Eurovision Song Contest 1979

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Eurovision Song Contest 1979
ESC 1979 logo.png
Final31 March 1979
VenueBinyaney Ha'ooma
Jerusalem, Israel
Musical directorIzhak Graziani
Directed byYossi Zemach
Executive supervisorFrank Naef
Executive producerAlex Gilady
Host broadcasterIsraeli Broadcasting Authority (IBA)
Interval actShalom '79 (Peace '79) Edit this at Wikidata
Number of entries19
Debuting countriesNone
Returning countriesNone
Non-returning countries Turkey
  • Belgium in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Italy in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Netherlands in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Germany in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Monaco in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Luxembourg in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Spain in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Denmark in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Finland in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Norway in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Malta in the Eurovision Song ContestAustria in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979France in the Eurovision Song Contest 1979Turkey in the Eurovision Song ContestYugoslavia 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 1979
Voting systemEach country awarded 12, 10, 8–1 point(s) to their 10 favourite songs
Nul pointsNone
Winning song Israel
1978 ← Eurovision Song Contest → 1980

The Eurovision Song Contest 1979 was the 24th edition of the annual Eurovision Song Contest. It was held on 31 March 1979 in Jerusalem, following Israel's win at the 1978 edition. The event was staged at the Binyaney Ha'ooma. The presenters were Daniel Pe'er and Yardena Arazi. Nineteen out of the twenty countries that participated in 1978 also participated, with the exception of Turkey, which withdrew after Arab countries pressured it into not participating in Israel.[1]

The winner was Israel with the song "Hallelujah", performed by Milk and Honey. Yugoslavia, who missed the 1978 Contest, also didn't want to take part nor transmit the 1979 show for political reasons. As well as being broadcast live in the 19 competing countries, the contest was broadcast in Romania, Hong Kong and Iceland.

It was the first Eurovision Song Contest to be held outside of Europe, and the first one to be held in non-Indo-European speaking country.


International Convention Center, Jerusalem – host venue of the 1979 contest.

The contest took place at the International Convention Centre in Jerusalem, following Israel's win at the 1978 edition with the song A-Ba-Ni-Bi performed by Izhar Cohen and Alphabeta.

Jerusalem, declared by Israel as its capital while disputed under international law, is a centre for the three major Abrahamic religions and for Israel's governing institutions and several of the biggest cultural centres in the country. The venue, the largest convention center in the Middle East, hosted the contest in the Ussishkin Auditorium which seats an audience of more than 3000 where it traditionally hosts other musical events including classical and pop stars concerts.[2]

The city's ancient, religious and modern scenery was reflected through a film which opened the broadcast. The city's history as one of the oldest and holiest in the world, was shown through the biblical and medieval monuments and sites sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as well as visitors and city's residents who frequent them while practicing their faiths. The city's governmental, cultural and educational institutions and monuments, as well as the streets and people outside the ancient wall, were shown at the opening and conclusion of the film.


The 24th contest's logo featured a combination of a G-clef, the IBA logo, and the names of all participating countries in order of appearance.

The stage concept designed by Dov Ben David, inside the stage there is a moving symbol which based on IBA logo (which was built like a lamp with 3 concentric rings) using a small projected model.[3]

Since the Israeli Television has yet to broadcast in colour until then (except for a few special occasions), the production had to borrow cameras from the BBC, just like RTÉ did when they hosted the 1971 contest in Dublin.

The opening of the show featured a six-minute-long introduction to the various landmarks in Jerusalem.

The IBA Symphony Orchestra, directed by conductor Izhak Graziani was used to play the music of each songs (except for the Italian entry, who did not use the orchestra). This was the only contest where the orchestra is composed of 39 musicians. (The musicians they used in their national final is what they used in the contest. They just added 2 saxophonists and 1 horn since the national final had only 2 saxophonists and 1 horn. This was also the contest who had no double bass in their orchestra)


For the very first time in the history of the contest, creative postcards featuring mime artists rather than the participating singers were used between each song. The postcards featured the Yoram Boker Mime Group, and included some of Israel's leading mime artists, among them Ezra Dagan and Hanoch Rozen. The group performed on a background of illustrations created by Dudu Geva and Yochanan Lakitzevitz, that featured landmarks and typical landscapes of the respective countries.

The various themes were as following, listed in appearance order:

  1.  Portugal – Boats and picnic baskets on a Portuguese beach; The mime performers pretend to pull a giant bottle of Porto Wine.
  2.  Italy – A photographer using an old view camera, trying to take a picture of tourists on the background of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, when the tower keeps changing its position.
  3.  Denmark – A mime performer dressed as Copenhagen's The Little Mermaid Statue, while other figures from famous fairytales by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen (such as The Ugly Duckling) move in the background.
  4.  Ireland – Mime performers dance in a typical Irish village, with a background of an Irish pub with the sign of Guinness, famous Irish beer brand.
  5.  Finland – Mime performers pretending to be ice skating in a snowy Finnish forest.
  6.  Monaco – A mime performer pretends to be a track marshal waving a flag at the motor racing Grand Prix de Monaco.
  7.  Greece – A mime performer dressed as the Discobolus of Myron statue, standing on the Acropolis of Athens. The statue "comes to life" and throws the discus which causes an audible mayhem, and the presenters Yardena Arazi and Daniel Pe'er take a sneak pick from the columns of the Parthenon, "appalled" by the statue's conduct.
  8.   Switzerland – Three mime performers pretend to be wooden figures of a Swiss clock, dancing. In the background there are illustrations of the Swiss Alps, a building shaped as a clock and a structure with a rooster shaped weather vane.
  9.  Germany – A typical old German village; A depiction of a scene from the German children's book Max and Moritz. A mime performer pretending to be an old woman cooking, when two others are on the roof, stealing her chicken by fishing it through the chimney. In the background some animals are seen, as well as some creatures from the fairy tales of the German Brothers Grimm.
  10.  Israel – Two performers dressed as two of The Twelve Spies carry a big grape cluster, pretending to be walking, when the pictures in the background move to feature the different landscapes of Israel (another performer acts as an orchard worker). Eventually, the scenery changes to a typical Israeli beach, when the two performers take off their biblical style costumes and appear shirtless, wearing modern-day swim trunks.
  11.  France – An illustration of the famous Paris avenue of Champs-Élysées, with mime performers act as a typical French street painter, alongside a romantic couple dancing - initially with each other, and then joined by a drunk homeless who dances with them.
  12.  Belgium – The famous painting of The Peasant Wedding, created by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder, "comes to life", with mime performers pretending to be the two bakers carrying the tray of bread, each pulling to a different direction and argue. Another performer acts as one of the peasants, asking for more bread.
  13.  Luxembourg – Two mime performers play soldiers on a turret of the Grand Ducal Palace of Luxembourg. Initially, they pretend to look out for invaders, but then they pull transistor radios out of the edge of their swords and start dancing to rock 'n' roll music.
  14.  Netherlands – Four mime performers, dressed in old Dutch clothes, pretend to be riding an old kick scooter. The background feature a lot of windmills and some storks sit on them.
  15.  Sweden – The background features an illustration of an enchanted forest in the snow. Two mime performers, dressed as Trolls from the Scandinavian mythology, dance in the snow, and are joined by a third "troll".
  16.  Norway – Three mime performers pretend to be Viking Warriors sailing on a ship, facing a strong wind. The background features illustrations of the Norwegian Fjords.
  17.  United Kingdom – Representing the 'changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the background features the fence of Buckingham Palace, but instead of the palace, beyond fence there are famous London landmarks, such as the Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral. A mime performer, dressed as an old English banker, reads a newspaper, when a life-size cardboard figure of the Queen's Guard is placed next to him. Another performer, dressed as a sculptor, places another guard figure and salutes it. He then takes the other guard figure, while the other figure suddenly "comes to life" when another performer is dressed as a guard, picking at the banker's newspaper.
  18.  Austria – A mime performer dressed as a violinist pretends to be playing an invisible violin in a classical ballroom, and two other performers dance a Viennese Waltz. In the background there are illustrations of spectators.
  19.  Spain – The background features a typical Spanish bullfighting arena. One mime performer is dressed as a matador, holding a red cloth and pretends to be fighting an invisible bull. Another performer is dressed as a banderillero, while three others are dressed as spectators in the audience. There are also real hats moving on the heads of some of the illustrated spectators.


Each country had a jury who awarded 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 point(s) for their top ten songs. This was the last year in which the points were announced via order of appearance, as opposed to order of preference.

The voting was extremely close. Israel gained a good lead in the early stages of the voting, but Spain eventually caught up and took a good lead themselves. At the close of the penultimate jury's votes, Israel were one point behind Spain, and only the Spanish jury had yet to give their votes. Spain ended up giving Israel 10 points, causing the crowd to erupt into enormous cheers.

Interval act[edit]

The intermission between the songs and the voting was presented by a performance of the Shalom '79 Dancing Ensemble, who danced to a medley of Israeli Folk Dances. The performance was directed by the ensemble's manager and choreographer Gavri Levy.

Participating countries[edit]

At one point before the contest Turkey was going to participate. The country would have appeared 11th on stage (between Israel and France), represented by Maria Rita Epik and 21. Peron with the song "Seviyorum" ("I'm Loving"). However, Turkey has decided to withdraw from the contest, following pressure from Arab states, which objected to a predominantly Muslim country taking part in a contest held in Israel.[4] Turkey did, however, take part in the contest held in Jerusalem in 1999.


Each performance had a conductor who conducted the orchestra, except Italy.[5][6]

Returning artists[edit]

Bold indicates a previous winner

Artist Country Previous year(s)
Peter, Sue & Marc   Switzerland 1971, 1976
Xandra  Netherlands 1972 (Along with Andres Holten), 1976 (as Sandra Reemer)
Anne-Marie David  France 1973 (for  Luxembourg)
Yardena Arazi (as presenter)  Israel 1976 (as part of Chocolate, Menta, Mastik)
Anita Skorgan  Norway 1977


The following tables reflect the confirmed, verified scores, which were adjusted after the live broadcast. During the voting announcement, due to a misunderstanding by the presenter Yardena Arazi, Spain appeared to award 10 points to both Portugal and Israel and these scores were added to the scoreboard. After the programme, verification confirmed that Portugal should only have received six points, leaving the total Portuguese score reduced by four points to 64.

Draw Country Artist Song Language[7][8] Place[9] Points
01  Portugal Manuela Bravo "Sobe, sobe, balão sobe" Portuguese 9 64
02  Italy Matia Bazar "Raggio di luna" Italian 15 27
03  Denmark Tommy Seebach "Disco Tango" Danish 6 76
04  Ireland Cathal Dunne "Happy Man" English 5 80
05  Finland Katri Helena "Katson sineen taivaan" Finnish 14 38
06  Monaco Laurent Vaguener "Notre vie c'est la musique" French 16 12
07  Greece Elpida "Sokrati" (Σωκράτη) Greek 8 69
08   Switzerland Peter, Sue, Marc, Pfuri, Gorps and Kniri "Trödler und Co" German 10 60
09  Germany Dschinghis Khan "Dschinghis Khan" German 4 86
10  Israel Milk and Honey "Hallelujah" (הללויה) Hebrew 1 125
11  France Anne-Marie David "Je suis l'enfant soleil" French 3 106
12  Belgium Micha Marah "Hey Nana" Dutch 18 5
13  Luxembourg Jeane Manson "J'ai déjà vu ça dans tes yeux" French 13 44
14  Netherlands Xandra "Colorado" Dutch 12 51
15  Sweden Ted Gärdestad "Satellit" Swedish 17 8
16  Norway Anita Skorgan "Oliver" Norwegian 11 57
17  United Kingdom Black Lace "Mary Ann" English 7 73
18  Austria Christina Simon "Heute in Jerusalem" German 18 5
19  Spain Betty Missiego "Su canción" Spanish 2 116


Voting results[10][11]
Total score
United Kingdom
Portugal 64 6 2 5 4 4 10 5 3 3 3 6 7 6
Italy 27 8 8 3 8
Denmark 76 2 3 12 1 10 12 6 7 4 8 1 3 3 4
Ireland 80 5 5 5 6 10 6 6 3 10 7 8 5 4
Finland 38 7 7 8 5 5 6
Monaco 12 1 2 4 3 2
Greece 69 10 1 4 7 7 2 10 4 1 5 7 2 2 7
Switzerland 60 7 1 10 2 2 7 4 7 8 12
Germany 86 2 1 12 5 3 12 6 12 4 1 2 6 8 12
Israel 125 12 6 12 12 8 4 5 1 2 8 1 12 12 12 8 10
France 106 6 10 1 10 8 10 5 6 12 12 5 7 6 5 3
Belgium 5 2 1 2
Luxembourg 44 7 3 4 4 5 3 2 4 2 10
Netherlands 51 8 10 5 3 3 7 3 4 4 4
Sweden 8 6 1 1
Norway 57 3 3 8 6 2 8 2 6 10 7 1 1
United Kingdom 73 4 8 10 7 7 1 2 8 5 10 6 5
Austria 5 4 1
Spain 116 12 3 6 12 12 8 8 12 10 10 7 1 5 10

12 points[edit]

Below is a summary of all 12 points in the final:

N. Contestant Nation(s) giving 12 points
6  Israel  Finland,  Ireland,  Norway,  Portugal,  Sweden,  United Kingdom
4  Germany  Denmark,  France,  Monaco,  Spain
 Spain  Belgium,  Germany,  Italy,   Switzerland
2  Denmark  Greece,  Israel
 France  Luxembourg,  Netherlands
1   Switzerland  Austria


Listed below is the order in which votes were cast during the 1979 contest along with the spokesperson who was responsible for announcing the votes for their respective country.

  1.  Portugal – João Abel Fonseca[12]
  2.  Italy – Paola Perissi [it]
  3.  Denmark – Bent Henius [dk]
  4.  Ireland – David Heffernan
  5.  Finland – Kaarina Pönniö[13]
  6.  Monaco – Carole Chabrier
  7.  Greece – Niki Venega
  8.   Switzerland – Michel Stocker[14]
  9.  Germany – Lotti Ohnesorge [de][15]
  10.  Israel – Dan Kaner [he][16]
  11.  France – Denise Fabre
  12.  Belgium – An Ploegaerts
  13.  Luxembourg – Jacques Harvey
  14.  Netherlands – Ivo Niehe[17]
  15.  Sweden – Sven Lindahl[18]
  16.  Norway – Sverre Christophersen [no][19]
  17.  United Kingdom – Colin Berry[6]
  18.  Austria – Jenny Pippal [de]
  19.  Spain – Manuel Almendros [es]


  • Religious politicians in Israel complained about the dress rehearsals taking part on Saturday morning, thus violating Jewish religious laws, prohibiting working on the Sabbath.
  • The Swiss delegation had to face a thorough security check at the airport, with the security officers demanding an explanation for the amount of garden tools they brought (which they brought for their performance).
  • When calling the various national juries, the presenters greeted every country, saying "good evening" and "thank you" in their own national language. During the dress rehearsal, when Yardena Arazi called the Belgian jury, she greeted them in French, although the Belgian entry was represented this year by the Flemish broadcaster VRT. The Belgian delegation protested that their spokesperson was not greeted in Dutch. The production team apologised, and during the live show, Arazi did greet them in Dutch. Ever since, VRT presents their votes in English (except for 1987), to distinguish themselves from the Walloon broadcaster RTBF.
  • During the week of rehearsals, Gali Atari, one of the members of newly formed Israeli group Milk and Honey, demanded for the name of the group to be changed to "Gali Atari & Milk and Honey". The other members of the group (Reuven Gvirtz, Yehuda Tamir, and Shmulik Bilu) expressed their objection. The argument was ended by the IBA, who told Atari that the Israeli entry has already been registered as "Milk and Honey", and according to the EBU rules cannot be changed. They did promise her, however, that should Israel win the contest, the presenters will declare the winners as "Gali Atari & Milk and Honey". Israel eventually won, and presenter Daniel Pe'er did state the name of the group in that way in Hebrew and English. However, when it was presenter Yardena Arazi's turn to declare the winner in French, she said "Milk and Honey" only, without mentioning Atari's name. Gossip tabloids in Israel claimed Arazi said before the show: "I'm not willing to take part in Gali Atari's caprices".


Each national broadcaster also sent a commentator to the contest, in order to provide coverage of the contest in their own native language.

Broadcasters and commentators in participating countries
Country Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s) Ref(s)
 Austria FS1 Max Schautzer [20]
Hitradio Ö3 Walter Richard Langer [de]
 Belgium BRT TV1 Dutch: Luc Appermont [21]
RTBF1 French: Paule Herreman [22]
BRT Radio 1 Dutch: Nand Baert [nl] and Herwig Haes
RTBF La Première French: Marc Danval
 Denmark DR TV Jørgen de Mylius [23]
DR P3 Kjeld Koplev [dk]
 Finland YLE TV1 Anja-Maija Leppänen [24]
YLE Rinnakkaisohjelma Matti Paalosmaa [fi] and Jaakko Salonoja [fi]
 France TF1 Marc Menant [22][25]
 Germany Deutsches Fernsehen Ado Schlier [de] and Gabi Schnelle [15]
Deutschlandfunk/Bayern 2 Wolf Mittler
 Greece ERT Mako Georgiadou [el] [26]
Proto Programma Dimitris Konstantaras [el]
 Ireland RTÉ 1 Mike Murphy
RTÉ Radio Liam Devally
 Israel Israeli Television No commentator
Reshet Gimel Yoram Arbel [he] [27]
 Italy Rete 1 Rosanna Vaudetti
 Luxembourg RTL Télé Luxembourg Jacques Navadic [22]
RTL André Torrent [fr]
 Monaco Télé Monte Carlo José Sacré
 Netherlands Nederland 2 Willem Duys [28]
 Norway NRK Egil Teige [no] [29]
NRK P1 Erik Heyerdahl [no]
 Portugal RTP1 Fialho Gouveia [30]
 Spain TVE1 Miguel de los Santos [es] [31]
 Sweden SR TV1 Ulf Elfving [18]
SR P3 Kent Finell [18]
  Switzerland TV DRS German: Max Rüeger [de] [32]
TSR French: Georges Hardy [fr] [25]
TSI Italian: Giovanni Bertini
 United Kingdom BBC1 John Dunn [6][33]
BBC Radio 2 Ray Moore [6]
Broadcasters and commentators in non-participating countries
Country Broadcaster(s) Commentator(s) Ref(s)
 Hong Kong TVB Jade Cantonese: Regina Hing Yue Tsang (曾慶瑜), Lee Chi-chung (李志中) [34]
TVB Pearl English: George Lam (林子祥)
 Iceland Sjónvarpið Unknown [6]
 Romania Programul 2 Unknown [6]
 Turkey Ankara Television Bülend Özveren


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  15. ^ a b "Eurovision Song Contest 1979". Retrieved 2012-08-10.
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  19. ^ Dyrseth, Seppo (OGAE Norway)
  20. ^ "Unterhaltungssendungen im Fernsehen Max Schautzer – Die offizielle Homepage". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  21. ^ Adriaens, Manu & Loeckx-Van Cauwenberge, Joken. Blijven kiken!. Lannoo, Belgium. 2003 ISBN 90-209-5274-9
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  23. ^ "Forside". Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
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  32. ^ Grandprix-Skandal in Jerusalem?, Thuner Tagblatt, 31 March 1979
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  34. ^ "本年度歐洲歌唱大賽 無線獲得獨家播映權 翡翠明珠台同時直播". Wah Kiu Yat Po (華僑日報) (in Chinese). 31 March 1979. p. 7.4.

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