TWENTY years ago today on 30th April 1994, Frances Ruffelle represented the United Kingdom at the 39th annual Eurovision Song Contest, which was held at The Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.
In March 1994, the Great British public decided that the song ‘Lonely Symphony’ would clinch victory in the contest. It didn’t of course – it finished in 10th place which is both a travesty and injustice but boy what an almightily brilliant song it is, even after two decades!
Originally, during the Song For Europe selection process, the song was a bass heavy, gritty, earthy and rootsy essence with the most uplifting and rousing vocal performance. The studio version of the song was altered somewhat and by comparison became a lighter, funkier and more polished sounding affair. Additional lyrics were added to the second verse and the structure of the song was altered slightly whilst the title was amended to ‘Lonely Symphony (We Will Be Free)’. What remained constant throughout was Frances’ ability to sing the hell out of the song – a master stroke of vocal control and range, with powerful belting and soaring top notes to the enigmatic and sensual use of her lower register in the verses – it remains a genuinely captivating and dazzling display.
The video with Frances flashing some Union Flag knickers to the devastatingly melancholic single artwork added to the flurry of excitement that remains an iconic and important moment for us.
‘Lonely Symphony’ stood out for all the right reasons – it was memorable, well written, meaningful, cool and credible but ultimately ahead of its time when placed next to the ballads and novelty tracks that typically dominated the contest in the day. And unlike most Eurovision entries, it sounds as fresh, exciting and exuberant as it did all those years ago.
Frances, we love you deeply!