Edin Dervišhalidović is a Bosnian Muslim, or Bosniak as the Islamic Slavs in Bosnia are sometimes called. He was born in 1962 in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo, then a part of Yugoslavia, and formed the band Merlin in 1983 with whom he recorded five albums between 1985 and 1990, before embarking on a solo career under the stage name Dino Merlin.
One of his first compositions as a solo artist was Bosnia’s national anthem Jedna Si Jedina (You Are The One And Only). The song was based on a traditional folk tune S One Strane Plive (On The Far Bank Of The Pliva River) to which Merlin had written new lyrics, and was adopted in November 1992, eight months after Bosnia’s declaration of independence from Yugoslavia. It remained the country’s national anthem until 1999 when it was superseded by an instrumental tune composed by Bosnian Serb Dušan Šestić (whose daughter, Marija, represented Bosnia at Eurovision in 2007). It was thought that the absence of lyrics would be more sensitive to the Serb and Croat communities of Bosnia who make up respectively 30% and 15% of the population.
Bosnian artists had represented Yugoslavia at Eurovision on four occasions (1964, 1973, 1976 and 1981), and in 1993, a mere 14 months after independence and at the height of the resulting Bosnian War, they made their Eurovision debut as a sovereign state (see No. 426) in Millstreet, Ireland. Merlin was chosen to write that first entry, Sva Bol Svijeta (All The Pain In The World), performed by Fazla (Muhamed Fazlagić) it finished 16th in a field of 25. Then, in 1999, Merlin made his initial Eurovision appearance as a performer in a duet with French singer Béatrice Poulot. Their rendition of the Merlin-penned song Putnici (Travellers) finished in a very creditable 7th place.
Love In Rewind went one better, finishing 6th in 2011. That year it scored the most sets of maximum marks – five (from Austria, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland), two more twelves than the Azerbaijani winner Running Scared. It’s Bosnia’s second highest placing after Lejla by Hari Mata Hari (see No. 460), though in our countdown there are three Bosnian entries that have eclipsed both Love In Rewind and Lejla, including two that are inside the Top 100.