Melodifestivalen 1990-1999

by Matthias Mattsson 296 views

The 1990�s was very successful for Sweden. After the Berlin Wall the Eurovision had grown and if you didn�t have good enough results you had to skip one year. Sweden manage to secure a place in the final each and every year and won twice during the same period. This makes it the most successful period in Swedish Eurovision history.

1990 from a big round building to a small round building. When Gothenburg again played host to Melodifestivalen they choose Rondo as venue. This was also the year for a big comeback by Carola who had been away for a couple of years doing bible studies in the US. Carola was very controversial at this point since she was a member of a church called "Livets Ord" and they have many strange believes and things didn't improve after Swedish Radio transmitted a broadcast from one of the church services. In this broadcast Carola was talking in tongues and was vomiting devils. The hysteria was total since many feared that she would start talking about god as she had been in 1983. She never did, but she didn't mange to win but finishes second after the other religious artist taking part this year Edin-Ådahl. They won with the song "Som en vind". But even if Carola was remarkable it was not her song that most people remember from this year. The biggest success in the charts came from Loa Falkman and the song "Symfonin", a very operatic song. A 19 year boy made his debut this year as well with the song "En sensation" (A sensation) he came second last but he is today one of Sweden's most popular artists Peter Jöback.

1991 saw the contest back in Malmö. This year SVT re-used the format with first singing all 10 songs and a secret vote and after this a grand finale with the top 5 songs. For this first and only time in history Melodifestivalen was broadcast on a Sunday and at very late date as well since it was held on 31st March. The 1991 line up is considered to be one of the better with no really bad songs. Pernilla Wahlgren sang Tvillingsjäl which was composed by Lena Philipsson she finishes at the bottom. Towe Jaarnek sang one the best ballads in Melodifestivalen history "Ett liv med dig" and came second. But the winner was Carola with "Fångad av en stormvind"(Captured by a lovestorm) with a 32 point marginal to Towe Jaarnek. And in Rome Sweden won by the smallest marginal ever in a Eurovision Song Contest since both Sweden and France scored 146 points, but Sweden had received more 10 point marks then France.

1992 back in Stockholm and Cirkus. Same format as last year. Kikki Danielsson made a go with a ballad called "En enda gång" and finishes as no 4. One More Time had two songs in this years final. But since Nanne was pregnant Maria Rådsten sang "Vad som än hander" and Thérese Löf sang "Ingenting går som man vill" But the winner was something else. A man called Christer Björkman living in France at this time, had been singing "schlagers" at his friends party's and they thought that this had to stop so Magnus Uggla, Tomas Ledin and Niklas Strömstedt wrote one song each and hoped that if would be selected and then Christer would finally get to sing in Melodifestivalen and stop singing schlagers to them all the time. "Imorgon är en annan dag " was chosen and surprise Christer Björkman won Melodifestivalen and a dream came true. But when it comes to defending the color of the Swedish flag he didn't do very well, in fact Christer Björkman's 22nd place at the Eurovision is the worst rank Sweden has ever got. Today he is responsible for almost everything in Melodifestivalen.

1993 time for changes again but this time they were a secret. Same format as last year, Mr Björkman had another try with a song called "Välkommen till livet" which was intended for a baptism and was written in 1983 he came last, but the song is generally considered as one of the top 10 ballads in Melodifestivalen history. Nick Borgen made his first try with "We are all the winners" and came second. The song became a huge hit in Sweden and Norway. When they jury had selected the 5 finalists SVT dropped a bomb. For the first time in history there should be televoting in Melodifestivalen. Swedish phone net almost crashed and in some areas you couldn't dial emergency number 112. But the results was very clear and the winner was Arvingarna with the song "Eloise". After this it would take another 6 years before televoting was once again introduced in Melodifestivalen. At Millstreet Arvingarna finishes as no 7.

1994 was the time for low-budget again. Back in Stockholm Melodifestivalen moved into Studio 1 at the tv-centre. 10 very anonymous songs were selected. And this year SVT was fed up with composers hiring big names to sing on the demos and then when selected refused to take part in Melodifestivalen, therefore the rule changed so that who ever is singing on the demo must be performing the song in Melodifestivalen if SVT so requires. This rule still applies today. Marie Bergman & Roger Pontare sang "Stjärnorna" to victory and Marie Bergman went back to Dublin 23 years after she had participated in 1971 with Family Four. Sweden finishes as no 12 at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin.

In 1995 Malmö was again hosting Melodifestivalen. After last years weak line-up SVT felt that something needs to be done. 5 spots was reserved for the composers that had had most songs competing in Melodifestivalen between 1984 and 1994. The other 5 songs were selected from the regular open competition. This payed off since the top 3 songs were from the top composers. Jan Johansen won with "Se på mig" and Ceclila Vennersten came second with "Det vackraste" composed by Peter & Nanne Grönvall, this song was also chosen as "Best Song of The Year" at the Swedish Grammy Awards. Jan Johansen sang Sweden to a bronze medal at the Eurovision in Dublin. The standard of Melodifestivalen had been raised and the system with inviting composers had come to stay for the next couple of years.

1996 Melodifestivalen was held at Älvsjömässan were the Eurovision Song Contest was held in 1975. Same format at last year, and after last years success more artists wanted to take part this year. Andreas Lundstedt made his debut with the song "Driver Dagg Faller Regn" and came second. The song Juliette & Jonathan was to be sung by Lena Philipsson but she felt that the song wasn't right for her and Lotta Engberg took the chance to take part again and came third. The victory went to One More Time with their ethnic ballad "Den vilda" But the biggest hit was Henrik Åbergs song "Du är för alltid en del utav mig" which stayed for 36 weeks in Svensktoppen. At the Eurovision Song Contest in Oslo Sweden once again took a bronze medal.

1997 Gothenburg is steering the ship this year. The number of songs is raised to 12 and 6 of them are invited to take part. This year it was again allowed to have pre-recorded music for the singing artists last time that was allowed was in 1985 and 1986. Many big names takes part as composers but on the artist side there were not so many. The biggest name is perhaps Robyn who composes the song "Du gör mig hel igen" performed by Cajsa Lisa Ejemyr she finishes as no 4. Willie Crafoord performs his own song "Missarna" and comes third. The winning song is called "Bara hon älskar mig" performed by boyband Blond and the song is not very modern but more traditional Swedish Eurovision style. At the Eurovision in Dublin Blond finished as no 14.

1998 was the year when Dr.Spock participated in Melodifestivalen or should we say Nanne Grönvall with huge Spock ears and a purple wig singing "Avundsjuk" to a 4th place. SVT in Malmö didn't have enough time to do a proper stage so we got ballons in various sizes that looked like condoms. 1997 had seen 12 songs compete but in 1998 the number was back to 10. 5 specially invited as in previous years and 5 from an open competition. The most famous composer that accepted was Peter Svensson from Cardigans, he composed "Långsamma timmar" performed by Fredrik Karlsson he finished last in the competition. This year we also got a fight between SVT and Bert Karlsson. Bert had submitted the song "Julia" and wanted Arja Saijonmaa to sing it, SVT on the other hand wanted Myrra Malmberg to perform the song. The victory went to SVT and Myrra Malmberg sang Julia and came 3rd. Jill Johnson won with a strong ballad called "Kärleken är" with a 20 point marginal to the song in second place which was "Ingen annan väg" performed by BIG. At the Eurovision in Birmingham Jill Johnson finishes as no 10.

The last Melodifestival of the Millenium was hold in Stockholm. The format had changed a bit this year after the low quality of the songs in 1998. SVT decided to once agin take help from the record companies and asked them to submit songs and also to make a first choice of songs from the 1315 submitted by the public, then a jury of 15 people amateurs and professionals selected the 10 participating songs. SVT succeded once again to modernise the contest and young stars such as Martin Svensson with" Yeah yeah wow wow" came 4th and Drömhus with "Stjärna på himlen came 2nd" took part. Therese from Drömhus is taking part in Melodifestivalen 2007 together with The Attic. Christer Björkman made his third attempt of representing Sweden and once again he came last. The winning song was perhaps not the most modern one but it was the favourite with the jury as well with the people that for the first time since 1993 had the opportunity to phone in and register their votes. "Tusen och en natt" (Take me to your heaven) was the classical Swedish Abba inspired schlager, and many thought that we didn't stand a chance at the Eurovision. They all were wrong since the Abba sound worked very well in Europe and Sweden won the Eurovision Song Contest for the 4th time in history.

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