#IRELAND: It was 40 years ago today…
As we know, Ireland leads the table of most wins with seven. It also has the unique distinction of one performer winning twice. Forty years ago today, that unique performer won for the first time with the song What’s another year.
It is, of course, Johnny Logan, and this win came in the Netherlands. Coincidentally, Ireland’s previous, and first win also happened in the Netherlands. With next year’s contest likely to come from that country could history repeat itself again?
But back to 1980. A field of 19 countries turned up at the Congresgebouw in The Hague for the 25th Contest. Morocco made their début, Turkey returned, and Israel sat the year out. Israel had won in 1979, but after hosting it the IBA was a little strapped for cash, and the contest also took place on Israel’s Remembrance Day.
Johnny, born Seán Sherrard in Australia, had already won Ireland’s national final at a canter, scoring almost double the score of the song that was runner-up.
But Johnny didn’t have it all his own way in the 1980 contest. The Netherlands led the early stages of the voting. But a clutch of sets of 12 points during the middle of the voting sealed Johnny’s fate. Germany finished runners-up with the UK third. here’s Johnny’s winning performance, accompanied by Colin Tully on the saxophone and Noel Kelehan conducting the orchestra.
What’s another year was written by Shay Healy, originally for Irish singer Glen Curtin. Riverdance creator Bill Whelan later rearranged the song for Johnny’s style. This winner made Number One in seven countries (including the UK) and made the top 10 in a further five. Johnny’s status as a Eurovision legend was created, and he would further burnish his credentials seven years later in Brussels, and then again in 1992 in Malmö when he wrote the winning song for Linda Martin.
Johnny, Eurovision Ireland salutes you.
Author: John Stanton
Source: Eurovision Ireland