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 (1978 to 2002) :
Izhar Cohen & The Alphabeta - A-Ba-Ni-Bi 1978
Gali Atari & Milk And Honey - Hallelujah 1979
Johnny Logan - What's another year 1980
Bucks Fizz - Making your mind up 1981
Nicole - Ein bißchen Frieden 1982
Corinne Hermès - Si la vie est un cadeau 1983
Herreys - Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley 1984
Bobbysocks - La det swinge 1985
Sandra Kim - J'aime la vie 1986
Johnny Logan - Hold me now 1987
Céline Dion - Ne partez pas sans moi 1988
Riva - Rock me 1989
Toto Cutugno - Insieme : 1992 1990
Carola - Fangad av en stormvind 1991
Linda Martin - Why me 1992
Niamh Kavanagh - In your eyes 1993
Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan - Rock 'n' roll kids 1994
Secret Garden - Nocturne 1995
Eimear Queen - The voice 1996
Katrina And The Waves - Love shine a light 1997
Dana International - Diva 1998
Charlotte Nilsson - Tame me to your heaven 1999
Olsen Brothers - Fly on the wings of love 2000
Tanel Padar, Dave Benton & 2XL - Everybody 2001
Marie N - I wanna 2002
1978 ... 20 countries participate in the contest this year, a record. Novelty of the year : The exploded screen that allows to show on the same screen the polling table, the presenters and the scenes. Otherwise the first victory for Israel, a victory that will make this group some true national heroes !
1979 ... scoring of the year : while Israel and Spain are elbow for the final victory, the Spanish jury that last votes gives its 12 points to...Israel and makes it lose its own country. A unique fact that will do date and that will never happen again inevitably ...
1980 ... once again the winning country of the previous year is not able to financially assume the organization of the contest on its soil. It will be the Netherlands who will resume the organization of this 1980 edition on their own. A nonsense that will never happen again. It is Johnny Logan who will win this year, but the most emblematic song of the contest will remain unquestionably 'Papa Penguin', title performed by the Sophie & Magali Sisters on behalf of Luxembourg ...
1981 ... the 1981 edition of the Competition will be particularly marked by the performance of the future winners, namely the Bucks Fizz and especially the moment when the 2 boys will take off the dresses of the 2 girls to reveal their mini-skirts. A find that will arouse both interest and disapproval. To this will be added sharp criticisms on the 'prefabricated' and superficial side of the group which will somewhat tarnish its victory ...
1982 : only notorious fact of this year 1982, the victory for Germany, a first concerning them. A title which will launch in a spectacular way the career of this young singer who will know thereafter a very honorable career across the Rhine...
1983 ... main innovation of the year, the wireless microphone, which appears for the first time. Victory for Luxembourg with a French singer but it is especially the Israeli Ofra Haza, who came second, who will impress the most and will experience the best career of the 2 ...
1984 ... 3 Swedish brothers (of American origin), moreover Mormons, will win that year. All thanks to this song about golden shoes that bring joy and luck to their owner. In any case, it will work perfectly for them, the proof !
1985...the only notable fact of the evening apart from the victory of this Norwegian group (a first for this country) is the mishap that happened to the Swedish presenter Lill Lindfors. Presenter who will lose the bottom of her dress on stage after the intermission and will find herself in white underwear in front of a dumbfounded audience. And who will even lose part of the top while desperately trying to fix it. We will know later that it was only a joke, certainly dubious, and which had been skilfully orchestrated by the organizers ...
1986 ... and here comes the youngest winner in history ! Sandra Kim was only 15 years old (official version of Belgium when she was only 13 in reality) when she won the Competition and brought Belgium his first victory. The victory of a very young girl who will not reproduce thereafter since the competition rules will be modified from the year 1990 and will impose a minimum age for any participation ...
1987 ... the sponsors appear for the first time that year and the number of countries that can participate is now limited to 22 in order to limit the duration of the Competition, which has become too long. Notable fact of this year 1987 : it is the second victory for Johnny Logan after his first victory in 1980. A feat that no one will ever manage to match ...
1988 ... the year 1988 will first be marked by a concern for modernization, particularly at the technological level (thus appears for the first time the first table of numerical results...). But it is above all the emergence of 2 extraordinary talents and not the least with first Lara Fabian who competes for Luxembourg. But also, and above all, Celine Dion who, after this success, will know the incredible career that we know ...
1989 ... huge controversy in 1989 concerning the age of 2 of the participants : the Israeli Gili, only 12 years old, but also, and above all, the French Nathalie Pâque, who was barely 11 years old ! In the years that follow, you will have to be 16 years old to participate in the Competition. Another highlight is Yugoslavia's one and only victory. Country which will be dissolved 3 years later in 1992 ...
1990 ... no significant fact about this 1990 edition except for the fact that the organization of the Competition was a financial fiasco for Yugoslavia and that a huge controversy will arise in this country on the very relative interest of to have organized this competition while the country was going through very serious economic difficulties ...
1991 ... for the second time in the history of the Competition, 2 countries end up tied : France and Sweden. The '12' points' rule is then applied : who has had the most ? The two countries had 4. We then go down a notch to the level of '10 points': who has had the most ? 5 for Sweden, 1 for France. So Sweden won that year ...
1992 ... remarkable fact of the year 1992 : the new victory of Johnny Logan ! Not as a singer but as a composer this time around, an incredible feat to say the least. He will have won twice himself and a third time with Linda Martin. Not to mention that he had already composed another title for her in 1984, still for Eurovision, a title with which she had finished 2nd in the competition !
1993 ... following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the organizers again had to increase the number of participating countries : this is how it is now 25. New controversy that year, the size of the city which hosts the competition : Millstreet, a small town of...1,500 residents ! A secret agreement having been made between the local owner of an equestrian center and Irish TV to organize the competition, an irresponsible agreement which will arouse the general disapproval of most of the participating countries ...
1994 ... first time that a country organizes the Competition twice in a row. Another notable fact : this is the first time that the Jury has been contacted by satellite, which finally allows them to be seen on the screen. And finally, the icing on the cake : Ireland's third consecutive victory, unprecedented !
1995 ... it will be the year of the Nordic countries : victory for Norway, 3rd place for Sweden and 5th place for Denmark. A victory for Norway tinged with controversy since the song will be criticized for being mainly instrumental, most of the song being interpreted by the Irish violinist Fionnuala Sherry ...
1996 ... thirty countries will ask to compete that year, a record. The organizers will therefore have to set up a preselection system to decide between the potential finalists. Preselections that will be more or less opaque and which of course will arouse controversy and especially the fury of the eliminated countries unable to offer their song on stage in front of all of Europe ...
1997 ... the only highlight of the year, the victory of an American in the competition ! And yes, the singer of Katrina & The Waves, Katrina Leskanich, is of American origin and not English as the origin of the group might have suggested ...
1998 ... what will stay as one of the most controversial editions : Dana International, the Israeli singer who will win the contest was originally called...Yaron Cohen and was male ! The transgender was not really in fashion at the time and the ultra-Orthodox Jews did everything necessary to stir up the hatred of the enlightened who threatened the singer with death. This considerably weighed down the atmosphere of the Competition ...
1999 ... introduction of the 'Big Four' law that year, a tendentious law which now allows the biggest financial contributors to the Competition to automatically have a place in the final. Countries concerned : Germany, Spain, France and United Kingdom. Another notable change is the end of orchestras and now authorization to use soundtracks. Major change that sparked an uproar from the original fans who proclaimed loud and clear that this contest was now just a huge karaoke ...
2000 ... which says new millennium, says new notable evolutions : the auditorium will use the very last technological evolutions and massive use of the new media jewel of the moment namely Internet. Highlight concerning the 2 Danish winners : their age. That evening they became the 2 oldest artists who won the Competition ...
2001 ... Denmark will want to impress the whole world and will go overboard in terms of the performance hall with the Parken Stadium, a 35,000-seat hall ! They will even go so far as to add a retractable roof to make the room compatible with the organization of such an event. To say the least counterproductive excess because many spectators present in the room will not even see the artists because they are too far from the stage ...
2002 ... of this 2002 edition we will especially remember the first victory of Latvia. A victory due in part to the stage performance of Marie N where she started her performance in a white suit and black shirt and was stripped as the song went on by her singers and dancers to finish simply wearing a short red dress. ...
To be continued...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurovision_Song_Contest Official Website :
Greatest Hits :