eurovision 1956

pos. year:the position that the country and the song have for that year.

all time rank: the position that the country and the song have between all the eurovision songs

chart from the game vote for the best eurovision song

Eurovision Song Contest 1956
ESC 1956 logo.png
Final date
24 May 1956
Teatro kursaal
Lohengrin Filipello
Fernando Paqqi
Franco Marazzi
Host broadcaster
Interval act
Les Joyeux Rossignols & Les Trois Ménestrels
Number of entries
Debuting countries

participating countries

The Eurovision Song Contest 1956 was the first edition of the EBU, held at the Teatro kursaal in Lugano, Switzerland on 24 May 1956. It was won by the host country Switzerland with Refrain, performed by Lys Assia.


Inspired by the Italian Sanremo Music Fesival, the idea of organising a pan-European competition for light music was born at a meeting of the EBU in Monaco in 1955. It was decided that the first ever Eurovision Song Contest would be hosted the following year in the Swiss resort of Lugano.

Lohengrin Filipello was hosting the programme, which lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes. The seven participating countries were represented with two songs each – something that would not be a feature of future Contests. The songs of the contest were not to exceed three and a half minutes, and the performers were accompanied by an orchestra of 24 musicians, led by Fernando Paggi. The interval act, whistling by the Joyeux Rossignols, had to be extended due to a delay in the voting procedure.

This first contest was mainly a radio programme, though there were cameras in the studio for the benefit of the few Europeans who had television. Perhaps because of this, the backdrops behind the singers were not very lavish.

No video recording of the entire event appears to have survived. Newsreel footage of Lys Assia’s encore performance of “Refrain” is the only known video from the contest.

Switzerland wins!

The winning song,as announced by the head of the jury, was Refrain, performed by Lys Assia from Switzerland (recent photo). Lys Assia is the only Swiss contestant to have ever won the Eurovision Song Contest, as Switzerland’s other winning song in 1988 was performed by Céline Dion, who is of Canadian origin.

Voting controversy

All participating countries sent two jury members to Lugano to vote secretly on the songs, except for Luxembourg whose jury members could not make it to Lugano. The voting system at this Contest allowed juries to vote for any competing song, including those of their own country. Additionally, the Swiss jury was allowed by the EBU to vote on behalf of the Luxembourg delegation. This is a system which was not repeated, and is believed by some  to have tipped the result in Lys Assia’s  favour.

Facts & figures

The broadcasters from Austria, Denmark and the United Kingdom missed the deadline for participating in the first ever Eurovision Song Contest and only appeared one year later. Only solo artists were allowed to enter the contest. Groups were banned – a rule which would only be abolished in the 1970s;

Draw Participant Entry % of max points Points Position
09 Switzerland Refrain
Lys Assia
? ? 1
03 Belgium Messieurs Les Noyés De La Seine
Fud Leclerc
? ? ?
10 Belgium Le Plus Beau Jour De Ma Vie
Mony Marc
? ? ?
05 France Le Temps Perdu
Mathé Altéry
? ? ?
12 France Il Est Là
Dany Dauberson
? ? ?
04 Germany Im Wartesaal Zum Großen Glück
Walter Andreas Schwarz
? ? ?
11 Germany So Geht Das Jede Nacht
Freddy Quinn
? ? ?
07 Italy Aprite Le Finestre
Franca Raimondi
? ? ?
14 Italy Amami Se Vuoi
Tonina Torielli
? ? ?
06 Luxembourg Ne Crois Pas
Michèle Arnaud
? ? ?
13 Luxembourg Les Amants De Minuit
Michèle Arnaud
? ? ?
02 Switzerland Das Alte Karussell
Lys Assia
? ? ?
01 The Netherlands De Vogels Van Holland
Jetty Paerl
? ? ?
08 The Netherlands Voorgoed Voorbij
Corry Brokken
? ? ?


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