It’s really not that big of a deal in America. Most groups and singers experience a bump in popularity but then disappear from the world stage after winning the Eurovision Song Contest. Throughout its history relatively few artists have gone on to become huge international stars.
One of THE most notable Eurovision winners whose career was directly launched into the spotlight following their win was ABBA, in 1974 representing Sweden with their song Waterloo. (Where does the name ABBA come from? It’s the first letters of each group member’s first name Agnetha, Benny, Björn and Anni-Frid.) The group members were also married and later divorced. They became multi-millionares and the #2 selling group of all time behind The Beatles. (In 2000 they were offered $1 BILLION dollars to reunite. They turned it down.)
The other was Céline Dion, who won the 1988 contest for Switzerland with the song, Ne Partez Pas sans Moi. Dion went on the become a superstar with the help of her late husband, René Angelil. She remains the best-selling Canadian artist and one of the best-selling artists of all time with record sales of over 200 million copies worldwide. She’s worth over $600 million.
The contest has been broadcast every year since its debut in 1956 and is one of the longest-running television programmes in the world. Switzerland won the first contest in 1956 and Ireland the highest number of wins with seven. The only person to have won more than once as performer is Ireland’s Johnny Logan, who performed What’s Another Year in 1980 and Hold Me Now in 1987.
Here are ABBA and Céline singing at Eurovision in ’74 and ’88, respectively.