France have won the contest five times and – so far – their winners are appearing in the Top 500 in chronological order: first we had Dors, Mon Amour (see No. 388) from 1958, and 12 places higher is their second triumph, 1960’s Tom Pillibi. In the not-too-distant future we’ll be coming across Isabelle Aubret’s winning song from 1962, but you’ve a long time to wait before we reach France’s final two Eurovision title holders, both of which are deep inside the Top 100.
Pre-1963 entries are thin on the ground in the countdown with the first seven years of the contest accounting for just 13 songs – a measly 0.6% – of the Top 500. Only two entries from 1960 feature: Nora Brockstedt’s Voi Voi (see No. 427) which came 4th, and Jacqueline Boyer’s Tom Pillibi which we, too, judged the best song of the year.
Boyer is the daughter of Jacques Pills and Lucienne Boyer. Pills had been Monaco’s very first Eurovision representative in 1959, the year before his daughter’s win. Though his entry, Mon Ami Pierrot, did rather less well, ending up in last place. From 1952 to 1956 he was married to Édith Piaf so, for a while at least, Jacqueline Boyer was Piaf’s step-daughter (see No. 384). Pills’ first wife – and Jacqueline’s mother – was another singer, Lucienne Boyer. She had been the first to record Parlez-Moi D’amour in 1930, a song that enjoyed popularity worldwide and was featured in the film 1942 film Casablanca.
Tom Pillibi, Jacqueline Boyer’s signature song, was the first Eurovision winner to make the UK chart, spending two weeks at No. 33 at the end of April 1960 – a whole month after the contest. It was written by André Popp, the first of three forays into Eurovision for the French composer. He went on to write the 1964 French entry, Le Chant De Mallory by Rachel (which came 4th), and in 1967 his L’amour Est Bleu by Vicky Leandros for Luxembourg also came 4th, but was a US chart topper for Frenchman Paul Mauriat so has undoubtedly proved more lucrative for Popp than Tom Pillibi.
Boyer performed last on the night; it was the first time the winning song had closed the show. Appearing later in the running order confers an advantage as the performance is fresher in voters’ minds, so you would think that the last-placed slot is the most propitious. However, although the final song won in 1970, 1777, 1982, 1983 and 1989; it has been 28 years since an act last won from that position.