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Revisiting Malmö: How they did it in 1992

30 November 2023 at 12:17 CET
As we start to make plans for Malmö 2024, we look back fondly over the first time Malmö hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, back in 1992.
Linda Martin won the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland. Unknown

If you were fortunate enough to have secured tickets this week for the Eurovision Song Contest 2024, excitement levels are no doubt at quite the high right now. And we're right there with you on that; we're gearing up for something great!

Well, in order to feed our anticipation for that trip to Malmö in May, we thought it best to relive one of our favourite visits to Sweden in the past. Our very first jaunt to Malmö, in fact. On 9 May 1992.

Disneyland had just opened in Paris, while Barcelona were about to host the Olympic Games, and Philips had just launched the CD-i. And just as the summer was starting to heat up, we took ourselves off to the Swedish south coast.

Sweden's broadcaster SVT hosted us for what was then the third time in Eurovision Song Contest history. The city of Stockholm had gotten the Host City gig in 1975, and Gothenburg had been given the honour in 1985. 

In 1992, the Contest arrived in Malmö for the very first time. Back then, the Øresund Bridge didn't exist; construction on it wouldn't start until 1995. So there was no commuting to and from Copenhagen every day for anyone! We were all in on Malmö, and the venue we took up residence in was the Malmö Isstadion, an indoor ice hockey arena constructed in 1970.

As we look forward to the 68th edition of the Contest in May, we can all feel a little bit older by the utterly shocking revelation that 1992 was indeed the full 31 years ago that mathematics suggests! Back then, Malmö was hosting the 37th 'Concours Eurovision de la Chanson'.

At the time, SVT no doubt went to great trouble to film the broad selection of shots of Malmö that we saw in the intro to the 1992 Contest. So we might as well be economical and recycle them, to whet our appetites once more for where we're headed to in May 2024. 

Those blue skies would do just nicely again, thanks, please.

23 countries took part in the Eurovision Song Contest 1992, which was a brand-new record at the time.  

Of all the countries that had ever participated in the Contest by that point, only Monaco and Morocco were absent from this year's event.

And what best symbolises Sweden holding court to a gripped audience around the rest of Europe? Well, we can think of plenty of examples, but the one that SVT decided upon in the end was the bow of a Viking ship - which served as the stage design for the 1992 Contest. 

Reminding us all of why we were here in the first place, the opening number was a rhythmic gymnastics performance of the Eurovision Song Contest 1991 winner for Sweden, Fångad Av En Stormvind by Carola. And a rhythmic gymnastics performance with ribbons, at that! But where's Carola herself?...

There's Carola herself! The Eurovision icon followed an opening number in dedication to her with a number of her own - a performance of the song All The Reasons To Live.

Malmö would go on to reintroduce the Flag Parade when it hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2013. But even back in 1992, they were making sure that Europe had its eyes on the flags during the opening of the show. Positioned all the way behind star performer Carola, of course. 

The 37th Eurovision Song Contest had its very own mascot! 

It wasn't, in fact, Carola. It was Eurobird.

Say hello to Eurobird, Europe.

Eurobird is not just an animation to take us between entries. Eurobird is 3D and everything!

The songwriters behind the 23 songs of 1992 were given good prominence at the start of each country's performance. It allowed viewers across Europe to spot any composers they might already be familiar with...

The postcards before each song were a straight-up invitation to go take a holiday at each of the 23 stunning destinations taking part. Iceland went full bingo card on theirs, with the highlights that you'll see in every Visit Iceland brochure: the glacier lagoon, the blue lagoon, the geysirs, and an actual volcano. 

And so they should! 

After 27 appearances at the Eurovision Song Contest (including one win in 1989), Yugoslavia's participation in 1992 was to be its very last. Extra Nena had the honour of being the final artist to represent Yugoslavia at the Contest, with the song Ljubim Te Pesmama.

Is that THE Contest producer for Malmö 2024 Christer Björkman popping up in Malmö 1992, too?! You are not imagining things, you are correct! Christer Björkman represented Sweden at the 37th Contest, with the song I Morgon Är En Annan Dag

Back then could a young Christer have even imagined himself running the show in the same city 31 years later? It's quite possible, actually. 

Another familiar face we'll be seeing back at Malmö 2024... It's Luxembourg! And oh how we're looking forward to seeing that flag adorn our screens again in May. We still feel a little bit funny every time we think about it. That's totally normal, right?

Before Finland gave us Cha Cha Cha and Da Da Dam, it gave us the equally catchy Yamma Yamma. Alas, the song ended up being the Nordic country's 7th last-place result at a Grand Final. But we could still hum it to you today, so there are no losers here and we won't hear a word to the contrary.

How is the dragonhead of our Viking ship doing amongst all this excitment, you might be wondering?

Fret not, that smoke is nothing to worry about. Like the announcement of a new Pope in the Vatican, it's merely signalling the arrival of Greece to the stage; Olou Tou Kosmou i Elpida performed by Cleopatra. It equalled Greece's best result to date at that time, finishing in 5th place on the night.

After all of the songs had been performed, it was time to sit down to the interval act. But what was it to be? Well, this was one of the very first shots that Europe saw as it unfolded. Any guesses?

If you guessed A Century of Dance, a performance that showcased the evolution of dance across Europe over the past 100 years, well done - you got it right. For its climax, we got to hear Roxette on the Eurovision Song Contest stage, as dancers performed to the Swedish duo's global smash hit It Must Have Been Love.

Before we get to the all-important votes, one moment in particular could not be passed by. The 1992 Contest was to be Frank Naef's last as Executive Supervisor. The legend had served in the role since 1978, a tenure which remains the longest in Contest history for an Executive Supervisor. 

Hold up... This calls for flowers. This calls for Carola. 

Our hosts with the Malmöst - Lydia Capolicchio and Harald Treutiger - are now all set to have those votes roll in. 

The unveiling of the scoreboard is always a highlight each year. So let's all gaze adoringly at the swish new one that Sweden delighted us with in 1992. 

The Dutch called in the final set of votes and it would be game over for the night. It also turned out to be game on for the decade for one country in particular. Congratulations Ireland, and good luck with what you're about to undertake throughout the coming years. 

Linda Martin got to go home with this ice-cool trophy, which not only serves as a gorgeous prize for winning such an event, but also doubles up as a great-looking souvenir from a trip to the Nordics.

Songwriter Johnny Logan, meanwhile, got to go home with the proud achievement of a third Eurovision Song Contest win. 

And funnily enough, in the run-up to Malmö 2024, it's a little detail which is being rolled out more than ever, as we head there once again following Loreen's second Contest win for Sweden in May 2023.

See you in May, Malmö! 

We're very much looking forward to seeing what sort of Eurovision Song Contest history can be made in your city this time.

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Malmö, Sweden on Tuesday 7 May (First Semi-Final), Thursday 9 May (Second Semi-Final) and Saturday 11 May (Grand Final) 2024.

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