Top 10 UK Eurovision Songs

Did you know to date the UK remains overall, the most successful country in Eurovision? Ok we’ve not done well recently… but with five wins and 15 runner-up positions, we’ve made the two top spots a startling 20 times!! That’s a record that we should be rightly proud of.

The songs featured in this top 10 are worked out as a combination of their Eurovision placing and their UK chart performance. In a strange anti-Eurovision twist, the entries with the lowest combined numbers were included in the list (since they were technically the most successful). I tried to develop a formula which is fair and not based on personal choice. One of my all time UK Eurovision entries was from 2000 by Nicki French. Yet she came 16th and her song reached 34 in the charts… Giving her a score of erm… 50! Fan favourites are of course different from the reality of what does well in the contest. So here goes, I’m sure you’ll not be shy in sharing your thoughts!

10) 1993: ‘Better The Devil You Know’ by Sonia, 2nd place, #15 in the UK charts

Total score: 17

This might seem a random choice given that there are other entries which did better in the charts. However Sonia really deserves to be in this list despite not having a huge hit with her Eurovision entry. The UK was leading for the majority of the voting and it looked like the contest was heading to these shores in 1994. Alas it wasn’t to be and poor old Sonia looked crestfallen after losing right at the end. When I met Ireland’s winner from that year, Niamh Kavanagh, I told her that Sonia losing made me cry, she quipped “I don’t care, I won!” Quite.

9) 1996: ‘Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit’ by Gina G, 8th place, #1 in the charts

Total score: 9

Whilst Gina G received a combined score of nine, her Eurovision entry was massive in the charts reaching number one in the week of the contest and seen by many as the sure-fire winner. A slightly ropey vocal performance, early draw in the running order and lack of televoting put paid to that. ‘Ooh Aah…Just A Little Bit’ sold millions around the world and was even nominated for a Grammy. It is to date, the last UK entry to top the charts here. It also demonstrated that Eurovision could still create massive hits 40 years since the first contest took place.

8) 1970: 'Knock, Knock Who’s There?' by Mary Hopkin, 2nd place, #2 in the charts

Total score: 4

Following the controversies of a four-way tie in 1969 the contest headed to Amsterdam in 1970, considerably lighter after several countries withdrew in protest. Ireland’s Dana, an unknown at the time went on to win beating the UK’s Mary Hopkin and the then unknown Julio Iglesias. ‘Knock, Knock Who’s There’ has gone on to become a bit of a camp classic; “take off your coat and come inside”. Indeed.

7) 1972: ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’ by The New Seekers, 2nd place, #2 in the charts

Total score: 4

The Eurovision Song Contest headed north in 1972 to Scotland and to Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. The New Seekers, arguably most famous for their hit ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’ represented the UK on home turf. In typical British fashion they came second with their number two hit, ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’. Despite having the same score as Mary Hopkin, there was more competition in 1972 so they get a higher placing on the top 10… simples!

6) 1997: ‘Love Shine A Light’ by Katrina and the Waves, 1st place, #3 in the charts

Total score: 4

The UK might not win all that often but when it does, it wins big! Katrina and the Waves topped the scoreboard early on in 1997 and as the douze points kept rolling in, they were never really challenged. The song reached number three in the UK charts, and whilst it might not seem that impressive considering that they had just won Eurovision, it was the group’s biggest hit ever in the UK (the classic ‘Walking On Sunshine’ reached number eight).

5) 1969: 'Boom Bang A Bang' by Lulu, 1st place, #2 in the charts

Total score: 3

‘Boom Bang A Bang’ is one of the classics of Eurovision, despite being used as fodder by critics to prove to apparent musical irrelevance of the competition. Lulu, whilst initially being reluctant to enter Eurovision, has learned to embrace the song. Whilst it didn’t hit the top spot in the UK it became a major hit across the continent.

4) 1968: 'Congratulations' by Cliff Richard, 2nd place, #1 in the charts

Total score: 3

1968 was a landmark year in UK Eurovision history; it was the first year that the UK hosted the contest after actually winning the event (previously the BBC had simply lent a hand when others couldn’t/wouldn’t) and it was the first contest in colour. Newspapers at the time had already written the contest off as a UK landslide. However the cruel hand of fate saw Cliff Richard’s ‘Congratulations’ pipped to the post at the last minute by the Spanish and a song called ‘La La La. Later allegations emerged that the Yugoslavian jury had been bribed by Franco for Spain to win. If you’re going to lose, you may as well go down with a good conspiracy theory!

3) 1967: ‘Puppet On A String’ by Sandie Shaw, 1st place, #1 in the charts

Total score: 2

The UK first won Eurovision in 1967 with Sandie Shaw, a huge star in the UK at the time. ‘Puppet On A String’ had an almost fair-ground sound to it which many other countries would go on to emulate. Like Lulu, Shaw wasn’t keen on her Eurovision entry, however, it gave her a huge hit and it has gone on to be covered in many languages around the world.

2) 1976: ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’ by Brotherhood of Man, 1st place, #1 in the charts

Total score: 2

‘Save Your Kisses For Me’ is one of the most recognisable songs in UK Eurovision history, despite the rather odd lyrics at the end of the song. It was a runaway winner in the contest and remains statistically, the most successful winner under the current scoring system. The song was a massive hit in the UK and around Europe. Brotherhood of Man remain together to this day and regularly appear at Eurovision events in the UK and abroad.

1) 1981: 'Making Your Mind Up' by Bucks Fizz, 1st place, #1 in the charts

Total score: 2

Bucks Fizz were formed specifically for Eurovision. Following their win in Dublin in 1981, the group went onto have a string of hits and still perform (Bobby G under the name Bucks Fizz and everyone else under ‘The Real Bucks Fizz’ as a result of legal disputes). Their performance has gone down in Eurovision history; the skirt-ripping is possibly the most recognisable move of them all and spawned many a copycat, a trend which continues in the contest even today. Talk about a legacy!

So have I got the order right? Who should be in? Who should be out? Give us a shout!


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