30 April 1988. Twenty-five years ago yesterday…and an upbeat love song called Ne partez pas sans moi won the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin, Ireland. The singer was one Céline Dion.
Back then, few had heard of the young star outside France and her native Canada. But after a nail-bitingly close contest that saw Céline beat the UK’s Scott Fitzgerald by only one point, it seemed the rest of Europe was ready to sit up and listen. Two years on, her single Where does my heart beat now, had hit the number 4 spot in the US charts and more success would follow, including her first US, UK and Australian number-one single in 1993, her cover of Jennifer Rush’s ballad, The power of love.
In the years since then, Céline Dion has gone on to win 5 Grammy Awards, 12 World Music Awards, 7 American Music Awards, 7 Billboard Music Awards, 21 Juno Awards, 39 Félix Awards and is one of the best-selling female recording artists of all time, with more than 200 million album sales under her belt.
But for a long time, it seemed that winning the Eurovision Song Contest was one achievement Céline Dion was not so proud of. For many years, she refused to talk about her participation in the contest, seeming to want to distance herself from it. Her 2001 autobiography, My story, my dream, made only slight reference to the contest, referring to it only as the night she got together with her manager and now-husband, René Angélil.
Finally, in 2007, Céline Dion, spoke publicly about winning the Eurovision Song Contest. In front of an audience that included 1970 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Dana, and 1998 host, Ulrika Johnson, Céline recorded An audience with Céline Dion for UK television channel, ITV. During the performance, she said –
First of all they came to me and asked me to represent a country that’s not even mine. ‘Would you represent us at the Eurovision Song Contest? No pressure!’ I was very young but the song was amazing. I didn’t look at it that I was representing everyone, just doing my best. I went and I sang my heart out the best I could and everything went so wonderfully well. I’m really grateful and it helped my career.
Twenty-five years on from her win and Céline Dion’s website states proudly: (in 1988) Celine won the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin Ireland, where she performed live before a television audience of 600 million viewers throughout Europe, the USSR, the Middle-East, Japan, and Australia.
She continues to record new material, tour the world and she’s still selling out the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, where she took up residency more than five years ago. After all her success, you might think that when she stood on the stage at RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion, Dublin, on 30 April 1988 and sang, Vous, qui cherchez l’étoile, vous, qui vivez un rêve…she might have been singing about herself.
Céline in 1988 –