Today exactly 50 years ago, the very first Eurovision Song Contest was held in Lugano. The first edition in 1956 was won by Swiss singer Lys Assia with the song Refrain.
Inspired by the popular Italian San Remo Festival, the idea for the Eurovision Song Contest was born during a meeting in Monaco in 1955 and adopted in Rome shortly after. The event was to be held for the first time the following year in Lugano, Switzerland. It was entitled 'The Eurovision Grand Prix', a name thought up by a British journalist.
Seven countries entered the contest: the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Italy. Each country was allowed to submit two songs in the language they wanted. The only restriction: the performance was limited to three and a half minutes.
The winner was chosen by a jury consisting of two delegates from each country who could award between 1 and 10 points. The first winner was Lys Assia, who represented the host country Switzerland with the song Refrain. Afterwards, the result didn't suprise many; because Luxembourg could not send two jury members, two Swiss jury members gave the points on behalf of the Luxembourg jury.
At the end, only the winner was announced. According to rumours, Germany came second.