A Swede who lives in Finland and who is lost in Euroland - the wonderful world of Eurovision
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Friday, January 9, 2015

Runner-up: United Kingdom 1968

You all know the story how one of the biggest favourites to win in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest famously gets beaten into second place at the very end of the voting and becomes the most famous of all runners-up ever.

Cliff Richard couldn't lose. He was a huge top-selling star and him doing the ESC was an incredibly big thing. Everybody knew he had to win.

Midway through the voting he also took the lead and seemed to be heading for a comfortable victory when Germany, voting second last, made their surprise move and turned the whole situation on its head. Suddenly Spain was in the lead and as the last country - Yugoslavia - gave him no points at all, Cliff found himself a sorely disappointed loser.

Of course it is easy to say he should have won as "Congratulations" became a huge hit and an evergreen, but then you forget the importance of the back story. The song is good but perhaps not as outstanding as people would like to think. People expected it to win and had it won it could easily have been just another winner and perhaps not even a highlight in Cliff's career.

Perhaps it needed to lose for people to fully appreciate it. Perhaps people needed to see their favourite fall in order to fully embrace it and catapult it into the success we know today?

A deserved 2nd place?
Personally I would have placed it third after both Spain and France, but that's just me. Of course it deserved its second place. And perhaps the second place was the icing of the cake needed to make it a huge hit.

Cliff Richard - Congratulations (United Kingdom 1968)


  1. I needed a long time to realise that this is not a birthday song.

    1. Same for me. We always thought it was a song for birthdays, and the Swedish version is if I remember correctly.