World Popular Song Festival

Last updated
World Popular Song Festival
(Yamaha Music Festival)
Nippon Budokan 2010.jpg
Genre Rock music,
Location(s) Tokyo, Japan
Years active1970 until 1989
Founded by Yamaha Music Foundation
Website Official Site by Yamaha Music Foundation

The World Popular Song Festival (世界歌謡祭, Sekai Kayōsai), also known as Yamaha Music Festival and unofficially as the "Oriental Eurovision", was an international song contest held from 1970 until 1989. It was organised by the Yamaha Music Foundation in Tokyo, Japan from 1970 until 1989. The first edition of the World Popular Song Festival (WPSF) took place on 20, 21 and 22 November 1970 with 37 participating countries from all continents. The concert was cancelled in 1988 due to the illness of the Shōwa Emperor; the final year was a charity concert for UNICEF, after which the contest was formally ended. [1]



Belgium was represented at the 1970 edition by Daliah Lavi, famous for her role in Casino Royale (1967), the James Bond parody featuring Woody Allen as well with Samantha Gilles in 1987 ending second with the song Hold Me. Lavi performed the chanson "Prends L'Amour" and ended up 13th in the Grand Final (the contest had two semi-finals and one final). The Netherlands delegated world-known jazz singer Rita Reys with the song "Just Be You", a composition by her husband Pim Jacobs. Czech singer Helena Vondráčková sang "Uncle Charlie" a novelty song inspired by Charlie Chaplin. Other famous 1970 participants were 1969 Eurovision winner Frida Boccara for France, Jacques Michel for Canada and Ted Mulry for Australia, who scored a national number 1 hit with his entry. Winner of the 1st WPSF was Israel with the duo Hedva & David. More than 2 million copies of their winning entry "Ani Holem Al Naomi" ("I Dream Of Naomi") were sold worldwide, giving a serious credibility boost to the new Festival.

Well established names as well as new talents tried their fortune at the WPSF: a very young ABBA under the name Björn & Benny with uncredited backing vocals by their partners Agnetha and Anni-Frid performing the track "Santa Rosa" with little success (later relegated to the B-side of their second single "He Is Your Brother"), Céline Dion (Outstanding Song Award in 1982), Bryan Adams (Participating in 1982), Bucks Fizz (Best Song Award in 1981), Tina Charles, Eros Ramazzotti, Daniela Romo, Gianna Nannini, Demis Roussos, Bonnie Tyler, B.J. Thomas, La Toya Jackson, Erasure, Cissy Houston, Italian singer-songwriter Alice, and many others.

In the history of the WPSF, the United Kingdom has been the most successful, winning the "WPSF Grand Prix" 5 times in the seventies (even three times in row). The United Kingdom is followed by the United States with 4 Grand Prix victories. Smaller countries won as well: Jamaica in 1972 with Ernie Smith, Norway in 1974 with Ellen Nikolaysen, Cuba in 1981 with Osvaldo Rodríguez and Hungary in 1983 with Neoton Família.[ citation needed ]

Grand Prix Winners

1970Flag of Israel.svg  Israel Hedva & David "Ani Holem Al Naomi"
1971Flag of France.svg  France Martine Clémenceau "Un Jour l'Amour"
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Tsunehiko Kamijo & Rokumonsen"Tabidachi No Uta"
1972Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Capricorn"Feeling"
Flag of Jamaica.svg  Jamaica Ernie Smith "Life is Just for Livin'"
1973Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Gilda Giuliani "Parigi a Volte Cosa Fa"
Flag of the United States.svg  United States Shawn Phillips "All the Kings and Castles"
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Keeley Ford"Head over Heels"
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Akiko Kosaka"Anata (You)"
1974Flag of Norway.svg  Norway Ellen Nikolaysen "You Made Me Feel I Could Fly"
1975Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Mister Loco "Lucky Man"
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Miyuki Nakajima "Jidai (Time Goes Around)"
1976Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Franco & Regina"Amore Mio"
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Sandy "Goodbye Morning"
1977Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Rags "Can't Hide My Love"
Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Mia Martini "Ritratto Di Donna"
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Masanori Sera and Twist"Anta no Ballade"
1978Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Tina Charles "Love Rocks"
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Hiroshi Madoka"Musoubana (Fly on All the Way)"
1979Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom Bonnie Tyler "Sitting on the Edge of the Ocean"
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Crystal King "Daitokai (In the City of Strangers)"
1980Flag of the United States.svg  United States Mary MacGregor "What's The Use"
1981Flag of Cuba.svg  Cuba Osvaldo Rodríguez "Digamos Que Mas Da"
1982Flag of the United States.svg  United States Anne Bertucci"Where Did We Go Wrong"
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Asuka "Hananusubito"
1983Flag of Hungary.svg  Hungary Neoton Família "Time Goes By"
1984Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada France Joli "Party Lights"
1985Flag of Argentina.svg  Argentina Valeria Lynch "Rompecabezas"
1986Flag of the United States.svg  United States Stacy Lattisaw "Longshot"
1987Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Pseudo Echo "Take on the World"
1988(the contest was cancelled)
1989(the Festival was held as a charity concert)


See also

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