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Milestone Moments: 1980 - Irish eyes are smiling

09 September 2016 at 19:00 CEST
Johnny Logan performing at Eurovision Song Contest's Greatest Hits in 2015 Guy Levy / © BBC 2015
Staged in The Hague, in the Netherlands, the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest saw Johnny Logan lift the trophy for the first time. The 25th Eurovision Song Contest is noteworthy for several reasons. It was the one and only time that Morocco participated and also the last time that the contest has been held in a country that did not win the previous year. In part four of our Milestone Moments series we look back at the contest that launched a Eurovision legend.  

The 1980 Eurovision Song Contest almost did not happen. Israel won the previous year on home ground and declined the opportunity to host the competition for the second year in succession. The Netherlands stepped in and staged the contest in The Hague, the host city of the 1976 contest. The date of the show clashed with Israel's Day of Remembrance and so the reigning Eurovision champions did not participate. Instead of postcards, a guest presenter from each participating country introduced the each act. 

The winning song for Ireland, What's Another Year, written by Shay Healy and performed by Johnny Logan, beat second-placed Germany by 15 points. The song topped the charts around Europe and launched Johnny's international career. He returned to the Eurovision Song Contest in 1987 and won again with the self-penned Hold Me Now. Logan is the only participant to have won the Eurovision Song Contest twice, however, his involvement with the event goes even further than singing. In 1984 he wrote Terminal 3 for the singer Linda Martin which finished second behind Sweden's famous Herreys. In 1992 he teamed up with Linda again and wrote her winning entry for Ireland, Why Me? 

Many winning singers have tried to emulate Logan's success in the contest, including Niamh Kavanagh (1993) who returned in 2010, however nobody has been able to match the man who has become known as Mr Eurovision.