Top 10 Eurovision songs of the 1990s by percentage
Eurovision during the 1990s was a very interesting time with the Contest achieving many accomplishments and breaking many records.
These included a certain country winning multiple times, the first back-to-back win in the Contest’s history, the first and only trans winner, a popular band taking home the trophy for a powerhouse nation, and a winning song with the fewest ever words sung in the Contest.
Today we jump into a time machine and look at the most popular songs of the 1990s at Eurovision by the percentage of total possible votes, with some surprising results and omissions!
=9. Carola - 'Fångad av en stormvind' (Sweden 1991)
1st place - 146 points out of 252 (57.9%)
1991 was the first time since 1969 that there was a tiebreak at the top of the scoreboard, however this time, there were rules in place to ensure an outright winner.
Both Sweden and France tied with 146 points. A ‘count-back’ was done to determine the winner, but both entries had received four sets of 12 points. Then when it came to sets of 10 points, and as Sweden had five and France two, Sweden was crowned the winner, their third win at the time. Carola got 12 points from Iceland, Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.
'Fångad av en stormvind’ went on to reach No. 3 on the Swedish singles chart.
=9. Amina - 'C'est le dernier qui a parlé qui a raison' (France 1991)
2nd place - 146 points out of 252 (57.9%)
France may have come second back in 1991, but based on the current tiebreak rules, the entry with points from the most countries wins Eurovision, meaning France would have been the winner. Amina got points from 18 out of 22 countries with Carola getting points from 17 out of 22 countries. Amina received points from Austria, Norway, Israel and Italy. In our list, both top Eurovision 1991 songs share the 9th spot.
8. Linda Martin - 'Why me?' (Ireland 1992)
1st place - 155 points out of 264 (58.7%)
Linda Martin gave Ireland their fourth win at the time, and remains the oldest woman to win the trophy at 41 years and 22 days. For Johnny Logan it was his third win after his two wins in 1980 and 1987, and then again in 1992 as singer-songwriter. Linda won with only three sets of 12 points from Greece, Malta and Turkey. The three other countries that got four sets of 12 points were Italy, Malta and the UK.
‘Why me?’ reached No. 1 on the Irish singles chart.
7. Toto Cutugno - 'Insieme 1992' (Italy 1990)
1st place - 149 points out of 252 (59.1%)
Toto Cutugno won by 17 points with his entry receiving three sets of 12 points from Spain, Ireland and Cyprus, and points from all other 21 countries (except for the United Kingdom and Norway). The French entry got six sets of 12 points and tied for second place with Ireland.
Toto’s anthem for a unified Europe reached the top 10 singles charts in Austria, Belgium, France and Switzerland.
6. Dana International - 'Diva' (Israel 1998)
1st place - 172 points out of 288 (59.7%)
Dana International's win was groundbreaking. She became the first and only trans winner of the Contest. It was Israel's third win at the time. 'Diva' won by just six points, receiving three set of 12 points out of 24 countries, from France, Malta and Portugal.
Malta and the United Kingdom received four sets of 12 points but finished in third place and runner up respectively. Israel received the most sets of 10 points from seven countries.
‘Diva’ charted throughout Europe and was even released as a single in Australia where it reached No. 63 on the ARIA singles chart.
5. Eimear Quinn - 'The voice' (Ireland 1996)
1st place - 162 points out of 264 (61.3%)
Ireland’s seventh win was a record in Eurovision history, however, it was to be their last. Eimear Quinn's Celtic-inspired entry won by 48 points beating Norway’s Elisabeth Andreassen’s ‘I evighet’. Eimear received seven sets of 12 points from 22 countries, with four countries, the United Kingdom, Spain, Croatia and Iceland giving nil points to Ireland.
4. Charlotte Nilsson - 'Take me to your heaven' (Sweden 1999)
1st place - 163 points out of 264 (61.72%)
Charlotte Nilsson beat one of the other Eurovision favourites of the year (Selma from Iceland) by 17 points, giving Sweden its fourth Eurovision win. 'Take me to your heaven’ received five sets of 12 points, with points from every country but Croatia.
The song managed to chart in the top 20 in the United Kingdom, Norway and Belgium and claimed the No. 2 spot in the Swedish charts.
3. Niamh Kavanagh - 'In your eyes' (Ireland 1993)
1st place - 187 points out of 288 (64.9%)
Ireland’s second Eurovision win of the 1990s, 'In your eyes’, beat the United Kingdom’s Sonia with ‘Better the Devil You Know’ by 23 points in the 1993 Contest. Niamh Kavanagh earned points from each of the 24 competing countries and scored seven sets of “douze" points.
'In your eyes’ managed to chart across Europe with the most success being in the United Kingdom where it reached No. 24 in the charts, as well as claiming the top spot in Niamh's native Ireland.
2. Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan - 'Rock 'n' roll kids' (Ireland 1994)
1st place - 226 points out of 288 (78.4%)
Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan gave Ireland their third Eurovision win in a row, a first in the Contest’s history cementing Ireland as a Eurovision powerhouse. 'Rock 'n' roll kids’ received eight sets of 12 points from 24 countries.
With 226 total points, 'Rock 'n' roll kids' has the most points out of all the Irish entries to ever complete at Eurovision. The duo won by 60 points beating Poland’s debut entry ‘To tie ja!’ by Edyta Górniak, Poland’s most successful Eurovision song to date.
When it came to the charts, 'Rock 'n' roll kids’ was most successful in the Irish singles chart, peaking at No. 2.
1. Katrina and the Waves - 'Love shine a light' (United Kingdom 1997)
1st place - 227 points out of 288 (78.8%)
1997 was the United Kingdom’s year!
'Love shine a light’ won the Eurovision trophy by 70 points. Katrina and the Waves received 12 points from 10 out of the 24 countries competing. The song became the band's biggest hit since ‘Walking on sunshine’ which was released 12 years earlier. ‘Walking on sunshine’ made them a popular band upon its release in 1985 and the song did very well in the charts reaching No. 4 in Australia, No. 8 in the United Kingdom and No. 9 in the United States. The band were also nominated for a Grammy for 'Best New Artist'.
'Love shine a light’ charted across Europe reaching No. 2 in Norway and Austria and No.3 in the United Kingdom. The song didn’t just get the highest percentage of points from possible votes, it also received the most points than any other Eurovision song during the 90s.
Most recently, 'Love shine a light’ was sung by all the contestants of the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest (except for Belgium's Hooverphonics), in a replacement show ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine a Light’ due to the cancellation of the 2020 Contest because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
What about 'Nocturne'?
So you may have noticed there is one Eurovision winner that is missing from the top 10.. and that is Secret Garden from Norway who won Eurovision 1995 with 'Nocturne'. They won with 149 points out of a possible 264, and in our ranking they finished in 15th place with 56%. The song broke the record for the fewest ever words in a Eurovision winning song ever.