For the second time in three years the United Kingdom staged the Eurovision Song Contest without having won the contest in the preceding year. Due to the fact that the broadcaster in Luxembourg, RTL, did not wish to host the event again for financial reasons, the BBC embraced the possibility once more. The 1974 Eurovision Song Contest was held at The Dome, in the seaside resort of Brighton.
Winners become legends
1974 saw the first participation of Greece who sent their national star Marinella. France was to enter the song contest with the entry La Vie A Vingt-cinq Ans by Dani, but the French singer never got the chance to perform though as the French president, Georges Pompidou, died in the week of the contest and France withdrew.
The voting system changed once more: 10 jury members in every country each awarded one point to their favourite song. For the first time, a draw of lots was used to decide the order in which countries would give the results of their juries. However, it was the last time this method was used to cast the votes - from 1975 onwards, a new voting system would be implemented where the order of the jury votes followed the order of performance.
About the winner
Sweden won the song contest for the first time with the entry Waterloo, performed by ABBA. The song became a huge international hit and was the starting point of their legendary international career. Over 30 years after it won, Waterloo was even voted the best Eurovision Song Contest song ever at the 50-year anniversary show Congratulations, in Copenhagen in autumn 2005. ABBA had actually tried to enter the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest with the song Ring Ring, which later became a hit for them in many European countries - but they only reached the third place in the Swedish national selection. For their 1974 entry, the group hesitated a while before choosing Waterloo as they thought their other option Hasta Mañana would be a more suitable song for the contest. However, Hasta Mañana was only really sung by only one of the girls, Agnetha Fältskog, and ABBA wanted a song where all four members could give their vocals to.
Facts & figures
- Some years before she starred in the American movie Grease, the Australian pop singer Olivia Newton-John sang Long Live Love, representing the United Kingdom. Olivia Newton-John actually wanted to sing a different song, but Long Live Love was chosen by a public postal vote.
- The winner from 1964, Gigliola Cinquetti, returned to the contest and finished second with her song, Si.
- Katie Boyle presented the contest for the fourth and final time. She holds the record for hosting the Eurovision Song Contest the most times.