The first ever Eurovision Song Contest took place on the 24th of May, 1956, in Lugano, Switzerland
In 54 years, over 1,200 songs have competed in the Eurovision Song Contest
Dutch conductor Dolf van der Linde conducted for seven different countries (Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland)
Johnny Logan won the Eurovision Song Contest three times. In 1980 and 1987 he represented Ireland as performer and won both times, in 1992 he wrote Linda Martin's winning entry Why Me
Poland made the most impressive debute in 1994, when Edyta Gorniak came 2nd with To Nie Ja, closely followed by Serbia's victory in 2007. Although Serbia & Montenegro was represented twice before, it was the first time that Serbia took part as an independent country
Norway can be found at the bottom of the list as many as ten times. They came last in 1963, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1990, 1997, 2001 and 2004. They also won three times (in 1985, 1995 and 2009)
Ireland won a record 7 times, Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom 5 times. Sweden and the Netherlands won 4 times.
ABBA is the most successful Eurovision Song Contest winner. The Swedish pop band won the contest in 1974.
In 2001, the largest audience ever attended the Eurovision Song Contest. Almost 38,000 people gathered at Copenhagen's Parken Stadium.
The most covered Eurovision Song Contest song is Domenico Modugno's Nel Blu Di Pinto Di Blu, also known as Volare. The song has been covered by stars Frank Sinatra, Cliff Richard and David Bowie.
Televoting was introduced in 1997
In 2004, the first televised Eurovision Song Contest semi-final took place. In 2008, a second semi-final was introduced.
Recently, the contest was won by Greece (2005), Finland (2006), Serbia (2007), Russia (2008) Norway (2009), Germany (2010) and Azerbaijan (2011).
In 2007, 90 million people saw the Eurovision Song Contest, in 2008 105 million people tuned in. In 2009, 125 million people watched the competition and over 10 million phone and SMS votes were cast for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Most winning songs were performed in English - songs (mostly) in English won 22 times. French is also popular with 14 victories, Dutch and Hebrew songs won 3 times each.
After Ell and Nikki took the title for Azerbaijan last year, the contest travels to the city of Baku. Baku, also known as Baky or Bakı, is the largest city in the Caucasus and is the capital of Azerbaijan. It is situated on the western coast of the Caspian Sea and the population of the city is now around 3.7 million.
The Eurovision Song contest will take place in Baku’s Crystal Arena, which for this event has a seating capacity of over 16,000.
This year, a total of 42 countries will be taking to the Eurovision stage in Baku:
Bosnia & Herzegovina
1955 - The concept of the Eurovision Song Contest was the brainchild of EBU Director Marcel Bezençon
1956 - The first Eurovision Song Contest took place in Lugano, Switzerland, on the 24th of May
1958 - Italy’s Domenico Modugno finishes 3rd with Nel Blu Di Pinto Di Blu, better known as Volare. It would become the most covered song in the history of Eurovision
1964 - A demonstrator manages to reach the stage during the live broadcast. Unfortunately, there is no archive material of the 1964 contest
1968 - The first ever Eurovision Song Contest broadcast in colour
1969 - A controversial outcome, as Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France all finish first
1974 - ABBA wins for Sweden. They would become the most successful Eurovision Song Contest winners ever
1975 - A new voting system is being introduced. Each country gives 1 to 8, 10 and 12 points to its top-10
1977 - The contest has to be postponed from April to May due to a strike of camera men at the BBC
1979 - Israel wins the contest for the second time in a row
1980 - Previous year’s winner Israel could not host the contest and the Netherlands offered to take over the production. The Eurovision Song Contest celebrates its 25th anniversary
1986 - 13-year old Sandra Kim, who earlier claimed to be 15, wins for Belgium. It would be the youngest winner ever. Luxembourg’s entry L'amour De Ma Vie is the 500th song at the Eurovision Song Contest since 1956
1987 - Johnny Logan, wins the Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland for the second time
1988 - Canadian singer Céline Dion wins for Switzerland.
1993 - Representatives from seven countries compete in a regional qualification for three open slots at the contest. As a result, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Slovenia and Croatia took part for the first time
1994 - As many as seven new countries take part: Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia
1997 - Ireland hosts the contest after winning for the third time in four years. The first experiments with televoting take place
1998 - Dana International sparks controversy, being the first transsexual to win the contest
1999 - For the first time, there is no orchestra at the Eurovision Song Contest
2001 - A record 38,000 people attended the contest at Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium
2002 - For the first time, the Eurovision Song Contest takes place in Eastern Europe, as Estonia hosts the event
2004 - For the first time ever, a televised semi-final takes place in the lead up to the Eurovision Song Contest. A new, generic logo is introduced
2005 - In a spectacular live show from Copenhagen, Europe celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest. ABBA’s Waterloo is chosen as best Eurovision Song Contest song from the past 50 years
2006 - Finland wins the contest after waiting for victory a record 45 years. Ireland’s Brian Kennedy performs the 1,000th song at the Eurovision Song Contest since 1956
2008 - For the first time, two semi-finals take place in the lead up to the final. A new record of 43 countries is represented
2009 - Some 124 million viewers tune in, and cast a record 10 million votes by phone and SMS. Professional juries are reintroduced in the final. They have a 50 percent stake in the outcome
2010 - Alexander Rybak’s Fairytale turns out to be the biggest pan-European hit since Love Shine A Light in 1997
2011 - Lena, the winner of the 2010 Eurovision Song Contest, decided to defend her title on home ground - something only two people have done in the history of the contest