As we embark on a new decade, the sad reality is that many of our beloved Eurovision stars are no longer with us. On the 16th of February, the UK woke up to the news that Pearl Carr, their Eurovision representative in 1959, had died aged 98.

Carr competed in the 4th edition of Eurovision, held in Cannes, France, against 10 other countries. As part of a duo alongside her husband Teddy Johnson, she performed “Sing, Little Birdie”, receiving 16 points overall and finishing in 2nd place.

Pearl’s nephew, Bobby Crush, took to Twitter to share the sad news, with fellow British Eurovision alum Cheryl Baker of Buck’s Fizz tweeting her condolences.

Beyond Eurovision, the pair were successful both as a duo and as solo artists. Pearl’s husband, Teddy Carr, was no stranger to the spotlight. He had a career in radio and children’s TV before sadly passing away in June 2018, also aged 98.

Pearl was the lead singer with the Keynotes, who had a number of hit singles in the UK across the 1950s. As a duo, you’d find Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson in the British charts, or appearing regularly on entertainment programmes. The pair were also residents onstage at the West End, before eventually retiring.

Pearl and Teddy’s finish as runner-up had a game-changing impact on the UK at Eurovision that many younger fans may not be aware of.

When the pair entered the 4th Eurovision Song Contest, the UK had a far from perfect track record. Year one: The UK missed the entry deadline and didn’t participate. Year Two: The UK finishes 7th out of 10th. Year Three: the UK didn’t participate.

When “Sing Little Birdie” scored 2nd place in Year Four, Pearl and Teddy showed Europe, and perhaps more importantly the British public, that the UK had the potential to be a force to be reckoned with at Eurovision. Thanks to their impact, the UK managed a string of four 2nd place finishes and an eventual win in 1967 with “Puppet on a String” by Sandie Shaw.

It goes without saying that the UK could really do with a sprinkle of Pearl’s magic this year, at Eurovision and beyond. Here’s to Pearl, and the hope that her story may inspire the BBC and the British public once again, just like it did over 60 years ago.

May she rest in peace.

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[…] In Memorium: Pearl Carr, the artist who changed the game for the UK at Eurovision, passes away aged … […]

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

Their song is still one of my favourites of that decade and I even listened to it just a few days ago
I thank both of them for their contribution and may she rest in peace

PP77
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PP77

R.I.P. It will be nice to have in ESC final , part Memories (to remember of singers, composers,lyriks,conductor…who passes away in period from may last year to may before final ) in interval act like we have at OSCAR

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

I wish they’d do it! It’d be such a beautiful moment every year 🙂

stavros
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stavros

I agree that would be wonderful

Jake
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Jake

One of the few Eurovision songs from the 50s that holds up SEVEN decades later. Rest in peace. 🙂

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

RIP Pearl, but “Sing little birdie” will play on forever. 🙂

Fatima
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Fatima

Thanks for this thoughtful article

Jonas
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Jonas

Sad, but it seems like she had a long life well lived. I know her (and Teddy) from their Eurovision song, but also from their small contribution to the original London recording of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies. They were perfect for those roles. Rest in peace.

Joe
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Joe

It may feel like a silly song now, but just like Ljiljana Petrovi?, her and Teddy’s impacts are felt through all of Eurovision history. I’m so happy to see a bygone era of Eurovision get acknowledged here, even if it’s through very sad circumstances. Still, 98! Wow. RIP Pearl. Thanks for your song of love.