Pop and politics: Sweden’s Eurovision legacy

Pop and politics: Sweden's Eurovision legacy
Swedes love Eurovision - and they've won the contest more often than any other country other than Ireland. Each of the winning songs has become a permanent part of Swedish culture. So what do you know about Sweden's Eurovision history? As the capital of Stockholm gets ready to hose the final showdown on Saturday, we take a look at the Swedish songs that conquered Europe.

It's time for the annual Eurovision Song Contest – a fascinating European phenomenon. Some of you are watching and some aren't.

“Better not watch it,” SI NFGL member Dato Gogishvili remarked. 

“I like it,” said Kristina Khutsishvili. “I watch it every year.”

The pop schlager contest can get surprisingly intense, full of political undertones. 

I think there is a strong political aura around its infrastructure and the main reason why it hasn't taken off in the big European countries,” says Frencis Karagjozi. “The voting system can be contested and argued rationally against. Based on my experience, there's definitely a great disparity between how Swedes view it and how/why most other nationalities disregard it.”

Indeed, Swedes love going all-in for Eurovision – maybe it's because they've won so many times. But are you aware of Sweden's Eurovision legacy? For better or for worse, for politics or pop, here's a look at Sweden's history of Eurovision winners. 

1. “Waterloo” – Abba, 1974

Sweden's success with the Eurovision Song Contest wasn't immediate. The country started participating in 1958 and didn't actually win until 1974 – but when they won, they won big. Abba's hit “Waterloo” boosted the group to worldwide success and immortal fame. 

 

2. “Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley” – The Herreys, 1984

 
Sometimes, all you want is a pair of golden shoes. And that pair of shoes will totally change your life.
That's essentially the story of Sweden's second Eurovision win – which came unexpectedly. Experts expected Ireland or Italy to win that year, but the catchy, upbeat tune from Sweden got stuck in everybody's heads.
The song was originally written in Swedish but translated to English for the European contest. And if you're wondering about the title – Diggi-loo Diggi-lay doesn't actually mean anything, it's just fun to say!

3. “Fångad av en stormvind” – Carola, 1991  

 
I'm captured by the winds of a storm, and nothing can stop me when this wind is blowing in my heart,” Carola sings in Sweden's 1991 winning song. Carola was already famous by that point in Sweden for her previous entry, “Stranger”, but this was her first win. Enjoy the dance moves! 
 
4. “Take Me To Your Heaven” – Charlotte Nilsson, 1999  
 
 
Sweden's second win of the decade came in 1999, with Charlotte Nilsson on stage. It's an upbeat love song, reminiscent in many ways of the work of Abba. And Europe loved it!
 
5. “Euphoria” – Loreen, 2012 
 
 
The new century got off to a slow start, and it was another 13 years before Sweden won again – but when they did, they won big. Swedes danced in the street singing “Euphoria” at the top of their lungs.
 

6. “Heroes” – Måns Zelmerlöw, 2015

 
But it didn't take long after that for it to happen again! Swedish hearththrob Måns Zelmerlöw won over European fans and the jury with his powerful song Heroes, which won last year.