Eurovision Song Contest: Despite missed victory, these songs became hits

Eurovision Song Contest
Despite missing a win, these songs became hits

The Common Linnets couldn’t win the ESC in 2014, but they landed an international hit with “Calm After the Storm”.

© imago / ITAR-TASS

The ESC final 2021 will take place on May 22nd. These songs prove that it doesn’t take a win to land a success.

For most of the participants, winning the Eurovision Song Contest is also a guarantee of international chart success. But the following songs prove that you don’t have to win to land a hit with an ESC song.

“Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)” and “Piove (Ciao ciao bambina)” by Domenico Modugno

In 1958 and 1959 the Italian singer Domenico Modugno (1928-1994) tried his luck at the Eurovision Song Contest. While he took third place in 1958 with “Nel blu dipinto di blu (Volare)”, the following year it was only sixth with “Piove (Ciao ciao bambina)”. Nevertheless, both songs became worldwide hits that sold millions of copies. “Volare” was even adapted several times by artists such as Dean Martin (1917-1995), the Gipsy Kings and Peter Alexander (1926-2011). Modugno entered the European music competition for the last time in 1966, but then made last place with sobering zero points.

“Congratulations” by Cliff Richard

In 1968 the British Cliff Richard (80) was the favorite for the ESC in London with his song “Congratulations”. However, the Spanish entry “La, La, La” won by just one point. Richard only got second place. “Congratulations” then stormed the charts worldwide and is still one of his greatest hits.

“There are always miracles” by Katja Ebstein

Katja Ebstein (76) represented Germany three times at the Eurovision Song Contest. It was never enough for her to win, but in 1970, 1971 and 1980 she finished two thirds and one second. This makes her the most successful participant who did not win the contest. The best-known song to this day is probably “Miracles are there again and again” from 1970. The song stayed in the German Top 20 for ten weeks and is still a popular hit classic to this day.

“L’amour est bleu” by Vicky Leandros

In 1967 Vicky Leandros took part in the Grand Prix de la Chanson for Luxembourg with her song “L’amour est bleu”, as the ESC was still called at that time. She reached fourth place. The song became a huge international hit and Leandros recorded it in several languages. The instrumental version by Paul Mauriat (1925-2006) was particularly successful. This even made it to number one on the US Billboard charts.

“Eres tú” from Mocedades

The Spanish band Mocedades just missed victory in 1973 with their song “Eres tú” at the ESC in Luxembourg. It was only enough for second place. But the single release of the song was a great success. Mocedades is one of the five Spanish acts that cracked the US top ten with one song – and is the only song that was performed entirely in Spanish. Another major award followed in 2013: “Eres tú” was inducted into the “Latin Grammy Hall of Fame”.

“Dschinghis Khan” by Dschinghis Khan

The German contender “Dschinghis Khan” of the band of the same name was not necessarily seen by critics in 1979 as a serious contender for the ESC victory. For the song penned by Ralph Siegel (75) it was enough for fourth place in the music competition. “Dschinghis Khan” then became a chart success and stayed at number one in the German single charts for four weeks. The song was later adapted by numerous international artists.

“Calm after the Storm” by The Common Linnets

In 2014, Europe fell in love with the singer Conchita Wurst (32) alias Tom Neuwirth. For the Dutch band The Common Linnets it was only enough for second place next to Wurst. However, the song “Calm after the Storm” became an international hit. Ilse DeLange (43) and bandmate JB Meijers (48) reached first place in the charts in their Dutch homeland, second in Denmark and Austria, third in Germany, fourth in Ireland and the top ten in Great Britain.

“No no never” from Texas Lightning

Although the band Texas Lightning only got points from ten of the 37 participating countries in Athens in 2006 and made it into 14th place, their country song “No no never” was a big hit in Germany. He stayed at number one for a week and a total of 38 weeks in the charts.

“He belongs to me” by Marianne Rosenberg

The success of Marianne Rosenberg (66) and her song “He belongs to me” is particularly unusual. Because the pop singer did not even make it through the preliminary decision of the Eurovision Song Contest 1975, which took place in Stockholm. At that time she only made tenth place. Joy Fleming (1944-2017) was allowed to go to Stockholm with “A song can be a bridge”, but it was Rosenberg who landed an evergreen with her candidate. The song stayed in the charts for 20 weeks in 1975 and made it into the top ten. Her remake in 2004 was also able to stay in the German single charts for eight weeks.