"What's Another Year" was Johnny Logan's first Eurovision Song Contest winner, achieving success in the 1980 edition of the Contest. This was Ireland's second Contest victory. Composed by Shay Healy, the song reached number one in the UK Singles Chart for two weeks in May.
The song is often misinterpreted as a power ballad, sung from the point of view of a man who has been waiting for the girl of his dreams to fall in love with him. On some level, he seems to recognise that she will never share his feelings, but he still holds them regardless. The title appears in the chorus, specifically "What's another year/To someone who is getting used to being alone?" In other words, he is prepared to wait as long as it takes. In reality, the song was written by Shay Healy (who also wrote "the Ultimate Country and Western Song" performed by Billy Connolly) about watching his father coming to terms with the death of his wife and companion, Mairin
When showband frontman Glen Curtin, the original choice of singer, turned down "What's Another Year", the song was rearranged by Bill Whelan to suit Johnny Logan's singing style. Whelan later composed Riverdance for the interval entertainment slot at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. Musically, the song is easily identifiable by its saxophone introduction played by Scottish musician Colin Tully, who now lives and teaches in Wales. The success of "What's Another Year" launched Logan's Eurovision career (he would go on to success in 1987 with "Hold Me Now"). In addition, the song was selected as one of the 14 greatest Eurovision entries in a special to mark the 50th anniversary of the contest. It was covered by Shane McGowan of The Pogues in the "Song for Eurotrash" cover album of 1998.
Famously, after being announced as the winner of the Contest, Logan was overcome with emotion and could not achieve the high notes near the end of the song in his reprise. Instead, he called out "I love you Ireland", a phrase he would repeat seven years later.
The song was performed seventeenth on the night (following France's Profil with "Hé, hé M'sieurs dames" and preceding Spain's Trigo Limpio with "Quédate esta noche"). At the close of voting, it had received 143 points, placing 1st in a field of 19. The song was succeeded as Eurovision winner at the Eurovision Song Contest 1981 by British band Bucks Fizz and the song "Making Your Mind Up". It was succeeded as Irish representative at the 1981 Contest by Sheebawith "Horoscopes".
In Germany, Johnny Logan released a German-language version of "What's Another Year", entitled "Was ist schon ein Jahr". In Portugal the single was released (in English) with a minor typing error on the front sleeve as "What's Another Year!"
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 4380–1. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- The Irish Times, "Golden boy, forgotten man", August 8, 2009
|Preceded by||UK Singles Chart number-one single
17 May 1980 - 24 May 1980
|Preceded by||Eurovision Song Contest winners