It's Valentine's day and love is in the air! Year after year we are gifted songs about love, from uplifting tunes that make you want to dance to tales of heartbreak and everything in between. This year, we're taking a look at the performers behind those songs and what kind of love might have inspired the ones we know so well.
Be sure take a look at our Instagram account, where you can guess how many times the word love was featured in the Eurovision Song Contest 2019.
Eurovision seeped in love from the very early days. 1957, the first year the Contest allowed duos, saw the first on-screen kiss between Danish duo Birthe Wilke and Gustav Winckler, still the longest on-stage kiss in the history of the Contest. From there, the love only grew.
Partners in love and music
2 years later, in 1959, the United Kingdom sent husband and wife duo Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson. Teddy met Pearl Carr in 1950 when they both were successful singers already. The BBC suggested they performed a duet together for a programme called Black Magic. "I didn't want to do it, I was a solo singer, I didn't do duets," he said laughing. Pearl joined Teddy when he went on tour during the summer and soon after the pair began dating and got married in 1955.
Pearl and Teddy continued as a double act on the variety circuit until the 1980s. In 1987 they performed in the musical Follies in London's West End before retiring in 1990. In 2015 the pair celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary and lived together in London. 1963 winners Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann from Denmark were also married. Upon Jørgen’s death, a close friend remarked: “He was probably in love with Grethe up until her death. He never said a bad word about her.”
Love through generations
ABBA, who represented Sweden in 1974, did so with 2 married couples: Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, as well as Björn Ulvaeus and Agnetha Fältskog. Both couples got together in 1969 before the band began writing songs together: Björn and Agnetha got married that same year and Anni-Frid and Benny took a little more time to make it formal; they were engaged for almost 10 years before marrying.
Of course, Eurovision partners don't always perform together, and sometimes their participations span decades, Lill Babs, who represented Sweden in 1961 with April, April, for example, was married to Lasse Berghagen who also represented the country in 1975 as part of Lars Berghagen and the Dolls who sang Jennie, Jennie.
In the 1996 Contest, participants One More Time had a couple as part of its team: Peter and Nanne Grönvall. Interestingly, Peter is also the son of Benny Andersson from ABBA. Peter and Nanne have been married since 1994, and have 2 children. Their entry, Den Vilda, was written by Nanne and composed by Peter: a true Eurovision team! They remain married to this day; Nanne continues to appear on stage while Peter continues to exercise his musical muscle as a producer.
When Charlotte Perrelli won the Eurovision Song Contest 1999 with Take Me to Your Heaven, she brought honour and glory to Sweden. Charlotte was married to Nicola Ingrosso, a Swedish–Italian restaurateur and the couple had 2 sons. Eurovision love blossomed through their family: Ingrosso’s oldest brother, Emilio, was married to another Swedish singer, Pernilla Wahlgren. Their son, Benjamin Ingrosso, also represented Sweden in 2018 in Lisbon with his aunt Charlotte in full support.
Love on stage
Married couple Simon and Diana Platin, otherwise known as Platin, represented Slovenia in 2004 with their song Stay Forever. They met on stage and were married in their stage clothes in 2004, onboard a ship in the Bosporus Strait in northwestern Turkey.
In 2018, it was Lithuania with one of the stand-out love songs of the year: Ieva Zasimauskaitė's When We're Old. Ieva brought her partner on stage at the end of her performance during both the Semi-Final and Final, a testament to the spirit of the song and their love. Her message was clear: "Love can last forever, it is the most powerful thing in this universe and it can defeat all fears we may have."
Sharing the honour of powerful love songs that year was Spain's Amaia y Alfred with Tu Canción.
The following year it was Slovenia's Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl that shared their love on stage as they sang Sebi, a song written by the pair themselves.
The two are still together and about to release a 4th album.
Those are just some of the many Eurovision love stories to tell so far, with many more inevitably to come. Until those future love stories reveal themselves, we'll leave you with one of the most appropriately named songs to for the occasion, Svetlana Loboda's 2009 Ukranian entry Be My Valentine (Anti-Crisis Girl).