For the first thirty years of the Eurovision Song Contest, the French music industry was the biggest force in the game. Especially in the 60's and 70's, when the French labels had their heyday and represented not only France but also Luxembourg, Monaco and, at times, Switzerland.
The German music industry, the biggest market in Europe, was never even close. Germany's own placings were often dismal and disappointing, and they seldom exported anything successful to other countries. (The 1972 winner for Luxembourg being one of the notable exceptions.)
The British music market never had as much impact as they could or should either, partially because the BBC always played it safe and never sent any really provocative or ground-breaking entries.
French products won the contest in 1958, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1973, 1977 and 1983. On top of that, another four winners have been performed in French (without being Made in France): 1956, 1972, 1986 and 1988.
But then the French empire crumbled, largely due to the French record labels losing their interest. The ESC didn't lead to large sales anymore and the French touch didn't hit home with the juries anymore.
In 1986, the French speaking entries had their last glory days, as all top three entries were performed in French.
Sandra Kim - J'aime la vie - (Belgium 1986 - 1st place)
Daniela Simons - Pas pour moi (Switzerland 1986 - 2nd place)
Sherisse Laurence - L'amour de ma vie (Luxembourg 1986 - 3rd place)
What about the fourth entry performed in French that year? Almost as a symbol of the French decline, France scored a total of 13 points and and ended way behind the other three.
Cocktail Chic - Européennes (France 1986 - 17th place)
These days, French music does not export itself the way it used to do, and the success of most French singers is limited to the French-speaking world.
This goes for Eurovision as well where no song in French has won since 1988. No song in French has made top three since 1993. When will they get back to the top? Will they ever?