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Johnny Logan: What the original double winner did next

14 September 2023 at 11:00 CEST
What's another Eurovision victory? To see what a double win at the Contest can do for an artist, we need only look to one person - Johnny Logan.

He'll always be the original double winner (not to mention his third victory as a songwriter!) but now Johnny's got some company at the top. In 2023 - 36 years after Ireland's Johnny first managed it in 1987 - Sweden's Loreen became only the second artist in history to win the Eurovision Song Contest a second time, with Tattoo in Liverpool.

All of the spoils and success that come with a Eurovision Song Contest triumph have recently been demonstrated rather admirably by the likes of Måneskin and Duncan Laurence. But what happens after a second Eurovision victory has so far only been tried and tested out once - by the blueprint himself, Johnny Logan. 

So what kind of a shot in the arm to an artist's career does a double win bring? And does a lifetime of invitations to the Eurovision Song Contest and everything associated with it lay ahead? Let's take a look at how it's all panned out for our talented Irishman.

Since earning that groundbreaking second win at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1987, Johnny Logan has gone on to enjoy a bountiful career of further peaks and glittering highlights. There have been albums, there have been hits and there have been Greatest Hits. We've had Christmas LPs, superstar collaborations and multiple official anthems for multiple sports tournaments.

And with all that comes the opportunity to tour all of these tunes live - a demand from ticket-buying fans that he continues to fulfil today.

The best, the whole best, and nothing but the best

No matter how many success stories the composer has penned for himself, however, Johnny continues to make time for the Contest. And his Eurovision-legend status has also ensured that the performer is rarely off the speed dial of any TV entertainment producer worth their salt; particularly around national final season!

Johnny has regularly popped up as a guest performer at various Eurovision pre-selections over the past couple of decades. 

One of his most memorable appearances was at Sweden’s Melodifestivalen in 2019, when host Kodjo Akolor surprised his mother (a huge Johnny Logan fan, a woman with exceptional taste) in the audience with a special performance by the man, the myth and the legend himself. It was dedicated especially to her and broadcast to 3 million Swedes on Saturday night primetime television.

It’s arguably the Nordic nations, as well as the DACH region and the Benelux countries, that have really taken Johnny Logan and his music under their collective wings since that second Eurovision victory was broadcast into living rooms across Europe in 1987. 

The versatile artist has not only enjoyed chart success across mainland Europe and Scandinavia, he has also toured there extensively (and continues to do so) and had a lot of his music recorded and produced there, too. 

Johnny Logan serving cheekbone on his 1996 album 'Reach Out'

Just last year, Johnny appeared on Belgium's The Masked Singer as Edelhert (Red Deer). As editors across the continent rolled out their ‘What’s Another Deer’ headlines, the unmasked artist reported a huge influx of work off the back of his participation in the show. 

The Masked Singer wasn’t the first time Johnny Logan dealt Belgian TV viewers a serve, however. In 2006, our man was in the jury for Belgium's Eurovision pre-selection Eurosong; meaning that he’s partially responsible for Kate Ryan’s Je T’adore becoming the beloved Contest canon it is today. 

But no matter how much Johnny journeys through adoring crowds in Europe and beyond, his roots are never far from his mind during performances. Album titles of his have included The Irish Connection, Irish Soul, Irishman in America and The Irish Connection 2.

It's giving 'Les Mis - a Broadway spinoff brought to you by the makers of Riverdance'

And of course Ireland was the benefactor of Johnny Logan's most notable career feat since earning that second Eurovision Song Contest win: in 1992 when he earned a third win (and a fourth win for Ireland) thanks to the song he composed for Linda Martin, Why Me?

What an absolute flex that sticker was for the CD single

Why Me? went on to be recorded by Johnny himself, along with new versions of his other two Eurovision Song Contest winners - What's Another Year and Hold Me Now - on his well-received 2022 album Some Of My Favourite Songs

Pop culture (and pop art) icon, Johnny Logan

Since that third Eurovision win, Johnny has actually attempted to come back to the Contest as a songwriter again - twice for Netherlands. In 2004, his song The Story Of My Life by Arno Kolenbrander competed in Nationaal Songfestival, making it as far as the wildcard round. The following year, his song How Does It Feel by Airforce competed in Nationaal Songfestival 2005 and very nearly made it to Kyiv, but ultimately finished in 2nd place behind the epic ballad My Impossible Dream by Glennis Grace. 

He did form part of a Eurovision Song Contest competing entry again, however, in 2012; albeit as part of the lyrics to Anmary's unforgettable number for Latvia, the aptly titled Beautiful Song. And what a lyric it was: "I was born in distant 1980... The year that Irish Johnny Logan won".

But of course Johnny Logan's recent appearances at the Eurovision Song Contest haven't been limited to Latvian lyrics. In the years since his victories, Johnny's involvement has included a video message of support to the participants in 1997 and announcing Ireland's scores during a tight televote in 2004.

Johnny also performed his song Voices (Are Calling) as the interval act at Millstreet in 1993 - a performance so good that Ireland had to literally invent Riverdance the following year in order to top it! 

In 2020, Johnny Logan also featured in the EBU's broadcast Europe Shine A Light - a special programme produced in light of the cancellation of the 2020 Contest due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the show, Johnny Logan performed his first winning song What's Another Year together with hosts Jan Smit, Chantal Janzen and Edsilia Rombley, as well as a choir of Eurovision fans via home video.

The following year in 2021, when Rotterdam was finally able to host the Eurovision Song Contest, attendees will have spotted a familiar name if they took a visit to the Rotterdam Walk of Fame! The largest avenue of stars in Europe added Johhny Logan's star to it in 1997.

His career's strong alignment to the Eurovision Song Contest has also seen Johnny record music with some other Contest icons in the decades since he schooled them all on precisely how it's done. In the 21st century, Johnny Logan has released music with German winner Nicole, Belgian bop-merchant Barbara Dex, Danish diva Birthe Kjær and Sweden's very own Friends.

Johnny Logan & Friends

With Loreen now having equalled Johnny Logan's record of wins as an artist, and with Sweden having simultaneously equalled Ireland's record of wins as a participating country, some eyes have turned to Johnny Logan to see whether he might step up a third time and set scores back to his own advantage. 

Well, he was asked that very question a while back... And his answer might surprise you!

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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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