Home Entertainment Eurovision winners over the years. Where are they now?

Eurovision winners over the years. Where are they now?


The Eurovision Song Contest has been running since 1956 and in that time, acts from around Europe have been singing their hearts out in the hope of winning the trophy.

There have been 57 Eurovision winners to date but what has become of those acts that hit the dizzy heights of Euro fame?

Some have gone on to be international stars, while others have faded into obscurity.

Here we take a look at some of the winners over the years and what they have been up to since.

1950 – 1959

1956 – Lys Assia (Switzerland)

Lys Assia was the very first Eurovision winner when it was held in Lugano, Switzerland. She won with her song Refrain and went on to compete in the contest for the next two years, finishing eighth and second respectively. She entered a song into the Swiss national selection for the 2012 contest, but didn’t qualify.

She continued with her singing career and released her last album in 2008. She is considered Eurovision royalty and regularly appears at the contest as a guest of honor.

1959 – Teddy Scholten (The Netherlands)

Teddy won the contest for the Netherlands for the second time in four years with the song Een Beetje.

She had a career in both television and music and released dozens of records through to the 1960s. But she gave up showbiz to work as a public relations officer for the Dutch Red Cross. She died in 2012, aged 83.

1960 – 1969

1960 – Jacqueline Boyer (France)

Jacqueline Boyer gave France its second Eurovision win with her song, Tom Pillibi. As well as being a singer, she also became an actress and appeared in several films and TV series, enjoying a career in Germany as well as France. She continues to record music today.

1964 – Gigliola Cinquetti (Italy)

Italy scored its first win with Gigliola Cinquetti’s Non Ho L’eta (I’m Not Old Enough) aged 16. The song became a European hit.

She competed again in 1974 with her song, Go (Before You Break My Heart), and finished second, losing out to Abba’s Waterloo. She went on to co-host the contest in 1991 when it was staged in Rome.

In the 1990s she quit the music industry and became a journalist. She currently hosts the current affairs programme Italia Rai.

1967 – Sandie Shaw (UK)

Sandie Shaw gave the UK its first Eurovision victory with her famous barefoot rendition of Puppet On A String. With a number of hits to her name before the contest, she was an ideal choice having recorded many of her songs in French, Spanish, German and Italian.

As one of the most successful British singers of the 1960s, she was absent from the music scene in the 1970s and returned to the spotlight with a cover of The Smiths’ song Hand In Glove.

She disappeared again until 2010, when she announced she had started recording music again. However, in April 2013, in an interview with The Telegraph, she said she was retiring for good.

1970 – 1979

1970 – Dana (Ireland)

Dana’s All Kinds of Everything was a hit around the world after becoming Ireland’s first winner. She went on to release more than 30 albums, many with a strong Christian focus.

She also pursued a political career, coming third in the Irish presidential election in 1997. In 1999, she was elected to the European Parliament but lost her seat in 2004.

Showbiz came calling again however, and in recent years she has appeared on celebrity dance show Celebrity Jigs ‘n’ Reels and been a judge on The All Ireland Talent Show.

1972 – Vicky Leandros (Luxembourg)

Greek singer Vicky won for Luxembourg with Apres Toi after coming fourth for the country in 1967. The song gave her success in Europe, North America and Asia.

More recently, she was elected a councilor in Piraeus in Greece and subsequently became the deputy mayor. She resigned in 2008 and has continued with her music career performing all over Europe. Her career as a Eurovision singer has also continued, taking part in the 2006 German final with the song, Don’t Break My Heart. She is still recording and touring today.

Probably Eurovision's most famous and successful winners, Abba have sold millions of records thanks to their hit Waterloo

Probably Eurovision’s most famous and successful winners, Abba have sold millions of records thanks to their hit Waterloo

1974 – ABBA (Sweden)

Probably Eurovision’s most famous and successful winners, Abba have sold millions of records thanks to their hit Waterloo.

They topped the charts until the early 1980s when they split up, with hits including Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen and Money Money Money.

Members Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus continued to work and record together, including writing the musical Chess. Anni-Frid Lyngstad embarked on a solo career and Agnetha Faltskog’ shied away from the spotlight, although she has recently returned to the music scene with a new album.

A musical based on their hits, a successful box office film and a museum dedicated to the group have cemented them firmly in Eurovision history.

1980 – 1989

1981 – Bucks Fizz (UK)

Possibly the UK’s most popular Eurovision entry, Bucks Fizz beat Germany by four points with Making Your Mind Up. Famous for its dance routine which included ripping the skirts off Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston, the song was a hit around Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

They scored several more chart hits following the contest, but tragedy struck the band in 1984 when their coach crashed while on tour, badly injuring them.

After several line-up changes and legal disputes over ownership of the group’s name, there are now two versions of the group – one which features Bobby G, and the other with Mike Nolan, Cheryl Baker and Jay Aston – both of which are currently still performing and touring.

1988 – Celine Dion (Switzerland)

Celine Dion has gone on to become one of the most successful female singers in the world since winning Eurovision for Switzerland with the song Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi.

It wasn’t until 1991 that she found more international fame with the theme to Disney film Beauty and the Beast and then power ballads The Power Of Love, Think Twice and the mega-selling theme to Titanic, My Heart Will Go On followed.

She took a short career break to start a family and came back with a five-year residency in Las Vegas.

She has sold in excess of 200 million albums worldwide.

1990 – 1999

1995 – Secret Garden (Norway)

Irish-Norwegian duo Rolf Lovland and violinist Fionnuala Sherry scored a win for Norway after a period of being the butt of “nul points” jokes. Originally planned as an instrumental, a few lines of lyrics were later added.

The group has had global success with their first album, spending two years in the US Billboard New Age chart from 1996-1997.

Rolf Lovland is most famous for composing one of the world’s most covered songs – You Raise Me Up – made famous by the likes of Josh Groban, Westlife and Il Divo.

1998 – Dana International (Israel)

Dana International caused controversy as Israel’s Eurovision entry. As a transsexual, conservatives tried to block her involvement, but she beat the UK’s Imaani by six points to win with her song, Diva.

Already a success in her native country with three albums to her name, Eurovision propelled her to international stardom. The following year’s contest, she famously fell over on stage after the Swedish entry stepped on the back of her dress.

She released more albums and even composed Israel’s Eurovision entry in 2008 which finished ninth.

After disappearing from showbiz for a few years, she came back in 2009 as a judge on the Israeli version of Pop Idol. She released a new single in April 2013.

2000 – 2009

2003 – Sertab Erener (Turkey)

It was third time lucky for Sertab Erener, who had previously tried out twice to represent her country in 1989 and 1990. Everyway That I Can was Turkey’s first entry sung entirely in English and gave the nation its first victory after 25 attempts.

The song topped the charts in Turkey, Greece and Sweden as well as charting in nearly 10 other European countries.

Sertab Erener was already one of Turkey’s most successful female singers before the contest and had released five albums.

She has since released another five records in both Turkish and English.

2006 – Lordi (Finland)

Finland finally won the Eurovision Song Contest thanks to monster act Lordi. Hard Rock, Hallelujah stormed to the top with a huge 292 points – the highest score ever at the time – and won by almost a 30 point margin.

Led by Tomi Putaansuu (otherwise known as Mr. Lordi) and inspired by the rock group Kiss, the group never take off their masks and costumes.

Eurovision helped boost their success and their song charted over most of Western Europe, while their album charted over in the USA and Japan too.

They tour extensively and have performed at numerous festivals, including on the main stage at Ozzfest in 2007.

They released their seventh studio album, To Beast or Not To Beast, in March.

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