EUROVISION: 1956 – Lugano, Switzerland

When was the first ever Eurovision Song Contest?

The first ever Eurovision Song Contest was in 1956 and was held in Lugano, Switzerland.

The first contest was a RADIO event – isn’t that just a waste! Apparently there were only 7 countries in Europe in the 50’s as that’s how many countries entered. The full results were never published so basically there was a winner and everyone else came second…

Each country also got to sing not one but two songs. Imagine if that happened today – it would be an entire day devoted to Eurovision! Well, we can only dream about that!

Eurovision 1956 Songs

The Netherlands were the first act to perform and the lady, Jetty Paerl, sang a song about “The Birds From Holland” – to me that sounds a little bit prostitutey…

The second song from them was performed by another person altogether – seriously, I just can’t keep up with these old-fashioned rules. It was a song called “Over Forever” performed by Corry Brokken.

Switzerland not only hosted the contest but also won (I shall hold back the cynicism here) with a song performed by Lys Assia but it wasn’t their first song  “The Old Carousel” …

…but their second “Refrain” – which there is also video footage for. The contest was actually filmed as there were cameras in the studio for the benefit of the few Europeans who possessed a television. However some idiot lost all the tapes and the only surviving footage is this one where Switzerland performed their winning song again at the end of the show.

The first entry from Belgium was sung by a guy whose first name was Fud and I can’t tell you how many jokes are running through my mind at the thought of that! He did sing a nice cheery song called “The Drowned Gentlemen of the Seine” – are you having fun yet?

The second entry from Belgium was from a lady called Mony Marc. No relation to Marky Mark or the song Mony Mony by Billy Idol. She does a fab impression of a doorbell though!

Germany’s first entry from Walter Andreas Schwarz started off with him just talking. It’s actually quite scary!

The second song from Germany was from Freddy Quinn and he sounded like he was having a much better time that Walter.

The first entry from France was warbled out by a lady called Mathé Altéry and it’s just that kind of olden days singing that I hate.

The second song from France was called “He Is Here” by Dany Dauberson. That sounds sinister and I wonder who she is talking about. I reckon it’s Walter from Germany! Run, Dany, run!

Michèle Arnaud sang both songs for Luxembourg (ahhh, I miss Luxembourg) and the first one was called “Do Not Believe” – it’s quite bouncy and I’m honestly not dancing along to it as I listen to it…

Bounciness over and the second song from Luxembourg was called “The Lovers of Midnight” and was less fun!

Last up was Italy. The first song came from Franca Raimondi and was called “Open The Windows”. Open them yourself you lazy woman!

Tonina Torrielli performed the second song for Italy with “Love Me If You Want” – hmmm, I’d rather open the windows!

If that’s not enough for you and you want more – there is actually a recording of the full performance!

So, that’s it! This is where it all began – well done Switzerland, onwards and upwards!

What was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @PopAndTalk

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