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Delving into the Eurovision archives: Part Two

12 September 2017 at 12:08 CEST
Items from the Eurovision Song Contest Archive Stijn Smulders
In this second part of our series on the Eurovision archives, we go all the way back to 1957, the year in which the second edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was held. Letters, entry tickets and even newspaper articles were found in the archives. Let's take another trip down memory lane!

In the first part of our archives series we examined two programme booklets, music sheets, a press release and stage blueprints. Today we return to the archives and go all the way back to the start of the contest. 

Letter to the European Broadcasting Union (1957)

The second edition of the Eurovision Contest was hosted in Frankfurt Am Main, on 3 March 1957. Switzerland declined to host the contest for the second time, and that is why all participants travelled to Germany for the contest. This is a letter from the Nederlandse Televisie Stichting, or Dutch Television Foundation, to the European Broadcasting Union following the first Dutch victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. They sent this letter, including a record of the winning song Net als toen sung by Dutch singer Corry Brokken, for the archives. Corry also represented her country in Lugano the year before. Corry went on to present the contest in 1976 and delivered the Dutch votes at the 1997 contest. She died in 2016 at the age of 83.

Newspaper article (1967)

On Monday 10 April, Austrian newspaper Kurier published the story: ‘Das beste Lied gewann’, or in English: 'The best song won'. While nowadays the contest is usually hosted in May, in 1967 the show was held in April. The article tells the story of the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest in which Sandie Shaw from the United Kingdom won with the song Puppet on a string. Germany finished eighth which was a surprise since it was quite a popular song in the country at that time. Being an Austrian newspaper, the article also talks about the Austrian participant Peter Horton, who came 14th. Unsurprisingly the view of Kurier was that it deserved to end up higher than it did! 

Photographs from the live show (1984)

Luxembourg hosted the contest for the fourth time after Corinne Hermès' victory the year before.  Herrey’s, a trio of brothers from Sweden, won the contest in 1984 with their song Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley. The images were taken after they were announced as winners and as you can see, the group look excited, performing handstands with flowers in their hands. The stage is a rather small compared to the ones of today, but the artists only had a couple of square meters of floor space. The Eurovision Song Contest was a simpler show back then, almost unrecognisable from the mega event that is has become today.

Artist's impression of the stage design (1991)

The 36th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was held on 4 May 1991 in Rome. The original plan was to host the show in Sanremo but host broadcaster RAI moved it to Rome at a very late stage due to ongoing instability in the Balkan region. Carola from Sweden won the Eurovision Song Contest with the song Fångad av en stormvind (Captured by a Storm Wind). This stage design shows a very theatrical stage, including elements of ancient Rome. In the end the actual stage wasn’t as theatrical as the image shows, but the main ancient elements stayed!

Ticket to the Semi-Final rehearsal (2005)

And finally, we go back to 2005, when the Eurovision Song Contest was hosted in Kyiv, Ukraine. Ruslana won in Turkey in 2004 and brought the contest home to Ukraine the year after. It was the 50th edition of the contest where Helena Paparizou from Greece won with My Number One. The contest was held at the Sport Palace in Kyiv and here you see an entry ticket to the rehearsal for the Semi-Final on May 19th, where 25 artists performed. The time in green, 15:00, was the time when the rehearsal took place. In 2008 two Semi-Finals were introduced. 

Many memories have been made over the years and it's interesting to see how much the Eurovision Song Contest has changed. From entry tickets to stage design or even internal processes, they all form part of the Eurovision story.