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A decade of song: Eurovision winners through the years (1990-1999)

07 October 2017 at 09:00 CEST
Katrina & The Waves win for the United Kingdom EBU
Last week it was all about the winners between 2000 and 2009; you learned about the Olsen Brothers, Ruslana and Lordi. This week we're focusing on the winners between 1990 and 1999. Do you remember Toto Cutugno or Niamh Kavanagh?

The 90's was a decade where the Eurovision Song Contest rapidly changed. Communism fell in Europe, which brough new countries to the stage, and a free language rule returned in 1999. Public voting was also introduced for the first time and the orchestra was used for the final time in 1998. In the video below you can see all Eurovision winners, and you can read more about the winners between 1990 and 1999 in this story. 

1990 - Toto Cutugno (Italy)

1990 was the year in which the contest was held in Zagreb, Yugoslavia. Communism fell in Europe, and many of the songs reflected the wider political context. It was Italy's Toto Cutugno who won the contest however, his song Insieme: 1992 which was about a united Europe. 

1990 was the second year Italy won the Eurovision Song Contest; their first win was in 1964, where Gigliola Cinquetti represented her country with the song Non ho l'età. 

1991 - Carola (Sweden)

Originally the 1991 Eurovision Song Contest was suposed to be held in the seaside resort of Sanremo, where the annual Italian music festival of the same name is organised, but host broadcaster RAI moved it to Rome at a very late stage due to ongoing instability in the Balkan region. 

Both Sweden and France had 146 points each at the end of the voting procedure. Therefore, the tie-break rule that was introduced in 1989 was put into effect. France and Sweden both had the same amount of 12 points so the amount to 10 points was included. Sweden's Carola received more sets of 10 points and so was declared the winner. It was her second time in participating and it wouldn't be her last.

1992 - Linda Martin (Ireland)

Swedish broadcaster SVT decided to host the contest in Malmö in 1992. Sweden itself was represented by Christer Bjorkman who finished in 22nd place, one of Sweden's worst placings in the Eurovision Song Contest. He would later go on to mastermind the spectacular revival of Sweden's national selection, Melodifestivalen.

Ireland's Linda Martin won the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest with her song Why Me. The song was composed by Johnny Logan who had already won the song contest twice before in 1980 and 1987. 

1993 - Niamh Kavanagh (Ireland)

The 1993 Eurovision Song Contest was held in Millstreet, a small town in south west Ireland. The early 1990s were a time of massive change in Europe. These changes were reflected in the Eurovision Song Contest as newly sovereign nations took to the stage. Three countries made their respective debuts; Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.

1993 was the year in which Ireland won again. This time it was Niamh Kavanagh with In Your Eyes who took the trophy home. It was the best selling song of that year. Niamh participated again in 2010 with the song It's For You.

1994 - Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan (Ireland)

Ireland won again in 1993 and that brought the Eurovision Song Contest to Dublin in 1994. Two records were set in 1994; Ireland won the contest for a record sixth time and it won for the third time in a row. Never before in the history of the song contest had a country had won three times in a row. 

Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan, Ireland's representatives in 1994 sang Rock 'n Roll Kids, which in the end was 60 points ahead of the runner-up from Poland. 1994 also saw new countries contining to make their debuts and of course it was the year of Riverdance!

1995 - Secret Garden (Norway)

Yet again, the Eurovision Song Contest was hosted in Ireland, at the Point Theatre in Dublin. 1995 was the first time ever that the Eurovision Song Contest took place in the same city for two years in a row. Since it was the 40th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, the programme started with a three-minute compilation of previous contests.

1995 was the year in which Norway's Secret Garden won the contest. Their song Nocturne, was inspired by Celtic music however and the group violinist was Irish. Technically it mean that Ireland could claim to have won again. The song only had 24 words meaning that Nocturne was effectively an instrumental.

1996 - Eimear Quinn (Ireland)

1996 was the year in which the Eurovision Song Contest travelled outside of Ireland again, to Oslo, Norway to be exact. Each participant received a good luck message from a representative of their respective country. The seniority of these figures varied from presidents and prime ministers to junior government ministers. 

Ireland won the contest again. The country scored its seventh victory in the Eurovision Song Contest with the song The Voice performed by Eimear Quinn. This was the fourth victory for Ireland in just five years. 

However, the winner was not the biggest commercial success in record sales this year. The United Kingdom's song Ooh...Aah...Just A Little Bit by Australian Gina G, only reached eighth place in the contest but went on to become a huge international hit and was even nominated for a Grammy Award. 

1997 - Katrina and the Waves (United Kingdom)

Since Ireland had won the Eurovision Song Contest again, the contest travelled back to Dublin, Ireland. 25 countries participated in 1997 and the audio preselection that was in place the year before was replaced with a new system. From 1997 the average results of all countries in the last give song contests would be measured.

Televoting was introduced for the first time in 1997 in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Germany and it would be extended to almost all participating countries in the following 1998 contest.

The United Kingdom's Katrina and the Waves won the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest. Katrina and the Waves performed their song Love Shine A light and it received an unprecedented 227 points. It was their biggest hit since Walking On Sunshine.

1998 - Dana International (Israel)

The 1998 Eurovision Song Contest was hosted in Birmingham following Katrina and the Waves' victory the year before. It was a taboo-breaking year for the contest since Israeli transgendered singer Dana International performed her song Diva, and won the 1998 contest!

Dana International left the United Kingdom's Imaani behind her in second place. Imaani was the first ever black singer to represent the country. Her song Where Are You received 166 points; Dana received 172 points. It was the 15th time that the UK finished second. 

1999 - Charlotte Nilsson (Sweden)

To close the third edition of A Decade Of Songs, we look back on the 1999 Eurovision Song Contest, which was held in Jerusalem, Israel. It was the year in which the free language rule was introduced meaning that participating countries could choose which language they performed in.

Sweden's Charlotte Nilsson won the contest with Take Me To Your Heaven. It was considered as a quite old-fashioned song in Sweden, but the audience thought differently. The song was originally sung in Swedish, but changed to English when the free language rule was set in place. 

Charlotte Nilsson closes this edition of A Decade Of Songs. Next week we look back on the winners between 1980 and 1989. Do you want to read previous editions of A Decade of Songs? Click here for the winners between 2000 and 2009 and here for the winners between 2010 and 2017.