54 years ago – the 1st Eurovision Song Contest

by Edward Montebello 118 views

Europe's favourite show was born 54 years ago today. It was 24th May 1956 when the first ever Eurovision Song Contest took place in Lugano and Lys Assia won it with the song Refrain. Fifty-four years passed but the contest is still alive and expanded its borders by enrolling more participating countries.

In the first edition a total number of seven countries participated i.e. Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland and The Netherlands. All countries competed with two songs and the panel of jury from each competing country had the right to vote for each song, even for their own country. Luxembourg decided to use the Swiss jury to vote on their behalf. In the end Lys Assia won with the song Refrain. The song received 102 points but the full results were not published and still unknown.

The concept of the show was brought forward by Marcel Bezençon who is considered as the father of the Eurovision Song Contest. He inherited the main idea from the popular Italian festival Sanremo which started two years before the Eurovision Song Contest went on air. One of the main rules imposed by the European Broadcasting Union was that each competing country had to hold a national final but this was dropped for future editions.

The contest expanded a lot becoming the biggest extravaganza show in the world. Rules and other notions changed or introduced but the main concept of uniting countries from diverse cultural backgrounds by music remained. This makes the Eurovision Song Contest a special annual event. Ad Multos Annos Eurovision Grand Prix!


Edward Montebello

Joined esctoday.com in 2010. He has a passion towards the Eurovision Song Contest and started following it in 1991. Since 2005 he attended the contest and reported live the events related to Europe's favourite show. He taught history and also worked as a journalist with the biggest private television and radio station in Malta. He currently works in the Communications Office at the Ministry for Family & Social Solidarity in Malta.