All 69 Eurovision song contest winners – ranked!

From Abba to Céline Dion, chicken noises to lyrics about magical shoes, we rate and slate every winning entry from 1956 onwards

69. The Herrey’s – Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley (Sweden, 1984)

With respect to the Herrey’s – three clean-cut brothers and one rogue apostrophe – Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley sounds like the result of an experiment to deliberately synthesise an abysmal Eurovision entry. Antiseptic sound, meaningless title, mind-boggling lyrics – some frightful old balls about magical golden shoes – and a chorus that brings about a complete collapse of the will to live.

68. The Olsen Brothers – Fly on the Wings of Love (Denmark, 2000)

The perennially demoralising sound of synthesised panpipes kicks off one of the most nondescript Eurovision winners of all: an amiable but entirely unmemorable acoustic guitar-fuelled pop-rock jog. Still, it was prescient in so far as it was an early adopter of slathering vocals in Auto-Tune, long before it became pop’s most ubiquitous gimmick.

67. Duncan Laurence – Arcade (Netherlands, 2019)

The kind of Eurovision winner that makes you wonder aloud what the other entries were like if something this boring came out on top. There is nothing wrong with Arcade as such, in that it is not an actively terrible song, but nor is there anything to distinguish it from umpteen other boilerplate weepy piano ballads.

66. Netta – Toy (Israel, 2018)

Perhaps it is kindest to say that there were evidently plenty of people who found Netta’s performance of the staccato Toy, replete with onomatopoeic vocalising, chicken noises, flapping arms and much self-consciously wacky gurning to camera, endearing rather than wildly infuriating and leave it at that.

65. Milk and Honey – Hallelujah (Israel, 1979)

A song so weedy that a light breeze would knock it flat, sung by an ineffably annoying cabaret turn in sequinned braces. Obviously, no one was expecting Eurovision to come up with a winner that reflected 1979’s cutting-edge pop – Gary Numan, the Specials etc – but there are limits.

64. Tanel Padar, Dave Benton and 2XL – Everybody (Estonia, 2001)

Middling disco-house, like a less impactful version of Phats and Small’s Turn Around, with a cheesy chorus and a lot of irksome vocal ad-libbing. It was hhistoric in some ways – Dave Benton was the first black performer to win Eurovision and it was the first entry from a former Soviet country to win – but not, alas, musically.

63. Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan – Rock ’n’ Roll Kids (Ireland, 1994)

The old Father Ted joke about Ireland deliberately entering a terrible song in Eurovision because it couldn’t afford to host the contest the following year had its basis in a persistent rumour about Rock ’n’ Roll Kids. It is startlingly pallid, although be thankful for small mercies: it originally had seven verses.

62. Izhar Cohen and the Alphabeta – A-Ba-Ni-Bi (Israel, 1978)

By now, Eurovision’s Abba tendency was beginning to look a bit clapped-out: witness the Alphabeta – three boys and three girls – and the cantering but club-footed cod-disco of A-Ba-Ni-Bi, its chorus catchy only because you are clobbered over the head with it about 7,000 times.

61. Nicole – A Little Peace (Germany, 1982)

Perhaps there was a reactionary backlash against early 80s pop’s synthesisers and makeup, similar to that which put Engelbert Humperdinck at No 1 at psychedelia’s height: how else to explain the UK popularity of Nicole’s winsome Ein bißchen Frieden (A Little Peace), which is essentially I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing without the tune?

60. Corry Brokken – Net Als Toen (Netherlands, 1957)

Corry Brokken’s Eurovision career was nothing if not extreme: she swept the board in 1957, then came last, with seulement un point, the following year. Net Als Toen’s music sounds more romantic than its lyrics, about a failing marriage: the wife complains her husband is fat, bald and tired; he wonders if she’s still alive. Nice, vaguely Stéphane Grappelli-ish violin solo, though.

59. Riva – Rock Me (Yugoslavia, 1989)

One hesitates to rubbish a country’s first Eurovision winner, but, alas, the tinny synth-bedecked Rock Me sounds like the theme music from a low-budget late 80s daytime chatshow. Wikipedia claims its victory led to “international awareness of Yugoslav and Croatian rock”, which possibly amounts to gilding the lily.

58. Lulu – Boom Bang-a-Bang (UK, 1969)

No less than four countries had to share the prize in 1969. Boom Bang-a-Bang, selected by the British public in a vote that relegated a song by the then-unknown Elton John and Bernie Taupin to last place, apparently much to the duo’s relief, sounded, in John’s subsequent estimation, “like something pissed Germans would slap their knees to in a Bavarian beer hall”. He had a point.

57. Bobbysocks! – Let It Swing (Norway, 1985)

There is a distinct hint of Waterloo – still! Eleven years later! – about the galloping intro and sax-laden sound of Let It Swing, while the English lyrics offer the thought-provoking opening line “Look at me, I’m climbing up a ladder”. Formerly members of Norway’s 1979 Eurovision entrants, the glamorously-named Chips.

56. Jacqueline Boyer - Tom Pillibi (France, 1960)

An early sign that Eurovision was as much about performance as song, Tom Pillibi, with a smug titular character who sounds like a distant relation of the guy who thought the song was about him in You’re So Vain, is ingratiatingly perky, but Jacqueline Boyer properly sold it onstage, injecting a surprising amount of flirtatious energy.

55. Vicky Leandros – Après Toi (Luxembourg, 1972)

Vicky Leandros couldn’t have looked more Greek if she had come onstage with a bouzouki, then started smashing plates and shouting “opa!”, but her homeland didn’t, at this stage, participate in Eurovision, so she wound up representing Luxembourg with the (very) faintly country-inflected Après Toi: bog-standard early-70s Eurovision balladry, but subsequently a UK hit.

54. Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes (Sweden, 2015)

Your enjoyment of Heroes may depend on your feelings about David Guetta’s brand of pop house, which it resembles very closely, specifically recalling his 2014 single Lovers on the Sun, with perhaps a soupçon of Avicii’s Wake Me Up thrown into the mix. Not bad, but surplus to requirements.

53. Brotherhood of Man – Save Your Kisses For Me (UK, 1976)

Brotherhood of Man seldom bothered to hide their debt to Abba – listen to their 1977 hit Angelo next to Fernando – but, even at their naffest, one suspects Björn and Benny would have balked at the cutesiness of Save Your Kisses For Me, with its accompanying dance routine and it’s-actually-about-a-toddler concluding twist.

52. André Claveau – Dors, Mon Amour (France, 1958)

By 1958, the tumult of rock’n’roll was raging throughout Europe, not that you would have noticed inside Hilversum’s Avro Studio, where André Claveau, a singer already in his late 40s, was taking on all-comers with the lullaby-like Dors, Mon Amour.

51. Carola - Fångad av en Stormvind (Sweden, 1991)

If you are after evidence of Eurovision’s tendency to lag behind the times, consider Fångad av en Stormvind, which has something of the Pointer Sisters’ 80s single I’m So Excited about its perky clipped rhythm and blaring synths and won nine years after I’m So Excited was recorded.

50. Udo Jürgens – Merci, Cherie (Austria, 1966)

A huge star in Germany, Udo Jürgens became famous by eschewing the country’s main easy-listening trend of oompah-infused schlager in favour of a more emotive, chanson-influenced style. Merci, Cherie is a good example of what he did, complete with an impressive vocal suggestive of moistening eyes and trembling lips.

49. Gigliola Cinquetti – No Ho L’età (Italy, 1964)

After the jazz-influenced excitement of the previous year’s winner, Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann’s Dansevise, this goes back to the traditional early Eurovision territory of ballads: No Ho L’età is a superior example, replete with high-drama dynamic shifts and orchestration, as well as a weird, reverb-heavy, rather Joe Meek-esque effect on the rhythm track.

48. Teddy Scholten – Een Beetje (Netherlands, 1959)

The favourites in 1959 were Britain’s Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson, who looked as if they were on their way to a golf club dinner dance, with Sing Little Birdie, but they were pipped by Een Beetje: similarly upbeat, and thus quite raffish by previous Eurovision standards, but crucially, and unlike Sing Little Birdie, not supernaturally annoying.

47. Lenny Kuhr – De Troubadour (Netherlands, 1969)

This the year Eurovision went nuts: it was controversially held in Spain, then a fascist dictatorship; Salvador Dalí designed the publicity material; four songs tied for first place, and folk music, not a genre that the contest traditionally favours, made a rare mark with one of them, the gently fingerpicked acoustic guitar of De Troubadour.

46. Marie N – I Wanna (Latvia, 2002)

Disco-house that turns Latin American when it hits the chorus, like a cut and shunt of Spiller’s Groovejet and Ricky Martin’s She Bangs. Perhaps presentation was all here: the performance featured a besuited Marie N performing a same-sex tango with a female dancer, before whipping off her suit to reveal a minidress.

45. Secret Garden – Nocturne (Norway, 1995)

Nocturne’s victory heralded the arrival of the WTF? Eurovision winner: the handiwork of new age duo Secret Garden, who specialised in floaty background music instrumentals with a Celtic tinge, it is a floaty background music instrumental with a few lines of cod-operatic vocals thrown in so that it adhered to Eurovision rules.

44. Toto Cutugno – Insieme: 1992 (Italy, 1990)

Ah, the timeless guaranteed pop hit formula that is a power ballad about European political integration. A vote winner three years before the EU was established, it starts atmospheric, builds to a suitably rousing climax and, according to online sources, was produced by someone who went under the startling pseudonym of Number Two.

43. Sandie Shaw – Puppet on a String (UK, 1967)

Decried by Sandie Shaw herself as “sexist drivel” with a “cuckoo clock tune”, Puppet on a String was nevertheless huge: it was, at the time, the biggest-selling single ever by a British female artist, which perhaps says a lot about 1967’s reactionary thirst for gran-friendly pop in the face of psychedelia’s alienating weirdness.

42. Linda Martin – Why Me? (Ireland, 1992)

Another power ballad, the songwriting handiwork of two-time Eurovision winner Johnny Logan, which kicked off the era of Ireland dominating the competition. If nothing else, it was a victory for persistence on the part of Linda Martin, who entered the Eurovision contest a staggering nine times.

41. Frida Boccara – Un Jour, Un Enfant (France, 1969)

This year’s four joint winners offered a range of music – schlager from Britain, folk from the Netherlands, easy-listening pop from Spain – but Un Jour, Un Enfant proved Eurovision’s appetite for a Francophone ballad was as strong as in the late 50s: the orchestra surges and crashes, Frida Boccara’s vocal is the dictionary definition of giving 110%.

40. Dima Bilan – Believe (Russia, 2008)

This exposes the gulf in attitudes to Eurovision : the year Britain sent a runner-up from The X Factor, Russia’s entry was produced by visionary R&B auteur Timbaland and written by the co-author of Nelly Furtado’s Maneater. The big ballad Believe certainly isn’t on the list of Timbaland’s greatest productions, but still.

39. Salomé – Vivo Cantando (Spain, 1969)

Without wishing to sound unpatriotic, among the tied winners of Eurovision 1969, this, rather than the UK’s Boom-Bang-a-Bang, is the pick. Admittedly, the bar isn’t set terribly high, but Vivo Cantando’s false ballad opening, rattling congas and cries of “hey!” at least generate a mild excitement lacking in Lulu’s dispiriting oompah frenzy.

38. Lena – Satellite (Germany, 2010)

Another contemporary pop trend gets Eurovisionised, in this case, the post-Amy Winehouse/Lily Allen wave of non-specifically “retro” pop. Satellite’s most obvious comparison might be Eliza Doolittle’s Pack Up; there is the suspicion that Lena’s deeply weird accent might be an attempt at mimicking the estuary English of Kate Nash that has gone wildly off piste.

37. Charlotte Nilsson – Take Me To Your Heaven (Sweden, 1999)

The point at which Eurovision began eating itself: Take Me to Your Heaven is a campy, blatant homage to Abba, complete with Waterloo-esque intro and sax, Dancing Queen piano and Agnetha and Anni Frid-style harmonies. It is nowhere close to the songwriting standards Abba set, but Steps could have had a hit with it.

36. Alexander Rybak – Fairytale (Norway, 2009)

The highest-scoring winner ever at the time, and bafflingly popular in the UK – it reached the Top 10, a rare feat for a latterday Eurovision winner – Fairytale offers up a blend of folky violin, a thumping bass drum that weirdly presaged the sound of Mumford & Sons and gently oompah-infused Euro dance.

35. Séverine – Un Banc, Un Arbre, Une Rue (Monaco, 1971)

A rare pre-Abba Eurovision winner that feels connected to contemporary pop trends: triumphant melody soaring over a moderately funky beat, it sounds not unlike the British bubblegum pop, by White Plains or (the original) Brotherhood of Man, that flooded the charts between the waning of the 60s and the rise of glam.

34. Johnny Logan – Hold Me Now (Ireland, 1987)

Logan’s second win, once more touting romantic misery in ballad form – for reasons that aren’t entirely clear, it’s their last night together and he is angling for a tearful farewell shag – this time coupled to a mammoth sway-along lighters-aloft chorus and a distinct hint of Chris de Burgh’s Lady in Red about the sound.

33. Jean-Claude Pascal – Nous Les Amoureux (Luxembourg, 1961)

In a sign of changing times, Britain’s entry was Are You Sure? by the Allisons, who had evidently modelled themselves on the Everly Brothers. It was no match for Jean-Claude Pascal’s brooding, jazzy ballad, which was daring in another way: Pascal was gay, and Nous Les Amoureux’s lyrics obliquely referred to a homosexual relationship.

32. Eimear Quinn – The Voice (Ireland, 1996)

It is noticeably different from anything that had won Eurovision before, and you can detect the influence of Kate Bush and Enya on The Voice, which wafts pleasantly along, tapping into the Riverdance-inspired vogue for traditional Irish music by way of its penny whistle and rumbling bodhráns.

31. Dana – All Kinds of Everything (Ireland, 1970)

Great Eurovision story: Irish schoolgirl trounces Spain’s entrant, Julio Iglesias, singing ballad with wide-eyed school assembly hymn lyrics: “seagulls and aeroplanes/things of the sky”. Dana immediately fired her manager and embarked on a career that culminated in running for Irish president, suggesting she might have been steelier than she looked.

30. Marie Myriam – L’Oiseau et l’Enfant (France, 1977)

More Eurovision scandal. Britain’s entry (and favourite to win), Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran’s Rock Bottom, a topical dispatch from a UK crippled by strikes and stagflation, was not supported by the BBC, which didn’t want to pay to host the event again the following year. L’Oiseau et l’Enfant, which was less topical, although pretty enough – won instead.

29. Sandra Kim – J’aime La Vie (Belgium 1986)

Perhaps inevitably, the 80s Francophone vogue for what Serge Gainsbourg called “lolycéennes” – female pop singers in their early teens – found its way to Eurovision, although scandal ensued when it was discovered Sandra Kim was 13. The song itself is baby powder in musical form, but pretty good, as synthy Euro bubblegum goes.

28. Lys Assia – Refrain (Switzerland, 1956)

The first Eurovision winner was resolutely a product of the postwar, pre-rock’n’roll pop world: aimed at adults and devoid of modernity, it could have been made in the early 1930s. That said, it is a genuinely beautiful song with a lovely tune and sweeping orchestration and classy in a way that subsequent Eurovision winners would not always be.

27. Anne-Marie David – Tu Te Reconnaîtras (Luxembourg, 1973)

Once more, one suspects, the UK thought it had victory in the bag thanks to Cliff Richard, unconvincingly espousing hippy sentiments (“power to the bees”) five years too late on Power to All Our Friends. It was catchy, but no match for Tu Te Reconnaîtras, equal parts chanson and big Burt Bacharach-esque ballad.

26. Helena Paparizou – My Number One (Greece, 2005)

There is a sense in which My Number One, Greece’s solitary Eurovision triumph, feels remarkably like a Hellenic take on Turkey’s 2003 winner Every Way That I Can: it has a similar rhythm and dramatic strings, a belly dancing interlude replaced with a burst of choreographed sirtaki, and traditional Turkish instruments courtesy of the bouzouki and Cretan lyre.

25. Corinne Hermès – Si La Vie Est Cadeau (Luxembourg, 1983)

In which the traditional Eurovision French-language big ballad gets an 80s upgrade: the drums boom, dampened guitars chug, the sproing of the fretless bass is much in evidence and Corinne Hermès herself sported big hair and shoulder-pads you could land a helicopter on. As a rebooted example of type, it’s not bad.

24. Kalush Orchestra – Stefania (Ukraine, 2022)

British audiences seemed to take it as read that Sam Ryder’s Space Man had really won the 2022 contest and that the actual winner was the recipient of a sympathy vote following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Space Man is definitely the more memorable song, but Stefania’s combination of folk song and hip-hop is hardly a disgrace.

23. Emmelie de Forest – Only Teardrops (Denmark, 2013)

Another winner so melodically tight that it sounds as if it was written by precisely the kind of blue-chip songwriters who churn out bulletproof hits for major artists, with only the unfortunate preponderance of a penny whistle – which a blue-chip songwriter would have struck out as too naff – to mark it out as Eurovision fodder.

22. Massiel – La, La, La (Spain, 1968)

Who could resist the jaunty charms of Britain’s 1968 entry, Cliff Richard’s Congratulations? Clearly someone could: one point clinched it for Massiel. Setting a precedent for British sore loserdom in Eurovision, Congratulations’ co-writer, Bill Martin, immediately decried La, La, La as “rubbish”; in fact, it is a classy example of mid-tempo late-60s easy listening.

21. Céline Dion – Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi (Switzerland, 1988)

A Eurovision winner of two halves: Céline Dion’s performance has the showstopping quality that would subsequently make her an international megastar and the song is melodically strong, but there is something a bit naff about the production’s preponderance of Syndrums – already an anachronism by 1988 – and the shift in tempo at the chorus.

20. Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up (UK, 1981)

Despite their cruise-ship image, Bucks Fizz ultimately released better singles: the jittery My Camera Never Lies is genuinely worthy of reappraisal. But, even divorced from its celebrated dance routine, Making Your Mind Up – an update of the vaguely rock’n’roll influenced style of Racey – has a certain puppy-dog energy.

19. Marija Šerifović – Molitva (Serbia, 2007)

Marija Šerifović was Eurovision’s answer to the kind of rock star who goes on about authenticity: “I like to hear music, not watch it,” she proclaimed, eschewing visual gimmicks in favour of a dressed-down performance. Molitva was a very strong ballad: had the lyrics been in English, it might even have been a hit in the UK.

18. Måneskin - Zitti e Buoni (Italy, 2021)

If no one could have predicted that Måneskin would spin out a career from Eurovision that is still filling stadiums two years on, you can see why Zitti e Buoni stood out: tight, Red Hot Chili Peppers-influenced hard rock that doesn’t sound like a novelty or a rock band dumbing down for the contest.

17. Johnny Logan – What’s Another Year? (Ireland, 1980)

Time has been surprisingly kind to a ballad that seemed unbearably drippy when it replaced Geno by Dexys Midnight Runners as UK No 1, in a chart otherwise dominated by the thrilling sound of two-tone. Forty years on, it sounds oddly charming, in a glossy, big sax solo, 3am-on-Mellow Magic way.

16. Salvador Sobral – Amar Pelos Dois (Portugal, 2017)

Perhaps the success of La La Land and its soundtrack paved the way for 2017’s unexpected Eurovision winner, an impressively sophisticated jazz piano ballad, the vocal influenced by Chet Baker, that could have pre-dated the Eurovision contest itself. Perhaps it simply stood out, a moment of calm amid the glittery mayhem.

15. Dana International – Diva (Israel, 1998)

In one sense at least, the contest proved wildly ahead of the curve: 24 years before Kim Petras became the first trans woman to top the US chart, a trans woman won Eurovision. The song itself is standard-issue gay club Euro-house banger, of a piece with the hi-NRG remixes and covers churned out by Almighty Records.

14. Ell & Nikki – Running Scared (Azerbaijan, 2011)

It is hard not feel that the taint of Eurovision might have scuppered Running Scared’s chances as a hit single in the UK: certainly, its lovely melody and sound – thick layers of synth, with a Coldplay-ish stadium ballad at its centre – are entirely up to British chart standards. Instead, it struggled to No 61.

13. Ruslana – Wild Dances (Ukraine, 2004)

Wild Dances opens with the trembita, a Ukranian alpine horn that sounds like the noise an elephant would make before trampling you to death, but the rest isn’t as subtly understated: booming drums, rock guitar, ululating vocals, acid house synth, glammy shouts of “hey!” It’s also packed with melodic hooks: daft, but weirdly irresistible.

12. Katrina and the Waves – Love Shine a Light (UK, 1997)

After pausing to consider the unlikely career of songwriter Kimberley Rew, who went from punky psychedelicists the Soft Boys – authors of (I Want to Be An) Anglepoise Lamp and Sandra’s Having Her Brain Out – to penning a Eurovision winner, let us note that Love Shine a Light is pretty good: subtly anthemic, bolstered by a warm Hammond organ.

11. Isabelle Aubret – Un Premier Amour (France, 1962)

Another early Eurovision triumph for a ballad, but it is made of noticeably richer stuff than previous winners: darker, more atmospheric, its mood haunted rather than nostalgic. Listeners of a certain age may be unable to hear its opening notes without assuming they are listening to the old Thames TV ident.

10. Niamh Kavanagh – In Your Eyes (Ireland, 1993)

Good pub quiz fact: the key change during In Your Eyes was suggested by Idina Menzel, now best known as the voice of Elsa in Frozen and the singer of the inescapable Let It Go. In Your Eyes is definitely a cut above your average Eurovision ballad, aided by Kavanagh’s impressively gutsy voice.

9. Conchita Wurst – Rise Like a Phoenix (Austria, 2014)

It is tempting to suggest that Rise Like a Phoenix’s writer had been paying close attention to Adele’s Skyfall before penning their own cinematic ballad, but Conchita Wurst’s performance, which was simultaneously heartfelt and OTT, sold it. Russian homophobes were so upset by the whole business, they demanded Eurasian countries break away and start their own contest.

8. Lordi – Hard Rock Hallelujah (Finland, 2006)

Clearly novelty value had a role in the Eurovision victory of Finland’s answer to Kiss. But Lordi were already platinum-sellers at home when they won the 2006 competition, and Hard Rock Hallelujah is both appealingly ridiculous and in on the gag, skilfully blending a glam metal melody with Dio-like wails and a succession of daft puns.

7. Teach-In – Ding-a-Dong (Netherlands, 1975)

Evidence of Abba’s immediate impact on Eurovision: with its You Keep Me Hanging On-ish guitar hook, Ding-a-Dong is relatively hip and vibrant-sounding. Its alarming English lyrics notwithstanding (“everything is funny when you walk along with your ding-dang-dong”), it is also incredibly charming, and Edwyn Collins’ 1998 cover is fantastic.

6. Sertab Erener – Every Way That I Can (Turkey, 2003)

From the early 00s, you can hear contemporary pop trends being Eurovisionised: Every Way That I Can sounds like Holly Valance’s 2002 hit Kiss Kiss, although belly-dancing vocalist Sertab Erener would doubtless argue the melody has roots in traditional Turkish music. The rhythm meanwhile mimics the jittery R&B of Destiny’s Child’s Jumpin’ Jumpin’.

5. Grethe and Jørgen Ingmann – Dansevise (Denmark, 1963)

The first victim of an alleged bloc-voting scandal – did Norway alter their vote so Switzerland would lose? – but Dansevise deserves to be remembered for more than that. Sophisticated, jazz-inspired – you can hear the influence of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s Take Five on its melody – and big on twangy guitar, it’s genuinely great.

4. Loreen – Euphoria (Sweden, 2012)

Perversely, when Eurovision entries started becoming as good as the pop singles that get in the charts, the competition lost some of its appeal: part of the attraction was waiting to see something wrong-footed or weird. But you can’t argue with the glistening EDM pop of Euphoria, complete with killer earworm chorus.

3. Jamala – 1944 (Ukraine, 2016)

The lyrics of 1944, about the ethnic cleansing of Crimean Tartars by Stalin, caused controversy: Russian politicians complained that it was linked to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. But it would be an authentically fantastic track whatever it was about: understated and moodily atmospheric, a rhythm influenced by two-step garage, great chorus.

2. France Gall – Poupée de Cire, Poupée de Son (Luxembourg, 1965)

Serge Gainsbourg had a weird relationship with 60s pop: here, France Gall appears to be singing about being a brainless puppet, her fans hoodwinked idiots. Meta critique of the music industry, or just nasty sarcasm? Either way, the melody is amazing, its urgent rhythm and Gall’s raw vocal thrilling.

1. Abba – Waterloo (Sweden, 1974)

A few years ago, the entire 1974 Eurovision Song Contest was posted on BBC iPlayer. It was almost worth watching, partly because of the performance of favourites, Dutch duo Mouth and MacNeal – Mouth in particular exudes the spectacularly irritating smugness of a man who thinks voting is merely a formality – but mostly to see Waterloo in context. Hopelessly overfamiliar it may be today but, amid the other entries, it feels like a bomb going off. Eurovision had tended to lag desperately behind trends in pop, but Waterloo felt current, audibly influenced by glam, specifically the sound of Roy Wood’s Wizzard: pop history was made.


Alexis Petridis

The GuardianTramp

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