Saturday, 8 September 2012

Eurovision Song Contest 1978

Izhar Cohen & Alpha Beta, Ehud Manor and Nurit Hirsch

Date: April 22, 1978
Venue: Palais des Congrès, Paris, France
Presenters: Denise Fabre and Léon Zitrone
Conductor: François Rauber
Director: Bernard Lion
Scruteneer: Frank Naef
Host broadcaster: RTF
Price presenters: Jean-Louis Guillot and Marie Myriam
Interval act: Stéphane Grapelli & Oscar Peterson, Yehudi Menuhin, Kenny Clarke & Nils Henning Ørsted Pedersen
Duration: 2 hours, 13 minutes
Number of entries: 20
Debuting countries: -
Returning countries: Denmark, Turkey
Withdrawing countries: -
Winning Song: A-Ba-Ni-Bi - Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta, Israel
Voting system: Each country had 10 jurors who could all give 1 vote to their favourite song.


01. Ireland: Colm C.T. Wilkinson - Born to sing (5th place, 86 points)
02. Norway: Jahn Teigen - Mil etter mil (20th place, 0 points)
03. Italy: Ricchi e Poveri - Questo amore (12th place, 53 points)
04. Finland: Seija Simola - Anna rakkaudelle tilaisuus (18th place, 2 points)
05. Portugal: Gemini - Dai li dou (17th place, 5 points)
06. France: Joël Prévost - Il y aura toujours des violins (3rd place, 119 points)
07. Spain: José Vélez - Bailemos un vals (9th place, 65 points)
08. UK: Co-Co - The bad old days (11th place, 61 points)
09. Switzerland: Carole Vinci - vivre (9th place, 65 points)
10. Belgium: Jean Vallée - L'amour ça fait chanter la vie (2nd place, 125 points)
11. The Netherlands: Harmony - 't is OK (13th place, 37 points)
12. Turkey: Nilüfer & Nazar - Sevince (18th place, 2 points)
13. Germany: Ireen Sheer - Feuer (6th place, 84 points)
14. Monaco: Caline & Olivier Toussaint - Les jardins de Monaco (4th place, 107 points)
15. Greece: Tania Tsanaklidou - Charlie Chaplin (8th place, 66 points)
16. Denmark: Mabel - Boom boom (16th place, 13 points)
17. Luxembourg: Baccara - Parlez-vous français? (7th place, 73 points)
18. Israel: Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta - A-Ba-Ni-Bi (1st place, 157 points)
19. Austria: Springtime - Mrs. Caroline Robinson (15th place, 14 points)
20. Sweden: Björn Skifs - Det blir alltid värre framåt natten (14th place, 26 points)


The Eurovision Song Contest 1978 was the 23rd of its kind, and was held on April 22 1978 in Paris. With Denise Fabre and Léon Zitrone as the presenters - the first time more than one presenter hosted the contest - the contest was won by Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta who represented Israel, with their song A-Ba-Ni-Bi which was written by Nurit Hirsh and Ehud Manor.

The winning entry is a love song sung in the Hebrew equivalent of Ubbi dubbi. Translation of the title it's rendered I love you in English. This was Israel's first Eurovision win. The win caused problems for several North African and Middle-Eastern nations that were televising the contest, even though they were not participating. According to author and historian John Kennedy O'Connor in his book The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History, when Israel became the clear winners during the voting, most of the Arabic stations ended their transmission of the contest. Jordanian TV finished the show with a photo of a bunch of daffodils on screen, later announcing that the Belgian entry (which finished second) was the winner. Norway finished last for the fifth time, gaining the first nul points during the current voting system was implemented in 1975.

Björn Skifs was unhappy with the rule that every country would have to perform in their native language. He planned to sing in English anyway, but changed his mind at the very last moment, causing him to completely forget the lyrics. He therefore sang the first few lines in gibberish before finding the words again.

Along with the 20 participating countries, the show was also broadcast live in Yugoslavia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Dubai, Hong Kong, the Soviet Union and Japan.

 Izhar Cohen & the Alphabeta

Participating countries

This was the first Contest in which both Greece and Turkey participated; Greece made its debut in the Contest in 1974 in Brighton, the following year they withdrew in response to the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus, in protest of Turkey's participation in Stockholm. Greece subsequently returned in 1976 in The Hague with a song about the Cyprus crisis, Panayia Mou, Panayia Mou, the English version of which was entitled The death of Cyprus, and they also participated in 1977 in London with Mathima Solfege, Turkey then in turn pulled out from the Contest in protest of the Greek participations. This pattern would repeat over the following years; in 1979 Greece took part in the Contest with Sokrates in Jerusalem - but Turkey withdrew. In 1980 both countries returned, with Autostop and Pet'r Oil respectively. Despite Turkey's failure to recognize the Greek government in Cyprus, all three countries performed together when Cyprus debuted in 1981


Denmark returned to the contest this year, for the first time since 1966.

Returning artists

Two artists returned to the contest this year. Jean Vallée represented Belgium in 1970 and Ireen Sheer represented Luxembourg in 1974.

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