THE HISTORY OF THE
Caffé Latté looks back on the key moments of Europe’s annual competition.
The first 2 years of Eurovision did not launch any significant hit songs. The British, disappointed with their debut entry finishing 7th, declined to return. Sweden joined the contest and kept the number of participating countries an even 10.
After a Dutch victory in 1957, the practice of the winning nation hosting the ESC began. Hilversum, in The Netherlands, was the host city in 1958, where Eurovision launched an international smash.
Italy was represented by Domenico Modugno and the irresistible "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Volare)". Lys Assia, who won in 1956, finished in 2nd position. Inexplicably, the French emerged victorious with the forgettable "Dors, Mon Amour".
Although Italy finished 3rd, "Volare" soon fared well on charts across Europe and Britain. The Italian classic proved popular even in territories unfamiliar with Eurovision. It topped the chart in Australia and the USA. Billboard Magazine declared it America's #1 single of 1958. The song collected both the inaugural Record and Song of the Year Grammy Awards. To this day, it is the most covered Eurovision song, having been recorded by the likes of Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Petula Clark, The Platters, David Bowie, Cliff Richard and The Gipsy Kings.