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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Lo Nigro Christensen

Johnny Logan - Australia's first Eurovision winner

Not many stories start off with the backdrop of Frankston in the 1950s, but it is there where we find the birth of "Australia’s" first Eurovision winner.

On May 13th 1954, Seán Patrick Michael Sherrard (now Johnny Logan) was born while his father Patrick O’Hagan was in Australia touring as a tenor.

Johnny spent the first three years of his life in Australia, before the family decided to return to Ireland. His mother often called him ‘Seanny’ which is where the stage name Johnny originated (as well the character ‘Johnny Guitar’.) He started writing music in his early teens and was back in Australia with his dad touring at the age of 12.

In 1979 Johnny Logan entered the Irish national final with the song 'Angie', however it was a year later when he was to make his first appearance on the Eurovision stage. The 1980 contest was held in The Hague, Netherlands, where Johnny was victorious with the song ‘What’s Another Year’.

Four years later, Linda Martin had her first attempt at Eurovision success, with 'Terminal 3' – a song written by Johnny Logan. Many people forget about the success of this entry, finishing in 2nd place only 8 points behind the Swedish winner 'Diggi-loo Diggi-ley'. 

Johnny described the years following his win as being very troubling, finding it very difficult to establish himself as an artist. In 1985 he was living in Wandsworth, London in a house share with five students, his family had all returned to Ireland. He had no manager, no record contract, no radio airtime and no money. At this desperate point of his life, he wrote 'Hold Me Now' and thought he was on to something special. He decided to enter the Irish national final in 1987. He received the top score from 9/12 juries. Johnny went on to the stage in Brussels and proved his worth by becoming the first (and only) artist to ever win the Eurovision Song Contest twice. 

After winning in 1987, he decided to take his family to Australia for Christmas to see his parents, where he fondly remembers sitting on the beach and hearing ‘Hold me now’, realising that his song had reached our shores and gone global.

'Hold Me Now' peaked at No.4 on the ARIA singles chart. The single remained in the Top 100 for 35 weeks. It came equal third in our list, with ABBA's 'Waterloo' in our article where we ran through and ranked every Eurovision entry to chart on the Australian singles chart. You can check out the full list here.  

Five years later, Johnny penned the Eurovision winner for Linda Martin - 'Why Me?' for the 1992 Contest in Malmo. This was his third victory, which has earned him the nickname Mr. Eurovision. To this day his Eurovision record of three wins and one second place, is unmatched by any other artist. 

Logan and his three sons all hold dual Australian/Irish citizenship. He has often visited Australia as his parents, who decided to retire in Australia, and his siblings live in Queensland. He last visited Australia in 2012 where he sung at his mother's funeral. She is buried together with his father in the Gold Coast. Logan now lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, where he still performs and is highly regarded, having had numerous successes with albums.

My personal favourite is ‘The Irish Collection’, with his version of ‘And the band played Waltzing Matilda’ an ode to our country. 

1 Comment

Aug 21, 2020

I did not know all the facts above about Johnny Logan, but it was very interesting to read all about him and he successes, It was surprised to know he now lives in Copenhagen, after quite a bit of travelling between Ireland UK and Australia. I actually think his song Hold me Now would be one of the earliest Eurovision winner that I recall except of course Abba's Waterloo.

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