ABBA’s Waterloo voted UK’s favourite Eurovision song

The pop group remains one of the UK's most-loved musical acts.

Waterloo by ABBA – Eurovision

A poll by BBC Radio 2 has found that the UK’s favourite Eurovision song of all-time is Waterloo by ABBA, which won the contest for Sweden back in 1974.

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The research was carried out for a special show presented by Ken Bruce, The UK’s All-Time Eurovision Top 50, which will be available on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 2 later this week.

Voters were asked to choose between three and 15 of their favourite songs from the competition’s 65-year history, with the results landing ABBA in the top spot.

The group’s performance of Waterloo at Eurovision 1974, which was held in Brighton, catapulted them to international stardom, with Waterloo going on to sell nearly six million copies worldwide.

ABBA became particularly popular in the UK, where they scored a total of nine number one singles starting with Waterloo, which is ironic as they received no points from the UK on the big night itself.

Eurovision acts were prohibited from performing in a language other than their own right up until 1999, but a temporary lifting of the restriction between 1973 and 1976 allowed Sweden to enter the English pop song Waterloo.

Frida Lyngstad of ABBA said: “Waterloo was our first song under our new name, ABBA, which – after we performed it to audiences across Europe thanks to Eurovision – became a huge global hit. The success of Waterloo changed everything for us as a band, so we would like to thank all the Eurovision fans who voted for the song!”

Prior to Eurovision 1974, ABBA had been known as Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid, a slightly less catchy band name that might not have caught on quite so widely.

Presenter Bruce said: “Well, who’d have thought it? Waterloo comes top but as ABBA sang, ‘I feel like I win when I lose’ – a massive 18 of the Top 50 are UK songs, so well done us!”

Indeed, while the UK hasn’t fared particularly brilliantly in recent Eurovision history, many of our earlier hits remain fondly remembered by BBC Radio listeners.

Behind Waterloo, the rest of the top five are comprised entirely of UK entries, those being: Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz (1981), Love Shine A Light by Katrina and the Waves (1997), Save Your Kisses for Me by Brotherhood of Man (1976), and Puppet on a String by Sandie Shaw (1967).

Other big Eurovision acts in the top 20 include another Swedish winner, Euphoria by Loreen at number six, the iconic Conchita Wurst with Rise Like A Phoenix at number seven, while Cliff Richard’s Congratulations and Michael Ball’s One Step Out of Time took number 12 and 16 respectively.

For the full list, tune into The UK’s All-Time Eurovision Top 50, which is on BBC Sounds from 8pm on Tuesday 18th May and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 from 1-3pm on Saturday 22nd May.

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The Eurovision Song Contest airs on BBC One at 8pm on Saturday 22nd May. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what’s on tonight.