Hilversum 1958

  3rd Eurovisión Song Contest
Dors, Mon Amour (André Claveau.) - France





Most unforgettable highlight of the ESC 1958
3rd Place: Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu (Domenico Modugno) - Italy


The 3rd Eurovision Song Contest was held at the AVRO studios in Hilversum, The Netherlands, on Wednesday, 12th of March 1958 and it was won by France, with the song "Dors, Mon amour" sung in French by André Claveau. Switzerland was second with first edition's winner, Lys Assia returning to the festival for third time in a row. Italy was third. Corry Brokken previous year's winner and who had also participated in 1956 returned again only to end in last place. The thing is the rule that the previous year winning country would host the following year's contest was introduced this year which means the Netherlands were not only the first country to host the contest as winners but also the first one to end up last at home. Interestengly that would not happen again until 2015 in Austria.

France's win was their first. France would win the contest again in 1960 1962 1969 and 1977 the latter being their last victory to date. It was the last time to date that the United Kingdom did not participate and consequently the second and last time that not a single song was sung in English (the previous had been in 1956). This was the year when Sweden debuted in the Contest. Sweden would eventually become one of the most successful countries in Eurovision history. The total of participating countries was nevertheless ten, the same as the previous year, because of the UK withdrawal.

Although the EBU encouraged the participating countries not to bring entries longer than three and a half minutes in 1957 the Italian song lasted more than five whereas the British song was less than two minutes. It was because of this that a new rule was introduced that restricted songs to a maximum of three minutes. This rule has never been changed although for many years many songs lasted less than that as it was quite common in those days that pop songs were about two minutes and a half long.

The Italian entry was not correctly broadcasted in some countries and because of that Domenico Modugno had to sing it again after the last song as the juries were not in the studio but in their countries like in the previous year. That would eventually become a common practice.

Despite its placing only third, Domenico Modugno's  "Nel Blu Dipinto di Blu" later simply known as "Volare" became a worldwide hit and one of the most successful Eurovision songs ever.It had previously won the Sanremo Music Festival and thus was chosen to represent Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest. "Volare" was Billboard's number one single of the year and got two Grammy awards for Best Song of the Year and Best Record of the Year. It is to date the only foreign-language song to have achieve that. It is also the only Eurovision song to have achieved a Grammy. No other Eurovision song has ever sold as many copies as "Volare" and no other Italian song has ever been so popular and well known all over the world either. Frank Sinatra, Barry White, Ray Charles, Dean Martin, Paul McCartney, Luciano Pavarotti, Andrea Bocelli or Il Volo, among many other great international artists have included covers of this song in their albums and concerts. Without forgetting, of course, the very successful flamenco version by the Gispsy Kings that brought the song to parties and dance floors all over the world. In 2005, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest, "Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu" was chosen the second best in the history of the festival by popular vote, only behind Waterloo by ABBA. Volare did not win in 1958 and did not win in 2005 but, at this point in history, who cares? "Volare" means "Fly" in Italian and no other Eurovision song has ever flown so high. 

See you in Cannes for the 4th Eurovision Song Contest in 1959