We are continuing our walk down the Eurovision memory lane to mark another anniversary. This time we celebrate 40 years from the fourth victory of the United Kingdom. We will be looking back at the Eurovision 1981 when Bucks Fizz won the contest with one of the most memorable performances, skirt ripping routine which accompanied their song “Making Your Mind Up”.
The 26th edition of Eurovision took place at RDS Simmonscourt Pavilion in Dublin, Ireland following Johnny Logan’s win with “What’s Another Year” in The Hague. The contest was hosted by the radio producer, TV journalist and voice-over artist, Bernadette Ní Ghallchóir. This was the second time Dublin got to be the hosting city of the show, 10 years after they welcomed Eurovision for the first time in 1971. Twenty countries participated in the contest equaling the record previously set by Eurovision 1978. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and United Kingdom were joined by Israel who returned after their one year absence and Yugoslavia who finished their five year Eurovision break after the broadcaster received many requests to join the contest. It also featured the debut of Cyprus while Morocco withdrew after their debut at Eurovision 1980 and Italy withdrew from the contest for the first time, as RAI stated that the interest in Eurovision decreased in the country.
The contest featured songs in 15 languages, 2 songs in Dutch, English, French and Greek and 1 in Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish. The acts competeing were 13 soloists, 1 duet and 6 groups. The artists who made their comeback to the Eurovision stage included the winner of Eurovision 1961, Jean-Claude Pascal representing Luxembourg, Marty Brem from Austria who competed a year before as the member of Blue Danube, The Danish duo represented the country in 1979, Tommy Seebach and Debbie Cameron was the backing vocalist, Björn Skifs represented Sweden in 1978, Maxi (member of the Sheeba) was the Irish representative at Eurovision 1973, Ismeta Dervoz was the backing singer for Yugoslavia and she represented the country as the member of Ambasadori in 1976. Cheryl Baker (Bucks Fizz) represented UK at Eurovision 1978 as member of Co-Co and the Swiss band Peter, Sue and Marc who made their fourth appearance at the Eurovision stage with a song in fourth language, Italian after singing in French, English and German on previous three occasions. The interval act of the show was an Irish folk band Planxty, their performance, Timedance, showcased Irish music through ages. Dublin City Ballet dancers performed the choreography of Iain Montague.
After the exciting voting during which five countries were changing in the leading position (France, Ireland, Germany, UK, and Switzerland) it was revealed that representatives of The United Kingdom, Bucks Fizz with “Making Your Mind Up” won the show with 136 points, leaving Lena Valaitis with “Johnny Blue” on second place with 132 points. That was the second consecutive year Germany ended as runner up. France scored 125 points and ended on third place, the country was represented by Jean Gabilou with “Humanahum” . The fourth and fifth place went to Switzerland and Ireland. United Kingdom was the only country which received points from the juries of all participating countries at the contest. Norway ended on last place for the sixth time and it was the third time without getting any points. The voting also had a memorable moment as Helga Vlahović who announced the votes of Yugoslavia answered “I don’t have it” after being asked to present their votes. The victory of Bucks Fizz led to UK hosting the contest for the seventh time setting up a record which they extended to eight after hosting Eurovision 1998. You can check out the whole show below
“Making Your Mind Up” was written by Andy Hill and John Danter. Bucks Fizz was formed specifically for the contest in January of the same year. The members of the group were: Bobby G, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston. The song reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Israel and Denmark while it also charted in New Zealand as 3rd, Australia as 6th and South Africa as 7th it was sold in four million copies worldwide and it launched the career of Bucks Fizz. You can watch their winning performance of “Making Your Mind Up” below
Let us know your impressions and thoughts of Eurovision 1981 and “Making Your Mind Up” in the comments below and at our social media links!