The Eurovision Song Contest 1974 was the 19th edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest.
It was held in the seaside resort of Brighton on the south coast of the United Kingdom. The BBC agreed to stage the event after Luxembourg, having won in both 1972 and 1973, declined on the grounds of expense to host the contest for a second consecutive year.
The winner of the Contest was Sweden with the song "Waterloo" which was performed by ABBA, who went on to become one of the most popular recording acts of all time. Sweden's win was their first. Katie Boyle returned to host her fourth Eurovision Song Contest (after hosting the 1960, 1963 and 1968 contests).
The venue which hosted the 1974 Contest was the Brighton Dome, an arts venue that contains the Concert Hall, the Corn Exchange and the Pavilion Theatre. All three venues are linked to the rest of the Royal Pavilion Estate by an underground tunnel to the Royal Pavilion in Pavilion Gardens and through shared corridors to Brighton Museum, as the entire complex was built for the Prince Regent (later George IV) and completed in 1805.
A two-night preview programme, Auftakt für Brighton (Prelude for Brighton), was coordinated by the German national broadcaster ARD broadcast at the end of March and was hosted by the journalist Karin Tietze-Ludwig. It was the first "preview"-type programme to be broadcast in many European countries simultaneously (traditionally each national broadcaster puts together their own preview programme). The programme was also notable in being the European television debut for the winners, ABBA, who were peculiarly credited in previews as "The Abba".
The United Kingdom was represented in the contest by the (British-born) Australian pop singer Olivia Newton-John, who finished in fourth place with the song "Long Live Love". As noted by author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor in his book The Eurovision Song Contest – The Official History, Olivia disliked this song and preferred others from the UK heat, but "Long Live Love" was chosen as the UK's entry by a public postal vote.
France had been drawn to sing at No. 14 (after Ireland and before Germany) with the song "La vie à vingt-cinq ans" ("Life At 25") by Dani, but as a mark of respect following the death of the French President, Georges Pompidou, during Eurovision week, French broadcaster ORTF made the decision to withdraw the entry. Since President Pompidou's funeral was held the day of the contest, it was deemed inappropriate for the French to take part. Dani was seen by viewers in the audience at the point the French song should have been performed. For the same reason, the French singer Anne-Marie David, who had won the first place for Luxembourg in 1973, could not come to Brighton to hand the prize to the 1974 winner. In her absence, the Director General of the BBC and President of the EBU, Sir Charles Curran, presented the Grand Prix.
Malta had selected Enzo Guzman with the song "Paċi Fid Dinja" (Peace in the World) to represent them, but withdrew from the contest for unknown reasons. Malta would return to the competition in 1975.
Italy refused to broadcast the televised contest on the state television channel RAI because the contest coincided with the intense political campaigning for the 1974 Italian referendum on divorce, which was held a month later in May. RAI felt that Gigliola Cinquetti's song, which was entitled "Sì", and repeatedly featured the word "si" (yes), could be accused of being a subliminal message and a form of propaganda to influence the Italian voting public to vote "yes" in the referendum. The song was not played on most Italian state TV and radio stations for over a month.
Portugal's entry "E depois do adeus" was used as the first of the two signals to launch the Carnation Revolution against the Estado Novo regime. Played on a Portuguese radio station late in the evening of 24 April 1974, the broadcasting of the song alerted the rebel, largely left-wing captains and soldiers to prepare to begin the successful military coup. The second song to be broadcast, marking the actual start of military operations of the coup, was Grândola, Vila Morena by Zeca Afonso (but with no Eurovision Song Contest connection). John Kennedy O'Connor described "E depois do adeus" as "the only Eurovision entry to have actually started a revolution" (which is quite ironic as the song came in last), while Des Mangan suggests that other Portuguese entries (he mentions "Se Eu Te Pudesse Abraçar" (1998)) would not be likely to inspire coups.
Three artists returned to the contest this year. Gigliola Cinquetti winner of the 1964 Contest participated again for Italy. Romuald Figuier who also participated in the 1964 Contest for Monaco, as well as in 1969 Contest for Luxembourg. Norway's Bendik Singers also returned after last participating in Eurovision Song Contest 1973.
|01||Finland||Carita||"Keep Me Warm"||English||13||4|
|02||United Kingdom||Olivia Newton-John||"Long Live Love"||English||4||14|
|03||Spain||Peret||"Canta y sé feliz"||Spanish||9||10|
|04||Norway||Anne-Karine Strøm feat. Bendik Singers||"The First Day of Love"||English||14||3|
|05||Greece||Marinella||"Krasi, thalassa ke t' agori mou"
(Κρασί, θάλασσα και τ' αγόρι μου)
|06||Israel||Kaveret||"Natati La Khayay" (נתתי לה חיי)||Hebrew||7||11|
|07||Yugoslavia||Korni Grupa||"Generacija '42" (Генерација '42)||Serbian||12||6|
|09||Luxembourg||Ireen Sheer||"Bye Bye I Love You"||Frencha||4||14|
|10||Monaco||Romuald||"Celui qui reste et celui qui s'en va"||French||4||14|
|11||Belgium||Jacques Hustin||"Fleur de liberté"||French||9||10|
|12||Netherlands||Mouth & MacNeal||"I See a Star"||English||3||15|
|13||Ireland||Tina Reynolds||"Cross Your Heart"||English||7||11|
|14||Germany||Cindy & Bert||"Die Sommermelodie"||German||14||3|
|15||Switzerland||Piera Martell||"Mein Ruf nach dir"||German||14||3|
|16||Portugal||Paulo de Carvalho||"E depois do adeus"||Portuguese||14||3|
The two-person jury system used for the previous three contests was abandoned, with a resurrection of the 10-person jury system with one vote per juror, last used in 1970, returning. This was the final time it was used. Unusually, a separate draw was made for the order in which the participating countries would vote. In all previous contests either nations had voted in the same running order as the song presentation or in the reverse of that order. It wouldn't be until 2006 that the voting sequence was decided by draw again. Finland, Norway, Switzerland and Italy drew the same position in both draws. Countries revealed their votes in the following order:
The table below shows the order in which votes were cast during the 1974 contest along with the spokesperson who was responsible for announcing the votes for their respective country. Each national broadcaster [with the exception of Israel] also sent a commentator to the contest, in order to provide coverage of the contest in their own native language. Details of the commentators and the broadcasting station for which they represented are also included in the table below.
|01||Finland||Aarre Elo||Matti Paalosmaa||YLE TV1 and
|02||Luxembourg||TBC||Jacques Navadic||RTL Télé Luxembourg|
|03||Israel||Yitzhak Shim'oni||No commentator||Iba|
|04||Norway||Sverre Christophersen||John Andreassen||NRK|
|Erik Heyerdahl||NRK P1|
|05||United Kingdom||Colin-Ward Lewis||David Vine||BBC1|
|Terry Wogan||BBC Radio 2|
|Richard Astbury||(British Forces Radio)|
|06||Yugoslavia||Helga Vlahović||Milovan Ilić||TVB1|
|Oliver Mlakar||TVZ 1|
|07||Greece||Irini Gavala||Mako Georgiadou||EIRT|
|08||Ireland||Brendan Balfe||Mike Murphy||RTÉ Television|
|Liam Devally||Radio Éireann|
|09||Germany||Hanns Joachim Friedrichs||Werner Veigel||ARD Deutsches Fernsehen|
|10||Portugal||Henrique Mendes||Artur Agostinho||RTP1|
|11||Netherlands||Dick van Bommel||Willem Duys||Nederland 2|
|12||Sweden||Sven Lindahl||sv: Johan Sandström||SR TV1|
|sv: Ursula Richter||SR P3|
|13||Spain||Antolín García||José Luis Uribarri||TVE1|
|14||Monaco||Sophie Hecquet||Pierre Tchernia||Télé Monte Carlo|
|15||Switzerland||Michel Stocker||Theodor Haller||TV DRS|
|16||Belgium||André Hagon||Georges Désir||RTB|
|17||Italy||Anna Maria Gambineri||Rosanna Vaudetti||Secondo Programma|