It has come to the end of 2014 and it’s now time to look back at the year gone by, sadly we have lost a number of former Eurovision participants this year. These singers have made an impact on the world of music and the Eurovision stage and for that we say thank you.
Yelizaveta Zarbatova (January 13th, 2014):
Yelizaveta Zarbatova was a member of the group Buranovskiye Babushki. While she did not appear on stage in Baku, she wrote a number of the groups songs including the song that took them to the contest in 2012. Yelizaveta was the oldest member of the group, aged 87 when she passed away in January.
François Deguelt (January 22nd, 2014)
François Deguelt represented Monaco at the Eurovision Song Contest on two occasions in the 1960s. In 1960 contest the French born singer sang “Ce soir-là”, the song which was only Monaco’s second ever song in the contest finished the night in third place. In 1962 he returned the contest this time with “Dis rien”, the song performed even better than his 1960 entry, finishing in second place. After Eurovision he went on to release a large number of songs, he retired from the music industry in the late 1970s, only to return in 2006 for a one off tour.
He died at the age of 81 at his home in the town of Var.
Alice Babs (February 11th, 2014)
Alice Babs was Sweden’s first ever Eurovision participant back in Eurovision 1958, she sang the song “Lilla stjärna” in Hilversum. Interestingly this was not the original name of the song that she was selected to sing, she was selected to sing “Samma stjärnor lysa för oss två”, the change of the original song caused a dispute which meant her Eurovision entry was not released to the public commercially until a compilation CD in 1994.
Alice was not only a singer but also an actress, she appeared in a total of 16 feature length films released between the late 1930s and the end of the 1950s. In later life she was diagnosed with Alzheimers, she passed away at the age of 90.
Jean Vallée (12th March, 2014)
Jean Vallée who represented Belgium at the Eurovision Song Contest twice, died age of 72. Jean represented Belgium in 1970 with the song “Viens L’oublier” finishing in 8th place and then returned to the contest in 1978 where he finished in 2nd place with the song “L’amour ça fait chanter la vie”. He is one of just 5 Belgian Eurovision entrants to have ever managed a top.3 result in the contest. Jean died of Cancer in Belgium, he had returned from Paris to his home country in the days before his death to die in comfort.
Peret (August 27th, 2014)
Peret also known as Pedro Pubill Calaf represented Spain at Eurovision 1974, he sang “Canta y sé feliz” in Brighton, the song finished the night in 9th place with 10 points. In 1992 Peret played a part in the closing ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics, he sang “Gitana hechicera”. He is widely credited with the creation of the genre of Catalan Rhumba.
He passed away in Barcelona at the age of 79 of lung cancer.
Jan Groth (August 29th, 2014):
Jan Groth who represented Norway as part of the group Just 4 Fun in 1991 died at the age of 68. Just 4 Fun were internally selected by NRK to represent Norway in Rome, Italy, on the night they finished in 17th place. The group was made up of Marianne Antonsen, Jan Groth, Eiríkur Hauksson and Hanne Krogh.
Hanne Krogh said about the death of her friend that:
Jan Groth was an intense live human. And he was totally honest – both in life and in his music. He never thought of what might pay off, but followed what he knew was true – and right. Energetic, wise, caring and warm. Jan was a great song writer – and a singer of the world. Had his ambition been ruled by desire for fame and position, he would have achieved it, but he always burned for a very different message. He burned forever – in every little second. I’ll miss the sure his musicality. Jans indescribable ability to give everything in the song – in every note and every word. But most of all I miss my friend. Jan Groth was a unique man, and he made my life more.
Lynsey De Paul (October 2nd, 2014):
Lynsey De Paul who represented the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest 1977 passed away at the age of 64. Miss De Paul took to the stage in Wembley, United Kingdom alongside Mike Moran with the song “Rock Bottom” finishing in second place with 121 points.
Lynsey De Paul was the first woman to win the Ivor Novello award for songwriting in 1972, an award which she went on to win one more time in 1973. Her breakthrough single was “Sugar Me” which went on to top the charts in The Netherlands, Spain and Belgium, while placing Number 5 in the UK charts.
In recent years De Paul had featured on a number of TV shows on Channel 4 and the BBC featuring as the celebrity guest. Lynsey returned to Eurovision in 2012 as one of the five judges who allocated the points from the UK jury.
Tarmo Leinatamm (October 13th, 2014):
Tarmo was a conductor, politician, comedian and singer, he represented Estonia at the 2008 contest as part of Kreisiraadio. Tarmo not only sang at the Eurovision Song Contest but was also the conductor for the Estonian Eurovision performances in both 1996 and 1997. Tarmo died of cancer at the age of 57.
Udo Jürgens (December 22nd, 2014):
do Jürgens the winner of the 1966 Eurovision Song Contest passed away at the age of 80. The singer who was known across Europe for winning the 1966 contest also participated in 1964 and 1965.
Udo died on a walk in Switzerland after collapsing in a park in Thurgau, he was immediately taken to the Münsterlingen Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 16:25 CET.
Earlier in the year Udo’s 80th birthday was celebrated with a television show which saw performances from a number of international music stars including Helene Fischer. Furthermore he had only recently released a new album called “Mitten im Leben”. His career was vast with him writing over 1,000 songs and selling over 100 million records.
He had been due to go continue tour in 2015 with a further 23 dates across Germany and Austria, Udo Jürgens Manager Freddy Burger, Pepe Lienhard told Die Welt that:
We’re shocked and filled with grief
Conchita Wurst who won Eurovision 2014 becoming only the second artist after Udo to win Eurovision tweeted:
Udo, ich bin zutiefst betroffen dass du heute von uns gegangen bist. Du warst ein großartiger Künstler – Merci! Conchita
Udo, I am deeply affected now that you are gone. You were a great artist – Merci! Conchita
We know that these are just a handful of names who participated in the Eurovision Song Contest and passed away this year. Our memories are with all of those people who have composed, written, choreographed or filmed at the Eurovision Song Contest and to all of those who at one point or another have attempted to represent their country in Eurovision, you will be missed and are forever grateful for what you have done for the world of music.