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Madrid 1969: Shared victory for Spain, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom

09 July 2024 at 12:45 CEST
The 4 countries playing in the semi-final stages of the UEFA Euro 2024 Championship have us reflecting on a historic result at the Eurovision Song Contest!

With the UEFA Euros drawing to the exciting conclusion of the 2024 tournament, just 4 countries remain after battling through the group rounds and the quarter-finals. 

Still left to play are two semi-final games, with Spain going against France on Tuesday 9 July, and Netherlands versus England on Wednesday 10 July.

It's got us reminiscing over the result of the Eurovision Song Contest 1969, when 4 countries tied for the win. Spain, France, Netherlands and - in our case - the United Kingdom (represented by a Scot) each landed on the same number of points and got to share the victory on that one-off night. It had never happened before and, with new rules introduced shortly after, it has never happened again! 

But how did it come to be in the first place?...

Madrid 1969

On 29 March 1969, we were off to the Spanish capital after the country had achieved its very first Eurovision victory in 1968, with the sing-along smash La La La performed by Massiel.

The Teatro Real opera house in Madrid played host to the 14th Eurovision Song Contest, with 16 countries taking part. The actress Laura Valenzuela was on presenting duties for the show, which was only the second Contest to be transmitted in colour. 

The slogan of the event was La España Diferente (a different Spain) and TVE had hired the iconic surrealist artist Salvador Dalí to design the promotional material for the event. 

The Voting System

The system in place for voting at the 1969 Contest was the most commonly used throughout the first couple of decades of Eurovision (albeit with a slight alteration following that result in Madrid - the introduction of a possible second round of voting, so as to avoid any tied result in the future!). 

Each country's jury was made up of 10 members, with every juror awarding one point to their favourite song. This meant that every participating country had 10 points to dish out. 

This system was used between 1957 and 1961, between 1967 and 1970, and for one final time in 1974. 

The Result

After all 16 countries had voted, we had a top score of 18 points. And another one. And, indeed, another one. And, yes, there we are, yet another one. A total of 4 countries had scored 18 points: Spain, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and France. 

It was the very first time anything like this had happened at the Contest. And there was no tie-break procedure in place to implement. With that, the Eurovision Song Contest 1969 gave us 4 winners to enter into the history books. 

Since 1969, there has only been one other occurrence of two or more songs ending the night on the same number of points. In 1991 (allora!), France's Le Dernier Qui A Parlé by Amina tied on 146 points with Sweden's Fångad Av En Stormvind by Carola. 

To break the tie, it was checked which song had earned the most sets of 12 points. But as both had received the top score 4 times, it was then looked at which song had received the highest number of 10 points. Sweden was determined the winner, with 5 sets of those coveted 10s obtained, to France's two.  

The Winners

France's victory in 1969 was its 4th, and the country actually became the first to win the Eurovision Song Contest 4 times. Un Jour, Un Enfant by Frida Boccara was the winning entry for France. 

The song was written by Eddy Marnay, who had previously composed for Édith Piaf and would later go on to write and produce on many of Céline Dion's albums. ABBA's Agnetha Fältskog recorded a Swedish-language cover of Un Jour, Un Enfant on her solo album a year later, in 1970. 

The Netherlands joined in on the win with De Troubadour by Lenny Kuhr. In amongst its 18 points was the largest set of points awarded by a single jury that night, when the French scored the song a massive 6 points.

When the Netherlands hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2021, Lenny Kuhr got to perform De Troubador for Eurovision audiences again, during the Rock The Roof interval act at the Rotterdam Grand Final. 

The United Kingdom scored its second Eurovision victory with Lulu's Boom Bang-a-Bang. Prior to Madrid, the song had won a national final organised by the BBC, in which all 6 songs were performed by Lulu. One of the songs (I Can't Go On Living Without You) was written by a pre-fame Elton John, and finished in last place.

Boom Bang-a-Bang remains superstar Lulu's highest charting solo hit in the United Kingdom, with it reaching number 2 for the Scottish singer. Only her Take That collaboration 24 years later - Relight My Fire - managed to go one better and hit the number 1 spot in the UK singles chart. 

Also achieving its second victory in 1969 was the host country. In doing so, Spain became the first country to win the Eurovision Song Contest in two consecutive years. 

Vivo Cantando was Spain's winning song that year, performed by Salomé in a 14-kilogramme dress created by the famous Spanish fashion designer Manuel Pertegaz. The eye-catching blue number was complemented by a further three kilos of jewellery!  

The Aftermath

Following on from 1969's historic result, a tie-breaking procedure was drawn up to ensure that each Eurovision Song Contest would only ever have the one winner henceforth.

The new rule put in place stated that if two (or, as the case had been in 1969, more than two!) songs had been awarded an equal number of points by the end of scoring, each of those songs would be performed again. After this second performance, the national juries would vote again, awarding a point to their favourite. 


Of the 4 winning countries in 1969, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom would all go on to win again; France once more, Netherlands twice, and the United Kingdom three more times. 

This means that those three countries can today boast 5 Eurovision victories each, along with Luxembourg. The only countries above them on that league table of Eurovision wins are Ireland and Sweden, on 7 wins apiece. 

Host country Spain's second win at the 1969 Contest has remained its last for now. Its 56-year (and counting) wait between victories is currently the longest for any participating country. 

Eurovision returns to Madrid in 2024, however, when the Junior Eurovision Song Contest rolls into town. The Spanish capital will host the 22nd edition of Junior Eurovision on Saturday 16 November. 

And yes... Tie-break procedures are in place. 

You can listen to all 37 songs of Eurovision 2024 via your favourite streaming service or watch the music videos on our YouTube channel.

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