Eurovision Song Contest 1968

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Eurovision Song Contest 1968
ESC 1968 logo.png
Final6 April 1968
VenueRoyal Albert Hall
London, United Kingdom
Presenter(s)Katie Boyle
Musical directorNorrie Paramor
Directed byStewart Morris
Executive supervisorClifford Brown
Executive producerTom Sloan
Host broadcasterBritish Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Edit this at Wikidata
Number of entries17
Debuting countriesNone
Returning countriesNone
Non-returning countriesNone
  • Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968France in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Monaco in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Yugoslavia in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1968Denmark in the Eurovision Song ContestA coloured map of the countries of Europe
    About this image
         Participating countries     Countries that participated in the past but not in 1968
Voting systemTen-member juries distributed ten points among their favourite songs.
Nul points in finalNone
Winning song Spain
"La, la, la"
1967 ← Eurovision Song Contest → 1969

The Eurovision Song Contest 1968 was the 13th edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It took place in London, United Kingdom, following the country's first victory at the 1967 contest with the song "Puppet on a String" by Sandie Shaw. Despite having won for the first time the year before, it was actually the third time that the United Kingdom had hosted the competition, having previously done so in 1960 and 1963, both of which also took place in London. Organised by the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and host broadcaster British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), the contest was held at Royal Albert Hall on 6 April 1968, and was hosted by Katie Boyle for the third time. It was notably also the first time that the contest was broadcast in colour.

Seventeen countries participated in the contest, the same countries that had participated the previous year.

The winner was Spain with the song "La, la, la" by Massiel, and written/composed by Manuel de la Calva and Ramón Arcusa. This was Spain's first victory - and their first ever top five placing - in the contest. With her winning reprise, she became the first winner to perform part of her song in English, in addition to the original version.


Royal Albert Hall, London - host venue of the 1968 contest.

The contest was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The Royal Albert Hall is known for hosting the world's leading artists from several performance genres, sports, award ceremonies, the annual summer Proms concerts and other events since its opening in 1871, and has become one of the United Kingdom's most treasured and distinctive buildings.


1968 was the first time that the Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast in colour. The countries that broadcast it in colour were France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, although in the UK it was broadcast as an encore presentation in colour on BBC Two the next day. All of Eastern Europe as well as Tunisia broadcast the contest as well.

Prior to the contest, the bookmakers were sure of another British victory, as the English singer Cliff Richard, who was already dominating the music charts at that time, was hotly tipped as the favourite to win, but in the end he lost out to Spain's song by a margin of just one point.

Originally Massiel's song La La La was supposed to be sung by Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat who wanted to perform the song in Catalan. At the request of Spanish officials, however, Juan Manuel was replaced by Massiel who sang the same song in Castilian (Spanish).

Participating countries[edit]

All countries that had participated in 1967 also participated in 1968.[1]


Each performance had a maestro who conducted the orchestra.[2][3]

Returning artists[edit]

Bold indicates a previous winner.

Artist Country Previous year(s)
Isabelle Aubret  France 1962

Participants and results[edit]

R/O Country Artist Song Language[4][5] Points Place[6]
1  Portugal Carlos Mendes "Verão" Portuguese 5 11
2  Netherlands Ronnie Tober "Morgen" Dutch 1 16
3  Belgium Claude Lombard "Quand tu reviendras" French 8 7
4  Austria Karel Gott "Tausend Fenster" German 2 13
5  Luxembourg Chris Baldo and Sophie Garel "Nous vivrons d'amour" French 5 11
6  Switzerland Gianni Mascolo "Guardando il sole" Italian 2 13
7  Monaco Line and Willy "À chacun sa chanson" French 8 7
8  Sweden Claes-Göran Hederström "Det börjar verka kärlek, banne mig" Swedish 15 5
9  Finland Kristina Hautala "Kun kello käy" Finnish 1 16
10  France Isabelle Aubret "La source" French 20 3
11  Italy Sergio Endrigo "Marianne" Italian 7 10
12  United Kingdom Cliff Richard "Congratulations" English 28 2
13  Norway Odd Børre "Stress" Norwegian 2 13
14  Ireland Pat McGeegan "Chance of a Lifetime" English 18 4
15  Spain Massiel "La, la, la" Spanish 29 1
16  Germany Wencke Myrhe "Ein Hoch der Liebe" German 11 6
17  Yugoslavia Luci Capurso and Hamo Hajdarhodžić "Jedan dan" (Један дан) Serbo-Croatian 8 7

Detailed voting results[edit]

Due to a misunderstanding by the hostess, Katie Boyle, Switzerland were erroneously awarded 3 points by Yugoslavia, instead of 2. The scrutineer asked for the Yugoslav votes from TV Skopje to be announced a second time.

Detailed voting results[7][8]
Total score
United Kingdom
Portugal 5 2 3
Netherlands 1 1
Belgium 8 1 1 1 3 1 1
Austria 2 2
Luxembourg 5 1 1 1 1 1
Switzerland 2 2
Monaco 8 2 1 3 1 1
Sweden 15 1 1 1 2 6 4
Finland 1 1
France 20 3 6 2 3 3 1 2
Italy 7 1 2 2 2
United Kingdom 28 1 2 2 1 4 5 3 2 4 1 1 2
Norway 2 1 1
Ireland 18 1 1 1 4 1 4 6
Spain 29 4 2 1 4 3 4 3 1 1 6
Germany 11 1 1 2 5 2
Yugoslavia 8 1 1 1 1 3 1


Listed below is the order in which votes were cast during the 1968 contest along with the spokesperson who was responsible for announcing the votes for their respective country.

  1.  Portugal – Maria Manuela Furtado
  2.  Netherlands – Warry van Kampen[9]
  3.  Belgium – André Hagon
  4.  Austria – Walter Richard Langer [de]
  5.  Luxembourg – TBC
  6.  Switzerland – Alexandre Burger [fr]
  7.  Monaco – TBC
  8.  Sweden – Edvard Matz [sv]
  9.  Finland – Poppe Berg [fi][10]
  10.  France – Jean-Claude Massoulier [fr]
  11.  Italy – Mike Bongiorno
  12.  United Kingdom – Michael Aspel[3]
  13.  Norway – Sverre Christophersen [no]
  14.  Ireland – Gay Byrne
  15.  Spain – Ramón Rivera
  16.  Germany – Hans-Otto Grünefeldt [de]
  17.  Yugoslavia – Snežana Lipkovska-Hadžinaumova


Each national broadcaster also sent a commentator to the contest, in order to provide coverage of the contest in their own native language. In addition to the participating countries, the contest was also reportedly broadcast in Tunisia, and in Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the Soviet Union via Intervision.[3]

Broadcasters and commentators in participating countries
Country Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s) Ref(s)
 Austria FS1 Willy Kralik [de]
 Belgium RTB French: Paule Herreman
BRT Dutch: Herman Verelst [nl]
 Finland TV-ohjelma 1 Aarno Walli [fi] [10][11]
 France Deuxième Chaîne ORTF Pierre Tchernia
 Germany Deutsches Fernsehen Hans-Joachim Rauschenbach [de]
 Ireland RTÉ Brendan O'Reilly
RTÉ Radio Kevin Roche
 Italy Secondo Programma Renato Tagliani [it]
 Luxembourg Télé-Luxembourg Jacques Navadic
 Monaco Télé Monte Carlo Pierre Tchernia
 Netherlands Nederland 1 Elles Berger [nl]
 Norway NRK Roald Øyen
 Portugal RTP Fialho Gouveia
 Spain Primera Cadena Federico Gallo [es]
Radio Nacional José María Íñigo [12]
 Sweden Sveriges TV Christina Hansegård [sv] [11][13]
 Switzerland TV DRS German: Theodor Haller [de]
TSR French: Georges Hardy [fr]
TSI Italian: Giovanni Bertini
 United Kingdom BBC1 No commentary [3]
BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 Pete Murray [3]
 Yugoslavia Televizija Beograd Serbo-Croatian: Miloje Orlović [sr]
Televizija Zagreb Serbo-Croatian: Mladen Delić
Televizija Ljubljana Slovene: Tomaž Terček [sl]


Spanish artist replacement[edit]

Originally Spain entered Joan Manuel Serrat to sing "La, la, la", but his demand to sing in Catalan was an affront to the Francoist State dictatorship. Therefore, Massiel, who was on tour in Mexico, was brought in as a late replacement. In just two weeks, she had to rush back to Spain, learn the song, record it in several languages, travel to Paris to get a dress and go to London for rehearsals. She sang the song in the contest in Spanish with the new arrangement made to fit her. In her winning reprise, she performed part of her song in English, in addition to the original version, becoming the first winner to do so.[1][14]

Vote rigging allegations[edit]

In May 2008, a documentary by Spanish film-maker Montse Fernández Villa, 1968. Yo viví el mayo español, centred on the effects of May 1968 in Francoist Spain,[15] and alleged that the 1968 Eurovision Song Contest was rigged by the Spanish caudillo Francisco Franco, who would have sent state television officials across Europe offering cash and promising to buy television series and contract unknown artists.[16] The allegation was based on a testimony by journalist José María Íñigo, a TVE employee at the time, who claimed the rigging was common knowledge and suggested that Spanish record label representatives offered to release albums by Bulgarian and Czech artists (neither Bulgaria nor Czechoslovakia were members of the European Broadcasting Union at the time, though in the 1968 contest, Austria was represented by Karel Gott, who was from Czechoslovakia.).[17]

The documentary claimed that the contest should in fact have been won by the United Kingdom's entry – "Congratulations" performed by Cliff Richard – which finished second by one vote.[18] Massiel, the performer of the winning entry, was outraged by the allegations, and claimed that if there had been fixes, "other singers, who were more keen on Francoist Spain, would have benefited". José María Iñigo, author of the statement in the documentary, personally apologized to Massiel and said that he had repeated a widespread rumour. Both Massiel and Iñigo accused television channel La Sexta, broadcaster of the documentary, of manufacturing the scandal.[19]


  1. ^ a b "Eurovision Song Contest 1968". EBU. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  2. ^ "And the conductor is..." Retrieved 10 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e Roxburgh, Gordon (2012). Songs for Europe: The United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. Volume One: The 1950s and 1960s. Prestatyn: Telos Publishing. pp. 454–470. ISBN 978-1-84583-065-6.
  4. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1968". The Diggiloo Thrush. Retrieved 4 March 2012.
  5. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1968". Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Final of London 1968". European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 8 April 2021. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Results of the Final of London 1968". European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 8 April 2021. Retrieved 8 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Eurovision Song Contest 1968 – Scoreboard". European Broadcasting Union. Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Songfestival eindigde in mineur bij BBC". Het Parool. 8 April 1968. p. 4. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Jatkoajalla Euroviisut". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 6 April 1968.
  11. ^ a b "Radio ja televisio". Helsingin Sanomat (in Finnish). 6 April 1968. p. 37. Retrieved 7 November 2022. (subscription required)
  12. ^ Escudero, Victor M. (5 May 2018). "Spanish commentator José María Iñigo passed away". European Broadcasting Union. Retrieved 14 June 2021.
  13. ^ Thorsson, Leif (2006). Melodifestivalen genom tiderna [Melodifestivalen through time]. Stockholm: Premium Publishing AB. p. 74. ISBN 91-89136-29-2.
  14. ^ "Winners of the 1960s - What happened to them?". EBU. Retrieved 20 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Massiel sí, Madelman no: así fue el Mayo del 68 en España". Público (in Spanish). 3 May 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  16. ^ "TVE 'compró' los votos para que Massiel ganará Eurovisión". 20 minutos (in Spanish). 5 May 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  17. ^ "Vea el vídeo donde José Maríá Iñigo 'descubre' a Massiel". 20 minutos (in Spanish). 5 May 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  18. ^ Govan, Fiona (4 May 2008). "How Franco cheated Cliff out of Eurovision title". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  19. ^ "Massiel e Iñigo acusan a La Sexta de "urdir todo para favorecer a Chiquilicuatre"". El Mundo (in Spanish). 6 May 2008. Retrieved 3 December 2009.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′03.40″N 00°10′38.77″W / 51.5009444°N 0.1774361°W / 51.5009444; -0.1774361