Congratulations (Cliff Richard song)

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Single by Cliff Richard
B-side "High n Dry" (Cook-Greenaway)
Released March 1968 (entered UK chart on 20 March)
Format 7", 45rpm
Recorded 3 February 1968, EMI Studios, London
Genre Pop music, schlager
Length 2:33
Label Columbia DB8376[1]
Songwriter(s) Bill Martin, Phil Coulter[1]
Producer(s) Norrie Paramor[1]
Cliff Richard singles chronology
"All My Love"
"I'll Love You Forever Today"
"All My Love"
"I'll Love You Forever Today"
United Kingdom "Congratulations"
Eurovision Song Contest 1968 entry
Finals performance
Final result
Final points
Appearance chronology
◄ "Puppet on a String" (1967)   
"Boom Bang-a-Bang" (1969) ►

"Congratulations" is a song written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter,[1] as the UK entry in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968 on 6 April with Cliff Richard performing. The song was arranged, conducted and produced by Norrie Paramor who was also musical director for the contest, which was held at London's Royal Albert Hall.[2]

Phil Coulter originally wrote the song as "I Think I Love You", but was unsure of the lyrics and got together with Bill Martin (the same team that wrote "Puppet on a String"), who changed it to "Congratulations".[3] The song was immediately popular in the UK and became a number one single. On the day of the contest, it was the favourite to win, so much so that the British press were posing the question: "What will come second to 'Congratulations'?"[citation needed]

During the voting, "Congratulations" was leading for much of the way until the penultimate vote when Germany gave Spain six points, putting them one point ahead of the United Kingdom.[4] It finished second losing to Spain's entry "La, la, la" by just one point, and was a huge hit throughout Europe. In 2008, documentary film-maker Montse Fernandez Vila claimed that the loss was the result of rigging of the Spanish vote by state television on behalf of General Franco's fascist regime.[5]

However José María Íñigo, the person that made such claims in the documentary quickly said that his words were taken out of context and said that the channel that produced the documentary, laSexta, who was the promoter of the Spanish representative that year, Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, had manipulated his words to help promote their candidate. He said: "if there had been such a manipulation, it would have been for a different artist who had been closer to the regime".[6]

In July 1968 the song was included on the six-track Columbia EP Congratulations: Cliff Sings 6 Songs For Europe.[7]

The song is still popular and was chosen to lead the show which celebrated 50 years of Eurovision and which was named after it: Congratulations. Also, Richard performed the song as part of the commemorations for the 50th anniversary of VE Day in 1995, despite its having been written long after World War II's end.

George Harrison's song "It's Johnny's Birthday" from All Things Must Pass is based on this song.[citation needed]

Chart position[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
Belgium 1
Ireland 1
Netherlands 1
Norway 1
Spain 1
United Kingdom 1
Austria 2
New Zealand 2
Switzerland 2
Germany 3
Australia 4
South Africa 4[8]
France 15
Denmark 19

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 116. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ "And the conductor is...". Retrieved 28 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Nul Points...?!, BBC Television, 1992
  4. ^ The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History. O'Connor, John Kennedy. Carlton Books 2007 ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  5. ^ Fiona Govan (5 May 2008). "How Franco cheated Cliff out of Eurovision title". Daily Telegraph. 
  6. ^ "Massiel e Iñigo acusan a La Sexta de 'urdir todo para favorecer a Chikilicuatre'". Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cliff Richard - Congratulations: Cliff Sings 6 Songs For Europe - Columbia - UK". 45cat. Retrieved 28 February 2016. 
  8. ^ "South Africa Charts 1965-1989 - Springbok Radio / Radio Orion". Retrieved 22 December 2016. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Lady Madonna" by The Beatles
UK number one single
(Cliff Richard version)

10 April 1968 for two weeks
Succeeded by
"What a Wonderful World"/"Cabaret" by Louis Armstrong
Preceded by
"Puppet on a String"
by Sandie Shaw
United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
"Boom Bang-a-Bang"
by Lulu