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Recalling Sweden's first staging of the contest in 1975

22 March 2013 at 02:00 CET

It was of course as a result of ABBA winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 with Waterloo, that the Swedish broadcaster SR (Sveriges Radio) found themselves as the host broadcaster for the 1975 event. 

They were somewhat reluctant to host the contest due to the huge costs, and pressure from left wing groups. Initially SR had wanted all competing countries to share the cost of the event, but talks broke down and SR was left to foot the bill. It did lead though to a review in the way that the contest would be financed in the future. Never the less, it did lead to Sweden withdrawing from the following contest in 1976.

By the time that the draw took place on the 24th January, 1975 in Geneva, a record 19 countries were set to participate in the 20th Eurovision Song Contest, including Turkey, who were making their debut. Malta returned after an absence of three years, whilst France who had unfortunately had to withdraw from the 1974 contest due to the death of President Pompidou returned to the fold. Greece on the other hand withdrew from the contest for a year.

The venue chosen was the newly built St Eriks Massan in Alvsjo, in the south of Stockholm. Rehearsals commenced on Wednesday 19th March.

The contest was presented by Karin Falk, and the programme was broadcast in 34 countries, and aside from the participating countries it was taken by Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, the Mediterranean area, Chile, Hong Kong, Iceland, Japan, Jordan, Korea and on British Forces Radio.

Douze Points

A new, and now very familiar, voting system was introduced for the 1975 contest. Each country now ranked their top ten songs, with 12 points going to the top placed song, down to 1 point for the tenth placed song. Throughout the remainder of the 1970s, the points were announced in the order of presentation, rather than, as we have now, climaxing with the 12 points or douze points.

In fact in 1975 it wasn't unusual to hear the first score from each jury being a 12 points, as it was the opening song of the night, Ding-A-Dong from the Dutch group Teach-In that won the Grand Prix. This was the first time that the first song in the running order won the contest, a feat that was repeated the following year when Brotherhood of Man won the contest for the United Kingdom.

In 1975 though the United Kingdom had to once again be content with a second place, with Let Me Be The One, sung by The Shadows, coming in just 14 points behind the Netherlands, whilst the Italian entry Era sung by Wess and Dori Ghezzi came third.

Watch the 1975 winner from Teach-In

Although Ding-A-Dong was relatively successful, and charted throughout much of Europe, it was number one in Switzerland and Norway for example, and peaked at number 13 in the United Kingdom, the line-up of the group that won the contest subsequently split up after a few years. The original band did however reform for a performance of Ding-A-Dong in Maastricht in August 2007.

The 1975 victory for the Netherlands was the last time that the country has won the contest to date.

Tomorrow we look back at the 1963 Eurovision Song Contest, which took place exactly 50 years ago on the 23rd of March.