Massiel La, La, La
"La, la, la" (Spanish pronunciation: [la, la, la]) is a song which was performed by the Spanish singer Massiel at the Eurovision Song Contest 1968, winning the contest for Spain in that year. It was the first of Spain's two Eurovision wins to date.
The song was composed by Ramón Arcusa and Manuel de la Calva, otherwise known as the singing duo Dúo Dinámico. Massiel's backing singers, who wore short teal coloured dresses, were (from back to front, tallest to shortest) María Jesús Aguirre, María Dolores Arenas, and Mercedes Valimaña Macaria.
Massiel recorded the song in four languages; Spanish, Italian, German, all as "La, la, la", and in English, as "La, la, la (He Gives Me Love)". It was later covered by the Italian singer Mina in Radiotelevisione Italiana's 1968 variety series Canzonissima and by Finnish singer Carola. The band Saint Etienne recorded another cover version, featured on the album A Song for Eurotrash (1998) with English lyrics that differ from the original, referring to the man she is dating instead of the things she is thankful for. The biggest-selling recording of the song, however, was the cover-version, performed in Spanish, by Portugues fado star Amália Rodrigues. It was also sung by Alpay, a famous Turkish singer, in Turkish that same year in "Sen Gidince & La La La" 45 rpm.
The song has been the subject of more than one controversy. Joan Manuel Serrat, the artist originally chosen to perform Spain's entry, intended to sing it in Catalan. The Franco government would not allow this – and insisted that the entry should be performed in Spanish, official language for all the territories of Spain, although Serrat wanted to claim for the other regional languages of this country, repressed under the Franco dictatorship. Hence the last-minute substitution of Massiel as singer. It was not until 2004, when Andorra made its first entry, that Catalan would be heard on the contest stage.
"La, la, la" beat the favourite, the United Kingdom's "Congratulations" by just one point, and Bill Martin (writer of the UK entry) called the Spanish song "a piece of rubbish".
A documentary film shown on Spanish television in 2008 claimed that General Franco had had the competition fixed to ensure a victory for Spain which would boost the country's image abroad. In return for the juries' votes, the film alleged, the Spanish national television service (TVE) had purchased marginally popular television programmes from other countries for broadcast in Spain, as well as booking lesser-known foreign acts to perform in the country. The maker of the documentary quoted journalist José María Íñigo who had said, "Massiel won Eurovision with bought votes." Eurovision TV Director Bjorn Erichsen said, "Was Franco really so keen for Spain to win it? We're not talking about NATO here or the EU, or political influence, we're talking about a pop song contest." Massiel was outraged by the allegations, insisting that she won because her song was better, and that Franco would have not been able to buy any votes for her in the first place. She also blamed the allegations on competition among Spanish TV channels. However José María Íñigo, the person that made such claims in the documentary quickly said that his words were taken out of context and he never said such thing, and said that the channel that produced the documentary, laSexta, who was the promoter of the Spanish representative that year, Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, had manipulated his words to help promote their candidate. He said: "if there had been such a manipulation, it would have been for a different artist who had been closer to the regime".