Takeover Throwback: Eurovision 1989

A small glance over the 34th annual Eurovision Song Contest, held on 6 May 1989 in Laussane. Winner, voting incidents, returning artists and much more through our point of view.

The Official Results / Scoreboard

The Winner

With 137 points and 4 sets of 12 points, the winner of 1989 was Yugoslavia, represented by Riva with the song “Rock Me”. This was the only victory for Yugoslavia as a unified state. Furthermore, this was the first victory for one of the Balkan countries and this was the first winning song to be performed in one of the Slavic languages.

The Last Place

With 0 points, the last place belongs to Iceland. The nordic country was represented by Daníel Ágúst Haraldsson with the song “Það sem enginn sér” (“What No One Sees”). This was the first and only time Iceland got nul points in the contest’s history.

The Returning Artists

Only one artist returned this year to represent their country for a second time. Marianna Efstratiou from Greece was a backing vocalist of the Greek band “Bang” in 1987, which finished 10th. Marianna and her “To Diko Sou Asteri” (“Your Own Star”) scored 56 points and shared the 9th place with Italy. She also took part in 1994 with “Emeis Forame Ton Himona Anixiatika” (“We Wear Sping Clothes During Winter”), finishing 14th.

Voting Structure / New Voting Rule

Each country had a jury who awarded 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 point(s) for their top ten songs. There was also a change of rule in case of a tie; prior to 1989, both countries would perform their songs again until a final decision was made. However from 1989 onwards, if there was a tie at the end of the voting, the country that scored the most twelves would be declared the winner. If there was still a tie, the winner was the country that scored the most tens. And if there still was a tie after that, both countries would be declared joint winners.


Israeli / French Participants

Israel decided to be represented by Gili Netanel & Galit Burg-Michael with the song “Derech Ha-Melech” (“The King’s Road”). Gili in 1989 was only 12 years old and that sparked controversy between contestants and organizers. However, Gili was allowed to participate and, despite being a fan favourite, finished 12th with 50 points.

France’s choice of a participant also caused heated controversy. Their representant was Nathalie Pâque with the song “J’ai volé la vie” (“I Stole The Life”) who had the same age as Gali from Israel. The 12-year-old girl finished 8th with 60 points.

Riva After Eurovision

Despite Riva’s success during Eurovision, where they got points from all countries but three (Italy, Spain and Greece), their post-Eurovision journey wasn’t as successful. The winning song “Rock Me” failed to sell in many countries, while it wasn’t even released in some. They did not appear at the 1990 contest held in Zagreb to present the trophy to their successor (Italy’s Toto Cutugno), an action criticized by many. This slowly led to their split-up, as the band announced in 1991.

Greece’s Votes

Greece’s voting starts at 3:30

After Cyprus gave their 12 points to Greece, everyone expected to see Cyprus getting their first set of 12 points that year from their brother nation. That surprisingly did not happen, as Greece awarded 7 points to Cyprus, giving their Douze Points to Thomas Forstner from Austria. Mind the fact that Greece was also one of the three countries that didn’t give a single point to the winning country.

Songwriters / Composers To Remember

If there is a songwriter/composer you should remember from Eurovision 1989, that is definitely Dieter Bohlen. Bohlen, among with Thomas Anders, formed the duo Modern Talking, which was one of the most famous musical influences of the 80’s, releasing songs like “You’re My Heart, You’re My Soul” which sold more than 8 million copies worldwide. Bohlen composed both the Austrian and the German entry of that year, which finished 5th and 14th respectively.

Which is your winner of Eurovision 1989? Do you agree with the winner? Let us know in the comments below!

Article Sources: Wikipedia | Eurosong-Contest Fandom

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