14 November – Over the mountains beyond the seas

The free language rule. It’s part and parcel of the typical Eurovision experience. But in the 1980s it was a different story. Countries could only sing in languages of their own country. It perhaps gave an advantage to those more commonly-spoke tongues.

The Finns were always one of those disadvantaged nations, so they could be forgiven when they sneaked some English into their song. One such occasion was in 1986 when we got a song by today’s birthday boy Kari Ilmari Kuivalainen. he sold us a sing with a title in Finnish until we got to the contest, when Päivä kahden ihmisen mysteriously became Never the end. Even Dame Åse Kleveland commented on it, making the average 1986 juror more aware. In the event, his 22 points from six juries gave him a 15th spot. And not one vote was from a native English speaking country. Maybe they were fed up with the own language rule too.

Kari is 62 today.

Hyvää syntymäpäivää, Kari!