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The Eurovision Song Contest just celebrated its 63rd year in Lisbon, Portugal.  The first contest was held on the 24th of May 1956 with only seven countries competing.  This is in comparison to 2018 with forty-three countries about to compete in Lisbon, Portugal.



The Eurovision Song Contest was utilised initially as a technological experiment in live television in post war-torn Europe as an ambitious project to join as many countries together in an international network. The European Broadcasting Union was set up as an ad-hoc committee tasked to set up a ‘light entertaining programme’.  The contest was based on the idea of the San Remo Music Festival and was initially proposed by Sergio Pugliese from Italian television RAI and then finally conceived by Swiss Television Chairman Marcel Bezençon.  

The first contest would take place on the 24th of May 1956 in Lugano, Switzerland. Seven countries participated—each submitting two songs, for a total of 14. This was the only contest in which more than one song per country was performed: since 1957, all contests have allowed one entry per country. The 1956 contest was won by Lys Assia from the host nation, Switzerland.

Eurovision Junior Eurovision Host Countries Winners Lys Assia