Irish Eurovision legend Johnny Logan speaks exclusively with Eurovision.tv - sharing his memories of winning the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest in The Hague, his thoughts on Måneskin, and how his thinks Ireland can improve on recent form.
‘I’ve become good friends with the Herrey over the years’ Johnny begins to reminisce about what it means to be a Eurovision victor, ‘Milk and Honey, The Brotherhood of Man, Bucks Fizz. Winning Eurovision is like being a member of a little club of friends.
I met Duncan Laurence when I did the guest spot on the Rotterdam show this year, and he was a really nice lad too – there’s a lot of respect between all of the artists.’
And, of course, there’s a huge amount of respect for Johnny Logan – no one else has had a more successful track record at the Contest than “Mr Eurovision” himself.
His first win came in 1980 with the Shay Healy penned What’s Another Year, before finding more success when the self-written Hold Me Now won in 1987. He then topped the scoreboard a third time in 1992 as the composer of Linda Martin’s winner Why Me?
So does Johnny know a winner when he sees one?
‘This year, I thought Måneskin were great and an obvious winner. When you look back at most winning songs: everybody else looks like they’re in the same Contest, but the winner stands out as being different. That was the case this year. Like Loreen and Lordi, they were a breath of fresh air.
It was such a great year though, all of the acts were good, but from the very opening bars [of Zitti E Buoni], the way they dressed, the way they moved, the staging, the lights, the way the entire band took part in the song, it’s a winning song. And [Damiano] has charisma.
My nieces have already asked me if I’m going to the Eurovision next year whether they can be my roadies, as they want to meet Måneskin!’
With such Eurovision pedigree, it’s no surprise Johnny has been asked numerous times to consider turning his attention back to the competition either as a writer or a singer, but each time the triple-champion has turned down the opportunity. So if not through Johnny’s magic touch, how can Irish broadcaster RTÉ reverse their fortunes of recent years?
For Johnny, it all comes down to the song…
‘For such a small country we’ve had such a huge influence on music all around the world. It’s all about good singers with good songs, telling a story that comes from the heart.
We have the BIMM Institute Dublin and what I believe is that Irish television should help to put something on the curriculum, maybe a class, to write a song for Eurovision.
If you go to the orchard to pick an apple you’ll always find fruit – and that’s what we have to do, we have to find some good apples. Give the brief that students are trying to write a great song, not specifically a “Eurovision” song, and it might take a few years but you’ll eventually end up with something wonderful coming out of that process.’
The 1980 Eurovision Song Contest, featuring Johnny’s first win, is now available to watch until Saturday 21 August. Johnny has recently collaborated with Finnish pop star Jannike on the track Just One Look.
The full interview with Johnny Logan can be seen on the official Eurovision YouTube channel.