In my last Eurovision posts, I have concentrated mostly on the last years because those are the years I can remember the most.
Today though, I want to look further back and take a look at my favourite winning songs from the very first contest to this day. It wasn’t easy to choose just ten because some songs, particularly from the 70s, are really catchy. I could have added ABBA and Lordi to the list, but I didn’t so as not to repeat. So, in a way, you can say that this is a 1956 – 2005 list, that complements Wednesday’s post!
Be sure to check the whole post because the special mentions are a bit of a surprise when compared to the other songs on the list.
Read the previous posts:
- Part 1 – My Top 5 Malta Eurovision Songs
- Part 2 – My Top 5 Sweden Eurovision Songs
- Part 3 – My Top 10 Eurovision Songs from the Last Decade (2006 – 2015)
- Part 4 – My Top 10 Eurovision Guilty Pleasure Songs
Part 5 – My Top 10 Eurovision Winners
10. Johnny Logan – What’s Another Year (Ireland, 1980)
Ireland is the most successful country in the Eurovision Song Contest and Johnny Logan is one of the best contestants, having won twice as a singer and once as a composer. The above song was his first participation, which gave Ireland its second ever victory. How charming, right?
9. Herreys – Diggy-Loo Diggy-Ley (Sweden, 1984)
Let’s move from Ireland’s to Sweden’s second victory. From ABBA’s “Waterloo” to Herreys’ “Diggy-Loo”! Not only are the singers handsome but the song can be considered as an earworm, even though it’s all in Swedish. Just one thing that remains questionable: the fashion sense of that time!
8. Celine Dion – Ne partez pas sans moi (Switzerland, 1988)
I bet you didn’t know that Celine Dion participated in the Eurovision. Yes, she did indeed, back in 1988 when she was still at the beginning of her career and no one knew her yet. She is one of the few, like ABBA, who became big international stars after the contest.
7. Brotherhood of Man – Save Your Kisses for Me (The United Kingdom, 1976)
The UK were excellent in Eurovision back then, unlike today (which is a pity). Brotherhood of Man brought the trophy back to their country for the 3rd time with this sweet song. It turned out to be one of the most successful winning songs ever. I also remember hearing it played in some commercials.
6. Dana – All Kinds of Everything (Ireland, 1970)
This was the first out of seven winning songs from Ireland. Young Dana, only 19 years old, was from Northern Ireland; thus her representing the Republic of Ireland was controversial because of the political tensions at the time. In any case, I think this is one of the sweetest songs ever!
5. Ruslana – Wild Dances (Ukraine, 2004)
Let’s make a huge jump forward, precisely to 2004. Ukraine won for the first time (and last one to date) at their second attempt. In my opinion, Ruslana’s song was pivotal and started a change in the way countries presented their songs on stage. Not only did many entries in the next couple of years imitate the Ukranian act by including drums and stampeding choreography, but overall, the show factor increased, and Eurovision was never the same again.
4. Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up (The United Kingdom, 1981)
Perhaps another proof of how good the UK was in the past is this one: they could be controversial! Despite this song being incredibly upbeat and catchy, it shocked the audience with its infamous skirt-stripping part – something which could have tilted the balance in their favour – and apparently, the group was chosen more for their good looks than their talent. Whatever, the song is definitely a hit with me!
3. Sertab Erener – Everyway That I Can (Turkey, 2003)
I like to couple this with Ruslana’s song. I think Turkey’s winning song – also their first and last one so far – foreshadowed the wave of changes that would erupt after Ukraine’s win (and especially after Greece’s in 2005). Before this, the choreographic part on stage was rather timid. Sertab’s show just blew my mind, even though it was still relatively simple compared to more recent shows. Thanks to this entry, I also started to appreciate more the ethnic sounds of Eurovision songs.
2. France Gall – Poupée de cire, poupée de son (Luxembourg, 1965)
My first reaction whenever I see this video: aww she’s so cute! France Gall is French (duh, with that name) and the song was written by Serge Gainsbourg, master of double meanings. Double meanings which were not understood by the young Gall, then 18 years old, who later felt used by the man. This was the second victory for Luxembourg, one of the most successful countries who disappeared completely from the contest in the early 90s.
1. Johnny Logan – Hold Me Now (Ireland, 1987)
It’s him again, handsome Johnny from Ireland. This is definitely his best winning song and one of the best in Eurovision history. There is nothing else to say, just listen to it and sing your heart out.
Here are the ones that should have won.
Cliff Richard – Congratulations (The United Kingdom, 1968)
This song is so popular, one would think it won the contest. But it didn’t. It came 2nd, losing by just one point. It didn’t matter that much though for it still became incredibly popular. It was also used as the theme for the 50th-anniversary show of the song contest. Meanwhile, here in Malta, it has been a hit at almost every wedding party that I have attended in my childhood.
Domenico Modugno – Nel blu dipinto di blu (Italy, 1958)
Modugno is considered the father of Italian singer-songwriters. He participated in the Eurovision three times, without ever winning. The above song, popularly known as “Volare” was his first entry and he placed 3rd. Despite that, it became an international success, and it is often considered as the most representative song of Italy in the world. He participated again the year after and then in 1966 when he placed last with nul points (I think that was outrageous, such a profound ballad).