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Eurovision Through The Years

The Eurovision Song Contest has come a long way since it began as a technological experiment in live television nearly six decades ago. Fifty-one countries have competed at least once since the Eurovision's inception in 1956 and it is now watched by more than 100 million people every year. Here's a quick look at some of the more memorable winning acts that have made their mark on the contest.

Some legendary artists have made a name for themselves at Eurovision. Renowned French chanteur Serge Gainsbourg bagged the songwriter's prize when his "Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son" sung by France Gall won the contest for Luxembourg in 1965
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Some legendary artists have made a name for themselves at Eurovision. Renowned French chanteur Serge Gainsbourg bagged the songwriter's prize when his "Poupee De Cire, Poupee De Son" sung by France Gall won the contest for Luxembourg in 1965

Sixties siren Sandie Shaw put in an iconic barefoot performance when she won the Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom with "Puppet on a String" during the "Summer of Love" in 1967.
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Sixties siren Sandie Shaw put in an iconic barefoot performance when she won the Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom with "Puppet on a String" during the "Summer of Love" in 1967.

"Puppet on a String" was co-written by prominent Irish songwriter Phil Coulter. He struck Eurovision gold once again in 1970 when 17-year-old Dana won the contest for Ireland with the million-selling "All Kinds of Everything."
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"Puppet on a String" was co-written by prominent Irish songwriter Phil Coulter. He struck Eurovision gold once again in 1970 when 17-year-old Dana won the contest for Ireland with the million-selling "All Kinds of Everything."

Ireland's Johnny Logan is Eurovision's most successful contestant, taking the prize twice as a singer with "What's Another Year" (1980) and "Hold Me Now" (1987). He also penned "Why Me," which won in 1992.
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Ireland's Johnny Logan is Eurovision's most successful contestant, taking the prize twice as a singer with "What's Another Year" (1980) and "Hold Me Now" (1987). He also penned "Why Me," which won in 1992.

Eurovision will always be associated with Swedish pop group ABBA, whose illustrious international career was launched when it won the contest with "Waterloo" in 1974. 
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Eurovision will always be associated with Swedish pop group ABBA, whose illustrious international career was launched when it won the contest with "Waterloo" in 1974. 

British pop group Bucks Fizz also had a string of hits after their "Making Your Mind Up" won Eurovision in 1981 following a racy dance routine that involved the girls' skirts being whisked off.
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British pop group Bucks Fizz also had a string of hits after their "Making Your Mind Up" won Eurovision in 1981 following a racy dance routine that involved the girls' skirts being whisked off.

Seventeen-year-old German singer Nicole had a huge worldwide hit after her "Ein Bischen Frieden" ("A Little Peace") won in 1982. Her victory reprise of the song in four languages often tops lists of favorite Eurovision moments.
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Seventeen-year-old German singer Nicole had a huge worldwide hit after her "Ein Bischen Frieden" ("A Little Peace") won in 1982. Her victory reprise of the song in four languages often tops lists of favorite Eurovision moments.

Belgium's Sandra Kim, who triumphed in 1986 with "J'aime La Vie," caused a scandal when it transpired she was only 13. Switzerland petitioned unsuccessfully to have her disqualified. The minumum age for entering the contest is now 16.
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Belgium's Sandra Kim, who triumphed in 1986 with "J'aime La Vie," caused a scandal when it transpired she was only 13. Switzerland petitioned unsuccessfully to have her disqualified. The minumum age for entering the contest is now 16.

Switzerland got its revenge two years later in 1988 when a little-known Celine Dion won Eurovision for the mountainous country with "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi." 
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Switzerland got its revenge two years later in 1988 when a little-known Celine Dion won Eurovision for the mountainous country with "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi." 

Ireland has the dubious honor of being the most successful contestant. It won the last of seven victories in 1996 when Eimear Quinn sang "The Voice," written by Brendan Graham, who also penned the 1994 winner "Rock & Roll Kids."
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Ireland has the dubious honor of being the most successful contestant. It won the last of seven victories in 1996 when Eimear Quinn sang "The Voice," written by Brendan Graham, who also penned the 1994 winner "Rock & Roll Kids."

Estonia became the first former Eastern Bloc country to win Eurovision when Tanel Padar (pictured), Dave Benton, and 2XL won with "Everybody."
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Estonia became the first former Eastern Bloc country to win Eurovision when Tanel Padar (pictured), Dave Benton, and 2XL won with "Everybody."

The influx of Central and Eastern European entrants after the collapse of the Soviet Union changed the entire dynamic of Eurovision. Estonia's victory was quickly followed by Latvia's Marie N's triumph with "I Wanna" in 2002.
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The influx of Central and Eastern European entrants after the collapse of the Soviet Union changed the entire dynamic of Eurovision. Estonia's victory was quickly followed by Latvia's Marie N's triumph with "I Wanna" in 2002.

Ukraine triumphed in 2004 with Ruslana Lyzhychko's "Wild Dances." Like several Eurovision luminaries, Lyzhychko later embarked on a career in politics and was elected to the Ukrainian parliament in 2006.
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Ukraine triumphed in 2004 with Ruslana Lyzhychko's "Wild Dances." Like several Eurovision luminaries, Lyzhychko later embarked on a career in politics and was elected to the Ukrainian parliament in 2006.

Serbian singer Marija Serifovic brushed aside some vicious tabloid speculation in her home country, which cast aspersions on both her sexuality and Romany ethnicity, to triumph with her torch song "Molitva" ("Prayer") in 2007.
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Serbian singer Marija Serifovic brushed aside some vicious tabloid speculation in her home country, which cast aspersions on both her sexuality and Romany ethnicity, to triumph with her torch song "Molitva" ("Prayer") in 2007.

Popular Russian singer and actor Dima Bilan (holding the flag) made up for the disappointment of being pipped at the post by Finnish rockers Lordi in 2006 when he eventually won the contest with "Believe" two years later.
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Popular Russian singer and actor Dima Bilan (holding the flag) made up for the disappointment of being pipped at the post by Finnish rockers Lordi in 2006 when he eventually won the contest with "Believe" two years later.

Azerbaijan is hosting this year's contest courtesy of last year's victory by the duo Ell/Nikki, which romped to victory with the catchy "Running Scared." Azerbaijan first entered Eurovision in 2008.
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Azerbaijan is hosting this year's contest courtesy of last year's victory by the duo Ell/Nikki, which romped to victory with the catchy "Running Scared." Azerbaijan first entered Eurovision in 2008.

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