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.


There are 28 comments

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  • Posted on 4/January 2014 at 19:09
    What's the problem with Morocco? I mean, Finland was last in the contest that year, why can't Morocco participate? Because it was second-last? And I like the 1980 song, it's wonderful. I hope Morocco comes back. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 28/April 2012 at 16:09
    I wonder what would happen if eurovision was held in Israel As it was meant to happen. So is Morocco would take part too?! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 25/April 2012 at 18:07
    my country gives 7 points.Good. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 22/April 2012 at 20:46
    Listen: It is in eurovision contest, not an european. :-)

    Marocco 1982
    I can remember the Song of Marocco. I was 18 years old and a fan of the Grand Prix. Now I am 48 years old and still a ESC fan. I love to watch the contest every year.
    This year I am travelling on 26th of May with my english husband to Cornwall in England. I am glad to watch the final one time in another country.

    Lots of greetings from Germany from Tina to all fans of the ESC! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 22/April 2012 at 00:47
    The Moroccan entry in 1980 was amazing!!!

    I hope they will come back. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 22/April 2012 at 00:46
    Morocco <3 Come back!!!

    The Moroccan entry in 1980 was amazing. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 21/April 2012 at 21:44
    Morocco Please return to the contest please you are one my favorite report to the moderator
  • Posted on 21/April 2012 at 20:41
    ISR83 must be inspired by this song... report to the moderator
  • Posted on 20/April 2012 at 17:58
    I hope they will come back! :) report to the moderator
  • Posted on 20/April 2012 at 12:45
    I would like to see our neighbors in the ESC!!! ;) report to the moderator
  • Posted on 20/April 2012 at 09:59
    If marocco returns we should rename contest. Its called euro for a reason. report to the moderator
  • Posted on 20/April 2012 at 01:44
    every country which is recognized as an independent nation by un and a member of ebu has all the rights to take part in esc . report to the moderator
  • Posted on 20/April 2012 at 00:44
    No Arab country will participate in eurovision with Israel report to the moderator
  • Posted on 19/April 2012 at 23:06
    Morocco has the right to take part whenever they want cause they are full member of EBU!They will not ask anyone to make a comeback!I don't think that ESC is a contest in which,there is a limit of how many countries we ''need'' or no!MOROCCO HAS TO COME BACK!THERE ARE OTHER COUNTRIES WORSE AND WORSE THAN MOROCCO WHICH HAVE VICTORIES WITHOUT TO SING(!!!).
    Please Morocco,come back!Araboa will give a better colour to this contest! report to the moderator
  • Posted on 19/April 2012 at 20:34
    In my opinion Morroco don't need to participate in Eurovision again. There are enough countries in the competion so we don't need new countries from Arabia.

    It's better when Luxembourg, Monaco or Andorra came back. report to the moderator