International Songwriters Association (ISA) Songs And Songwriting • The Eurovision
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ISAThe Eurovision Song Contest


The Eurovision Song Contest is one of those television spectaculars that you either love, or hate. And even if the importance of the song itself has been downplayed in the last forty years in favour of just the performance, the local heats (and indeed occasionally even the final itself), can still offer the unknown songwriter a taste of international success.

Jim Liddane looks back at more than six decades of Eurovision Song Contests.



The Origins Of The Eurovision 1954-1956

The Eurovision Song Contest grew out of a project suggested by the Italian delegation to the EBU or European Broadcasting Union in October 1954, which envisaged an annual light entertainment television programme highlighting local talent from each of the EBU countries.

Credit for suggesting that a Song Contest replace the local talent show concept is generally given to Marcel Bezençon, who was both Director General of Swiss Television and President of the European Broadcasting Union's Programme Division. He had been advising the Italian outlet RAI concerning their proposed television transmission of the 1955 Sanremo Music Festival, which had proved remarkably successful but had been broadcast only on radio since its inception in 1951.

On 20th January 1955, at a meeting of the EBU in Monaco, Marcel Bezençon put his plan for a song contest to the committee which had been set up to further the original project, suggesting that if adopted, it might replicate throughout Europe, the success of Italy's Sanremo. In addition, he offered the facilities of Swiss Television to host the first event.

Finally, at the EBU meeting in Rome on 17th October 1955, it was decided to proceed with the concept, to be called Le Grand-Prix Eurovision de la Chanson Européenne. Ten countries agreed to take part in the first contest, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland.

Participating countries were recommended to set up and hold national televised song contests in the spring of 1956 so as to produce a suitably qualified entrant, and to increase awareness of the contest in general. However, in the end, only three countries actually did this, although Italy decided that the winner of its longer-established Sanremo Song Festival would in future also be its nominee for the Eurovision.

Although some delegates had misgivings about the short time-frame involved, it was agreed that the first contest would be staged (under the auspices of Swiss Television) in Lugano, Switzerland, on Thursday, 24th May 1956, and broadcast live on television throughout all 23 of the EBU member countries, going on to become the longest-running annual TV song competition.

The Contests: 1956 - 1969


Lys Assia 1956

1st Eurovision Song Contest 1956

• Venue Teatro Kursaal, Lugano, Switzerland
• Date Of Grand Final 24 May 1956
• Number Of Countries Participating
7
• Winning Song
Refrain
• Writers
Geo Voumard: Emile Gardaz
• Performed By
Lys Assia, representing Switzerland

• The first Eurovision Song Contest was held in Lugano, Switzerland, the headquarters of Swiss Television.

• The participating countries were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Switzerland.

• Technical difficulties surrounding the development of the the Eurovision Network comprising a terrestrial microwave network, meant that the program could not be televised live across all 22 member broadcasters as originally envisaged.

• Instead, the first Eurovision Song Contest was shown in its entirety live on television by the seven participating countries plus Denmark and Austria, and was also transmitted on radio throughout all of the EBU member states. The BBC broadcast just half of the programme live in the UK, taking only the second half, and thus second song from each country. By coincidence, the winning song was one of the second half performances.

• Unfortunately, no complete recording of the original Lugano tranmission has survived, leading some to speculate that the first Eurovision was broadcast on radio only.

• In fact, in addition to the live feed provided by Swiss TV, a number of outlets which had expressed interest in covering the story as a news item, were invited into the Teatro Kursaal to film such segments of the show as they required. As a consequence, films of parts of the transmission do exist and have since surfaced on YouTube.

• As only seven countries participated instead of the ten required to fill the programme time allotted, it was decided that each country should enter two songs - the only occasion on which this happened. Each country (except Luxembourg), sent two singers.

• Of the ten countries which had expressed an interest in taking part, three of them, the UK, Denmark and Austria, failed to appear. The UK had originally supported the competition proposal even though it was simultaneously planning its own six month long Festival Of British Popular Song which commenced on the 7th May 1956 and finished on 22nd October of that year.

• It is believed that the EBU was given to understood that the UK intended to enter whichever song won the first heat of the Festival Of British Popular Song on 7th May. This heat included two of the UK's biggest stars, Alma Cogan singing "The Old Clockmaker" and Ronnie Hilton performing "Pedlar Of Dreams".

• The winner on the night however was "Little Ship" performed by the Australian singer Shirley Abacair and written by Irene and Terry Roper.

• Although there was sufficient time to enter this song in the Eurovision finals - the closing date being 10th May - no song subsequently arrived from the UK, and it has been suggested that the BBC did not feel that the UK should be represented by a non-British performer.

• In any event, the overall winner of the 1956 Festival which ended in October was "Everybody Falls In Love With Someone", written by Norman Newell and Peter Hart and performed by Dennis Lotis (and later recorded by both Dickie Henderson and Matt Monro), which beat "Little Ship" (later recorded by Jackie Lee) into second place.

• On the evening of the Eurovision Song Contest in Lugano, each country (apart from Luxembourg) sent a two-person jury which viewed the contest on a television screen in a room near the contest performance. For some reason never satisfactorily explained, details of the voting were never revealed for the 1956 contest.

• We have since learned that jurors were allowed vote for their own country if they so wished, and that Luxembourg failed to send a jury, but instead gave a proxy to Switzerland to vote on its behalf.

• The Swiss entry subsequently won the contest, apparently by that one vote!

• Based on interviews given by a number of jurors, we believe that Germany took second position, one point behind Switzerland, with "Im Wartesaal Zum Großen Glück" written and performed by Walter Andreas Schwarz, while Belgium finished third with its song "Messieurs Les Noyés De La Seine", written by Robert Montal, Jean Miret and Jacques Say and performed by Fud Leclerc, three points behind Germany.

• The winning song was "Refrain", written by Geo Voumard and Emile Gardaz and almost five minutes long. The winning performer, Lys Assia, was a Swiss national, who had earlier performed in both the German and Swiss 1956 national finals. Fifty-five years later, in 2011, at the age of 87, she entered the Swiss heats, but was beaten. Undeterred, she entered again in 2012!

• Geo Voumard, the Director Of Music and a composer at Radio Lausanne later went on to found the Montreux Jazz Festival. He was not present in Lugano on the evening of his song's win.

• Emile Gardaz, a presenter with Radio Lausanne, co-wrote more than 600 songs, and penned over a dozen books. He too was not present in Lugano on the evening his song won.


Corry Brokken 1957

2nd Eurovision Song Contest 1957

• Venue Großer Sendesaal des hessischen Rundfunks, Frankfurt, West Germany
• Date Of Grand Final 3 March 1957
• Number Of Countries Participating
10
• Winning Song
"Net Als Toen"
• Writers
Guus Jansen: Willy van Hemert
• Performed By
Corry Brokken, representing The Netherlands

• The second Eurovision Song Contest was held in Frankfurt, West Germany. Although the 1956 winner had been Switzerland, the Swiss offered the 1957 contest to West Germany which it had beaten in 1956.

• Austria, the United Kingdom and Denmark, who had all failed to materialise in 1956, made their debut at the Eurovision Song Contest, while none of the countries appearing in 1956 withdrew.

• The participating countries accordingly were Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland Austria, Denmark, and the United Kingdom.

• The BBC decided to run the Festival Of British Popular Song in February so as to allow the winner to perform in the Eurovision. About 100 songs were submitted by the top London music publishers, from such songwriters as Noel Gay, Freddie Poser, Michael Carr, Irene and Trevor Roper, and Norman Newell. The entries were reduced to 18, and a number of well-known stars such as Lita Roza, Dennis Lotis, Marion Ryan, Ronnie Hilton, Bryan Johnson, Shirley Eaton, and Edna Savage, were booked to perform them in the final.

• The winner "All", written by Reynell Wreford and Alan Stranks and performed by the heretofore unknown Patricia Bredin, scored 23 points. It beat "Once", penned by Barbara Kilalee into second place.

• The UK song clocked in at just one minute fifty-two seconds, making it not only the shortest Eurovision entry of 1957, but indeed of all time. The song was not released as a single in the UK by Patricia herself, although it was later recorded by Robert Earl. However, the songs placed 2nd and 3rd in the UK heats were recorded by their respective performers, Edna Savage and Ronnie Hilton. None charted.

• Reynell Wreford had penned "Theme From The Last Rhapsody", a hit for Mantovani in 1953, and went on to write hits for such performers as Jane Morgan and George Melachrino.

• Allan Stranks was a lyricist of a large number of movie theme songs, as well as being a scriptwriter for both radio and television. His radio work included "A Case For PC 49" and "Dick Barton: Special Agent", while his movie songs can be heard in such James Mason classics as "Candlelight In Algeria" and "The Wicked Lady".

• The 1957 Eurovision Song Contest, although shown simultaneously on TV in some countries, was again heard by most people via the radio due to the comparative scarcity of television sets across Europe at that time.

• Unlike 1956, when the juries were in the same building as the contestants, each jury in 1957 remained in its home country and voted instead by telephone.

• On the evening of the Eurovision Song Contest in Frankfurt, the UK entry, "All" by Patricia Bredin, finished seventh with six points.

• Italy's "Corde Della Mia Chitarra" which was more than five minutes long, came sixth. The length of the Italian entry led to a rule limiting all future entries to just three minutes.

• Denmark came third on 10 points with "Skibet Skal Seile I Nat", written by Paoul Sorensen and Erik Fiehn, and performed by Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler.

• France came second on 17 points, with "La Belle Amour" written by Francis Carco and Guy LaFarge, and sung by Paule Desjardins.

• The winning song, "Net Als Toen", written by Guus Jansen and Willy van Hemert, was performed by Corry Brokken representing The Netherlands. She had also represented Holland the previous year. Brokken received 31 points, and went on to present the Eurovision almost twenty years later, in 1976.

• Guus Jansen, a well-known jazz performer in the Netherlands, is the father of Guus Jansen, the successful composer and recording artist.

• Willy van Hemert, a theatre and television producer and a successful stage comedian, would later co-write the 1959 Eurovision winning,song "Een Beetje". His son Hans van Hemert is a producer and songwriter of several international hits by both Mouth & MacNeal and Luv, as well as three Dutch Eurovision entries.


Andre Claveau 1958

3rd Eurovision Song Contest 1958

• Venue AVRO Studios, Hilversum, Netherlands
• Date Of Grand Final 12 March 1958
• Number Of Countries Participating
10
• Winning Song
"Dors, Mon Amour"
• Writers
Hubert Giraud: Pierre Delanoë
• Performed By
André Claveau, representing France

• The third Eurovision Song Contest, was held in Hilversum, in The Netherlands, the country which had won the contest in 1957.

• The number of countries entering remained at 10, because although the United Kingdom withdrew (allegedly in protest at its seventh place the previous year), Sweden entered for the first time. With Britain not participating, 1958 became the second and indeed last Eurovision Song Contest not to feature a song in the English language.

• The participating countries were Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

• When explaining its failure in 1956 to enter the winning song of the opening heat of its Festival Of British Popular Song, the BBC denied that the Festival had ever been intended to be the UK heat for the Eurovision. However, significantly when Britain pulled out in 1958, it also cancelled its own UK Festival for that year.

• Margot Hielscher (Germany). who had performed in 1957, Corry Brokken (Netherlands), 1956 and 1957, and Lys Assia (Switzerland), 1956 and 1957, all returned in 1958.

• A number of internationally-renowned music conductors were involved in the 1957 competition. France's entry for example was conducted by Frank Pourcel, the Italian song by Alberto Semprini, while the highly-rated Dolf van der Linden, founder of the acclaimed Metropole Orchestra, conducted the entries from the Netherlands, Luzembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and Germany.

• On the evening of the Eurovision contest in Hilversum, the Italian entry "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu", written by Franco Migliacci and Domenico Modugno and performed by Domenico Modugno, came third with just 13 points.

• However, when this song was subsequently released on record, it topped the US charts becoming the only Eurovision song to ever win a Grammy and indeed one of the few to reach the American Hot 100. Later versions by Bobby Rydell and Dean Martin under the title "Volare" and with English lyrics by Mitchell Parrish, cemented its success as possibly the most-covered Eurovision song of all time.

• One reason frequently given as to why "Volare" did relatively poorly in the contest itself, was that a breakdown in transmission at the start of the programme meant that not all of the juries heard it when it was first performed. However, this is offset by the fact that it was performed again at the end of the show, thus giving some juries a chance to hear the tune for a second time.

• The Swiss entry, "Giorgio", written by Fridolin Tschudi and Paul Burkhard, and performed by the 1956 winner Lys Assia, came second with 24 points.

• The winner, with 27 points, was "Dors Mon Amour", written by Hubert Giraud and Pierre Delanoë, and performed for France by André Claveau, who thus became the first male vocalist to win the contest.

• Hubert Giraud played harmonica with Django Reinhardt's Quintette du Hot Club de France, before going on to compose several successful movie themes in the 1950's. In 1970, he wrote the Pop-Tops multi-million seller, "Mamy Blue".

• Pierre Delanoe, a successful lyricist, co-wrote with Gilbert Becaud, and his songs (including such classics as "What Now My Love" and "Let It Be Me") were recorded by Edith Piaf, Charles Aznavour, Petula Clark, Agnetha Fältskog, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, Sonny & Cher, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, The Temptations, The Everly Brothers, Tom Jones, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Nina Simone.


Teddy Scholten 1959

4th Eurovision Song Contest 1959

• Venue Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France
• Date Of Grand Final 11 March 1959
• Number Of Countries Participating
11
• Winning Song
"Een Beetje"
• Writers
Dick Schallies: Willy van Hemert
• Performed By
Teddy Scholten, representing The Netherlands

• The fourth Eurovision Song Contest was held at Cannes in France, the country which had won the Eurovision in 1958.

• Luxembourg withdrew in 1959, but with the return of the United Kingdom and the arrival of Monaco, there were eleven entrants.

• The participating countries were France, Denmark, Italy, Monaco, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, United Kingdom and Belgium.

• The UK's qualifying contest was given a new name, The Eurovision Song Contest British Finals, and a number of notable songwriters participated including Peter Callander & Dick James, Stan Butcher & Syd Cordell, Terry & Irene Roper, and Michael Pratt who two years earlier had penned the 1957 Ivor Novello Song Of The Year, "A Handful of Songs" and would go on two years later to repeat the trick with "The Little White Bull".

• In the end, the Syd Cordell & Stan Butcher song "Sing Little Birdie" performed by former Radio Luxembourg presenters Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson, won out over "This Is My Town" written by Dominic John, Bob Halfin and Harold Fields and performed by Lita Roza. No scores were announced by the BBC although it is believed that Syd Cordell & Stan Butcher were clear winners.

• Syd Cordell, a dance band musician, specialised as a composer in movie work. His songs can be heard in "The Nudist Story" and "Blind Corner".

• Stan Butcher, also a dance band performer, had worked widely with such acts as Joe Daniels, Freddy Randall, Bernie Stanton, Geoff Sowden, Jack Newman, and Stan Reynolds. He has released a number of albums and for many years, led his own big band.

• "Sing Little Birdie" was later recorded and released in the UK by Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson, and reached Number 12 on the UK charts.

• At the finals in Cannes, for the first and last time in the history of the Eurovision, the three top songs were performed again at the end so as to extend the performance time to 75 minutes.

• The intermission entertainment was provided by France's three most successful performers, Charles Aznavour, Serge Gainsbourg and Maurice Chevalier.

• For the second year in a row, the Italian entry, "Ciao, Ciao Bambina", written by Domenico Modugno and Dino Verde, and performed by Domenico Modugno, ended up outselling all the other finalists once the contest was over. However, it only finished sixth in the Eurovision final with 9 points!

• On the evening of the Eurovision contest in Cannes, in third position with 15 points came France, with "Oui, Oui, Oui, Oui", written by Hubert Giraud and Pierre Cour, and performed by Jean Philippe.

• The UK entry "Sing Little Birdie", performed by Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson and written by Syd Cordell & Stan Butcher, came second with 16 points.

• The winning song "Een Beetje" (originally titled "'n Beetje"), written by Dick Schallies and Willy van Hemert and performed for the Netherlads by Teddy Scholten, finished with 21 points.

• Willy van Hemert, a theatre and television producer and a successful stage comedian, had also co-written "Net Als Toen", the 1957 winning song (see above), and so became the first songwriter to win the Eurovision Song Contest twice. His son Hans van Hemert is a producer and songwriter of several international hits by both Mouth & MacNeal and Luv, as well as three Dutch Eurovision entries.

• Dick Schallies, a popular pianist and arranger, had originally been a member of Dolf van der Linden's internationally successful Metropole Orchestra.


Jacqueline Boyer 1960

5th Eurovision Song Contest 1960

• Venue Royal Festival Hall, London, United Kingdom
• Date Of Grand Final 29 March 1960
• Number Of Countries Participating
13
• Winning Song
"Tom Pillibi"
• Writers
André Popp: Pierre Cour
• Performed By
Jacqueline Boyer, representing France

• Netherlands, the winning nation in 1959, should have hosted this year's contest but declined citing the expense involved. The contest was then offered to the United Kingdom which had been placed second in the 1959 Eurovision. The BBC accepted, and so the fifth Eurovision Song Contest was held at London.

• Thirteen countries entered (an increase of two), with Norway making its debut and Luxembourg returning after a year-long absence.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Italy and France.

• The venue, the Royal Festival Hall, seated over 2200, making it the largest audience to date. It was also the last contest not to be held on a mid-week evening.

• A new language was heard in the Eurovision - Luxembourg's entry ""So Laang We's Du Do Bast" was written in the country's Luxembourgish language.

• The UK entry was chosen after a two-heat British final which took place in February 1960. The previous year's winners Pearl Carr & Teddy Johnson performed two songs, while other well-known acts included Lita Roza, Don Lang, Vince Eager, Marion Keene, Dennis Lotis, Ronnie Carroll and Malcolm Vaughan performed one each.

• The winner that evening was "Looking, High, High, High", composed by school teacher John Watson and sung by the singer-actor Bryan Johnson, who also happened to be Teddy Johnson's brother. A subsequent single release reached Number 20 on the UK charts.

• John Watson was teaching French at Eagle House, a preparatory school near Sandhurst when he wrote the song. It was his first success as a songwriter but he was unable to attend the UK final as his car broke down on the morning of the event! Incidentally, one of his students at at Eagle House was Nick Drake, later to emerge as a powerful and influential singer-songwriter.

• Norway's entry "Voi Voi", was unusually a jazz composition, performed by one of the country's top jazz vocalists, Nora Brockstedt.

• Fud Leclerc participated for the third time, having previously represented Belgium in the 1956 and 1958 Eurovisions.

• On the evening of the Eurovision contest in London, Monaco was placed third on 15 points with "Ce Soir-Là", written by Hubert Giraud and Pierre Dorsey, and performed by the French singer Francois Deguelt.

• The UK was placed second (for the second year in a row) with 25 points for "Looking High, High, High" penned by John Watson and performed by Bryan Johnson.

• France won the contest, scoring 32 points with their song "Tom Pillibi", written by André Popp & Pierre Cour and sung by Jacqueline Boyer. The winning performance was conducted by Frank Pourcel, who later composed the US Number One "I Will Follow Him" for Little Peggy March.

• André Popp wrote several French and US hits including the Paul Mauriat classic "Love Is Blue" and worked with such acts as Juliette Gréco and Francoise Hardy.

• Pierre Cour collaborated with André Popp on the US hit "Love Is Blue" (originally penned as the 1967 Luxembourg Eurovision entry). His songs have been recorded by such acts as Petula Clark, Vicky Leandros, Paul Mauriat, Nana Mouskouri and Claudine Longet. He is also famous for his many collaborations with Roger Whittaker on such songs as "Durham Town", "The Last Farewell" and "I Don't Believe In If Anymore".


Jean-Claude Pascal 1961

6th Eurovision Song Contest 1961

• Venue Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France
• Date Of Grand Final 18 March 1961
• Number Of Countries Participating
16
• Winning Song
"Nous Les Amoureux"
• Writers
Jacques Datin: Maurice Vidalin
• Performed By
Jean-Claude Pascal, representing Luxembourg

• The sixth annual Eurovision Song Contest was held in Cannes, France, which had been the winner of the 1960 Eurovision.

• The event inaugurated the tradition of holding the finals on a Saturday, a tradition which has continued to this day.

• None of the 13 countries from the previous year withdrew. Instead, three countries made a first appearance: Yugoslavia, Finland, and Spain.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Spain and France.

• The UK entry had been chosen in the BBC Song For Europe 1961 Competition held in February. A number of contemporary hit recording acts participated including Mark Wynter, Craig Douglas, Anne Shelton and Ricky Valance, while the previous year's winner, Bryan Johnson also reached the final with a song written by later ISA member, Hal Shaper. penned under the name John Harris.

• Schoolteacher John Watson whose song had won in 1960, made the finals again, as did another writer who became the first British songwriter to join the ISA in 1967, Morgan Jones. Morgan had already penned the UK hits "Heart Of A Teenage Girl" for Mark Wynter and "So What" for Johnny Kidd.

• The winning song was "Are You Sure", written by John Alford and performed by the Allisons, (a duo comprising Bob Day and John Alford). It scored 31 points, beating the Eric Boswell song "Suddenly I'm In Love" performed by Steve Arlen, by just one point. A second Eric Boswell song, "Why Can't We", sung by Ricky Valance, was placed 3rd.

• John Alford, a London musician and singer, formed The Allisons with friend Colin Day, re-naming themselves as John and Bob Allison, thus giving the impression that they were brothers. John wrote most of their single releases as well as a number of tracks on their album.

• Two of the finalists later reached the UK charts with their songs - the Allisons hitting Number 2 with "Are You Sure", while the Morgan Jones entry "Dream Girl" by Craig Douglas, which had been placed 4th in the contest, made Number 27.

• ITV (Independent Television), the UK commercial broadcaster, also held a UK song contest in 1961, featuring hit acts like Matt Monro, Craig Douglas, Mike Preston, The Avons, Ronnie Carroll and Frank Ifield. The ITV winning song was "Marry Me" written by Lawrence Jack and performed by Mike Preston, which beat the Leslie Bricusse song "My Kind Of Girl", sung by Matt Monro. Both songs later charted, and arguably in the long run, Leslie Bricusse's "My Kind Of Girl" became better known than "Are You Sure" which was the official BBC winner.

• Jacqueline Joubert, who hosted the 1959 Eurovision in Cannes in 1959, was again invited to host, becoming the first person to present the show twice.

• The 1961 Eurovision stage was relatively larger than those in the previous years and was elaborately decorated with flowers.

• With so many performers, the 1961 show ran way over time. Consequently, the winner's encore performance was not broadcast in the UK by the BBC leading to allegations of "sour grapes".

• On the evening of the Eurovision contest in Cannes, and in a result reminiscent of previous years, Italy was only placed 5th with "Al Di La" sung by Betty Curtis, which went on to become the biggest-selling song of the 1961 Eurovision, ending up a hit in the United States for both Connie Francis and Emilio Pericoli whose version reached Number 6 on the US Hot 100. Two years later, it reached 24 on the same chart when recorded by the Ray Charles Singers, and also charted in versions by Al Martino and Ace Cannon. The song was written by Carlo Donida, who later penned "I (Who Have Nothing)", a hit for both Ben E King and Tom Jones.

• Switzerland came third on 15 points with "Nous Aurons Demain" written by Géo Voumard and Émile Gardaz (who had written the first ever Eurovision winner in 1956), and performed by Franca di Rienzo.

• The UK entry "Are You Sure", written by John Alford and performed by the Allisons came second with 24 points, the 3rd year in a row the UK had reached that position.

• Luxembourg came first on 31 points, with the Jacques Datin & Maurice Vidalin song "Nous Les Amoureux", performed by the French singer, Jean-Claude Pascal. It was a triumph for Luxembourg, which had come last in 1958 and 1960 (they hadn't participated in 1959).

• Jacques Datin, a pianist best known for his very successful association with lyricist Maurice Vidalin, saw his songs recorded by Juliette Greco, France Gall, Françoise Hardy and Edith Piaf. He also wrote the music for the Franch movie version of Shakespeare's "The Taming Of The Shrew".

• Maurice Vidalin, a lyricist, worked with Jacques Datin, leading to a string of hits in France during the 1950's, 60's and 70's, with such acts as Juliette Greco, Françoise Hardy, Mireille Mathieu and Barbara. In addition to winning in 1961, another of his songs was placed 3rd in 1962.


Isabelle Aubret 1962

7th Eurovision Song Contest 1962

• Venue Venue Villa Louvigny, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
• Date Of Grand Final 18 March 1962
• Number Of Countries Participating
16
• Winning Song
"Un Premier Amour"
• Writers
Claude Henri Vic: Roland Valade
• Performed By
Isabelle Aubret, representing France

• The seventh annual Eurovision Song Contest was held in Luxembourg City in Luxembourg, the country which had won the competition in 1961.

• None of the 13 countries from the previous year withdrew. Instead, three countries made a first appearance: Yugoslavia, Finland, and Spain.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Spain and France.

• The UK entry was as usual, the winnning song from the BBC's A Song For Europe. A number of contemporary recording acts (nominated by the leading labels), sang the songs, including The Brook Brothers, Karl Denver, Ronnie Carroll, Doug Sheldon, Frank Ifield and Kenny Lynch.

• The winning song was "Ring-A-Ding Girl" written by Syd Cordel and Stan Butcher, the writers who had penned UK's 1959 entry "Sing Little Birdie". It was performed by Ronnie Carroll and beat "Alone Too Long" penned by Peter Callander and Vince Hill and performed by Frank Ifield by a massive 33 points margin.

• However, the song also achieved the lowest UK chart position to date, barely scraping the UK Top 50 to reach Number 46. In fact, the song placed fourth, "Never Goodbye" recorded by Karl Denver and written by veteran Irish songwriter Jimmy Kennedy (whose earlier hits included such classics as "The Teddy Bear's Picnic", "Red Sails In The Sunset" and "The Isle Of Capri"), instead reached the UK Top 10.

• Syd Cordell, a dance band musician, specialised as a composer in movie work. His songs can be heard in "The Nudist Story" and "Blind Corner".

• Stan Butcher, also a dance band performer, had worked widely with such acts as Joe Daniels, Freddy Randall, Bernie Stanton, Geoff Sowden, Jack Newman, and Stan Reynolds. He released a number of albums and for many years, led his own big band.

• On the evening of the Eurovision contest in Luxembourg, a new voting system was introduced, allowing each jury to give three points, two points, or one point, to their top three picks.

• Fud Leclerc represented Belgium again, making it his 4th Eurovision appearance. Other comeback artists were Camillo Felgen (Luxembourg) and Francois Deguelt (Monaco).

• The stage was brightly decorated with star-shaped lighting. However the dazzling spectacle encountered several power issues throughout the show. As a result, the Netherlands performance was more or less wiped out, with the result that the Dutch wrapped up the event in 13th place having secured the infamous "nul points".

• Germany's entry, "Zwei Kleine Italiener", writen by Christian Bruhn and George Buschor, and sung by Conny Froboess, attained considerable commercial success outside the Eurovision area, despite only coming sixth in the competition, being later covered by a large number of acts including Connie Francis.

• Luxembourg came third with 11 points. Although they could not manage to repeat their previous year's victory, Camillo Felgen's performance of "Petit Bonhomme" written by Jacques Datin and Maurice Vidalin, was good enough to keep the country in the Top Three, pushing Ronnie Carroll's UK entry "Ring-A-Ding Girl" written by Syd Cordel and Stan Butcher into fourth place with ten points.

• Monaco came second on 14 points with François Deguelt's rendition of "Dis Rien", written by Henri Salvador and René Rouzaud.

• The winner was the French entry, "Un Premier Amour", written by Henri Vic and Roland Valade, and sung by Isabelle Aubret which scored 26 points. Isabelle had performed for France in 1961, and would represent that country on another three occasions at the Eurovision Song Contest. France's third-time victory made it the Eurovision's most successful contestant.

• Henri Vic, started out writing Christian liturgical pieces, before moving to popular music in the 1950's. He worked with Jean Ferrat and his then wife Christine Sèvres, and later France Gall, before moving on to managing Fantasia Records, a division of the Festival Records Group.

• Roland Valade, lyricist and poet, worked mainly with Henri Vic, Claude Carrère, André Salvet and Jean Ferrat. His songs have been recorded by such stars as Richard Anthony, Marcel Amont, Jean Claude Annoux, France Arnell, Isabelle Aubret, Colette Dereal, Franca Di Rienzo, Jean Ferrat, Anny Flore, France Gall & Mireille Darc, Jacques Hélian, Francis Lemarque, Line & Willy, Colette Mars, Jean Paul Mauric, Téréza, Tino Rossi, Sheila, Claudine Longet, Jacqueline Boyer and Eddy Mitchell.


Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann 1963

8th Eurovision Song Contest 1963

• Venue BBC Television Centre, London, United Kingdom
• Date Of Grand Final 23 March 1963
• Number Of Countries Participating
16
• Winning Song
"Dansevise"
• Writers
Otto Francker: Sejr Volmer-Sørensen
• Performed By
Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann, representing Denmark

• France had won the 1962 Eurovision, but turned down the privilege of hosting in 1963 claiming financial constraints. However, the BBC stepped in to save the event, offering to hold the 8th Eurovision Song Contest at the BBC Television Centre, in London.

• All 16 participants from the 1962 Eurovision participated in 1963, and for the second year in a row, there were no new entrants.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Spain and France.

• For the UK Song For Europe contest, the BBC invited Leslie Bricusse, Jimmy Kennedy, Tommie Connor, Hal Shaper, Johnny Worth, Norman Newell and Jerry Lordan to each pen a song either with or without a collaborator of their own choice. Each song was then given to a different singer to perform.

• The winning song "Say Wonderful Things", was written by Norman Newell & Philip Green, and performed by Ronnie Carroll, defeating "If You Ever Leave Me", penned by Hal Shaper & Steve Race and performed by Barry Barnett. "Say Wonderful Things For Me" later reached Number 6 on the UK Top 50, and was covered in the USA by Patti Page, with both versions making the Billboard Hot 100.

• Norman Newell worked for EMI Records, producing such acts as Peter & Gordon, Shirley Bassey, Vera Lynn, Russ Conway, Bette Midler, Judy Garland and Petula Clark. As a songwriter, he is best known for such songs as "Portrait of My Love", "More", "Reach For The Stars", "Sailor" and "Forget Domani", while his output have been recorded by stars like Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Celine Dion.

• Philip Green composed almost 200 movie scores for such films a "Man On The Run", "One Good Turn", "The League Of Gentlemen", "John & Julie" and "The March Hare".

• On the evening of the Eurovision Song Contest in London, the jurors and the audience were housed in one room while the participants performed in a nearby studio. This procedure led to suggestions that that some or all of the performances might have been pre-recorded.

• Controversy erupted when BBC's Katie Boyle asked the Norwegian jury for its verdict, and their secretary called out a set of results which included awarding Switzerland three points and Denmark two. However, the Norwegian vote did not tally properly, and Ms Boyle asked them to repeat it at the end of the programme. By then their vote had mysteriously changed, and Norway now gave Denmark four points and Switzerland one, thus making Denmark the winner by two points!

• Ronnie Carroll returned as the United Kingdom representative for the second year in a row. "Say Wonderful Things", penned by Philip Green and Norman Newell, gave Britain another 4th place finish.

• Italy came third with 37 points. Their song "Uno Per Tutte" was written by Tony Renis, Giulio Rapetti and Alberto Testa and performed by Emilio Pericoli.

• Switzerland came second with 40 points. Their song "T'en Va Pas" was written by Géo Voumard and Émile Gardaz, the first songwriters to win a Eurovision Song Contest (in 1956), and performed by the Israeli singer Esther Ofarim.

• Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann's duet "Dansevise" written by Otto Francker and Sejr Volmer-Sørensen, gave Denmark a long-awaited first place, scoring 42 points.

• Otto Francker, pianist, arranger, composer and conductor, had songs recorded by such stars as Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann, Marjatta Leppänen, Lily Broberg and Poul Bundgaard.

• Sejr Volmer-Sørensen studied in Paris before returning to Denmark to star at the famous Tivoli Gardens. He later worked for Danmark Radio, becoming a national radio and television personality, hosting the first five Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, the qualifying Danish heats for the Eurovision.


Gigliola Cinquetti 1964

9th Eurovision Song Contest 1964

• Venue Tivolis Koncertsal, Copenhagen, Denmar
• Date Of Grand Final 21 March 1964
• Number Of Countries Participating
16
• Winning Song
"Non Ho l'Età"
• Writers
Nicola Salerno: Mario Panzeri
• Performed By
Gigliola Cinquetti, representing Italy

• The 9th Eurovision Song Contest was held in Copenhagen, Denmark, following that country's 1963 win.

• Sweden withdrew from the competition following the refusal of its singers to travel. The vocalists were acting in support of the strike called by Swedish musicians which had earlier led to the cancellation of Sweden's Melodifestival.

• Portugal made its debut in the Eurovision that year, which kept the total number of participants at 16, even with Sweden's absence.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Portugal, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Spain and France.

• There is no longer any video recording of the 1964 Eurovision Contest, although a full audio recording exists. The offices housing DR, the Danish broadcasting company, were destroyed in a fire in 1974 and most of its archives were lost.

• The UK entry emerged as usual from 1964 Song For Europe TV show. In an unusual move, only one singer, Matt Monro, was chosen by the BBC to present each song. The songwriters chosen were all hit composers - Lionel Bart, Tony Hatch, Norman Newell, Mitch Murray, Leslie Bricusse and Hal Shaper. The Tony Hatch song "I Love The Little Things" scored a runaway victory, beating Mitch Murray's "I've Got The Moon On My Side" into second place.

• The song was subsequently released in the UK as one track on an EP which contained all of the songs entered, and reached Number 16 on the charts. It was also released as a single but failed to make the Top 50.

• Tony Hatch went on to become of the most important British songwriters of all time, writing such hits as "Look For A Star" (Gary Mills), "Forget Him" (Bobby Rydell), "Sugar and Spice" (The Searchers), "Call Me" (Chris Montez), "You're The One" (The Vogues), "Where Are You Now" (Jackie Trent), "Joanna" (Scott Walker), as well as "Downtown", "Don't Sleep In The Subway", "The Other Man's Grass Is Always Greener" and "I Know A Place" (all for Petula Clark). He also penned themes for such British television shows as "Crossroads" and "Emmerdale Farm", as well as for the Australian soap "Neighbours".

• On the evening of the Eurovision Song Contest in Copenhagen, a protest erupted just as Belgian was due to perform. A demonstrator bearing a banner reading "Boycott Franco and Salazar", managed to get onto the stage. He was protesting against the right of the Spanish and Portuguese delegations to be present at the Eurovision, given the dictatorial governments in those countries.

• In any event, Portugal's first Eurovision experience was disappointing. António Calvário's performance of "Oração" did not receive any points from the jurors, while three other countries also received "nul points" - Yugoslavia, Switzerland and Germany.

• The sixth-placed Austrian entry "Warum Nur Wartum" written by Udo Jurgens, became the second biggest seller of the contest when recorded in late 1964 by Matt Monro as "Walk Away". He had only heard the song for the first time that evening in Copenhagen.

• Monaco's entry, "Où Sont-Elles Passées", written by Francis Lai and Pierre Barouh and sung by Romuald, finished in third place with 15 points. It was Monaco's second third place finish.

• The UK entry "I Love The Little Things", written by Tony Hatch and performed by Matt Monro, finished 2nd with 17 points.

• Italy's representative, 16 year old Gigliola Cinquetti won with "Non Ho l'Età", scoring a landslide 49 points, 32 points ahead of the UK entry, giving Italy the largest win of all time. The song, written by Nicola Salerno and Mario Panzeri, went on to become a huge hit throughout Europe during 1964, eventually selling more than three million copies in several languages, including a later English version titled "My Prayer".

• Lyricist Nicola Salerno collaborated with composer Renato Carosone for many years, writing such hits together as "'O Suspiro", "Torero", "Tu' Vuo' Fa' l'Americano", "Caravan Patrol", "Pigliate 'Na Pastiglia", "Guaglione" and "O Sarracino". His talent was not confined to music however, and his designs and illustrations graced hundreds of different sheet music covers between 1920 and 1950.

• Mario Panzeri collaborated with Daniele Pace writing dozens of hits in Italy including "Grazie Dei Fiori", "Papaveri E Papere" and "Lettera A Pinocchio". His biggest international hit was "Come Prima" written with Vincenzo Di Paola and Sandro Taccani. Recorded in Italian by Marino Marini and also by Domenico Modugno (and later Cliff Richard), it sold more than two million copies. Subsequent versions in English (titled "More Than Ever") were recorded by Malcolm Vaughan, Robert Earl, Eve Boswell and others while the same melody but with a different English lyric penned by Buck Ram under the title "For The First Time" was recorded Polly Bergen and also by Mario Lanza for his last film also titled "For the First Time", as well as by Dean Martin, the Platters and Tony Reno. Its total sales exceeded six million copies.


France Gall 1965

10th Eurovision Song Contest 1965

• Venue Sala di Concerto della RAI, Naples, Italy
• Date Of Grand Final 20 March 1965
• Number Of Countries Participating
18
• Winning Song
"Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son"
• Writers
Serge Gainsbourg
• Performed By
France Gall, representing Luxembourg

• The tenth Eurovision Song Contest was held in Naples, Italy for the first time, following that country's victory in the previous competition.

• The number of participants rose to 18. After the 1964 boycott, Sweden returned to the stage and Ireland entered for the first time.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Ireland, Spain and France.

• The BBC as usual organised the 1965 Song For Europe, and again nominated one singer, this time Kathy Kirby, to perform all six songs written by Tony Hatch, Tom Springfield, Les Reed & Barry Mason, Leslie Bricusse, Peter Lee Stirling & Phil Peters and Chris Andrews.

• "I Belong", written by Peter Lee Stirling and Phil Peters beat the Les Reed & Barry Mason entry "I'll Try Not To Cry" by a narrow margin.

• The six songs were released on an EP which reached Number 9 on the EP charts, and also on a single which reached Number 36 on the UK singles charts.

• Peter Lee Stirling started his career as a member of Tommy Bruce's backing group The Bruisers, and went on to write a number of hits including "Blue Girl" (for the Bruisers) and "I Think of You" and "Don't Turn Around" for The Merseybeats. In 1972, under the stage name of Daniel Boone, he had a worldwide hit with "Beautiful Sunday", which reached the charts in dozens of countries and remains to this day the biggest-selling foreign song ever to be released in Japan.

• Phil Peters is Peter Lee Stirling's uncle and "I Belong" is his only charted song.

• ITV again organised its own song contest, the British Song Festival in 1965. This took place eight weeks after the Eurovision finals and featured a raft of top recording stars of the era including Marianne Faithfull, The Moody Blues, Helen Shapiro, The Ivy League, Dave Berry, Billy J Kramer, Elkie Brooks, Mark Wynter, Manfred Mann, Wayne Fontana, Julie Rogers, Lulu, Kenny Lynch and Vince Hill.

• The winning song "I'll Stay By You", written by Hal Shaper and Kenny Lynch and performed by Kenny Lynch subsequently reached Number 29 on the UK charts. Three of the losing finalists also charted including "Tossing & Turning" by the Ivy League (Number 3), "Leave A Little Love" by Lulu (Number 8) and "From The Bottom Of My Heart" by the Moody Blues" (Number 22), resulting in the combined sales of the songs entered in the British Song Festival greatly surpassing those of of the songs which had featured in the BBC's official Song For Europe.

• The Irish television operator RTE (Radio Telefis Eireann) had commenced broadcasting on January 1st, 1962. Up to then, television had not been available in Ireland except as an overflow from the UK. In 1965, RTE entered the Eurovision for the first time, organising a televised contest. A number of leading Irish recording acts including Dickie Rock, Brendan Bowyer and Butch Moore performed on the night, with "Walking The Streets In The Rain", written by George Prendergast, Teresa Conlon, and Joe Harrigan, and sung by Butch Moore, beating Patricia Cahill's "I Stand Still" into second place.

• In the subsequent Eurovision in Naples, "Walking The Streets In The Rain" scored 11 points coming in sixth. Since then Ireland has become the most successful country in the history of the contest, winning seven times, including three consecutive victories in the 1990's, the only country ever to achieve this feat.

• Three artists came back to represent their country in Italy - Conchita Bautista from Spain who first appeared at the Eurovision in 1961, Vice Vukov who had represented Yugoslavia in 1963, and Austria's Udo Jürgens who first appeared in the 1964 Contest.

• Sweden returned to the Eurovision with "Absent Friend" performed in English by Ingvar Wixell. It was placed tenth.

• On the evening of the Eurovision Song Contest, France's "N'Avoue Jamais" written by Françoise Dorin and Guy Mardel and performed by Guy Mardel, scored 22 points bringing France back into the top three.

• Claiming second place yet again with 26 points was the UK with its entry "I Belong", written by Peter Lee Sterling and Phil Peters, and sung by Kathy Kirby.

• With 32 points, Luxembourg reclaimed first place which they had previously reached in 1961. The winning entry, "Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son" was written by Serge Gainsbourg, and performed by teenage singer, France Gall, daughter of songwriter Robert Gall.

• The recording of "Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son" hit the charts in several European countries, but France Gall never recorded a version in English. Instead, the song was covered in the UK by Twinkle, under the title "Lonely Singing Doll". It did not chart.

• Serge Gainsbourg, one of France's best-known stars, went on to international success with "Je t'Aime... Moi Non Plus" featuring Jane Birkin, as well as writing the soundtracks for more than 40 films. His songs have been covered by such stars as Dionne Warwick, Petula Clark, Kylie Minogue, Belinda Carlisle, Franz Ferdinand, Portishead, Marc Almond, Michael Stipe, Jarvis Cocker, Françoise Hardy, Marianne Faithfull and Carla Bruni.


Udo Jürgens 1966

11th Eurovision Song Contest 1966

• Venue Villa Louvigny, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
• Date Of Grand Final 5 March 1966
• Number Of Countries Participating
18
• Winning Song
"Merci, Chérie"
• Writers
Udo Jürgens: Thomas Hörbiger
• Performed By
Udo Jürgens, representing Austria

• The 11th Eurovision Song Contest was held in Luxembourg, which had been the winner of the 1965 event.

• All 18 participants from the 1965 Eurovision returned to compete in Luxembourg, although no new countries entered.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Portugal, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Ireland, Spain and France.

• After Sweden's 1965 performance of a song that not written in any of its national languages (the lyrics had been in English), it was decided that for 1966, all entries would have to be composed in a language native to that country. This decision came under scrutiny almost immediately when it was noticed that the Austrian entry "Merci, Chérie" had most of its lyrics written in German but had a French title, a language not native to Austria.

• For the first time, the Eurovision was graced by a black performer. Milly Scott represented the Netherlands with "Fernando En Filippo". She was also the first performer to use a hand-microphone.

• Austria's Udo Jürgens returned for the third year in a row. Italy's Domenico Modugno also made his third appearance in Eurovision. He had previously appeared in both 1958 and 1959.

• The United Kingdom entry emerged as usual from BBC's Song For Europe. In a repeat of previous years, the BBC chose the act to perform the songs - in this case Kenneth McKellar. a somewhat unusual choice who had never charted a single in the UK. Trained as an opera singer, he had gone on to make a career singing traditional Scottish songs. The songwriters chosen included Robert Farnon, Ned Sherrin, Johnny Spence and Phillip Green.

• The winner was "A Man Without Love" written by Cyril Ornadel and Peter Callander, which beat "As Long As The Sun Shines" penned by Ian Gourlay and Cliff Hanley into second place. The subsequent EP of all of the songs failed to chart, while the single release peaked at Number 30 in the UK Singles Chart making it McKellar's only hit. In fact it was the song which was placed third, "Country Girl" by Robert Farnon, which probably achieved more success, being covered by a number of American singers including Tony Bennett.

• Cyril Ornadel's works include the musical "Pickwick" as well as such songs as "If I Ruled The World" (Harry Secombe), "At My Time of Life" (Bing Crosby) and "Portrait Of My Love" (Matt Monro).

• Peter Callander's remarkable career includes "Even the Bad Times are Good" (The Tremeloes), "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" (Georgie Fame), "Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha" (Cliff Richard), "Ragamuffin Man" (Manfred Mann), "Hitchin' A Ride" (Vanity Fare), "Turn On The Sun" (Nana Mouskouri), "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast" (Wayne Newton and also Daniel Boone), "The Night Chicago Died" (Paper Lace), "Billy Don't Be a Hero" (Paper Lace and also Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods), "Las Vegas", "Is This the Way to Amarillo" and "I Did What I Did for Maria", all for Tony Christie.

• The Irish entry was chosen after a televised contest in which several local acts performed, notably Butch Moore, Dickie Rock, Sonny Knowles, and the folk group The Ludlows. The winning song was "Come Back To Stay" written by Dublin-based cabaret singer Roland Soper and performed by Dickie Rock, which beat "The Winds Thro' the Rafters" written by Shelia Fawsitt-Stewart and performed by The Ludlows, into second place by a wide margin.

• On the evening of the Eurovision Song Contest in Luxembourg, the UK entry, "A Man Without Love", written by Cyril Ornadel and Peter Callander and sung by Kenneth McKellar, was placed ninth with eight points.

• Ireland climbed to 4th place with Dickie Rock's rendition of the Rowland Soper song "Come Back To Stay". On the same evening, Ireland also introduced Noel Kelehan as its conductor, a post he held for the next 28 years.

• Norway (with 15 pints) topped Ireland by a single point to reach third place with "Intet Er Nytt Under Solen", written by Arne Bendiksen and sung by Åse Kleveland.

• Sweden returned to the stage with "Nygammal Vals", written by Bengt Arne Wallin and Björn Lindroth. The duet was sung by Lill Lindfors & Svante Thuresson and was placed second with 16 points.

• On his third time entering the contest, Udo Jürgens from Austria took first place with the song "Merci, Chérie", written by Udo Jürgens and Thomas Hörbiger. It was Austria's first ever victory with 31 points, and the only time that a performer entering the Eurovision for a third time was victorious.

• The song sold well in Europe, particularly in Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. It failed however to chart in Britain, possibly affected by a cover version by Vince Hill which reached Number 36.

• Udo Jürgens has sold more than 100 million records, and recorded almost 750 of his own compositions. His songs include "Reach For The Stars" (Shirley Bassey), "Walk Away" (Matt Monro), "Buenos Días, Argentina" (German Football Squad), "Merci Chérie" (Belinda Carlisle), "Come Share The Wine" (Bing Crosby and also Al Martino), "Lovin' You Again" (Matt Monro), "If I Never Sing Another Song" (Shirley Bassey and also Sammy Davis Jr), and "Without You" (Matt Monro).

• Thomas Hörbiger made his name as an actor and film star whose movies included "Im Schwarzen Rößl", "Die Geißel Des Fleisches" and "Blutjung Und Liebeshungrig/Die Liebestollen Apothekerstöchter". He later changed careers to become a songwriter, penning lyrics mainly for Udo Jürgens.


Sandie Shaw 1967

12th Eurovision Song Contest 1967

• Venue Großer Festsaal der Wiener Hofburg, Vienna, Austria
• Date Of Grand Final 8 April 1967
• Number Of Countries Participating
17
• Winning Song
"Puppet On A String"
• Writers
Writers Bill Martin: Phil Coulter
• Performed By
Sandie Shaw, representing the United Kingdom

• The twelfth Eurovision Song Contest was held in Vienna, Austria, following that country's victory in the 1966 event.

• Denmark withdrew from the competition when the incoming TV Entertainment Director at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation decided that the money set aside for Denmark's participation could be better utilised for other purposes. Only 17 countries were thus left to compete.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Ireland, Spain and France.

• In an effort to give the contest a more contemporary flavour, a rule was introduced which stipulated that half the members of each jury should be under 30 years of age.

• There were three returning artists that year: Claudio Villa (Italy), who first participated in 1962; Norway's Kristi Sparboe, who entered in 1965; and Spain's representative Raphael, who performed in 1966.

• The UK entry was picked from five songs all performed by Sandie Shaw. Shaw was chosen by the BBC because she had a track record of hits across Europe, often performed in the local language.

• UK music publishers submitted a total of 124 songs, including entries by Chris Andrews (who had already penned many of Sandie Shaw's hits), Peter Callander and Mitch Murray, Roger Webb, Bill Martin and James Stewart. One of the Mitch Murray songs submitted, but which failed to reach the final five, was "Even The Bad Times Are Good", which later that year became an international hit for the Tremeloes.

• Initially, the Chris Andrews' song "Had A Dream Last Night" was favourite, as Andrews (who was by now an international singing star in his own right), had penned many of Sandie Shaw's earlier hits, but as the weeks went by, it became clear that only two songs stood any real chance, "Tell The Boys" written by Mitch Murray and Peter Callander (which it was rumoured Sandie Shaw preferred), and "Puppet On A String" written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter.

• In the end, "Puppet On A String" easily won out with more than 53% of the postal votes cast, while "Tell Me Boys" came in second. In third place was the original favourite, "Had A Dream Last Night" by Chris Andrews.

• A single comprising "Puppet On A String" and "Tell The Boys" was promptly released and reached Number 1 in the UK and across Europe, although in some countries, the third-placed song by Chris Andrews replaced "Tell The Boys" on the B side. In addition, an EP of the four losing songs titled "Tell The Boys" was also released, and charted in the UK in April 1967.

• In Ireland, "If I Could Choose", penned by Michael Coffey and Wesley Burrows beat Patricia Cahill's "Back To The Hills" by three thousand votes, with Johnny McEvoy's "Somebody Of My Own" in third place.

• On the evening of the contest in Vienna, Switzerland finished with no points for the second year running.

• Luxembourg's entry, "L'amour Est Bleu" sung by the Greek singer Vicky Leandros, came fourth, but went on to become one of the Eurovision's biggest international hits in versions by Leandos herself and (under the title "Love Is Blue"), by Paul Mauriat whose instrumental rendition reached Number 1 on the US charts, making him the only French performer to ever reach the US top spot.

• France came back from its disappointing 16th place finish in 1966, with "Il Doit Faire Beau Là-Bas", written by Hubert Giraud and Pierre Delanoë and performed by Noëlle Cordier. which finished third.

• In its third year in the competition, Ireland took second place with Sean Dunphy's rendition of the ballad "If I Could Choose", written by pianist Michael Coffey and playwright Wesley Burrows.

• The United Kingdom scored its first win with the song "Puppet On A String", written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter and sung by Sandie Shaw. The UK's 42-point score was the biggest point margin ever to occur in the history of the Eurovision.

• The recording by Shaw reached Number 1 in the UK and in a large number of other countries, in spite of her description of the song as "sexist drivel with a cuckoo-clock tune". Interestingly enough, Shaw re-recorded the song in 2007 although in recent times, she has again criticised the Eurovision as being "uncool".

• Bill Martin was born in Glasgow, but moved to London to pursue a songwriting career, scoring initially in 1963 with "Kiss Me Now" by Tommy Quickly. He subsequently partnered another Scottish songwriter Tommy Scott and they had several successes with such acts as The Bachelors, Twinkle, The Dubliners, Van Morrison, and Serge Gainsbourg. In 1965, he partnered with Bill Coulter and had success with Ken Dodd, Geno Washington, Los Bravos, Dave Dee Dozy Mick & Tich, The Troggs, Mireille Mathieu, George Harrison, Dick Emery, Tony Blackburn, Cliff Richard, Sandie Shaw, and Elvis Presley. The duo went on to have four Number 1 hits in the UK with "Puppet on a String", "Congratulations", "Back Home" and "Forever and Ever", and a large number of other hits including the Bay City Rollers' "Shang-A-Lang", "Fancy Pants" by Kenny, "Requiem" by Slik, and "Surround Yourself With Sorrow" by Cilla Black. In 1975, the Ivor Novello Award for 'Songwriter of the Year' went to both writers.

• Phil Coulter was born in Northern Ireland and started out writing several hits for local acts, including "Foolin' Time" for the Capitols. In 1966, he moved to London where he teamed up with Bill Martin, the two becoming one of the most successful songwriting partnerships in the history of pop music. Later hit songs include the autobiographical "The Town I Loved So Well" and "Ireland's Call", which is used by all-Ireland rugby, hockey and cricket teams unwilling to play the Irish National Anthem.


Massiel 1968

13th Eurovision Song Contest 1968

• Venue Royal Albert Hall, London, United Kingdom
• Date Of Grand Final 6 April 1968
• Number Of Countries Participating
17
• Winning Song
"La La La"
• Writers
Manuel de la Calva: Ramón Arcusa
• Performed By
Massiel, representing Spain

• The thirteenth Eurovision Song Contest was held in London, UK, following that country's victory in the 1967 competition.

• As there were no withdrawing or debuting countries that year, 17 nations competed for the title.

• The participating countries were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Portugal, Belgium, Norway, Austria, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Ireland, Spain and France.

• Just before his death im 1967, manager Brian Epstein had negotiated a deal with the BBC whereby Cilla Black would perform for Britain in the 1968 contest. However, Cilla later decided not to participate, being of the opinion that it would be unlikely that a female vocalist would be successful two years in a row. Consequently the BBC offered the slot to Cliff Richard, who would sing the chosen songs on the Cilla Black TV Show.

• Six songs from some of the top UK songwriting talent including Guy Fletcher and Doug Flett, Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook, Tommy Sxott, Tony Hazzard, Mike Leander, and the previous year's winners, Phil Coulter and Bill Martin were performed before a live audience. Voting was by postcard, and the winning song, "Congratulations" by Phil Coulter and Bill Martin won by more than 100,000 votes. Incidentally, "Congratulations" had originally been titled "I Think I Love You".

• Bill Martin was born in Glasgow, but moved to London to pursue a songwriting career, scoring initially in 1963 with "Kiss Me Now" by Tommy Quickly. He subsequently partnered another Scottish songwriter Tommy Scott and they had several successes with such acts as The Bachelors, Twinkle, The Dubliners, Van Morrison, and Serge Gainsbourg. In 1965, he partnered with Bill Coulter and had success with Ken Dodd, Geno Washington, Los Bravos, Dave Dee Dozy Mick & Tich, The Troggs, Mireille Mathieu, George Harrison, Dick Emery, Tony Blackburn, Cliff Richard, Sandie Shaw, and Elvis Presley. The duo went on to have four Number 1 hits in the UK with "Puppet on a String", "Congratulations", "Back Home" and "Forever and Ever", and a large number of other hits including the Bay City Rollers' "Shang-A-Lang", "Fancy Pants" by Kenny, "Requiem" by Slik, and "Surround Yourself With Sorrow" by Cilla Black. In 1975, the Ivor Novello Award for 'Songwriter of the Year' went to both writers.

• Phil Coulter was born in Northern Ireland and started out writing several hits for local acts, including "Foolin' Time" for the Capitols. In 1966, he moved to London where he teamed up with Bill Martin, the two becoming one of the most successful songwriting partnerships in the history of pop music. Later hit songs include the autobiographical "The Town I Loved So Well" and "Ireland's Call", which is used by all-Ireland rugby, hockey and cricket teams unwilling to play the Irish National Anthem.

• In Ireland, six songs emerged from two televised semi-finals. The winning song was "Chance Of A Lifetime", written by pianist John Kennedy, with Pat Lynch's "Kinsale" in second placed, followed closely by Tina, and "One Love Two".

• Spain's representative, Massiel, was not the first choice to sing "La La La", but Joan Manuel Serrat was forced to withdrew by the Spanish government when he announced that we would only agree to perform the song in the Catalan language.

• The 1962 winner, Isabelle Aubret, returned for the second time to represent France, while two countries outsourced singers from other European countries. Wenche Myhre who sang for Germany was a Norwegian native, while Austria's Karel Gott was born in Czechoslovakia.

• There was one amusing moment. On the day of the competition, a number of BBC staff claiming to be the "Eurovision Delegation From Albania" (a country not actually in the EBU), arrived in disguise at the Royal Albert Hall in a Rolls Royce, demanding that their song be included in that evening's broadcast. Producers were stunned when the delegation insisted on performing there and then, bursting into mock Albanian lyrics sung to the melody of that night's UK entry "Congratulations" - a melody which they assured bewildered executives, was an old Albanian folk tune! The joke was rumbled when a BBC executive recognised one of the hoaxers.

• For the first time, the contest was broadcast live in colour in five countries - Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany. In the UK however, the live show was shown on BBC1 which only transmitted in monochrome, but a repeat showing on BBC2 the following day was in colour.

• Ireland's entry, "Chance Of A Lifetime", written by John Kennedy and performed by Pat McGeegan (father of world featherweight boxing champion Barry McGuigan), was placed fourth with 18 points, two points behind France.

• For the second year in a row, France finished third in the 1968 Eurovision Contest with 20 points. Their entry, "La Source", composed by Daniel Faure, Henri Dijan and Guy Bonnet and sung by returning artist Isabelle Aubret (who had won in 1962), was controversial, dealing with a gang rape.

• The United Kingdom entry, "Congratulations", written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter and performed by Cliff Richard. was placed second with 28 points, the sixth time the UK had finished second. The song however went on to top the charts in the UK.

• The winner was Spain, with "La La La", written by Manuel de la Calva and Ramón Arcusa, and performed by Massiel, with a total of 29 votes.

• In 2008, forty years after the contest, a documentary film maker alleged that dictator Francisco Franco had manipulated the voting by promising benefits to European television officials if Spain won. This accusation however, was later found to be false and the claim was withdrawn.

• Manuel de la Calva and Ramón Arcusa were both born in Barcelona, Spain, and met aged sixteen while working as aeronautical engineering apprentices. Forming a vocal duo known as Dúo Dinámico, the pair turned professional in 1959, going on to score dozens of hits in Spain, including "Quince Años Tiene Mi Amor", "Quisiera Ser", "Perdóname", "Bailando El Twist", "Mari Carmen", "Esos Ojitos Negros", "Amor De Verano" and "Mi Chica De Ayer".

• In 1972, Manuel de la Calva and Ramón Arcusa retired from performing, concentrating on producing and writing for such acts a Nino Bravo, Julio Iglesias, Miguel Gallardo and José Vélez. However, in 1978, they returned to the recording scene with an album for Sony, and resumed their concert careers.

         
Frida Boccara, Lenny Kuhr, Maria Rosa Marco (Salomé) and Lulu 1969

14th Eurovision Song Contest 1969

• Venue Teatro Real, Madrid, Spain
• Date Of Grand Final 29 March 1969
• Number Of Countries Participating
16
• Winning Song 1
"Un Jour, Un Enfant"
• Writers
Emil Stern: Eddy Marnay
• Performed By
Frida Boccara, representing France
• Winning Song 2
"De Troubadour"
• Writers
David Hartsema: Lenny Kuhr
• Performed By
Lenny Kuhr, representing The Netherlands
• Winning Song 3
"Vivo Cantando"
• Writers
Maria José de Cerato: Aniano Alcalde
• Performed By
Maria Rosa Marco (Salomé), representing Spain
• Winning Song 4
"Boom Bang-a-Bang"
• Writers
Alan Moorhouse: Peter Warne
• Performed By
Lulu, representing the United Kingdom

• The fourteenth Eurovision Song contest was hosted in Madrid for the first time, following Spain's victory during the 1968 competition in London.

• Renowned surrealist Salvador Dali was commissioned to design the logo for the 1969 Eurovision Contest as well as create the sculpture used to decorate the stage.

• Austria declined to enter the contest on the grounds that the event would be held in a country under authoritarian rule leaving 16 countries to contend for the title.

• The participating countries accordingly were United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Portugal, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Monaco, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Finland, Ireland, Spain and France.

• The UK entry was chosen from more than 200 songs submitted by members of the Music Publishers Association. Amongst the songs which songs failed to reach the final six were "Try It And See" by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice which later featured in the stage show "Jesus Christ Superstar", and Tony Hazzard's song "Hello World", a UK hit later that year for the Tremeloes.

• The final six songwriting teams were Ray Cameron and Alan Hawkshaw, Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, Don Black and Mark London, Elton John and Bernie Taupin, John Shakespeare and Derek Warne, and Peter Warne and Alan Moorhouse, whose song "Boom-Bang-A-Bang" won out with more than 40% of all votes cast.

• Ireland's entry to the Eurovision was chosen from a whittled-down selection of eight songs. The winning tune, "The Wages Of Love", was written by Michael Reade and sung by Muriel Day. "Look Around" performed by newcomer Dana was placed second, while "Now do You Believe Me" sung by Dickie Rock, came in third.

• Monaco sent the youngest representative in Eurovision history. Jean Jacques Bertolai was only 12 years old when he serenaded the audience with "Maman, Maman".

• The Spanish singer Salomé caused a stir among the audience when she came out on stage wearing a porcelain dress that weiged 14kg!

• Liechtenstein, a country which did not have its own broadcasting service and was not accordingly a member of the EBU, allegedly applied to participate in the 1969 Eurovision. If they had qualified, Liechtenstein's supposed entry "Un Beau Matin" performed by Vetty, would have had to been disqualified because German, not French was the native language in Liechtenstein. Some felt however that the entire story was simply a ploy to gain publicity for "Un Beau Matin", which sounded remarkably like a parody of the typical Eurovision winning song.

• Five artists returned to grace the Eurovision stage that year. Siw Malmkvist came back to represent Germany; Louis Neefs appeared for Belgium; Romuald performed for Luxembourg; Kristi Sparboe returned for Norway; and Simone de Oliveira sang for Portugal.

• In Madrid, Ireland dropped to 7th place, while Monaco was placed 6th with Switzerland in 5th place.

• No second, third place or four place winners were announced as the competition ended with an unprecedented four-way tie involving Spain, the UK, the Netherlands, and France. All four countries received 18 points each, and the presentation of medals to the songwriters had to be postponed as there were not enough to go around!

• Spain's representative Salomé enthralled the audience with the upbeat tune "Vivo Cantando", written by Maria José de Cerato and Aniano Alcalde.

• Maria José de Cerato and Aniano Alcalde are two of Spain's most prolific and successful composers, penning music for such movies as "La Noche De Los Magníficos". Their songs have been recorded by Carmela Y Rafael, Rocío Jurado, Jose Luis Rodríguez, Danny Rivera, Diana, Los Gritos, Rika Zara, Salomé. Los 3 Sudamericanos. Cristina, Y Los Tops, Los Mismos and Michel.

• Frida Boccara's performance of "Un Jour, Un Enfant", written by Emil Stern and Eddy Marnay, gave France its fourth Eurovision victory.

• Between them Emil Stern and Eddy Marnay have penned more than 500 songs, including material recorded by Édith Piaf, Frida Boccara and Céline Dion, as well as scores for films by Charlie Chaplin and Claude Berri.

• The Netherlands won over the audience with a folk-ballad number entitled "De Troubadour", written by David Hartsema and Lenny Kuhr and performed by Lenny Kuhr.

• David Hartsema is one of Holland's most prolific poets, writing in Groningen, Frisian, Dutch, French and English, while Lenny Kuhr is a singer-songwriter whose performing and recording career has brought her fame across Europe, but particularly in the Netherlands and France. Her single hits include "Les Enfants", "Come Dearest Give Me Your Hand", "Business", "But Yeah", "Jesus Christo" and "Katie Kazoo". She has also released more than thirty best-selling albums.

• The United Kingdom's entry "Boom Bang-A-Bang", written by Alan Moorhouse and Peter Warne and performed by Lulu, secured the country's second win. The song, which became a massive hit across Europe having peaked at Number 2 in the UK Singles Chart, even inspired a parody by Monty Python's Flying Circus titled "Bing Tiddle-Tiddle Bong"!

• Peter Warne is best known for writing Shirley Bassey's Gold Disc "Kiss Me, Honey Honey, Kiss Me", Cliff Richard's "Constantly" and "Let's Live For Today" recorded by The Grass Roots, voted by American troops serving in Vietnam as their favourite song. He also penned the English words for Massiel's 1968 Eurovision winner "La La La", while his own recording of the song also charted in a number of countries.

• Alan Moorhouse had never written a pop song prior to the 1969 Eurovision, being best known for such instrumentals as "High On A Hill", "Boss Man" and "Expo Tokyo", before going on to pen music for such movies as "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas", "The Happy Valley", "Pop Go The Sixties", "Tea With Mussolini", "Bridget Jones's Diary" and "Wall Street", as well as such television productions as "Lovelace", "SpongeBob SquarePants", "The Simpsons", and "The Best of Benny Hill".



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