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The Decade Of

1980s

Decade Introduction

1980 - 1989

The 1980s brought more up-tempo winners than in the past, like Norway's first victory with La Det Swinge in 1985. Another first time winner was Germany with Ein Bißchen Frieden, composed by the legendary Ralph Siegel and performed by Nicole who finally brought victory to her country in 1982. Belgium also won the Eurovision Song Contest in this decade with the 13 year-old Sandra Kim and her J'aime La Vie. Shortly before breaking up,Yugoslavia won in 1989 with Rock Me by the Croatian group Riva.

1980

Host City

The Hague

The 1979 winner, Israel, did not have the means to host the song contest again so the BBC was asked to organize the event.

They declined, so the Netherlands became the organiser despite the fact that there was not enough time left and Dutch TV NOS had to re-use most of the stage from 1976 when they hosted the contest last.

NOS picked April 19th as the date for the song contest, but as this was the Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel, the defending champion decided not to participate which marked the only time when the winner of one Eurovision Song Contest didn't participate in the next edition.

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scoreboard

1980 results

Ireland

Stories worth telling

Mr. Eurovision

The Irish Johnny Logan who would later be called Mr. Eurovision secured Ireland's second victory.

The Australian-born singer who only became an Irish citizen after he sang for Ireland in the 1980 contest, would later return and win the contest again in 1987. His 1980 victory brought him a number one hit in the UK and numerous television appearances across Europe. What's Another Year received the maximum number of 12 points seven times, ending up with 143 points in total.

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1981

Host City

Dublin

For the second time, the Eurovision champion winner, Ireland, was the host for the event which took place in Dublin.

In 1981, the total amount of participating countries was 20 once again equalling the record set three years earlier in Paris.

The opening sequence of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest showed 'old Ireland' blending into 'modern Ireland' with shots of Celtic ruins, cliffs, castles, edited together with close-ups of art and shots of planes, waterfalls, people in the park, children feeding birds, traditional door knockers, front doors, architecture and horse races. The sequence ended with a map of Europe on a globe which span round to reveal the Eurovision Song Contest logo.

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scoreboard

1981 results

Monaco

Stories worth telling

What a show!

The United Kingdom's entry Making Your Mind Up by the group Bucks Fizz won the 1981 contest after a close race with Germany's entry by Lena Valaitis.

Bucks Fizz was specially formed for the Eurovision Song Contest and had created a memorable show act when the 2 guys in the group ripped off the skirts of the 2 girls, revealing a shorter skirt underneath. To date, it is seen by many as one of the most memorable moments in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. Bucks Fizz continued their career with many hit songs during the 1980s, like The Land Of Make Believe and My Camera Never Lies.

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1982

Host City

Harrogate

The fairly unknown Harrogate in the UK was this year's host city of the Eurovision Song Contest.

France was absent due to the fact that the national broadcaster thought that the Eurovision Song Contest would not be interesting for its viewers any longer. But only a year later in 1983, France returned to the contest with a different broadcaster.

Greece also withdrew from the contest, leaving 18 countries in the competition. Greece was supposed to enter the contest with the song Sarantapente Kopelies performed by Themis Adamantidis but the Greek minister of culture Melina Mercouri decided to withdraw the song just two weeks before the contest as it did not meet her quality standards.

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scoreboard

1982 results

Luxembourg

Stories worth telling

Ein Bisschen Frieden

Germany finally had its first win in the history of the song contest with its 27th try.

Ein Bisschen Frieden performed by Nicole beat the runner-up by 61 points. At the reprise, Nicole sang the song in four languages: German, English, French and Dutch. Over 13 million West Germans watched Nicole's victory on television and her winning song became a hit in all over Europe.

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1983

Host City

Munich

For the second time since 1957, the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Germany, this time in Munich.

The presenter of this year's song contest was Marlene Charell who presented the performers in three languages, German, French and English, but she was very nervous and made 13 mistakes in the voting alone. She also mixed up the names of the performers and the conductors to the displeasure of the artists.

Italy, France and Greece returned but Ireland decided to stay out. The set was quite small but unique as the stage was arc-shaped surrounding the orchestra section.

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scoreboard

1983 results

Luxembourg

Stories worth telling

Drama Scores

Luxembourg won the 1983 contest with the dramatic presentation of Si La Vie Est Cadeau by French singer Corinne Hermès which marked the country's last victory.

Unfortunately, Corinne's winning song didn't set the European charts alight and it was even outsold by the 3rd placed Swedish entry Främling and the 4th placed Yugoslav song by Daniel who went on to record his song, Julie, in English.

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1984

Host City

Luxembourg

After last holding the contest in 1973, Luxembourg played host for the 1984 Eurovision Song Contest.

The total number of participants was 19, one country less than in the preceding year as Greece decided not to enter a song. The contest also clashed with Israel's Remembrance Day, so the country wasn't present in Luxembourg either. Ireland returned to the contest though, finishing second.

The host country, Luxembourg, had problems finding a suitable venue. In the end, RTL decided to hold the contest in the tiny Théâtre Municipal and as a consequence, only VIPs, press and members of each country's delegation were allowed in.

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scoreboard

1984 results

Sweden

Stories worth telling

Boots of gold

Sweden unexpectedly won the contest with the song Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley performed by the group consisting of three brothers, called Herrey's.

The Swedish brothers impressed the European juries with spectacular choreography and memorable golden boots.The song became a hit in lots of European territories, but is still ridiculed today in English-speaking countries due to its title.

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1985

Host City

Gothenburg

The city of Gothenburg was chosen by the Swedish broadcaster to be the host city of the 1985 Eurovision Song Contest.

This year, the Netherlands chose to withdraw from the contest because it collided with the country's national Remembrance Day. Yugoslavia also decided to stay home because of a national holiday.

The contest was hosted by former participant Lill Lindfors who shocked the audience with an act in which it seemed that her skirt was torn off. This was of course well-rehearsed, and remains one of the most-remembered highlights in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. She also congratulated the Norwegian team by saying: "I’m so happy for you – Norway has been last so many times that you really deserve it!"

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scoreboard

1985 results

The Netherlands

Stories worth telling

Bobbysocks

Norway surprised with their victory this year. The entry La Det Swinge by the duo Bobbysocks, won after a close race with the German entry, Für Alle by the group Wind.

Bobbysocks comprised the singers Elisabeth Andreasson and Hanne Krogh.

Elisabeth had already taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1982 for Sweden where she was one half of the group Chips. Hanne Krogh had represented Norway already in 1971, but only came 17th with her song Lycken Er. She would again return to the Eurovision stage in 1991 as part of the Norwegian group Just 4 Fun.

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1986

Host City

Bergen

For the first time, Norway had the honour of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest in its 31st edition.

The Netherlands and Yugoslavia returned, Italy and Greece withdrew from the from the contest and Iceland made their debut. Iceland had wanted to participate for some years already, but the small Atlantic island nation had to wait until a satellite connection to Iceland could be established.

The contest was one big commercial for Norway as a country as all the postcards introducing the participants showed the beauty of the Norwegian landscape.

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scoreboard

1986 results

United Kingdom

Stories worth telling

13-year old winner

The winner of the song contest was the 13-year-old Sandra Kim, who sang J'Aime La Vie.

She actually had told the producers of the show that she was 15 year old. It was the first win for Belgium, and all countries that had participated in the very first contest in 1956 had now won at least once.

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1987

Host City

Brussels

Belgium had the honour of hosting the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time in the country's history.

The highest number of participants ever entered this year's song contest: 22 countries found their way to Brussels. Greece and Italy returned after one year's absence.

The 1986 contest was won by a Walloon entry, but in 1987 the Flemish broadcaster, BRT, was responsible for the Belgian entry. BRT also wanted to co-organise the contest, but the Walloon broadcaster, RTBF decided to organise the 1987 Eurovision Song Contest on their own. The presenter of the 3-hour-show was the successful Belgian artist Viktor Laszlo who opened the contest presenting her latest song Breathless.

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scoreboard

1987 results

France

Stories worth telling

Mr. Eurovision II

The winner of the 1987 Eurovision was Hold Me Now performed and written by Johnny Logan.

He had already won in 1980 with What's Another Year and had written the second-placed song in 1984, Terminal 3 performed in Luxembourg by Linda Martin. Johnny was the first singer to win the contest twice as a singer, but this would not be his last victory as he won the trophy again as a composer in 1992 when he wrote Why Me by Linda Martin which would win in Malmö.

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1988

Host City

Dublin

In 1988, 21 countries participated in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Cyprus decided to withdraw because their entry did not match the rules of the contest - it had already been published previously. The venue of the 1988 contest was the same as in 1981, but this time, RTÉ managed to create a very special stage that created the illusion of a space-age-style grid which suggested that it was a huge arena with lots of lighting and special effects. Even nowadays, this set is still praised by experts.

The 1988 Eurovision Song Contest was hosted in Dublin for the third time, and featured one of the most exciting voting sequences in the long history of the contest.

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scoreboard

1988 results

Israel

Stories worth telling

Celine Dion

Switzerland's entry Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi performed by Céline Dion beat United Kingdom's Scott Fitzgerald by just a single point.

Before the last vote, the UK entry was leading with 136 points to Switzerland's 131 but then Yugoslavia, the last country to vote, gave 6 points to Switzerland while ignoring the British song Go completely.

For Céline Dion, winning this contest was the starting point of her career. She had only been known in Canada and France before 1988. The Eurovision Song Contest gave her the opportunity to record songs and sell of millions of copies all around the world.

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1989

Host City

Lausanne

Lausanne had never hosted the Eurovision Song Contest before.

In fact it was only the second time since 1956 that Swiss TV had the chance to host Europe's biggest musical event. With Cyprus back in competition, there were 22 countries again, just like in 1987.

The French participant Nathalie Pâque was just 11 years old and one of the Israeli representatives just one year older which led the European Broadcasting Union to a change of rules in the coming years, that a participant had to reach the age 16 in the year the contest was held.

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scoreboard

1989 results

Israel

Stories worth telling

Yogoslavia wins!

It was a big surprise for many that Yugoslavia won with the simple but effective uptempo song Rock Me.

However, record buyers didn't think much of the song which only became a minor hit in some countries.

The tipped winner had been Sweden's Tommy Nilsson, who was heavily supported by big names in the Swedish music industry as his backing vocalists, and he ended up in a respectable fourth position.

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Next Decade

1990s

Eurovision

Credits

Project & Content Manager

Marieke Duijts

Editorial contributions

Victor Escudero
Olena Omelyanchuk
Gordon Roxburgh
Jarmo Siim

Concept

Scrn

Technical supervision

Wouter van Vliet

Digital Production

Elespacio - Lucas Onofre

Art Direction & Design

Elespacio - Brijan Powell
Elespacio - Samuel Hoh
Elespacio - Pavel Proshin

Development

Elespacio - Jacek Zakowicz
Elespacio - Cristina Franco
Elespacio - Jonathan Icicson

Photo & video credits

Getty Images
Beeld & Geluid (Dutch Institute for Sound and Vision)
BBC Photo Library
ORF/Thomas Ramstorfer
EBU
Stijn Smulders
Jan Demulder
Wim Dehandschutter
Femke de Laat
Andres Putting
Thomas Hanses
Dennis Stachel
Sander Hesterman
Elke Roels
Marieke Duijts
Indrek Galetin
Alain Douit
Kenneth Thorén (SVT)
SurFeRGiRL30
James Morley
Anthony Kelly
Sam Shaw
Peter Mackey
Philippe Schlesser
Polfoto - Jacob Maarbjerg
Jacinta lluch Valero
Gage Skidmore
Gustavo Devito
Robert Scoble
R Barraez D´Lucca
Asim Bijarani
Chris - RMS Olympic Broadside View Post-Titanic
Kamil Porembiński - RBMK-1000, Chernobyl
Dan Queiroz
François Péladeau / Vancityhotshots
NASA image acquired April 16, 2010
Julian Burgess
Alex Hill
Bryan Dorrough
South African Tourism
Maxwell Hamilton
Paisley Scotland
Alf Melin
Ross Fowler
Cliff
Yukiko Matsuoka
Irish Typepad
hobvias sudoneighm

Special thanks to

Samuel Andersson (SVT)
Stephanie Caflisch (EBU)
Jeroen Depraetere
Maartje Jansma (Beeld & Geluid)
Gijs Kimenai (Beeld & Geluid)
Maiken Maimets (OGAE)
Helen Ridell (BBC)
Sarah Sadek (EBU)
Jon Ola Sand (EBU)
Dave Goodman (EBU)
David A Allan

A special thanks to all Heads of Delegations, members of the Reference Group, EBU Member Broadcaster representatives and fans who have contributed to this project.

Project Supervisor

Sietse Bakker


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With thanks

Eurovision Song Contest, Scrn, Elespacio