I was just 11 years old when our city hosted the Eurovision Song Contest on 6 April 1974 and I can remember watching it on TV with my parents. On hearing Waterloo by Abba, I knew that they would win it because it was instantly catchy and better than the rest. But I had no idea that they would go on to dominate the pop world for so long afterwards.
Leap forward 43 years and the Dome now has its very own Blue Plaque to commemorate this important musical event. Which I have to say is a happier event than the one located inside the Brighton Centre for the commemoration of Bing Crosby’s last gig.
This particular Blue Plaque is one of 47 unveiled around the country on BBC Music Day (Thursday 15 June). It was announced by BBC Local Radio, BBC Asian Network and the British Plaque Trust to commemorate people or places that have influenced the musical landscape across the country. The plaques were chosen by a panel of experts after the BBC asked radio listeners to send in their nominations.
The plaque was unveiled at The Dome shortly before 7pm and was followed by Abba tribute band Bjorn Again performing a brief set in the Pavilion Gardens shortly after the unveiling.
Five interesting facts about Brighton’s Eurovision:
1. The 19th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 should have actually been held in Luxembourg as they had won the 1973 competition with Anne-Marie David singing Tu Te Reconnaitras. However, as they had also won in 1972 and faced the expense of hosting the contest again, they decided that they could not afford to host it for a second year in a row.
2. The runner up of the 1974 Brighton Dome Eurovision Song Contest was Gigliola Cinquetti from Italy singing Si and she had participated and won it ten years earlier in 1964 in Copenhagen.
3. In 1974 the UK was represented by British born Australian singer Olivia Newton-John, who grabbed fourth place with Long Live Love, just behind the Netherlands.
4. The Brighton competition was hosted by prim-and-proper Katie Boyle, who had returned to host it for the fourth time – the previous times were in 1968, 1963 and 1960.
- There were 17 countries taking part in 1974 and every country scored some points, so no nil points this year!
Should you be interested, the full list of 47 Blue Plaques can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2017/bbc-local-radio-bue-plaques-bbc-music-day