Eurovision Song Contest 2023 live updates what to expect at

Eurovision Song Contest 2023 live updates: what to expect at the grand finale

Derrick Bryson Taylor

May 13, 2023 1:52 PM ET

May 13, 2023 1:52 p.m. ETFans pose with a statue of The Beatles in Liverpool, England. Credit: Mary Turner for The New York Times

Liverpool, which is hosting this year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine, is one of the most important cities in the history of pop music, and not just because it’s the birthplace of the Beatles.

According to Scouse Pop author Paul Skillen, it’s a port town on the banks of the Mersey Estuary, and its unique blend of sounds stems from a flow of people through the ages that has included seafarers and enslaved people. and Lecturer at the University of Chester. “It became a melting pot of cultures and musical influences, which set Liverpool apart from any other city in the UK,” he said.

Merseybeat, a music genre described as a British interpretation of American rock and roll, originated in Liverpool in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Beatles and other local bands like Gerry and the Pacemakers were among the most popular musicians of the time, both in Britain and the United States.

Holly Tessler, Lecturer in Music at Liverpool University, said the Merseybeat era marked the first major arrival of British pop music. “It was the first time that a city outside of London, certainly up north, certainly in the working-class areas, had its own music, its own identity, its own sounds,” she said.

In the 1980s and in the midst of the economic crisis across Britain, Liverpool was once again seething with a new sound, later known as ‘New Wave’. “It was really something innovative and there was room to grow and develop outside of mainstream London,” she said. Frankie Goes to Hollywood, a popular local band of the period known for the hits “Relax” and “Two Tribes”, reunited for the opening ceremony of the Eurovision Song Contest on Sunday.

In 2008, Liverpool was chosen as the European Capital of Culture and seven years later, alongside Glasgow, it was also named a UNESCO City of Music. Kingston, Jamaica; and Seville, Spain.

Liverpool’s appreciation for music is also evident in its architecture. St. George’s Hall, a neoclassical concert hall in the heart of the city, opened in the 1850s and is the venue for a screening of the Eurovision final. There are dozens of other theaters, venues, and clubs in the city, including the Argyle Theater, where Charlie Chaplin performed, and Eric’s Club, a venue where punk bands performed.

The city’s welcoming spirit was on display as Liverpool prepared to host the Eurovision Song Contest, which would have taken place in Ukraine this year had it not been for the ongoing conflict there.

“Everything has blossomed overnight for the past two weeks,” Tessler said. “We have Ukrainian flags and Ukrainian songbirds,” she added, referring to 12 large sculptures scattered around the city.

“It was really great to see that happen,” she said.

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