Although the Principality will not be taking part in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023, Monaco has been represented 24 times since the event was created and has even won.
1. Monaco won the competition in 1971
Keen Eurovision fans will remember this. Séverine, a French singer, aged 22 at the time, won the famous contest in Dublin in June 1971 representing Monaco with the song Un banc, un arbre, une rue.
With lyrics by Yves Dessca and music by Jean-Pierre Bourtayre, the song, whose video was filmed in front of the Casino de Monte-Carlo, went on to become a hit throughout Europe, even reaching number 9 in the UK charts.
This was the first and only Eurovision victory for the Principality, which continued to take part in the contest until 1979. The red and white flag came back briefly in 2004 and 2006, after a 25-year absence. As Monaco was eliminated each time in the semi-finals, the organisers decided to pull out of the competition for good.
In addition to winning the competition once, Monaco finished second in 1962, and third in 1960, 1964 and 1976. On the other hand, the city-state also came last twice, in 1959 and 1966, with nul point, i.e. no points at all, in 1966.
2. Monaco has never been a host country
It is customary for the winning country to host the contest the following year, but this was not the case for Monaco, the only winning country never to have hosted Eurovision ‘at home’. Having initially decided to run the 1972 edition on its own, the Principality ultimately contacted France’s public television organisation for financial and technical support.
The Monegasque broadcasters (TMC at the time) wanted the competition to be held in Monaco and French television wanted to host it in France. They were unable to reach an agreement. The Monegasque authorities therefore decided not to organise the competition, which was ultimately held in the United Kingdom.
3. Gainsbourg wrote a song for Monaco
Despite this small hiccup, Eurovision was a great showcase for the Principality. Did you know that one of Monaco’s songs was composed by Serge Gainsbourg? Boum Badaboum was performed at Eurovision 1967 by Minouche Barelli, a famous pop singer and TV presenter, but also the daughter of the naturalised Monegasque conductor, Aimé Barelli.
Another well-known personality to fly the Principality flag was Jacques Pills with the song Mon ami Pierrot. In 1963, Françoise Hardy represented Monaco in London with L’Amour s’en va, and Michèle Torr in 1977 with Une petite française. Séverine Ferrer performed Monaco’s last Eurovision appearance in 2006 with the song Coco Dance.
Will there be other stories to tell in the future? Monaco would have to make a comeback… There are technical, financial and logistical reasons the Principality will not be taking part in Liverpool in 2023. But the advent of Monte-Carlo Riviera, the future Monegasque public channel broadcast on TV5 Monde, could perhaps change the Principality’s tune.