Best Eurovision Songs | 15 Unforgettable Winners
Since 1956, when the first edition of Eurovision Song Contest was held, until today there have been dozens of winners of the contest, with very different styles. We have selected what Trembol considers to be the 15 best Eurovision songs of all time.
Story behind the best Eurovision winning songs
1. FRANCE GALL Poupée de cire, poupée de son
France | 1965
- While still a minor, France Gall entered the Eurovision Song Contest with the song ‘Poupée de cire, poupée de son (Wax doll, sound doll)’.
- In the midst of the 60s revolution, this song was the first to win the festival having a fast rhythm.
- The song is full of double entendres and puns, as is the case with the title itself. The song is about the incongruity of young people singing about love or life’s ups and downs. Ironically Gall was 17 years old at the time.
- In a musical career with ups and downs, the artist eventually retired for various personal reasons in the late 1990s. She would pass away in 2018 due to breast cancer.
- Did you know that this song was nominated as one of the best Eurovision songs ever?
2. MASSIEL La la la
Spain | 1968
- With her printed dress, paid for by herself, and her La la la, the Spanish Massiel conquered Europe at the end of the 60’s, but… what is the story behind this success?
- Massiel won, at the age of 20, the honor of being the first Spaniard to win this famous festival, just one point ahead of her main rival and betting favorite, Britain’s Cliff Richards, who entered the contest with the iconic song ‘Congratulations‘.
- Massiel was not the first choice to go to London that year to represent Spain. The chosen one was Joan Manuel Serrat, but the artist wanted to perform his song in Catalan, something that could not be done due to the political upheaval of that time, giving the opportunity to La, La, La.
- The much-beloved song was written by Dúo Dinámico, who, years later, would sing La, la, la, in Catalan with Massiel.
- Although for Massiel the victory was supposed to be a tremendous gift, the truth is that the artist was never too happy and her career never really took off. In fact, she has sometimes said that she was not even the voice that the authors of La la la wanted, saying that they preferred another popular singer at the time called Karina.
3. ABBA Waterloo
Sweden | 1974
- Contrary to what happens with many of the artists who win the Eurovision Song Contest, for ABBA it was the leap to stardom and the beginning of their worldwide fame.
- Waterloo was the first number 1 for the Swedes, who premiered their artistic name for this contest.
- A year before, 1973, they had already tried to go to Eurovision with Ring Ring, although they did not manage to pass the selection process of their country.
- Waterloo, is a cheerful and lively song composed by Benny Andersson, Bjön Ulvaeus and Stig Anderson.
- The song was not only released in English, it has a Swedish version titled Honey, Honey. In fact, the track was going to be called ‘Honey Pie‘, before deciding on Waterloo.
- How was ABBA formed? Its members already had solo musical careers and together, under the name Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Frida. From the union of their names ABBA was born, a name they shared with a brand of canned food from their country, which they had to buy to be able to use it.
- Despite the passing of the years, Waterloo is still considered the best song in the history of Eurovision 🥇
- Undoubtedly, they were innovators. Even their outfit was something totally groundbreaking at the time.
4. BROTHERHOOD OF MAN Save your kisses for me
United Kingdom | 1976
- Save Your Kisses for Me, by the quartet Brotherhood of Man, won them Eurovision and, in the process, became known beyond the UK, breaking sales records in several countries.
- What is this song about? It initially talks about a man who hates to leave his girl alone to go to work, although, at the end, we discover that the song refers to a father absent for work who misses his three year old son.
- The song was shelved for a while, as the group underwent major membership changes. At first, it was originally composed by Lee Sheriden, but they worked on it until they turned it into a different song, which the singer didn’t like too much.
- However, his initial idea was taken into account when Tony Hiller and Martin Lee finished the demo that would go to the contest.
- Save Your Kisses for Me had the highest score, 12 points from 7 different countries, placing it 164 points ahead of France, with its Un, Deux, Trois by Catherine Ferry.
5. IZHAR COHEN Y ALPHABETA A-ba-ni-bi
Israel | 1978
- Hebrew language had its moment in Eurovision with A-ba-ni-bi, the song of the group formed by the soloist Izhar Cohen and a band called Alphabeta.
- A-ba-ni-bi talks about love 👩❤️👨 Specifically, the love that one tries to hide and that is not told to anyone.
- It was composed by Ehud Manor, one of Israel’s most famous lyricists.
- The title is a play on words. Its origin comes from the children’s language, the so-called Bet language, a rather curious secret language.
- Israel’s performance was censored in countries in the Middle East and Africa. In Jordan they went further by giving the winner to Belgium, the runner-up of the Parisian night.
- Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta were the first Israelis to win the Eurovision Song Contest, with 157 points.
6. JOHNNY LOGAN What’s another year
Ireland | 1980
- Another of my favorite songs in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest is What’s Another Year, by Seán Patrick Michael Sherrard, better known as Johny Logan.
- The Australian-born and Irish citizen has the honor of being the only person to have won the ESC three times. How is this possible?
- We all know about his victory in 1980 as a singer, but years later he would win 2 more times as composer of Hold Me Now and Why Me?.
- What’s Another Year was chosen as one of the best songs of all time in the 50th Anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest.
- It seems that Logan found it impossible to repeat the song upon winning the festival due to emotion, so he simply took the opportunity to shout out his love for his adopted country, Ireland.
- What’s Another Year also had Spanish and German versions, sung by Johny Logan himself.
- What is this song about? Well, it’s romantic to the core, telling the story of a man who waits endlessly for the girl of his dreams to fall in love with him.
7. SANDRA KIM J’Aime la vie
Belgium | 1986
- We jump to an upbeat and danceable song, very much of its time, J’Aime la Vie (I Love Life), championed by Sandra Kim.
- Performing at number 13 was not bad luck for the singer, as she came first at the festival, held in Norway.
- In fact, Sandra got points from all the countries that voted in Eurovision. The final result was 176 points that gave Belgium the first and only victory in its history.
- Although it would be impossible today, Sandra Kim performed at Eurovision when she was only 13 years old.
- In the video clip we can see Sandra enjoying small pleasures of life such as hanging out with her friends, eating ice cream or listening to music.
- Sandra has the honor of being the youngest winner of this festival, although after her success in Norway her career in music did not flourish.
8. NIAM KAVANAGH In your eyes
Ireland | 1993
- It is well known that love is the central thread of so many Eurovision songs, such as the one performed by Niam Kavanagh, ‘In your eyes‘.
- The demo of the song was performed by Idina Menzel (the performer of Let it go from Frozen). Idina suggested certain changes in the tone that made the track not suitable for any singer, but for Niam Kavanagh 😉
- In Your Eyes is about the feelings that come from finding love after being alone for a while.
- The power ballad starred in one of the most exciting votes of the contest. Although it was quite close, in the end Ireland won the most coveted microphone with 187 points. Second place went to the United Kingdom with 164 points.
- With this victory, Ireland achieved its second consecutive victory and its fifth overall win.
- Niam Kavanagh had serious difficulties to separate his name from the festival, in which he participated again in 2010 with the song It’s For You, finishing in the last positions.
9. SECRET GARDEN Nocturne
Norway | 1995
- With the violin as the protagonist, Secret Garden makes you immerse in nature. In fact, the song has only 30 seconds with vocals, the minimum required by the festival.
- It was sung by vocalist Gunnhild Tvinnereim.
- This victory is historic, being the first to win with a mainly instrumental tune. Even the staging was discreet, but musically it is fantastic.
- They won with 148 points and it was the second first place for Rolf Løvland, who had already participated in 1985 in writing another winner, La Det Swinge.
- Thanks to their first place, the duo formed by Fionnuala Sherry, violinist, and Rolf Løvland, songwriter, managed to push their first musical work, the album Songs from a Secret Garden. Since then, their success has not diminished over the years, and they have continued to create new age and folk music to great acclaim 🪕
10. DANA INTERNATIONAL Diva
Israel | 1998
- Israel won again with a controversial and wonderful song, Diva. An ode to the most powerful women in history and mythology, performed by singer Dana International.
- Sharon Cohen, which is what she is actually called, stood out for her song, but she also stood out for being the first transgender person to take the stage at the Eurovision Song Contest ✨ It was quite a revolution at the time, especially considering her country of origin.
- It was not the only time Dana participated in the contest, as in 2008 she was the author of the song sent by Israel and in 2011 she represented her country again, with the song Ding Dong.
- Diva, was Israel’s third Eurovision victory, after consecutive first places in 1978 and 1979.
- Versioned on countless occasions by great singers, such as Monica Naranjo, it had its version in Spanish, English and Hebrew.
- In spite of the moving nature of the song, neither Dana nor her backing singers had choreography, although it is worth mentioning the dress with which she repeated her performance, designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier.
11. LORDI Hard rock hallelujah
Finland | 2006
- It is not very common for Heavy Metal bands like the Finnish Lordi to go to Eurovision, but these masters of melodic rock swept Athens with a different proposal.
- Dressed as true monsters 👹, their performance had some controversy, as many people did not know whether to take it seriously or not.
- They won surpassing all expectations, setting a record with 292 points. It was also Finland’s first victory at the festival.
- It is considered the best song among all the songs submitted by the Nordic country to the festival, being number 1 in several European countries.
- The song was specially adapted for the contest, as its actual length exceeded 4 minutes, while Eurovision songs cannot exceed 3 minutes ⏱️
- Screams, pyrotechnics, characterization… It had it all! However, the band had to make a collection for the pyrotechnics, as the Finnish television did not want to increase the budget provided for the performance.
12. ALEXANDER RYBAK Fairytale
Norway | 2009
- Lordi retained the highest Eurovision score until the arrival 3 years later of Belarusian-Norwegian Alexander Rybak.
- Alexander scored no less than 387 points with Fairytale, conquering Moscow stage with his cheerful and romantic pop music, violin and fairytale scenery.
- The lyrics of the song were composed entirely by Rybak himself, who chose English, the universal language of the festival.
- The young man was inspired by his girlfriend at the time, Ingrid Berg Mehus, another classical music lover.
- Rybak loves Disney movies, so we are not surprised by the name and theme of his song.
- He liked the experience so much that he returned with his violin in 2018 with the track That’s How You Write A Song, placing 15th.
13. LOREEN Euphoria
Sweden | 2012
- If there is one song that Eurofans don’t forget, it is Euphoria by Loreen (full story at the link).
- Is it for you the best Eurovision song?
- Loreen won in Azerbaijan, with a brilliant performance and mesmerizing moves coming very close to beating Rybak’s points record, but she came up short at 372 points to Alexander’s 387.
- Euphoria was co-written and produced by Peter Boström, who also participated in the production of Stay, the song presented by Norway that same year and which curiously came last in the contest.
14. MANS ZELMERLÖW Heroes
Sweden | 2015
- Like so many other Eurovision artists, Heroes singer was an old acquaintance in Sweden, but not in the rest of Europe.
- In his country, he rose to fame in 2005 after his participation in a talent contest, where he came fifth.
- 10 years later it was his moment at Eurovision and he did not miss it. With an innovative proposal where animation was an essential part of her staging, as Måns even interacted with it, he blew the audience away.
- He scored 365 points, the third best score in the history of the festival, only behind Rybak and Loreen. For Sweden, it was also their sixth victory.
- Heroes is a song with electronic touches that caught the audience’s attention because of its lyrics. Composed in English, it talks about bullying 🤬, which Måns suffered during his childhood.
- The song is a dialogue between a father and a son, in which they talk about how to deal with bullying as true heroes of their time.
15. DUNCAN LAURENCE Arcade
The Netherlands | 2019
- We finish with what for Trembol are the best Eurovision songs with a ballad, Arcade, composed by Wouter Hardy, Will Knox and Duncan Laurence, who defended it with his piano on stage in Israel after 2 years of working with the song.
- Duncan Laurence’s sentimental song is about someone close to the singer. In fact, in an interview he said that he was inspired by a person who passed away when he was only 40 years old and who was like a mother to him.
- It is, in short, a life lesson, and it also refers to the feeling that Duncan Laurence had when he had to move to the big city, where loneliness is much more common.
- The game (Arcade) is used in the song as a metaphor for love, and if there is something about this feeling, it is that it is addictive 😍
- The Netherlands had not won Eurovision since 1975, so despite the tearfulness of the song, it was also a great source of joy for the inhabitants of this region.
- Don’t leave without commenting on your favorite Eurovision song…