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Winners of the 1980s - What happened to them?

14 September 2011 at 16:34 CEST

The 1980's marked a big change for Europe's favourite TV show. More countries were taking part and a new wave of music had entered the popular music scene. This decade also produced one of the world's biggest selling artists, Céline Dion. 

We also saw countries (Germany, Norway, Belgium and Yugoslavia) winning for the first time. Previous winning nations (Ireland, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Sweden) also came back to snatch victory again. 

Take a look at the winners below and let us know who your favourite is!

1980 - Johnny Logan (Ireland)

Johnny Logan was born as Sean Patrick Michael Sherrard in May, 1954 in Frankston, Australia. His family moved back to Ireland when he was aged three. He was the son of the Irish singer Patrick O’Hagan, and started composing his own songs when he was 13. He took his stage name from the main character in the film Johnny Guitar.

He released his first single in 1978, and participated in the Irish selection for the Eurovision Song Contest in 1979 where he finished in third place.  One year later he won the right to represent Ireland with the Shay Healy composition What’s Another Year? which won the 25th edition of Europe's favourite Tv show.

The song was a big hit all over Europe, but through poor management and inexperience he was unable to capitalise on his win in the contest, and for a while he was to become another one hit wonder.

He went onto write the song Terminal 3  for Linda Martin, which was the runner up for Ireland in the 1984 edition of the contest.

1981 - Bucks Fizz (United Kingdom)

Bucks Fizz were a group specially formed for the Eurovision Song Contest, comprising Mike Nolan, Cheryl Baker, Bobby G and Jay Aston. They won a narrow victory with Making Your Mind Up when the contest was held in Dublin. The song topped the charts in many European countries, as well as being a hit in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Following this success, they scored further chart hits with songs like Piece Of The Action and One Of Those Nights, before they once again topped the British charts with The Land Of Make Believe and My Camera Never Lies. Other notable hits were; Now Those Days Are Gone,  If You Can't Stand The Heat and When We Were Young.

A horrific coach crash in December, 1984 nearly brought at end to the group, with Mike Nolan in particular receiving the worst injuries, that left him in a coma for several days. Fortunately he recovered, though he still suffers from some of the effects to this day.

Jay Aston was the first member of the group to quit, and was replaced by Shelley Preston. With this line up the group scored a big hit with New Beginning (Mamba Seyra) and since then there has been numerous changes of line up to the group, including at one point the former Dollar singer, David Van Day.

There has also been various legal disputes over ownership of the name Bucks Fizz, and currently there are two versions of the group, one which features Bobby G, and the other with Mike Nolan, Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston; both versions are currently still performing and touring.

1982 - Nicole (Germany)

Nicole Hohloch was born in Saarbruchen in October, 1964. Her first record Flieg Nicht So Hoch mein Kleiner Freund was a smash hit in Germany.

In 1982 she sang Ein bißchen Frieden in the contest, and stormed to a runaway victory to give Germany their first victory.  She performed a memorable winning reprise when she sang the song in German, English, French and Dutch.

The song topped the charts in several European countries and  was recorded in several languages and sold over three million copies, making it one of the most successful songs to emerge from the Grand Prix. This brought her to the attention of audiences throughout Europe and Asia, and since then he has released over 30 albums in her prolific recording career.

In 1988 she joined the German delegation as commentator in their coverage of the contest.

1983 - Corinne Hermès (Luxembourg)

Corinne Hermes was born Corinne Miller in November, 1961 and was a music student in Paris, and her first single in 1979 was released under her own name.

In 1983 she sang Si La Vie Est Cadeau which provided the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with its fifth, and, to date, last victory in the contest when it was held in Munich.

She continued to record and release singles and albums. mainly for the French speaking market.

In 2001 she announced the results of the French televote in the Eurovision Song Contest.

1984 - The Herreys (Sweden)

Three brothers, Per, Richard and Louis Herrey, comprised the group, and had been living and working in the USA when they competed for the right to represent Sweden in the contest.

Their winning song Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley  was the third time the opening song had won the Grand Prix, and gave Sweden its second victory, ten years after ABBA. The song was given an English lyric by eldest brother Per, and scored modest success throughout Europe.

They continued to record, and had a few further hits in Sweden, and toured for a few years before splitting up. They still occasionally reunite to perform for special one off appearances.

1985 - Bobbysocks (Norway)

The duo Bobbysocks comprised  two singers who had both sung in the contest before; Hanne Krogh, who when just 15 years old had sang for Norway in the 1971 contest with Lykken Er ,finishing in seventeenth place. Elisabeth Andreasson had been one half of the duo Chips who had represented Sweden in the 1982 contest in Harrogate, finishing in eighth place with Dag Efter Dag.

The pair brought Norway its first victory in the contest with La Det Swinge and they enjoyed success for the next few years before the pair disbanded the group in 1988.

Both performers made further appearances in the contest for Norway with mixed success. Hanne Krogh was a member of the group Just 4 Fun that finished in 17th place in 1991 with Mrs Thompson. Elisabeth Andreasson joined Jan Werner Danielsen in 1994 and took the song Duett to a respectable sixth place, and two years later as a soloist she did even better by finishing as the runner up on home territory with I Evighet.

Both performers still occasionally reunite for one off appearances, such as the 50th Anniversary show Congratulations, and were present together in Oslo for the 2010 edition of Europe's favourite Tv show.

1986 - Sandra Kim (Belgium)

Sandra Kim, otherwise known as Sandra Caldarone was of Italian descent and brought Belgium their first and only victory to date with J'aime La Vie.

Although the lyrics of J'aime La Vie refer to the singer being 15 year old and Sandra Kim’s biography in the official programme mentioned she born in 1971, it subsequently turned out that she wasn’t born until October 1972,  making her 13 at the time of the contest.  

Either way she was the youngest ever winner of the Eurovision Song Contest, and when in 1990 the rules subsequently changed to have a minimum age for an entrant, it means barring any further changes to the rules, Sandra Kim will retain that honour.

She continued to record songs mainly in French and Dutch.  In 2010 she filmed an updated video of J’Aime La Vie, matching as close as possible the clothes, locations and personnel from the 1986 original.

1987 - Johnny Logan (Ireland)

History was made on the 9th of May, 1987 when Johnny Logan became the first performer to win the Eurovision Song Contest for the second time, with his self composed entry Hold Me Now.

This remarkable achievement earned him the nickname of of 'Mr Eurovision', and his reputation in the contest was further enhanced five years later when he once again composed the winning song Why Me? which was sung by Linda Martin.

Hold Me Now reached the top ten of the charts in several countries, and thus ended his period of being a one hit wonder following his 1980 win. In 2005 at the 50th Anniversary show, Hold Me Now was voted the third most popular song in the history of the contest.

He continues to be a great ambassador for the contest, and frequently appears at national finals and other programmes related to the event.

1988 - Céline Dion (Switzerland)

Céline Marie Claudette Dion was born in 1968 in Canada into a large family. She released her first record in 1981, and in 1982 she won the Yamaha World Popular Song Festival.

In 1988, in one of the closest and most exciting finishes to the Eurovision Song Contest she snatched victory by a single point for Switzerland with the song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi. The song sold well across Europe and achieved modest chart success, and she also recorded the winning  song in German as Hand In Hand.

The following year she sung Where Does My Heart Beat Now as part of the opening to the 1989 contest; though the song didn’t chart until 1990 in the USA and Canada, and 1991 in parts of Europe, though only reaching number 72 in United Kingdom. 

Shortly after that the hits started worldwide with Beauty And The Beast, The Power Of Love, and in 1994 with Think Twice. In 1997 she sang the theme song to the film Titanic; My Heart Will Go On providing her with another international hit.

Despite taking a break in her career at the end of the 1990's to start a family and spend time with her husband and manager René Angélil, she returned in 2002 and in 2004 she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award  at the World Music Awards as the best selling female artist of all time. She has now sold in excess of 200 million albums worldwide.

1989 - Riva (Yugoslavia)

The group Riva was founded in 1986, and came from Zadar in Croatia. They comprised Emilia Kokic (lead singer) Dalibor Musap (keyboards and vocals), Zvonimir Zrilic (guitar and vocals), Nenad Nakic (bass guitar) and Bosko Colic (drums).

Their song Rock Me won the 34th edition of the contest held in Lausanne; though it failed to make much impact on the European charts, and the group split a few years later in 1991.

Lead singer Emilia Kokic  had a further attempt at the contest when she competed in the Croatian selection show Dora in 2008, where she finished in sixth place. She was also a member of the jury at the Dora contest in 2011, when she also performed Rock Me.

In the next part of this series we will look at the winners of the 1990's.