was the host of the 2009 Spanish national final and she also participated in the Spanish national selection in 1985 alongside Dinarama.

We all know who is Loreen and who were her rivals at the 2011 and 2012 edition of the Melodifestivalen in Sweden but, besides Alaska, does anyone know who were the candidates in the Spanish national final in 1985? It is not that we do not remember because it has been too long, it is that we have never heard about them.

We now have access to listen to all the candidate tracks from all countries even several days before they begin the national selection shows and it is largely thanks to the online music platforms or the websites of the broadcasters or the artists themselves, who publish their songs on their social media.

Years ago it was not so easy. First of all I want to clarify that I am not so old. As the Latvian Anmary would say, I was born in a distant 1980 (the year the Belgian Sandra Kim won) but I began to be a Eurovision fan at the age of seven. At that time, hopefully, I would have the chance to listen to the Spanish entry, but it was unthinkable to be able to listen to the songs from the other countries before the Eurovision Song Contest itself. It was also unthinkable to hear all those songs after the contest but for that I had a solution that consisted of recording the show on a VHS tape and then, very carefully, recording each song to a cassette tape where, in the back, I used to write the country, the name of the artist and the song title. The sound quality was not great, obviously, but it allowed me to keep listening to all those artists throughout the year.

Except in the case of the winner (and not always), you did not hear anything about any of the other artists from other countries. I lived in a small town and, as much as I looked for them at the record store I never found any album of those who were my favourite singers and I had to settle for listen to again and again the same song, though, in most cases, without even understanding what they were talking about. That is why I developed an incredible ability to imitate the sounds of different languages without knowing what I was saying. Because that was another issue, the lyrics of the songs.

Now it is very easy to translate the lyrics from one language to another with no idea of the first language or even, besides the version in the original language, most of the broadcasters use to publish a version in English. But in the 90s it was really hard to get the lyrics of the songs. For this, I had to manage to ask my pen pals from other European countries to send me and also translate for me the lyrics of the songs from their respective countries every year.

Now we have access to listen to the all the songs that have been performed along the history of the Eurovision Song Contest and not only that, but also listen to all the albums and singles that all the artists from every country have released before and after their participation. And this is thanks to that kind of digital music websites that gives you access to millions of songs where it is not necessary to be waiting for hours for it to download the album or song, you just have to type the name of the artist you want to listen to and there you have it inmediately. You can also make your own playlist with your favourite songs, share it with your friends and listen to it anytime and anywhere with a high sound quality (and of course, legally). Even, many of these websites give you the option to show the lyrics of the songs at the same time you are listening to them.

I remember everything with nostalgia and, in fact, I still have all those video and cassette tapes saved as a souvenir but I would not want to return to that past at all.

Read more in the news archive

Liked what you've read? Subscribe to our Eurovision news!