Sixty-four acts have won Eurovision, but only a fraction have gone on to top the charts across Europe (and beyond). ABBA did it in 1974 with their song “Waterloo” peaking at #1 in 10 countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland and Belgium. Sadly for Spain’s Salome — who won Eurovision in 1969 —  “Vivo Cantando” didn’t chart at all. As we count down the days until the next national selection season, let’s have a look at some of the best and some of the worst performing winners.

“Ein bißchen Frieden” — Germany 1982

At the start of 1982, Germany’s best result was second place, which they had achieved two years running. Enter Nicole, a 17-year-old high school student with a guitar, singing ‘A Little Peace’. She scored 161 points, setting a record margin of victory that wouldn’t be beaten until 1997. She managed to top the charts in eight countries, including the United Kingdom, Norway and her home country Germany.

“Euphoria” — Sweden 2012

Sweden was the hot favourite throughout the contest, and Loreen did not disappoint. Serving minimalist woman-on-box realness, she scored Sweden’s fifth win and their first of two in this decade. Her electro dance number charted in 33 countries, reached #1 in 18 of them, and became the UK’s most downloaded Eurovision song of all time, setting the bar very high for future winners. Another consequence? More and more contestants from outside of Sweden have turned to Swedish writers for their Eurovision entries.

“Puppet on a string” — United Kingdom 1967

The 60’s was a decade of ballads at Eurovision — until Luxembourg’s France Gall won in 1965 with “Poupee de cire, poupee de son”, after which the majority of winners were up tempo. Sandie Shaw was the first to follow with her upbeat number “Puppet on a String,” which became the contest’s first big charter. Shaw’s ditty peaked at #1 in eight countries: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom, and was the biggest selling single of the year in Germany.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfeiCaRJgMY

Not as lucky…

“Ne partez pas sans moi” — Switzerland 1988

Despite going on to achieve worldwide fame in the years after her victory, Celine Dion did not chart well with her winning song of 1988. In fact, it wasn’t even released in the UK or Ireland, and only charted in five countries, achieving #11 in Switzerland — its highest position anywhere.

“1944” — Ukraine 2016

Jamala, the most recent winner, finished second with both the juries and the televoters with her heartfelt performance of “1944”. Her passion, however, failed to translate into chart success. She reached #2 in her home country, but didn’t enter the Top 10 anywhere else.

“I wanna” — Latvia 2002

Latvia’s only winning song to date was a commercial failure, with Marie N’s salsa-style ‘I Wanna’ only charting in Belgium, where it reached #15, which may have been down to her memorable striptease-like performance rather than the song itself.

Non winners

Sometimes non-winners have better luck on the charts than the songs and artists that beat them.

“Nel blu dipinto di blu” — Italy 1958

Domenico Modugno’s 1958 entry finished third, despite not being broadcast in all countries due to a transmission fault. It was later renamed “Volare”, and went on to become one of the most popular Eurovision songs of all time and one of the few Eurovision songs to chart in the United States, peaking at #1 there, #2 in the Netherlands and Norway, and #10 in the United Kingdom. It’s been covered by numerous singers, including David Bowie, Il Volo and Louis Armstrong.

“Ooh aah… Just a little bit” — United Kingdom 1996

The United Kingdom’s high-energy, aerobics-friendly entry was tipped to do very well, but finished a disappointing eighth in the final. Even so, Gina G’s dance track became the fourth most successful Eurovision entry on the US charts, earned a Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording and cracked the Top 10 in seven countries, becoming a commonly heard track in clubs and bars across Europe.

Which songs have surprised you by their performance (or underperformance) on the charts after Eurovision? Let us know in the comments box below.

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tatikka
Guest
tatikka

In the 70’s, Eurovision was one of the main venues to listen international pop music. Many of the songs – or, rather, covers of them – became radio hits. Our radio stations (we had two of them here in Finland!) didn’t play that much pop music on those days. Now, there are hundreds of radio stations you can listen, there’s youtube, you can buy your music via the Internet. So, the relative importance of Eurovision has diminished. The songs aren’t worse than they used to be in 60’s and 70’s. The amount of music available for people – and, for… Read more »

real@winner.world
Guest

I am soooooo happy to see Jamala failing in charting, not reaching #1 even in her home country. Sadly, it brings eurovision 15 years back, and next year there will be a 20% decrease in the ratings.

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

We badly need some new Eurovision songs to become hits. Interestingly the interval act this year is now a massive hit in the USA

OR
Guest
OR

The Ukrainian song is just awful… “1944” Won only becouse of politics period!! I can count 10 songs well deserved winning than Ukraine…. And all those who now wants to attack me becouse i wrote it just Relax!!! This is my opinion and I’m aloud to have one.. Any way no wonder that this song didint chart at all….

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

@Darren, you don’t need to be apologized, I’ve been responding to your last comment blended with another person opinion while I can’t be more agree with your first comment for example and dozen of rest here. I’ve got bitter aftertaste at the end when you see how you and another people are invented into esc with best wishes but tastes and choices trick everyone to stand apart like it happened this time with quite flimsy values (and political charging in addition) when it’s about measuring winner or song.

Darren
Guest
Darren

@Zebb
I agree, and I was not disrespecting people’s music tastes, it came out wrong, but I completely understand what you mean and I apologise for the way that my comment sounded.
I was just talking about certain one or two commenters here who attacked me for not liking Jamala and who got highly defensive because they couldn’t see the bigger picture outside of their little Eurovision bubble. And let’s face it, calling the likes of the Beatles, Adele, Michael Jackson etc “trash” because they topped charts, just shows that they don’t understand music unless it comes from Eurovision.

mawnck
Guest
mawnck

“It would seem that a select few commenters here don’t know real music if they heard it.”

Double Dutch Bus?

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

@Darren and LadyGaga, let me stay from another side. I can partly agree with you about interpretation of this song and how it affects Jamala’s promotion as singer. But marking people tasteless in subjective way will never make you look clever. Should I throw her album into bin and clear my playlist after so highly persuaded comments you made? Lol nope. We know that chart success occurs after different ways of promotion brought together with interesting song but radio-friendly same time. But it still won’t guarantee one particular song, artist or music style will fit to everyone’s taste. EBU took… Read more »

Helloitsme
Guest
Helloitsme

have a look at 2014: calm after the storm was way more bigger in the charts than ‘rise like a phoenix’. And look at 2016: ‘1944’ totally flopped. ‘Sound of silence’ and ‘if I were sorry’ are still playing on the radio in some countries.

#Justice4Margaret
Guest
#Justice4Margaret

1944 still did better than Believe by Dima Bilan, the winner of 2008, which was a generic pop song. 1944 was not commercial at all and it clearly wasn’t written for the charts unlike most of the winners since 2003.

Grande Amore
Guest
Grande Amore

Il Volo is doing quite well here in Latin America, and also in the US with their Grande Amore tour. Also their songs are being played in the radio, at least here.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Completely agree with @LadyGaga and @Alex here. It would seem that a select few commenters here don’t know real music if they heard it. I’m sure you all k ow who I’m talking about, won’t name names because they are highly sensitive people who jump on the defensive over the slightest thing. :*
Ps: well done Portugal for winning EURO 2016. Hopefully they bring the same hunger and luck with them to Ukraind next year and pull off a good result! #Lisboa2018

Alec
Guest
Alec

Most ESC songs and winners flop. It’s one of the main reasons why a lot of people think ESC is a joke. After the glitter, wind machine and props people move on from it. France, Spain, UK and many other countries ESC is just to watch and laugh at. Since Celine Dion, there hasn’t been any world wide success from ESC. Even Celine today distances herself from it. Can anyone remember the winners in the past few years? Jamal who? Alexander who? Emelie de Forest? Lena’s tours all flopped despite winning and she had to work extra hard to shake… Read more »

Lady Gaga
Guest
Lady Gaga

1944 not charting means people don’t want to listen to it again. Songs need to chart for them to become iconic & remembered througout the years. For those saying only trash songs chart, then I guess you are calling songs by the Beatles, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, David Bowie, Queen and others trash. Face it, 1944 is neither iconic, artistic or what people would like to here. It is a flop like the singer, who will never achieve greatness in the partheon of music. She’s just a political tool, who after being used, will… Read more »

mawnck
Guest
mawnck

Only 4 Eurovision songs have reached the Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 in the USA: “Volare”, “Waterloo” “Love is Blue” (the Paul Mauriat instrumental version), and believe it or not, this, in its original language:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfX-KSbfIz0

R
Guest
R

Dami Im is still breaking records with ‘Sound of Silence’. It just broke gold certification Sweden today. Clearly robbed.

kk
Guest
kk

1944 is my least favorite winner in this decade. Without the staging, this song is a purely boring dirge and the Eurovision performance is the only thing I can swallow. That is the reason why this song is never a chart-friendly material.

Marc
Guest
Marc

@ Denis I guess almost everybody in Sweden thinks Eurovision is really good and people must enjoy ESC music, but in some countries people and the media think Eurovision is a bad joke, the songs are pure trash, it’s all political etc.. and people only take this contest seriously when we have songs like Euphoria becoming a huge hit, or songs like Satellite, Calm after the storm or Heroes being played on the radio… this kind of songs that people want to hear again even if they don’t like ESC. That’s why is a good thing when the songs don’t… Read more »

Ern
Guest
Ern

Gina G’s song did quite well here in the USA. It continued to receive a lot of airplay almost a decade after it was at Eurovision.

As for 1944, this was never going to be a “top 10” hit. This was a special song, but it isn’t very marketable. Had Australia won, THAT would have been a huge hit throughout Europe.

Rock Me
Guest
Rock Me

This article seems like an attack on 1944.Yeah, it didn’t do well in the charts because it’s unique and not like the rest of the songs which usually top the charts.I like Euphoria & I admit that Loreen did a lot for Eurovision’s popularity in this decade but songwise I prefer 1944, mostly because it’s not made for charts.

Denis
Guest
Denis

When did chart hits become something you encourage EBU to look for? Is that the only thing you care for in this contest, who gets the biggest hit? Yes of course radio hit is a nice thing for any ESC entry to achieve and more should think in that matter.It shows that ESC isn’t living in a bubble. But by only looking for radio hits also risks to devalue the contest itself and once again turn it into kitsch. ESC should be for all genres and artists, not just the ones who have bigger potential.Jamala had something she wanted to… Read more »

Ggmlr
Guest
Ggmlr

How about “Calm After The Storm”? I think that’s a good example of a non-winning song that also charted well. At least they reached Top 10 in the UK

NN
Guest
NN

For me Germany deserved to won in 1981 not in 1982.
For me true winner for 1980 The Netherlands 1981 Germany than Switzerland 1982 Belgium

Yuri Kus
Guest
Yuri Kus

@Maclaren ” festival in Baku, Azerbaijan, where top Russian and Ukrainian performers are invited” – top Ukainian and some of Russian, Georgian, etc. performers are at the Atlas Weekend Festival in Kyiv. Jamala is one of them, along with Apocalyptica, Ivan Dorn, Mashina Vremeni, Nino Katamadze, ONUKA, Boombox, Pianoboy, 5’nizza, S.K.A.Y. Also Jamala was the headliner of the Alpha Jazz Fest 2 weeks ago.

SummerWine=Plum
Guest
SummerWine=Plum

@Maclaren
Yes, Zhara Fest has started todayand most of the artists you know are already there=)) Sergey will join it tomorrow since today he is presenting his show in Anapa.
I really don’t know anything about Jamala on this event.

Maclaren
Guest
Maclaren

@Plum, thank you for the confirmation, appreciate the response. I also heard that there is on-going music festival in Baku, Azerbaijan, where top Russian and Ukrainian performers are invited including such Eurovision participants as Ani Lorak, Polina and of course Sergey. I googled it and I think it is called ‘Zhara Fest’, sorry if I misspelled. And, oh dear, no Jamala has been invited again

SummerWine=Plum
Guest
SummerWine=Plum

@Maclaren
It’s true, there won’t be Jamala, there will be Sergey.
He is presenting his “The Best” tour on July 12th in Vitebsk due to his scedule, so happened, and will stay there for a while=)
I don’t think the commercial part here was the main one. He is just more wanted.

(J)ESC Fanatic
Guest
(J)ESC Fanatic

@ninasublatti is totally right! I don’t care who charted and who didn’t. “1944” remains one of the best Eurovision winners along with “Rise Like A Phoenix”. These two prove that Eurovision is not a silly contest and that it can be a platform for quality music as well.

What matters to me is Eurovision and how well each song can do at the contest. The charts, or whatever this sh*t is called, are only about cheap and crappy music.

Robert
Guest
Robert

This continues to strengthen my idea that Ukraine shouldn’t have won. Sorry but the truth hurts

Thiefo
Guest

“The United Kingdom’s high-energy… finished a disappointing eighth in the final.” – how funny reading something like this today, when nowadays an eighth place for the UK would be considered a very good placing haha.

Proud2beTurk
Guest
Proud2beTurk

Watch ; AZERBAIJANI BEST NEW HITS 2016
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQcLdrWEGk4

SummerWine=Plum
Guest
SummerWine=Plum

@Zebb
Yes, yes, Amir on Europe Plus Openair this summer in Moscow. We are waiting for him, he is rotated in Russia and he is liked=))

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@D, Denis: Aye! Jamala’s “1944” was not meant for mainstream radio, nor were they even seeking radio acceptance, or even mega-sales, with this song. They sought to tell a story, and had no expectations of chart glory. This wasn’t the kind of song that was made for pop radio, anyway.

Zebb
Guest
Zebb

This year Frans and I guess Amir and Lazarev but in their regions?

ESC84
Guest
ESC84

@Darren
I absolutely agree with you..
Last 3 years winner, 2 of them do not hide their intention, while Sweden did question about the “gay-friendly” situation to the “certain neighbour”(and I believe this gains Sweden few points)
It is strange to use “bullying” for this “certain neighbour”, but 3 out of 42 participants this year try to use same strategy to gain points, which is certainly bullying, in the Eurovision area.

Marc
Guest
Marc

@Karminowe
Poland has good taste that’s why Frans is on the radio there and not Dami hehe 🙂

karminowe.usta
Guest
karminowe.usta

I suppose Frans would be in radio charts. His song is radio friendly. I think Australia also would be played in radio stations but doesn`t. It`s the biggest disappointment for me.

ESC84
Guest
ESC84

@Avstriya
and Marco Mengoni

Adam023
Guest
Adam023

For me is that many artist to be honest didn’t deserve for millions of viewers on youtube and top the charts. But this thing we can’t changed.

Marc
Guest
Marc

There’s no rule for a chart song, so many differents songs have been on top of the chart: One dance, All about that bass, Cheerlader, Take me to church, All of me, Prayer in C.. and the list goes on and on.
There’a only two categories: songs people want to hear again and songs people don’t want to hear again.. so I don’t buy “1944 is not a chart song” specially when Jamala got 320 from the public.

Darren
Guest
Darren

Let’s face it, “1944” didn’t chart after ESC because it’s job was done. The song was not very good, and was simply there to annoy a certain neighbour and to show that other neighbours also hate Ukraines “certain neighbour”. Euphoria was such a pinnacle moment in Eurovision back in 2012, where I thought the contest was becoming much more professional and relevant. The winners of 2012 and 2013 brought viewers back to Eurovision again after years of bloc voting and tacky winners that didn’t do at all well after the contest. Sadly, out of the last 3 winners, two of… Read more »

Marc
Guest
Marc

Such a big flop for 1944 (so weird it got 320 from the public) while other songs are still in the charts and on the radio. (J’ai cherche and If I were sorry)
EBU needs to change something to avoid this kind of situations. We need winner songs memorables.

Denis
Guest
Denis

The reason 1944 flopped is because it’s not a chart song. It’s an artistic song, not made to fit any chart. And thank God for that! The fact that an artistic song managed to win in such a shallow contest where style is favoured over substance,leaves hope for the future of ESC. Maybe now we can have true artists competing in this concert? As for other flops, Dima Bilan’s Believe sure wasn’t a hit when it won. Latvia’s 2002 winner didn’t even chart in her native country, That’s got the be the worst winner so far? And of course who… Read more »

D
Guest
D

I don’t think “1944” is really a Top 40-type song, which is why it didn’t chart. You don’t see many alternative artists with Top 10 singles, no matter how popular they are.

Avstriya
Guest
Avstriya

The Common Linnets were the most commercially successful non-domestic non-winner of all times in Austria. Ending up in the top 10 of the 2014 year-end singles charts.

Lena of Germany was the most successful winner before she actually won Eurovision.

And Ell & Niki along with Dima Bilan, Marija Serifovic (despite of 12 points) were the biggest flops before Jamala came.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Eurovision will continue to have a bad reputation if garbage songs like 1944 continue to win. Eurovision songs have potential to lift the contest year the voting keeps shooting those hopes down.

Ben Rafter
Guest
Ben Rafter

How did the 1956 winner do?

Adam023
Guest
Adam023

In my opinion 1944 is not chart song as well as rest of her songs. She have incredible voice and we need artist like her who are not in charts.