40 years since ABBA won with Waterloo
It was 40 years ago today, on the 6th April, 1974 that the Swedish group ABBA won the Grand Prix of the Eurovision Song Contest with their memorable song Waterloo. ABBA went onto become one of the biggest selling groups in the world, selling millions and millions of records, and Waterloo topped the list of songs in the Congratulations show that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the contest in 2005.
Although Luxembourg had won the 1973 edition of Europe's Favourite Tv show, the Luxembourg broadcaster CLT, declined to host the contest for a second successive year, and once again the British broadcaster, the BBC took the opportunity to once again stage the event, this time in Brighton on the south coast of England.
The Way Old Friends Do
The contest was presented, for the fourth time, by Katie Boyle, who had previously taken the role in 1960, 1963 and 1968.
Eighteen countries registered to take part in the 19th edition of the contest, including for the very first time, Greece, who sent one of their biggest starts, Marinella.
I Wonder (Departure)
However in the week of the contest, the French President, Georges Pompidou died on the 2nd of April, and as a mark of respect the French withdrew from the contest; their entry was due to be sung by Dani and called La Vie A Vingt-cinq Ans.
Thank You For The Music
The seventeen entries performed in the following order.
- Finland - Keep Me Warm sung by Carita
- United Kingdom - Long Live Love sung by Olivia Newton John
- Spain - Canta Y Se Feliz sung by Peret
- Norway - The First Day Of Love sung by Anne-Karine Strøm and the Bendik Singers
- Greece - Krassi, Thalassa Ke T'Agori Mou sung by Marinella
- Israel - Natati La Khaiai sung by Poogy
- Yugoslavia - Moja Generacija 42 sung by Korni
- Sweden - Waterloo sung by ABBA
- Luxembourg - Bye, Bye I Love You sung by Ireen Sheer
- Monaco - Celui Qui Reste Et Celui Qui S'en Va sung by Romuald
- Belgium - Fleur De Liberté sung by Jacques Hustin
- Netherlands - I See A Star sung by Mouth and MacNeal
- Ireland - Cross Your Heart sung by Tina
- Germany - Die Sommermelodie sung by Cindy and Bert
- Switzerland - Mein Ruf Nach Dir sung by Piera Martell
- Portugal - E Depois Do Adeus sung by Paulo de Carvalho
- Italy - Si sung by Gigliola Cinquetti
Knowing Me, Knowing You
Norway's entrant Anne-Karine Ström had been part of the Bendik Singers in the 1973. Romuald had represented Monaco in 1964, and Luxembourg in 1969, whilst Gigliola Cinquetti had won the contest for Italy in the 1964 contest.
The Winner Takes It All
There was a return to the voting system that had been last used in the 1970 contest. 10 jury members in every country each awarded one point to their favourite song. For the first time, a draw of lots was used to decide the order in which countries would give the results of their juries. However, it was the last time this method was used to cast the votes. You can see a full breakdown of the voting in our 1974 history page.
Sweden's ABBA led from the very first round of voting and never lost the lead, although briefly threatened by both Italy and Belgium in the early rounds of voting.
Money, Money, Money
Waterloo topped the charts all over Europe and the world.
Their success did not stop there by any means. They continued to top the charts with singles including Mamma Mia, S.O.S, Dancing Queen, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, One Of Us, Gimme Gimme Gimme and many many many more. Their albums also charted high and went gold and platinum in a number of countries.
In 1983 the group split up after more than a decade of phenomenal success but their careers continued. Agnetha and Frida continued to perform and released music although Agnetha did shy away from the spotlight for a long whilst after ABBA split up but has recently released new material. Benny & Björn continued their careers as writers and have worked closely together on new music, have performed in bands and precided over musicals including the world famous and very successful Mamma Mia, which also became a box-off superhit when it was turned into a film.
ABBA's revival still continues and their songs are iconic. One of the Eurovision Song Contest's biggest treasures. Congratulations to ABBA on the 40th anniversary of their victory.