Congratulations (Cliff Richard song)

"Congratulations" is a song recorded by British singer Cliff Richard. The song was written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter.[1] It is best known as the British entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1968, held in London.

Cliff Richard-Congratulations.jpg
Single by Cliff Richard
B-side"High n Dry" (Cook-Greenaway)
ReleasedMarch 1968 (entered UK chart on 20 March)
Recorded3 February 1968, EMI Studios, London
GenrePop music, schlager
LabelColumbia DB8376[1]
Songwriter(s)Bill Martin, Phil Coulter[1]
Producer(s)Norrie Paramor[1]
Cliff Richard singles chronology
"All My Love (Solo Tu)"
"I'll Love You Forever Today"
Eurovision Song Contest 1968 entry
Bill Martin, Phil Coulter
Finals performance
Final result
Final points
Entry chronology
◄ "Puppet on a String" (1967)   
"Boom Bang-a-Bang" (1969) ►


The song was arranged, conducted and produced by Norrie Paramor who was also musical director for the contest, which was held at London's Royal Albert Hall.[2]

Phil Coulter originally wrote the song as "I Think I Love You", but was unsure of the lyrics and got together with Bill Martin (the same team that wrote "Puppet on a String"), who changed it to "Congratulations".[3]

The song was immediately popular in the UK and became a number one single. On the day of the contest, it was the favourite to win, so much so that the British press were posing the question: "What will come second to 'Congratulations'?"[4]

During the voting, "Congratulations" was leading for much of the way until the penultimate vote when Germany gave Spain six points, putting them one point ahead of the United Kingdom.[5] It finished second losing to Spain's entry "La, la, la" by just one point. However, "Congratulations" went on to become a huge hit throughout Europe. In 2008, documentary film-maker Montse Fernandez Vila claimed that the loss was the result of rigging of the Spanish vote by state television on behalf of the Francoist State.[6]

However José María Íñigo, the person that made such claims in the documentary quickly said that his words were taken out of context and said that the channel that produced the documentary, laSexta, who was the promoter of the Spanish representative that year, Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, had manipulated his words to help promote their candidate. He said: "if there had been such a manipulation, it would have been for a different artist who had been closer to the regime".[7]

In July 1968, the song was included on the six-track Columbia EP Congratulations: Cliff Sings 6 Songs For Europe.[8]

The song is still popular and was chosen to lead the show which celebrated 50 years of Eurovision and which was named after it: Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision Song Contest. Richard also performed the song as part of the commemorations for the 50th anniversary of VE Day in 1995, despite it having been written long after the end of World War II.

George Harrison's song "It's Johnny's Birthday" from his 1970 album All Things Must Pass is based on this song. The writers Martin and Coulter filed a claim in December 1970 against Harrison for royalties, and subsequent pressings of the album credit their contribution.[9]

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (1968) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[10] 4
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[11] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[12] 1
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[13] 1
Canada RPM Top Singles[14] 32
Denmark[15] 1
Finland (IFPI Finland)[16] 3
France (SNEP)[17] 20
Germany (Official German Charts)[18] 3
Ireland (IRMA)[19] 1
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[20] 1
New Zealand 2
Norway (VG-lista)[21] 1
Spain (Promusicae)[22] 1
South Africa (Springbok Radio / Radio Orion)[23] 4
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 2
UK Singles (OCC)[25] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[26] 99

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 116. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  2. ^ "And the conductor is..." Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  3. ^ Nul Points...?!, BBC Television, 1992
  4. ^ "Did Franco steal the 1968 Eurovision from Cliff Richard and Phil Coulter?".
  5. ^ The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History. O'Connor, John Kennedy. Carlton Books 2007 ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  6. ^ Fiona Govan (5 May 2008). "How Franco cheated Cliff out of Eurovision title". The Daily Telegraph.
  7. ^ "Massiel e Iñigo acusan a La Sexta de 'urdir todo para favorecer a Chikilicuatre'". Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Cliff Richard - Congratulations: Cliff Sings 6 Songs For Europe - Columbia - UK". 45cat. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  9. ^ Joe (24 November 2015). "It's Johnny's Birthday". The Beatles Bible.
  10. ^ Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969. Turramurra, New South Wales: Australian Chart Book Pty. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
  11. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Congratulations" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  12. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Congratulations" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  13. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Congratulations" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1 June 1966. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
  15. ^ See the Top 20/30 tab: "Denmark Singles Chart (Top 20/30) – Congratulations". Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  16. ^ Lassila, Juha (1990). Mitä Suomi soittaa?: Hittilistat 1954-87 (in Finnish). Jyväskylän yliopisto. ISBN 95-168-0321-0.
  17. ^ Select Cliff RICHARD from the drop-down selection box and click OK: "French Singles - Artists R". (in French). Archived from the original on 18 October 2020. Retrieved 25 December 2020.
  18. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Congratulations" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
  19. ^ "Ireland singles charts". Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  20. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Congratulations" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  21. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Congratulations". VG-lista.
  22. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 1979). Sólo éxitos: Año a año, 1959–2002. Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 978-84-8048-639-2.
  23. ^ "South Africa Charts 1965-1989 - Springbok Radio / Radio Orion". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  24. ^ " – Cliff Richard – Congratulations". Swiss Singles Chart.
  25. ^ "Cliff Richard: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ "Cliff Richard Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.

External linksEdit