Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids holds a unique place in the pantheon of Eurovision winners, its triumph being the only time a country has won the contest three times in a row. Two consecutive wins is slightly more common, achieved four times – by Spain (1968-69), Luxembourg (1972-73), Israel (1978-79) and – obviously – Ireland (1992-93).
The media focus tends to be on Ireland’s record breaking number of wins, but if we widen the parameters slightly to include Top 2 finishes a different champ emerges: the United Kingdom has scored a consecutive hat-trick of Top 2s on three occasions – 1959-61, again in 1967-69 and yet again in 1975-77 (Germany also belong to this club, finishing inside the Top 2 from 1980-82). In addition Mary Hopkin was runner-up in 1970 with Knock Knock Who’s There, giving the UK an unprecedented run of four Top 2s on the trot, a record that is unlikely ever to be matched, let alone beaten.
The win for Rock ‘n’ Roll Kids was unique in other ways too. It was the first time the winning song had been performed without orchestral accompaniment, and it was also the first time the contest had been won by a male duo. A fairly senior male duo to boot. Much comment has been made about 33-year-old Paul Harrington and 43-year-old Charlie McGettigan’s advanced years, yet they are far from the oldest winners of Eurovision: André Claveau, Toto Cutugno and Niels Olsen were all 46 at the time of their wins, while Niels’s brother Jørgen was 50, two months younger than the oldest ever Eurovision winner Dave Benton.
Notice how all the older winners are male, while all the younger winners (Sandra Kim, Gigliola Cinquetti, France Gall, Nicole, Lena – see No. 430) are female.