"Take Me to Your Heaven" was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1999. Performed in English (taking advantage of new rules removing the requirement to perform in a national language) by Charlotte Nilsson representing Sweden. Charlotte Nilsson first won the Swedish Melodifestivalen 1999 when singing the Swedish language version "Tusen och en natt" (Swedish for "One Thousand and One Nights").
The song is an up-beat song about love, with the singer asking her lover to take her to heaven by loving her. Some fans have argued that it is derivative of previous Swedish 1974 winner ABBA.
The song was internationally released as a single on 21 June 1999, produced by Mikael Wendt. At the singles charts, it peaked at #2 in Sweden, #10 in Norway, #20 in the United Kingdom, #23 in the Netherlands and #5 in Flanders (Belgium).
1998 - Israel
Dana International, "Diva"
"Diva" was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1998. Performed in Hebrew by Dana International representing Israel. The music was composed by Tzvika Pick, and the lyrics by Yoav Ginai. It totalled 172 points in the polling.
The song became the last entry entirely in a language other than English to win the Contest until 2007. The interval act and Dana's reprise was the last time live music from an orchestra was used in the Contest, as the 1999 Contest lacked the necessary budget and was held in a venue not large enough to hold one. Dana is also currently the only transgender singer to have won the Contest.
The selection of Dana International's song caused such controversy amongst conservative groups in Israel that upon her arrival in Britain, police escorts and security were required continuously. The performance consisted of Dana International, wearing a silver dress, being backed by three other female singers wearing black, and involved no dancing.
The song is an ode to the powerful women of history — with Cleopatra in fact being the only real figure named. Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory and Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of beauty are also named.
The song was performed eighth on the night, following Poland's Sixteen with "To takie proste" and preceding Germany's Guildo Horn with "Guildo hat euch lieb!". At the close of voting, it had received 172 points, placing 1st in a field of 25. This was Israel's third Contest victory and, as they had not entered the previous year's Contest, they achieved the unusual distinction of having won a Contest the year after not competing.
After winning the contest, Dana International caused a stir by arriving to the presentation late after a long delay in changing into an extravagant costume designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier adorned with bird feathers before performing the reprise.
The song was chosen in an internet poll conducted by the European Broadcasting Union in 2005 as one of the 14 most popular songs in the history of the Eurovision, and was one of the entrants in the Congratulations 50th anniversary concert in Copenhagen, Denmark, held in October 2005. It was re-enacted by Dana International along with six dancers equipped with giant feathered fans and a live orchestra as the original footage was shown in the background. Diva came 13th in the final voting.
1997 - United Kingdom
Katrina & The Waves, "Love Shine A Light"
"Love Shine a Light" was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1997. Performed by Katrina and the Waves for the United Kingdom, composed by Kimberley Rew. It is the group's biggest success since "Walking on Sunshine" 12 years earlier.
Rew composed the song following a request from the brother of Alex Cooper (the band's drummer) for an anthem for The Samaritans. The song was selected as the UK's Eurovision entry by public vote on 15 March 1997. It received 69,834 votes, 11,138 more than the second place song.
The contest was held on 3 May 1997 in the Point Theatre, Dublin. The song was awarded maximum (12) points by ten countries, scoring 227 of a possible 288, the most points a Eurovision entry ever won until Ukraine's Ruslana broke the record in 2004. However, since Ukraine competed in a pool of 36 countries, wider than the 25 countries in 1997, Love Shine a Light still maintains a higher percentage of votes won. It won the third-highest ever percentage of total votes after United Kingdom's Save Your Kisses for Me in 1976 and Germany's Ein bißchen Frieden in 1982. When Alexander Rybak's "Fairytale" won for Norway in 2009, not only did he get the most points ever, 387 out of a possible 492, he also go the most number of 12s, 16 from 41 countries. Second placed Iceland were over 50 points behind. Strangely though the percentage of votes are virtually identical with "Love shine a light" getting 78.82% and "Fairyale" 78.66%.
1996 - Ireland
Eimear Quinn, "The Voice"
"The Voice" was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1996. Performed in English by Eimear Quinn representing Ireland. The music and lyrics were composed by Brendan Graham, who also composed the Irish winner from the 1994 Contest. The victory, which was Ireland's fourth in five years, was their seventh Contest victory, which remains a record for the most contests won by a single country.
Quinn was a student at the Cork School of Music when she was approached by RTÉ to represent Ireland at Eurovision. It placed first in a field of 23 with 162 points, easily defeating the song "I evighet" by Elisabeth Andreassen of Norway. It was awarded the maximum douze points by seven countries: Turkey, Switzerland, Estonia, Slovenia, Netherlands, Poland and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The top song from the qualifying round, from Sweden, collapsed to finish third in the final.
Lyrically, it is a very Celtic-inspired song, with the singer portraying herself as "the voice" which watches over the world, describing "her" effects on the elements, such as the wind, the seasons, in a similar way to Mother Nature. It is of a folk style and is sung at a very high pitch. Quinn was accompanied by traditional Irish percussion, woodwind and string instruments.
The jury decision 1996 Contest was greeted with dismay amongst the public opinion of the audience, which began to leave the arena once the count had become a foregone conclusion. As a result of the differences between public and jury opinion, partial televoting was introduced for the following year's contest.
The song was performed seventeenth on the night (following Belgium's Lisa del Bo with "Liefde is een kaartspel" and preceding Finland's Jasmine with "Niin kaunis on taivas").
Quinn again performed the song as an interval act during the Congratulations 50th anniversary concert in Copenhagen in 2005.
1995 - Norway
Secret Garden, "Nocturne"
"Nocturne" was the winning song in the Eurovision Song Contest 1995. Performed in Norwegian by Secret Garden representing Norway. It was the second time Norway won the contest, after it had won in 1985 with Bobbysocks! song "La det swinge". For their performance at the Contest the Secret Garden duo of Fionnuala Sherry and Rolf Løvland featured two guest musicians; Norwegian vocalist Gunnhild Tvinnereim and Swedish nyckelharpist Åsa Jinder. The song was performed fifth on the night, following Bosnia and Herzegovina's Davor Popović with "Dvadeset prvi vijek" and preceding Russia's Philip Kirkorov with "Kolibelnaya dlya vulkana". At the close of voting, it had received 148 points, placing 1st in a field of 23.
The victory represented the second for composer Rolf Løvland, who had previously written "La det swinge". Additionally, it represented the first time in four years that Ireland had not won the Contest, thus bringing to an end the only hat-trick of victories in Eurovision history. Ireland would go on to win the next Contest, achieving the feat of four victories in five years.
As Norway had previously won the Contest in 1985 with "La det swinge", the second victory allowed the tongue-in-cheek tradition to emerge that Norway could only win in years ending with a 5, a joke referred to by the members of Bobbysocks at the Congratulations special in late 2005, Norway having entered "In My Dreams" that year and not achieved victory.
1994 - Ireland
Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan, "Rock'n Roll Kids"
"Rock 'n' Roll Kids" was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1994. Composed by Brendan Graham and performed for Ireland by Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan. The song was Ireland's sixth overall victory, and represented an unprecedented third consecutive time that the same country had won the Contest.
There is a belief among many Eurovision fans that the song was deliberately chosen not to win, as it was performed by a male duo (no male duos had ever won before) and in a very static manner. The pair were also much older than any other winners had been. As the Contest rules require the previous year's winner to host the next edition of the Contest, the argument runs that the Irish broadcaster was not prepared to do this, hence the selection.
The song, however, achieved the victory and is generally considered one of the Contest's better entries - being performed in part by McGettigan and Jakob Sveistrup at the Congratulations special in late 2005. It was the first winning song ever to be performed without orchestral accompaniment, as McGettigan's guitar and Harrington's piano were the only instruments needed. It was also the first time in the contest when a song scored over 200 points.
Lyrically, the song is a lament for the singers' lost youths. They remember growing up and listening to the popular music of the time (Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley) and generally being trendy. The song then moves forwards to the present, where both men are "too busy running to a different beat" to even stay in close contact with each other - while their children "don't wanna be around us no more".
The song was performed third on the night, following Finland's CatCat with "Bye Bye Baby" and preceding Cyprus' Evridiki with "Ime Anthropos Ki Ego". At the close of voting, it had received 226 points, placing 1st in a field of 25.
1993 - Ireland
Niamh Kavanagh, "In Your Eyes"
"In Your Eyes" is a ballad sung by Irish singer Niamh Kavanagh. Niamh Kavanagh won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1993 for Ireland with 187 points. The song is a long song written and composed by Jimmy Walsh, where the singer tells how, after being lonely, she has found love and heaven in her lover's arms and how it had changed her.
Kavanagh had a home win, since the contest took place in Ireland due to Linda Martin's win the previous year. It was the second of Ireland's three victories in a row in the early Nineties. The song was performed fourteenth on the night (following Sweden's Arvingarna with "Eloise" and preceding Luxembourg's Modern Times with "Donne-moi une chance"). At the close of voting, it had received 187 points, placing 1st in a field of 25.
1992 - Ireland
Linda Martin, "Why Me"
"Why Me?" was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1992. Performed for Ireland by Linda Martin. The result was also notable as the song was composed by Johnny Logan, who had previously won the Contest with "What's Another Year?" and the self-composed "Hold Me Now". Logan is, to date, the only person to win the Contest with a song composed for him, win the Contest with his own song and then compose another winner.
The song itself is a ballad, which builds in intensity towards the end. The singer describes her thoughts about her lover, and asks why she is the lucky one to have his love, as against anyone else.
The song was performed seventeenth on the night, following the United Kingdom's Michael Ball with "One Step Out Of Time" and preceding Denmark's Kenny Lübcke & Lotte Nilsson with "Alt det som ingen ser". At the close of voting, it had received 155 points, placing 1st in a field of 23.
1991 - Sweden
Carola, "Fangad Av En Stormvind"
"Fångad av en stormvind" (literally translated as "Captured by a storm wind") was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1991. It won the Contest in Rome with the smallest margin of victory since 1969. At the singles charts, it peaked at #3 in Sweden and #6 in Norway. On April 28, 1991 the song reached the first place at the Swedish hitlist Svensktoppen. The song was performed in Swedish and likens the singer's love for her paramour to the effects of a stormwind. The English language version of the song was called "Captured by a Lovestorm".
1990 - Italy
Toto Cutugno, "Insieme 1992"
"Insieme: 1992" (English translation: "Together: 1992") was the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1990. The contest was held in Zagreb, Croatia (then SFR Yugoslavia), and the winning song was performed in Italian by Toto Cutugno for Italy, that country's second victory in the Contest.
Cutugno sang about bringing the disparate nations of Europe together. The "1992" of the title refers to the year in which the European Union was scheduled to begin operation, thus bringing the hope of the lyric to fruition. Cutugno sang the song with a backing group of five singers from Slovenia, the group Pepel in Kri, who represented Yugoslavia in 1975.
The song was performed nineteenth on the night (following Sweden's Edin-Ådahl with Som en vind and preceding Austria's Simone with Keine Mauern mehr). At the close of voting, it had received 149 points, placing 1st in a field of 22.