Finnish DJ Darude may be most famous in the UK for his 1999 hit Sandstorm, which peaked at number three in the top 40; but in his native of Finland, he has four number one hits, as well as a number one album. And at the age of 43, he will represent Finland at the Eurovision Song Contest with his song Look Away, performed by Sebastian Rejman. He may only be ninth-favourite to win the contest, but what better way to pay homage to Darude than take a look back at other famous performers who’ve sang at the legendary contest.
1969: Lulu (United Kingdom)
Lulu was a popular singer during the 1960s, prior to her performance in the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest. Her song Boom-Bang-a-Bang saw her win the contest in a four-way tie and when it was released, reached the top 10 in 11 countries before more recently, going on to be the theme tune for BBC show Him & Her. However, it was after Eurovision that Lulu became a household name, where she continued to release music as well as appear in TV and film. Some of her post-Eurovision highlights include singing the theme tune for the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun; featuring on Take That’s number one single Relight My Fire in 1993; and receiving an OBE in 2000.
1970: Julio Iglesias (Spain)
Prior to performing at the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest, Julio Iglesias was a professional footballer before embarking on a career in music. His debut album peaked at number three; and although he only came fourth in Eurovision, his song Gwendolyne reached number one in the Spanish chart. He has continued to release music as recently as 2015, and still regularly performs. With over 300 million records sold worldwide in 14 different languages, Iglesias has released over 80 albums and even won a Grammy (Best Latin Pop Performance in 1988). Of course, more recently, he is equally as famous for being the father of Spanish singer/songwriter Enrique Iglesias.
1974: ABBA (Sweden)
Abba were formed in 1972 and it’s fair to say their career really took off after performing at the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest, which they won with Waterloo. It’s without a doubt that ABBA are the most-successful act that ever appeared on Eurovision, with 500 million record sales worldwide and despite disbanding in 1982 – before coming back together in 2018 to a record a couple of songs – they remain one of the most popular and best-loved bands today. Of course, we must also mention the popular 2008 film Mamma Mia! and its sequel of 2018 – with the former winning awards for its famous soundtrack.
1988: Celine Dion (Switzerland)
Another performer to really hit the bigtime after appearing on the Eurovision Song Contest, Celine Dion went on to become the best-selling Canadian artist of all-time. She reigned supreme in the ‘90s with five number one albums and five number one singles (in Canada) – and is still performing and touring today. She’s also won a Brit Award, a handful of Grammys, scooped up at two VH1 ceremonies and received the Order of Canada in 1998 and 2008. Celine’s performance at the Eurovision Song Contest saw her sing in French, with Ne parlez pas sans moi, but she went on to learn English before releasing her debut Anglophone album in 1990.
2003: t.A.t.u (Russia)
The controversial duo from Russia were famous prior to their 2003 Eurovision Song Contest performance, largely courtesy of their hit single All the Things She Said. Known for catchy melodies and lyrics containing subliminal references (mainly with regards to sexuality), the pair came third with their Russian song Ne Ver’, Ne Boysia. They continued to release music in the noughties, before splitting in 2011. However, they got back together to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, before disbanding again permanently to concentrate on solo careers and their personal lives. Russia are the favourites to win this year’s contest and you can find all the odds on Betfair Eurovision.
2013: Cascada (Germany)
German Eurodance act Cascada are famous all over the world, notably for their catchy noughties tunes Everytime We Touch, What Hurts the Most and Evacuate the Dancefloor. Fronted by singer Natalie Horler, Cascada performed at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest and came a disappointing 21st with only 18 points. Post-Eurovision, Cascada continued touring and releasing singles – and most recently a new remix of Everytime We Touch was released. Natalie has appeared as a judge on the German edition of Pop Idol, while DJs Manian and Yanou had little success post-Eurovision.