23 March – In the abandoned churches, they prepare shelters

We don't always pick the recent stuff to celebrate birthdays. We have a long, rich and interesting history of songs. From the outstanding to the less so. And if you're talking outstanding, one country that springs to mind is Italy.

They've only had two wins. "Why not more?", is the question many people ask, especially as countries have won far less classy fayre. In 1984, we saw Italy in Luxembourg, with a duet by Alice and today's birthday boy Francesco 'Franco' Battiato. It was an interesting contest where the song on first won. Franco and Alice performed last-but-one, and managed a fifth place. Some would say it deserved better, but as with Italy, quality doesn't always quite win. Maybe it wasn't a bad thing, as we all know what happened the last time Italy did host.

Franco is 76 today.

Buon compleanno, Franco!

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