Eurovision Song Contest 1956
Eurovision Song Contest 1956

The Eurovision Song Contest made its debut in Lugano, Switzerland on 24 May 1956. Seven nations took part performing two songs each.

The Eurovision Song Contest 1956 was the inaugural edition of the Eurovision Song Contest, held at the Teatro Kursaal in Lugano, Switzerland. Organised by the EBU, the pan-European music competition was an inspiration of the Italian Sanremo Music Festival. At the time, nobody knew that this contest would become a big hit across Europe as it is today, faming many artists like ABBA[1] and Celine Dion.[2]

Lohengrin Filipello hosted the first contest which lasted approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.[3] Seven countries participated, with each of them performing two songs. Two jury members from all participating countries cast their votes in secret, based on which song was their favorite. Lys Assia won the contest for the host country Switzerland with the song Refrain.

The contest broadcasting was originally broadcasted for the radio. However, there was a single TV camera for various national broadcasters at the time. The United Kingdom, Denmark and Austria (the non-participating countries at the time), has broadcast the contest.

This first edition of the Eurovision Song Contest included few procedures that were not repeated at any of the other editions: Two songs for each country, secret voting, double voting of one country on behalf of another, optional inclusion of the jury members own represented country in their voting, only Grand Prix title reception for the winner, and a single male presenter to host the show.

All of the participating delegates sent two jury members to Lugano in order to vote in private on the songs. The Luxembourgish jury could not make it to Lugano, so the EBU allowed Swiss Nationals to vote on their behalf. The juries were allowed to vote for whatever country they wished to, including their own, which was then disallowed from the 1957 contest onwards.[4]



Draw Country Artist Song Language Translation Place
01 IconThe Netherlands.png The Netherlands Jetty Paerl De vogels van Holland Dutch The birds of Holland --
02 IconSwitzerland.png Switzerland Lys Assia Das alte Karussell German The old carousel --
03 IconBelgium.png Belgium Fud Leclerc Messieurs les noyés de la Seine French The drowned men of the Seine river --
04 IconGermany.png Germany Walter Andreas Schwarz Im Wartesaal zum großen Glück German In the waiting room of good luck --
05 IconFrance.png France Mathé Altéry Le temps perdu French Lost time --
06 IconLuxembourg.png Luxembourg Michèle Arnaud Ne crois pas Don't believe --
07 IconItaly.png Italy Franca Raimondi Aprite le finestre Italian Open your windows --
08 IconThe Netherlands.png The Netherlands Corry Brokken Voorgoed voorbij Dutch Over for good --
09 IconSwitzerland.png Switzerland Lys Assia Refrain French -- 1
10 IconBelgium.png Belgium Mony Marc Le plus beau jour de ma vie French The most beautiful day of my life --
11 IconGermany.png Germany Freddy Quinn So geht das jede Nacht German That's how it is every night --
12 IconFrance.png France Dany Dauberson Il est là French He's there --
13 IconLuxembourg.png Luxembourg Michèle Arnaud Les amants de minuit The lovers of midnight --
14 IconItaly.png Italy Tonina Torrielli Amami se vuoi Italian Love me if you want to --


  • It is rumoured that that Germany came second with their first song, as the contest was held there the next year, but the hosting country rules hadn't come into place at the time - each country took it in turns until a lot wanted to debut.
  • The scores of the voting have never been made public, leaving room for lots of speculation. Attempts to reconstruct the voting by interviewing jury members over the past five decades did not lead to any reliable outcome.[5]
  • The United Kingdom had intended to participate in the 1956 contest, but missed the deadline. They would debut a year later.


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