We have a particular penchant for Monaco in the early 1960s, already we’ve seen Françoise Hardy and L’amour S’en Va from 1963 (see No. 429), now it’s the turn of Monaco’s entry from the year before (and there’s a couple more to come besides).
François Deguelt was born in 1932 in the Pyrenean town of Tarbes, 430 miles due west of Monaco. He first represented the Mediterranean principality at the 1960 contest, it was Monaco’s second ever appearance in Eurovision and Deguelt’s 3rd place finish with Ce Soir-Là was a considerable improvement on their ignominious last place debut the previous year. Two years later he was back (one of only two artists to represent Monaco twice) with Dis Rien, which went one place better, coming 2nd behind his French compatriot Isabelle Aubret’s Un Premier Amour. His impressive record of 3rd and 2nd place finishes without winning Eurovision has been emulated four times since: Cliff Richard (1968, 73), Katja Ebstein (1970-71, 80), Chiara (1998, 2005 – see No. 448) and Željko Joksimović (2004, 12)
The 1962 contest featured a unique scoring system. Previously juries had ten points to spread around among the entries, this year they could only give 3, 2 and 1 points to their three favourite songs. With so few points to award four songs received no points at all, and even Dis Rien only ended up with 13.
The contest also represented a high-water mark for the French language at Eurovision. As well as France and Monaco; Belgium, Switzerland and Luxembourg all chose to sing in French this year, and with Luxembourg’s Petit Bonhomme coming third it was the first, and only, time the Top 3 has been entirely Francophone.