55 Years Of Hits: From Volare to Fairytale

The first song to become a world hit resulting from the Eurovision Song Contest was surprisingly not a winner, but a song that only came 3rd in the 1958 contest in Hilversum: Domenico Modugno's Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu, better known as Volare, became a smash hit all over the world making it very attractive for European stars to participate in this newly-created European event.

More and more countries decided to take part in what is now Europe's favourite TV show. What had started with only seven countries in 1956 had grown to 18 by the mid Sixties, and it was in 1967 when the next European superhit emerged from the Eurovision Song Contest. Sandie Shaw proved to be victorious in Vienna with Puppet On A String, securing the first win for the United Kingdom.

The year afterwards, on home soil, Cliff Richard participated for the first time, and to the surprise of many, he only came second in London with Congratulations. Nevertheless, the song became one of the best selling in Europe that year.

In 1970, Dana achieved the first of seven victories for Ireland with All Kinds Of Everything, reaching not only the European charts, but also becoming a hit in countries such as Malaysia, South Africa and Australia.

The next big hit from the Eurovision Song Contest emerged from the 1972 edition of the contest when Vicky Leandros won for Luxembourg with Après Toi which opened a wholly new career path for the Greek-born singer.

Abba - The Phenomenon

Arguably the biggest hit ever resulting from a Eurovision Song Contest is of course Abba's Waterloo which won the competition in 1974 in Brighton giving way to a string of international hits for the Swedish supergroup. There is hardly anyone these days who doesn't remember Abba's spectacular performance that year!

Another hit for the United Kingdom was their winner from 1976, Brotherhood Of Man's Save Your Kisses For Me, which at the time received the highest ever number of votes in The Hague that year. The song made No.1 in numerous European countries.

Johnny Logan's first of three victories came in 1980 when he won the contest with What's Another Year which was followed by his second  win as a singer in 1987 with another best seller Hold Me Now, and as a composer in 1992. Right now, Johnny is the only person who won the Eurovision Song Contest as a performer more than once.

The 1981 and 1982 winners of Europe's favourite TV-show scored huge hits as well with Bucks Fizz being victorious in 1981 with Making Your Mind Up and Nicole winning the Europe-wide show one year later with Ein Bißchen Frieden. 

Six years later, an unknown Canadian singer won the Eurovision Song Contest for Switzerland: Celine Dion! Her song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi didn't become a big hit, but the singer became a household name all over the world when she sang the title track for the blockbuster Titanic.

The New Era

The Eurovision Song Contest continued to produce local hits through the 1990s, but was virtually reborn in 2000 when The Olsen Brothers won in Stockholm with Fly On The Wings Of Love. Semi-Finals were introduced in 2004, and most of the winners - and even some non-winners! - since then have become huge hits in big parts of Europe: who doesn't remember T.A.T.U., Ruslana, Helena Paparizou, Lordi, Dima Bilan, Patricia Kaas or Alexander Rybak? And the story will certainly continue.......


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