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A decade of song: Eurovision winners through the years (1960-1969)

28 October 2017 at 09:00 CEST
United Kingdom wins the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna with Sandie Shaw EBU, Rolls Press, Popperfoto, Getty Images
Our series, A Decade of Song, is almost coming to an end. So far we have looked back at every single Eurovision winner since 2017 and today we step back in time to the swinging sixties!

The 1960s was a decade of firsts: A duo won the contest for the first time, countries like Spain, Yugoslavia and Finland made their debut and we saw the first, and only tie in 1969 when four artists won the contest. Are you ready for another trip down memory lane? Before we dive into the archives and look back at the winners of the 1960s, check out our video compilation of all Eurovision winners to date.

1960 - Jacqueline Boyer (France)

Despite a Dutch victory in Cannes in 1959, London was the host city of the fifth Eurovision Song Contest. The United Kingdom hosted in 1960 after the Dutch broadcaster declined the opportunity to host the contest again after staging it in 1958. 

Jacqueline Boyer, who represented France, won the contest with her song Tom Pillibi. The song talks about her lover, who is 'such a liar', but despite everything, she still loves him. It was France's second victory in the first five years of the contest.

1961 - Jean-Claude Pascal (Luxembourg)

France won, and the contest returned to Cannes. The Eurovision Song Contest became increasingly popular and the number of participants grew from 13 to 16. Spain, Yugoslavia and Finland made their debut at the contest in 1961. 

Jean-Claude Pascal from Luxembourg took the trophy with his song Nous Les Amoureux. He scored 31 points, leaving the United Kingdom behind in second place again after the country already finished second in 1960 and 1959.

1962 - Isabelle Aubret (France)

Luxembourg was the host of the seventh Eurovision Song Contest. The stage was decorated with twinkling stars, but unfortunately they could not be seen for parts of the evening because there were some problems with the lights in the big auditorium of the venue, Villa Louvigny.

Isabelle Aubret from France won the contest with the song Un Premier Amour. Her dramatic performance scored 26 points, beating Monaco's entry Dis Rien by 13 points! It was the third French language song in a row to win the contest.

1963 - Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann (Denmark)

Even though France had won the year before, the contest travelled to London again in 1963. France didn't want to host the Eurovision Song Contest so soon after hosting it in 1959 and 1961. The 1963 contest was held in the BBC's brand new Television Centre and in an attempt to give the contest a more modern look and feel, two television studios were used. All songs were performed in one studio, but the audience was located in another. Each song had its own unique staging, and the change of set was done very quickly. As a result of this, rumours began that the performances were pre-recorded which later turned out to be untrue.

Dansevise performed by Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann gave Denmark it's first victory in the Eurovision Song Contest. The duo left Switzerland's Esther Ofarim behind in second place with only a two point difference. Grethe and Jørgen were the first duo to win the contest. 

1964 - Gigliola Cinquetti (Italy)

The contest travelled to northern Europe, to Copenhagen in Denmark. As in the three previous contests, 16 countries participated in the competition. Portugal made its debut whilst Sweden chose not to enter. Germany, Portugal and Switzerland each scored zero points for the first time. In the case of Portugal, it was the first time in the history of the contest that a newcomer did not receive any points at all. Lithuania would later receive this dubious accolade in 1994.

It was Gigliola Cinquetti from Italy who took the trophy home in 1964. Her song Non Ho l’Età scored 49 points, whilst Matt Monro from the United Kingdom, who finished second, only scored 17 points.  Non Ho l’Età was a big hit around Europe reaching number one in several countries.

1965 - France Gall (Luxembourg)

From Copenhagen in 1964 the contest travelled to Naples in 1965 where 18 countries participated in the 10th edition of the contest. After a year of absence, Sweden returned to the competition and Ireland debuted.

France Gall from Luxembourg won the contest with the highly controversial Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son. It was controversial because of the suggestive lyrics of the song. It was also the first pop song to ever win the Eurovision Song Contest. The song became a massive hit in almost all European countries and had a major impact on the type of songs entered into the contest in the following years.

1966 - Udo Jürgens (Austria)

The eleventh edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was hosted in Luxembourg again. A rule was introduced stipulating that songs had to be performed in one of the official languages of the participating country after Sweden's entry was performed in English the year before.

Austria's Udo Jürgens participated in the contest for the third time and finally achieved victory. His song Merci Chérie scored 31 points, and despite the French song title, the song was sung completely in German. 

1967 - Sandie Shaw (United Kingdom)

After Udo Jürgens' victory in 1966, Vienna, Austria's capital, was chosen to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 1967. The stage at the Großer Festsaal der Wiener Hofburg included three revolving mirrors and a staircase entrance in the middle.

For the first time since the begining of the contest the United Kingdom took the trophy home. The winning entrant, Sandie Shaw, performed her song Puppet on a String, barefoot. The song gathered more than twice as many votes as the runner-up, Ireland, and it was a huge success all over Europe and is nowadays remembered as a Eurovision Song Contest classic. Sandie recently gave an interview to about her Eurovision experiences.

1968 - Massiel (Spain)

The 1968 Eurovision Song Contest was held in London's Royal Albert Hall and it was the first contest to be broadcast in colour. France, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom broadcast the 1968 contest in colour despite the fact that very few TV-viewers at home owned a colour TV set at the time.

Cliff Richard - who had dominated the European charts for several years already - decided to represent the United Kingdom, and the bookmakers were sure of another Brittish victory. However, it was Massiel from Spain who won the contest with his song La, La, La. Originally Massiel's song was supposed to be sung by singer Joan Manuel Serrat who wanted perfom the song in Catalan. At the request of Spanish officials, Juan Manuel was replaced by Massiel who sang the same song in Spanish.

1969 - The year of the tie!

We close this edition of A Decade of Song with the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest, one of the most controversial contests to date. Four artists, Salomé (Spain), Lulu (United Kingdom), Lenny Kuhr (Netherlands) and Frida Boccara (France) all tied for first place. By the end of the voting all four countries had each received 18 points and with no solution for a tie in place, all four were declared the winners!

The four winners differed a lot from one another: France had a haunting ballad performed by Frida Boccara, The Netherlands sent in Lenny Kuhr with a guitar, Spain's Salomé performed the energetic Vivo Cantando whereas the star from the United Kingdom, Lulu, sang the uptempo Boom Bang a Bang. Whilst all four appeared to be happy enough with the result, it attracted a lot of criticism from the media and several withdrew from the 1970 contest in protest.

Salomé, Lulu, Lenny Kuhr and Frida Boccara close this edition of A Decade of Songs. Next week we will look back at the winners between 1956 and 1959, the final story in this series. Don't forget, you can also read previous editions of A Decade of Song: