32 years ago today- Morocco's only ever participation

32 years ago today- Morocco's only ever participation
Samira Bensaid, Morocco's representative in the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest

In the latest look in to the archives of Europe's Favourite TV Show, today we flash back 32 years to the day. The 1980 Eurovision Song Contest saw the one and only time that Morocco participated in the competition.

Morocco made their debut in 1980 with 18 year old Samira Bensaid, and the song Bitakat Hob. The message behind the song was that of peace in the midst of the Arab-Israeli tensions.

Of the 19 countries participating, only the Italian jury were impressed, awarding Morocco their only 7 points of the contest, which resulted in an 18th place finish for Samira Bensaid. Morocco would never return to Europe's Favourite TV Show.

1980 Facts & Figures

  • NOS picked April 19th as the date for the song contest, but as this was the Holocaust Memorial Day in Israel, the defending champions decided not to participate which marked the only time when the winner of one Eurovision Song Contest didn't participate in the next.
  • Johnny Logan won the competition for Ireland with What's Another Year, which was to be the first of three victories. He would return to win again in 1987 and for a third time as composer in 1992.
  • Turkey returned to the contest after one year's absence and Monaco stayed home which meant that the total amount of participating countries amounted to 19 - just as in 1979. Each country brought along a presenter of its own choice along in order to introduce the song in their native language.
  • Portugal's Jose Cid finished in 7th place, bringing the nation their most successful placing to date, which would only be eclipsed by Lucia Moniz in 1996.

For full statistics, a list of performers and the full scoreboard for 1980 check out our 1980 history page here.

The Diva of Arabic music

Samira Bensaid, or Samira Said as she is more commonly known began singing at the age of 9. Her breakthrough came when she was discovered on a music programme when she was 17.

After her appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest, she moved to Egypt to further her career, and her popularity began to rise. She always experimented with sounds influenced by her Moroccan heritage.

In 2003, Samira won a World Music Award based upon her worldwide sales figures. She has performed across the world, even in front of Pope John Paul II at the Vatican. She is viewed in Morocco today as a strong model of womanhood who has stood as a great ambassador for her country overseas.

Samira continues to record and perform, and is one of the most iconic and recognisable household names in the Arabic music scene. Her fans simply call her The Diva of Arabic music.


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