While millions are watching the Eurovision Song Contest year after year, there are very few who recognize it as a truly relevant event in the music industry. Some argue that even the name "Eurovision" is inaccurate, considering that Australia - probably one of the countries the furthest away from Europe - participates (as a guest entrant, to be fair, but still). Even if you are unlikely to see the winner of the Eurovision 2019 contest top the charts around the world, the event still represents an important opportunity for local acts to make their debut internationally. And there were times when this long-running event has given the musical world some of its biggest stars.
The Swedish are well-known for their music - Sweden has given us massive hits ranging from Roxette to Ace of Base and Army of Lovers. One of their earliest pop sensations were, in turn, ABBA, the Stockholm-based pop group consisting of Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. And they have the Eurovision to thank for at least part of their success.
ABBA was Sweden's entry to the 1974 event, with the gala held at The Dome in Brighton, UK. The band won the contest - they were the first Swedish act to do so. In the eight years to come, ABBA topped the charts all over the world, selling more than 140 million records, and becoming one of the most successful musical acts in history.
Although she is Canadian, Céline Marie Claudette Dion represented Switzerland at the 1988 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. There, she performed the French language song "Ne partez pas sans moi" (Don't leave without me) composed by Atilla Şereftuğ and Nella Martinetti - and she won. She released her first English-language album two years later and went on to release several more, becoming one of the most successful Canadian singers ever.
Julio Iglesias started his entertainment career in Spain in 1968, winning the Benidorm International Song Festival with the song "La Vida Sigue Igual". After this he released his first studio album that was a big hit in his home country, peaking at #3 in the charts. Two years later, he represented Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where he finished fourth. There's no telling if it was his performance at the festival that boosted his career or it was by chance alone but the fact remains: shortly after the event, his song "Un Canto A Galicia" became a number one hit in several European countries, selling more than 1 million copies in Germany alone.
Today, he is considered one of the most successful continental European singers in the world and one of the top 10 record sellers, with more than 250 million records sold in 14 languages.