Israel had won both the 1978 and 1979 Eurovision Song Contests but could not afford to stage the show for a second year running. After a lot of discussions with several European broadcasters it was decided that the contest would be arranged by Dutch TV NOS in The Hague.
The Hague was once more the host city for the song contest after both Israel and the United Kingdom declined to be hosts. Because of the fact that the 1979 winner, Israel, did not have the means of hosting the song contest again, the UK broadcaster BBC was asked if they would be willing to organise the event. They declined, so the Netherlands became the organiser despite the fact that there was not enough time left and Dutch TV NOS had to re-use most of the stage from 1976 when they hosted the contest last.
Marlous Fluitsma was the host of the show held in the Nederlands Congresgebouw.
NOS picked April 19th as the date for the song contest, but as this was the Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel, the defending champions decided not to participate which marked the only time when the winner of one Eurovision Song Contest didn't participate in the next.
For the first time in the history of the song contest, an African country, Morocco participated with Samira, a star in all of the Arabian countries, but when her entry Bitakat Hob ended up at 18th position with just 7 points altogether, all awarded by Italy. Moroccan TV decided that the country should not participate in the contest again.
Turkey returned to the contest after one year's absence and Monaco stayed home which meant that the total amount of participating countries amounted to 19 - just as in 1979. Each country brought along a presenter of its own choice along in order to introduce the song in their native language.
Portugal's Jose Cid finished in 7th place, bringing the nation their most successful placing to date, which would only be eclipsed by Lucia Moniz in 1996.
The start of an era for "Mr Eurovision"
The Irish Johnny Logan who would later be called "Mr. Eurovision" secured Ireland's second victory. The Australian-born singer who only became an Irish citizen after he sang for Ireland in the 1980 contest, would later return and win the contest again in 1987, and again as a songwriter for Linda Martin in 1992. His 1980 victory brought him a number one hit in the UK and numerous television appearances across Europe. What's another year received seven times the maximum of 12 point votes, ending up with 143 points in total.
Throughout his career, which spans four decades, Logan has issued no less than 40 singles and 19 albums. He has continued his love of participating in musical theatre, having toured Norway with Which Witch, an opera-musical originating in that country. In 2002 Logan took part in the UK TV Quiz show Never Mind The Buzzcocks as a team panelist in a Eurovision-special.Logan continues to perform and write songs. In 2007 he advertised McDonald's Eurosaver menu in Ireland. In 2007 he sang "A State of Happiness", advertising the Dutch Center Parcs. In 2009 and 2010 he performed in the celtic rock opera Excalibur, and continues to do so in 2011.