Eurovision Song Contest

This section contains reviews of the Eurovision Song Contest over the past six decades. On this page we look at 1967-1975; the other pages in this section cover 1956-1966, 1976-1982, 1983-1989, 1990-1996, 1997-2001, 2002-2005, 2006-2009, 2010-2013, 2014-2017 and 2018.


1967

Host country: Austria
Won by: United Kingdom - Puppet on a String by Sandie Shaw
UK entry: Puppet on a String by Sandie Shaw
Full results: eurovision.tv

The UK's poor showing in 1966 led to a major rethink when it came to picking their representative for 1967. Out went the crooners and in came a true pop star - Sandie Shaw, who had already enjoyed a string of hit singles over the preceding few years. The gamble paid off, with the UK cruising to victory for the very first time, with 'Puppet on a String' scoring 47 points, far ahead of the 22 points garnered by the second placed song performed by Ireland's Sean Dunphy.

The 1967 contest also produced what would prove to be a more enduring tune - 'L'Amour est Blue' ('Love is Blue'), performed by Vicky Leandros for Luxembourg, only finished fourth, yet became a hit both sides of the Atlantic when re-recorded in instrumental form by the Paul Mauriat Orchestra. It wasn't the last we'd hear of Ms Leandros, either...


1968

Host country: United Kingdom
Won by: Spain - La La La by Massiel
UK entry: Congratulations by Cliff Richard
Full results: eurovision.tv

The BBC hosted the first colour Eurovision from the Royal Albert Hall in 1968, introduced once again by Katie Boyle. With Cliff Richard, one of the biggest names in pop, roped in to represent the UK with the infectious 'Congratulations', victory for a second year on the trot must have seemed certain.

And yet Cliff was to lose by just one point, to Spain's Massiel, singing the infamously titled 'La La La'. Forty years later a Spanish documentary claimed that Cliff was in fact the rightful winner and that Massiel's victory was a result of vote-rigging by the Spanish dictator General Franco, who offered cash and other incentives to broadcasters across Europe in return for votes, in the hope that a win would boost Spain's image abroad - a claim which, unsurprisingly, was disputed by Massiel.


1969

Host country: Spain
Won by: France - Un Jour, Un Enfant by Frida Coccara
Netherlands - De Troubadour by Lenny Kuhr
Spain - Vivo Cantando by Salome
United Kingdom - Boom Bang-a-Bang by Lulu
UK entry: Boom Bang-a-Bang by Lulu
Full results: eurovision.tv

The BBC managed to convince another big singing star to represent the UK in 1969, and with Lulu singing 'Boom Bang-a-Bang', the UK once again went into the contest as the hot favourite. Lulu managed to go one better than Cliff, winning the contest for the UK with 18 points. There was just one slight problem...

Three other countries - France, Spain and the Netherlands - also finished with 18 points. Despite using a voting system that tended to result in low scores, Eurovision organisers had failed to foresee the possibility of more than country topping the scoreboard with the same number of points, and as such no mechanism was in place to break a tie. The result was the ludicrous situation of four countries - a quarter of all the participants - all having to share victory. Even presenter Laurent Valenzuela couldn't believe it.

Let's face it though, there's only one of those four winners that anyone still remembers. Even after half a century, 'Boom Bang-a-Bang', and the UK entries that preceded it, 'Congratulations' and 'Puppet on a String', continue to loom large when it comes to the British public's perception of the contest.


1970

Host country: Netherlands
Won by: Ireland - All Kinds of Everything by Dana
UK entry: Knock, Knock Who's There? by Mary Hopkin
Full results: eurovision.tv

As Eurovision staggered into the 1970s, it was not in great health. The contest had been running for fifteen years - maybe it'd had its day? It had lost a lot of credibility following the result of 1969 contest, with several countries boycotting the 1970 contest as a protest, leaving a mere 12 entries competing for the trophy.

There was no doubt over the winner this time, however, as Dana took Ireland to a clear victory, with 'All Kinds of Everything' knocking 'Knock, Knock Who's There?', the UK's entry performed by Mary Hopkin, into second place.

Along with Dana, another name who was not yet famous but soon would be, Julio Iglesias, represented Spain, finishing in joint fourth place.


1971

Host country: Ireland
Won by: Monaco - Un Banc, Un Arbre, Une Rue by Severine
UK entry: Jack in the Box by Clodagh Rodgers
Full results: eurovision.tv

Eurovision came to Ireland for the first time, with Bernadette Ni Ghallchoir wearing appropriately coloured dress to present the contest. A new voting system was introduced - each country sent two members to the host country, who both had to give between 1 and 5 points to each song. This year the two Luxembourg jurists both repeatedly gave just 1 point to each song - not trying to help their own chances were they?

With the ongoing hostilities in Northern Ireland, singer Clodagh Rodgerd, who hailed from the province, was brought in to represent the UK in Dublin. 'Jack in a Box' finished fourth. The eventual winner was Severine, who represented Eurovision's smallest country, Monaco, singing 'Un Banc, Un Arbre, Une Rue'.


1972

Host country: United Kingdom
Won by: Luxembourg - Apres Toi by Vicky Leandros
UK entry: Beg, Steal or Borrow by The New Seekers
Full results: eurovision.tv

Although Monaco had won the 1971 contest, they were not in a position to host the contest themselves, and so in 1972 the BBC stepped in to host the show once again. It was hosted at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, with the Scottish actor and presenter Tom Fleming commentating for the BBC. The scoring system introduced the previous year was used once again, with all countries' jurors brought to Edinburgh Castle to present their scores.

By now, groups were permitted to enter Eurovision as well as soloists and duos, and representing the UK were the New Seekers with 'Beg, Steal or Borrow'. They finished in second place behind Vicky Leandros, who was making her second appearance at the contest. 'Apres Toi' was Luxembourg's third winning entry.


1973

Host country: Luxembourg
Won by: Luxembourg - Tu Te Reconnaitras by Anne-Marie David
UK entry: Power to All Our Friends by Cliff Richard
Full results: eurovision.tv

The 1973 contest, held in Luxembourg, was the first time viewers got to ask, 'why is Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest?' Security was tight for their debut entry performed by Ilanit, which finished in fourth place.

Cliff Richard, clearly a glutton for punishment after coming so close in 1968, came back for a second go for the UK in 1973, but this time only managed third with 'Power to All Our Friends'. The group Mocedades represented Spain with 'Eres Tu', which finished second - viewers to Children's BBC in the late 80s might recognise them as the singers of the Around the World with Willy Fog theme tune!

It was very tight at the top in 1973, with only a few points separating the top three entries. In the end, however, it was the home team, Luxembourg, that would be victorious, with Anne-Marie David singing 'Tu Te Reconnaitras'.

This year marked Terry Wogan's first television commentary - he would return in 1978, then again every year from 1980 to 2008.


1974

Host country: United Kingdom
Won by: Sweden - Waterloo by Abba
UK entry: Long Live Love by Olivia Newton-John
Full results: eurovision.tv

Luxembourg declined to host the event for a second year in succession, so it fell once again to the BBC to step into the breach. They took the 1974 contest to the Brighton Dome, with Katie Boyle hosting for the final time.

Olivia Newton-John represented the UK with 'Long Live Love', finishing in fourth place. France missed the contest for the first time, due to the death of President Pompidou, while Italy's Gigliola Cinquetti returned a decade after her victory in the contest to sing 'Si' ('Yes'). Italian broadcaster RAI feared this could be seen as a not very subtle message to influence an upcoming referendum on divorce law, and so didn't broadcast the contest until after the vote had taken place. The broadcast of the Portuguese entry, meanwhile, was used as a signal to begin an uprising against the country's regime.

It wasn't all about politics, though. The Dutch duo Mouth and MacNeal used a barrel organ with what were possibly effigies of the pair spinning round on top. Meanwhile, the Wombles were the interval act, which no doubt baffled viewers right across the continent.

But of course 1974 is best remembered for producing the most successful Eurovision song of all time, Abba's 'Waterloo' - the song which probably saved the contest.


1975

Host country: Sweden
Won by: Netherlands - Ding Dinge Dong by Teach-In
UK entry: Let Me Be the One by The Shadows
Full results: eurovision.tv

1975 is a significant year in Eurovision history - after several different voting methods had been tried in previous years, the famous 1-12 scoring system was introduced, which has remained ever since. However at this time each country's points were announced in order of performance, not the more familiar ascending order.

Abba was always going to be difficult act to follow, so it's unfortunate that they were to be succeeded as champions by one of the worst Eurovision winners of all-time. The Dutch band 'Teach-In' triumphed this year with their song that featured the inane lyrics "Ding a dong every hour, when you pick a flower, even when your lover is gone, gone, gone..."

With Cliff Richard having twice failed to bring victory back to the UK, this year his old backing band the Shadows decided to try their luck. Lead singer Bruce Welch managed to forget some of the lyrics (which might have improved the Dutch entry), instead singing the first line twice. Despite this, they finished in second place, but were unable to overcome a song about picking flowers and dinging dongs.

The Dolls, who two years earlier sung with Sweden's The Nova, this year accompanied Lars Berghagen from the same country. But not only that, they proved their worth as 'rent-a-backing-singers', performing with several other of this year's entrants.


Next page: 1976-1982
Previous page: 1956-1966


Text copyright © Robert Williams, images copyright © the respective broadcasters