Eurovision Song Contest (ESC) is one of the truly remarkable European television programs transmitted live via the Eurovision satellite network. More than 195 million viewers in Europe and throughout the world watch the program.

ESC is rich in tradition and heritage, dating back to 1956. Inspired by the popular Italian San Remo Festival, the ESC idea was born during a meeting of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) in Monaco in 1955, and adopted in Rome shortly after. The brainchild of the brilliant idea was Marcel Baison, French representative of the EBU. The contest would be to help foster European unity after the Cold War and to test the limits of live television broadcast technology.

The first competition was held on May 24 in the city of Lugano, Switzerland in 1956, (headquarters of the EBU is in Geneva, Switzerland) Seven countries – Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxemburg and Italy participated in the contest. Over the years as the contest progressed, other countries were added. The contest has grown and expanded, and after the fall of the USSR, the number of countries eligible to compete skyrocketed. The participation level rose to pass 40 nations at the end of the 20th century.

The winner of the 1956 Eurovision Contest became Lys Assia (Switzerland) with her song - Refrain.

FAMOUS WINNERS

Some participants of Eurovision have led successful careers in their home countries but very few were able to go on to great fame as a result of their participation in the contest. In fact, in the history of the competition, ABBA (Sweden) with song - Waterloo won the 1974 competition, Celine Dion (Switzerland) with her song - Ne partez pas sans moi won the Eurovision 1988, Toto Cutugno (Italy) with the song -Insieme won the 1990 contest, etc. have ever attained international success.

The biggest success story ever to emerge from the history of the Europe's Favourite TV Show was ABBA's victory in 1974 with Waterloo. The group went on to enjoy unprecedented worldwide fame and success. Waterloo was voted best ever Eurovision Song Contest song in the 50th anniversary Congratulations show in 2005.

ABBA (Sweden), with the song - Waterloo won the 1974 competition.

World famous superstar Celine Dion (Switzerland), with her song - Ne partez pas sans moi won the Eurovision 1988.

Aside from ABBA, Céline Dion is arguably the biggest household name worldwide to have competed in Europe's Favourite TV Show.

For Céline Dion, winning the 1988 Eurovision Song Contest was the starting point of her worldwide career. She had only been known in Canada and France before 1988, Europe's Favourite TV Show gave her the opportunity to record songs which would sell millions of copies all around the world.

Toto Cutugno (Italy), with the song - Insieme won the 1990 contest.

Julio Iglesias took part in 1970 ESC, with the entry Gwendolyne

The 1970 Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), the 15th running, took place on the 21st of March at the RAI Congrescentrum in Amsterdam. Only 12 countries were represented. The contest featured an appearance of the then unknown Julio Iglesias, singing for Spain.

Al Bano and Romina Power were one of Italy's most glamorous couples of the 1970s and 80's. Together, Albano and Romina represented Italy in the Eurovision Song contest twice in 1976 and 1985.

In 1976, they finished seventh with - Noi Lo Rivivremo Di Nuovo (I'd Live It All Again)

And nine years later with - Magic Oh Magic, they achieved the same result.

Johnny Logan - the Most Successful Musician in Eurovision History

Johnny Logan is an Australian-born Irish singer and composer. He is regarded as "Mister Eurovision", having participated in the Eurovision Song Contest many times starting in the 1970s , he has been the most successful Musician in Eurovision history. Logan has won the international contest on three occasions, representing Ireland twice as a performer (1980 and 1987) and also as a composer (1987 and 1992). He also composed the second placed entry in 1984.

Johnny Logan won the 1980 Eurovision Song Contest, with the song - What's Another Year.

Johnny Logan won the Eurovision Song Contest 1987, with his self composed entry - Hold Me Now.