The first victory for Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest has long story behind it. Much of it is well known, but a recent revelation adds another string to the tale.
When Massiel won the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest for Spain she culminated the ordeal that the entry had been for Spain last year. La, la, la was originally intended for Joan Manuel Serrat but another interpreter had to be looked for after the controversy that rose when Serrat wished to sing the entry in Catalan.
It was Massiel who finally went, but the Spanish media has revealed these days that the Eurovision entry for that year had been offered also to another beloved and very popular Spanish artist: Manolo Escobar. His nephew, manager and now biographer Gabriel García Mármol has revealed this anecdote of his uncle´s career in the biography of the artist Conversaciones con un hombre bueno (Conversations with a good man).
The Spanish broadcaster TVE approached Manolo Escobar and proposed him to go for Spain, adding that there were serious chances of winning. A top three was sure, they added. Nevertheless, Escobar, who was at the peak of success in those years, declined the offer. He was never again proposed a Eurovision entry for Spain.
Manolo Escobar may have a limited fame out Spain, but in the country he is an icon. Practically a historic name. Many of his songs are milestones of the Spanish music and his lyrics are known to many generations of Spaniards. The mammoth list of his titles would require pages and pages. Maybe the most remembered tracks are El porompompero, Mi carro or Que viva España. The latter is practically a hymn, and it works as a surrogate anthem with lyrics for sports events in which the Spanish National Team is playing (the Spanish National Anthem does not have official lyrics). Although it is not a Spanish song originally, as the first version, Eviva España was written in Dutch by the Belgian musicians Leo Caerts and Leo Rozenstraten.
Manolo Escobar died on 24 October 2013 in Benidorm due to colon cancer.
La, la, la was performed by Massiel in the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest, which gave the first victory to Spain since the country debuted in 1961.