The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual song contest organized by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and first organized on May 24, 1956 by Marcel Bezençon, director general of Swiss public television. Competition modeled at its beginnings on that of San Remo, born a few years earlier in 1951.
The first edition sees the participation of only 7 countries : Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. A competition won for the first time by...Switzerland.
This first edition prohibits group performances as well as any choreography but allows countries to present 2 songs (given the small number of participants).
Change of rules from the following year with only one song possible per country and the authorization given to the duets to perform. Three new countries join the competition : the United Kingdom, Denmark and Austria. Another novelty is that the members of the jury are now contacted by telephone and can no longer vote for their own country.
The year 1958 saw the addition of a rule requiring the winning country to organize the next edition at home and the arrival of Sweden as a new competing country. The following year in 1959, it was Monaco's turn to enter the competition.
In 1960, the competition was held on a Tuesday and it would be the last edition to be organized during the week. From now on, the competition will only take place on weekends. France won that year with singer Jacqueline Boyer and her title "Tom Pillibi". Title that will become the first Eurovision winning title to achieve huge success in the rest of Europe. New participant this year : Norway.
In 1961, three new countries entered the competition : Spain, Finland and Yugoslavia.
New rule in 1962 with the arrival of the 'Nul Point', a rule which covers the 4 countries that had no points and therefore finished last ...
The year 1964 saw the arrival of a new kid on the block with Portugal. Another novelty is the arrival of a supervisor dispatched by the EBU who will each year supervise the conduct of the vote and validate the results.
The competition was broadcast from 1965 throughout Eastern Europe and considerably increased its audience level. It was Luxembourg that won that year with singer France Gall and her title "Poupée de cire, poupée de son". Title which becomes the first title of the competition to know a success not only European but also planetary. New participant this year: Ireland.
The competition was broadcast in color from the year 1968 and the regulations changed one year later in 1969 because 4 countries were declared equal winners that year : Spain, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. A unique fact that will trigger a huge controversy and force the organizers to completely review the way points are awarded.
New for 1970 : the appearance of short films that present each candidate before his performance on stage.
The year 1971 saw the arrival of Malta as a new participating country and two years later in 1973 it was Israel's turn to enter the competition.
Highlight of 1974 : the victory of a small Swedish group named...Abba, which is above all the first group to win with a song that will not be sung in the native language of the participating country. Other remarkable fact, the title is so successful that it is the first title of the contest to enter the chart of the American Billboard Hot 100, a real achievement. Greece also enters the competition that year.
The year 1975 saw the introduction of a new system of attribution of points with the famous “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,12”, a system which amplified the suspense but lengthened considerably the final voting time. New participant this year : Turkey.
The only significant events in the years that followed : the arrival of Morocco in 1980 and Cyprus in 1981.
New major innovation from 1983 with the arrival of wireless microphones.
New country to join the competition in 1986 : Iceland.
Then in 1987, it was the arrival of the sponsors and the decision of the EBU to limit the number of participants to 22 in order to limit the duration of the competition to 3 hours.
The end of the 1980s saw the year 1989 shaken by a controversy over the very young age of 2 of the participants : the Israeli Gili was only 12 years old and the French Nathalie Pâque only 11 years old. This will force the organizers to impose a minimum age of 16 from now on to be able to participate.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the dislocation of the former Eastern bloc will once again force the organizers to review in 1993 the number of participants in the competition by increasing it to 25. A year which sees the entry of 3 new countries which are Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
New rule the following year in 1994 to regulate too many participating countries : the relegation. The 6 countries which now finish last cannot compete the following year. A year 1994 which saw the massive arrival of new countries with Estonia, Romania, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, Russia and Poland !
New for 1997 : televoting. Spectators can now vote by phone and the measure is initially only implemented in 5 countries : Germany, Austria, UK, Sweden and Switzerland. The spectators will play the game massively and the principle will be generalized to all other countries thereafter.
The year 1998 saw the arrival of North Macedonia and was marked above all by the controversial victory of the Israeli Dana International, the first Trans woman to win the competition.
In 1999, the EBU decided to favor its biggest contributors by offering them automatic places in the final, regardless of their results in previous years. This is how Germany, Spain, France and the United Kingdom find themselves endowed with this privilege (privilege which will be extended to Italy from the year 2011). The orchestras are also canceled that year in favor of soundtracks only.
New country to join the competition in 2000 : Latvia.
The beginning of the 2000s saw countries outbid the means allocated to the organization of the competition and above all to the disproportion of the technologies used and the rooms hosting the competition with a record for Denmark in 2001. Country which decided to organize the competition at the Parken Stadium, a hall that can accommodate no less than 35,000 people !
In 2004, another massive arrival of countries with Belarus, Andorra, Albania and Serbia and Montenegro. This will force the EBU to organize semi-finals in order to maintain the same number of participants in the final despite a record number of participating countries.
The year 2005 saw the entry of 2 new participants : Moldova and Bulgaria. Then it will be Armenia's turn in 2006.
A year 2006 marked by the victory of the Finnish heavy metal group Lordi, a group which will shock as much as fascinate for its performance on stage where its members are disguised as monsters.
Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia and the Czech Republic joined the competition in 2007.
A year 2007 once again controversial with the overwhelming supremacy of the countries of the East to the detriment of the countries of the West thanks in particular to partisan votes. A controversy which pushes the EBU to reform for the umpteenth time in 2009 the voting system with the implementation of a voting system based on the vote of viewers to which is added the vote of a jury of 5 specialists.
2014 will stay as one of the most incredible but also the most controversial years with the victory for Austria by Conchita Wurtz. A Conchita Wurtz who is none other than the singer-Drag Queen Thomas Neuwirth, who will perform on stage as a bearded woman ...
The year 2018 will be marked by the victory of a new atypical singer, namely the Israeli singer Netta Barzilai, who will sport a Japanese-inspired look that is surprising to say the least, given her atypical morphology to say the least ...
A musical competition that in 50 years has become a real benchmark as much for the number of talented artists who have performed there as for the number of controversies and scandals it has generated ...
So to follow ...
To discover or rediscover.
Winners (1956 to 1977) :
Lys Assia - Refrain 1956
Corry Broken - Net als toen 1957
André Claveau - Dors mon amour 1958
Teddy Scholten - Een beetge 1959
Jacqueline Boyer - Tom Pillibi 1960
Jean-Claude Pascal - Nous les amoureux 1961
Isabelle Aubret - Un premier amour 1962
Grethe et Jorgen Ingmann - Dansevise 1963
Gigliola Cinquetti - Non ho l'età 1964
France Gall - Poupée de cire, poupée de son 1965
Udo Jurgens - Merci chérie 1966
Shandie Shaw - Puppet on a string 1967
Massiel - La, la, la 1968
Salomé - Vivo cantando 1969
Frida Boccara - Un jour un enfant 1969
Lenny Kuhr - De troubadour 1969
Lulu - Boom bag-a-bang 1969
Dana - All kinds of eveything 1970
Séverine - Un banc, un arbre, une rue 1971
Vicky Leandros - Après toi 1972
Anne-Marie David - Tu te reconnaitras 1973
ABBA - Waterloo 1974
Teach In - Ding-A-Dong 1975
Brotherhood Of Man - Save your kisses for me 1976
Marie Myriam - L'oiseau et l'enfant 1977
1956 ... at the origin of the genesis of the beginning of one of the most famous tele-hooks in history. And that's gone on for decades and decades. First winner : this young Swiss woman who will stay in history as the one who inaugurated the concept ...
1957 ... the first year allowed the presentation of several songs per participant. This year 1957 will no longer allow it. Duets are now allowed to compete, countries can no longer vote for themselves and juries are now contacted by phone. It will be a young Dutchwoman who will win that year ...
1958 ... the only novelty of the year will be for the winning country to organize the next edition at home. This year 1958 will allow France to win for the first time ...
1959 ... a year of transition where not much will happen except this new victory for the Netherlands. The Netherlands will often win early on, as will France. Much less later ...
1960 ... the competition will take place that year on a Tuesday evening. This will indeed be the last time this will happen because it will now be organized only on weekends. Apart from that, another victory for France, one of the first winning titles to become a success in all of Europe thereafter...
1961 ... first victory for Luxembourg. Victories for Luxembourg there will be others thereafter and most, like this one, will be obtained by non-Luxembourgish singers ...
1962 ... the year 1962 sees the arrival of a new voting system and 4 countries will not receive any points. It is the appearance of the 'Nul Point'. Third victory for France, one of the last ...
1963 ... no notable developments the following year and victory for Denmark, a first. There will be few victories from this country and they will have to wait 37 years to repeat the feat ...
1964 ... novelty of the year : appointment of an on-site supervisor by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) who must monitor the vote and control the results. Also first, the victory of a young Italian who will make her title a huge success throughout Europe ...
1965 ... the Competition is now broadcast in Eastern Europe from 1965, another great novelty. Another Frenchwoman who wins for Luxembourg and who will make this title a huge success not only in Europe but also in the world !
1966 ... Austria's first victory, one of the very few victories for this country. It must be said that the German language does not help for international victories ...
1967 ... only remarkable fact of this year 1967, the fact that Sandie Shaw will sing barefoot on stage. This will be the one and only time this will happen ...
1968 ... great novelty of the year, the color ! The Competition is now broadcast in color but for the moment only 6 countries will be able to benefit from it : Germany, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden and Switzerland ...
1969 ... one of the first major controversies of the competition : that year, 4 countries will finish in first place (France, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom) ! It is the general tôlé and the organizers will have to seriously review their voting system to prevent this from happening again ...
1970 ... as there were 4 winners the previous year, the organizing country had to be drawn : the Netherlands will win. Otherwise a great novelty of the year : short films presenting the candidates before each performance. And above all, Ireland's first victory ...
1971 ... first year in which groups of 3 to 6 people are allowed to perform. A year in which the controversy is back with suspicions of mediocre rating assignments to certain flagship songs from certain countries in order to favor their own. The victory was Monegasque but the whole team, from the singer to the orchestra, was French ...
1972 ... the Competition will not be organized in Monaco this year despite its victory the previous year and this lack of resources ! Monaco will never come to an agreement with France to organize it and it will ultimately be the United Kingdom which will take it on its own. New for the year : a large wall screen now appears on stage ...
1973 ... notorious rule change : countries can now sing in a language other than their original language. This is how 3 Scandinavian countries will launch the fashion to sing in English : Finland, Norway and Sweden. A novelty that will benefit another group the following year and not the least ...
1974 ... which will undoubtedly remain as the most emblematic song of the entire competition ! The astonished world discovers a small Scandinavian group out of nowhere and which will become in the years to follow one of the most outstanding groups of the end of the XXth century, just that ! Best of all, this song will be the first in the Competition to achieve the feat of being ranked in the US Billboard Hot 100 !
1975 ... introduction of the famous point voting system "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,12". New voting system which will considerably lengthen the duration of the vote but which will further increase the suspense ...
1976 ... novelty of the year : the introduction of instrumental playback from the moment when the orchestra is not able to produce the desired sound. Another novelty, the artist interviews behind the scenes. The song that will win that year will be a huge success and will sell more than 6 million copies, just that ...
1977 ... surprisingly, the organizers decide to go back on the rule of 'sing in any language' and reinstate the obligation to sing in the original language. The Austrian group Schmetterlinge will be particularly noticed this year by its costumes, to say the least, original : white in front with a red heart, black in the back with hanging banknotes and a grimacing mask on the back of the head. A provoking side that many groups will be inspired by in the years and decades that will follow, for better, and sometimes for worse ...
To be continued...
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