Rock 'n' Roll Kids

"Rock 'n' Roll Kids" is a song by Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan that was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1994, written by Brendan Graham and performed for Ireland. The song was Ireland's sixth overall victory, and represented an unprecedented third consecutive time that the same country had won the contest.

Republic of Ireland "Rock 'n' Roll Kids"
Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan - Rock 'n' Roll Kids.jpg
Eurovision Song Contest 1994 entry
Brendan Graham
Finals performance
Final result
Final points
Entry chronology
◄ "In Your Eyes" (1993)
"Dreamin'" (1995) ►

There was a myth among Irish media that the song was deliberately chosen not to win. As the contest rules expect the previous year's winner to host the next edition of the contest, the argument runs that the Irish broadcaster was not prepared to do this for a third consecutive year, hence the selection; this has never been proven. Even when Ireland hosted the event in 1997, Irish entrant Marc Roberts confirmed that RTÉ wanted him to go out and win it, as they had done a deal with BBC to host it the following year in case of another Irish victory.

The song, however, won the contest and is popular among Eurovision fans, even being performed in part by McGettigan and Jakob Sveistrup at the Congratulations special in late 2005. It was the first winning song ever to be performed without orchestral accompaniment, as McGettigan's guitar and Harrington's piano were the only instruments needed. It was also the first time in the contest when a song scored over 200 points.

Lyrically, the song originally had seven verses, representing various decades including the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s but on the advice of a DJ, Graham dropped the last two verses as they felt the song was too long. Graham got the inspiration for the title while attending a Fats Domino concert at Dublin's National Stadium in 1991. He entered it in 1992 and it didn't get through, and again in 1993, but it was third time lucky in 1994. According to Graham, "I saw the song as a small song, as a conversation in the kitchen, and I wanted the listeners to be drawn into that kitchen, and into that conversation".[1]

The song was performed third on the night, following Finland's CatCat with "Bye Bye Baby" and preceding Cyprus' Evridiki with "Ime Anthropos Ki Ego". At the close of voting, it had received 226 points, placing 1st in a field of 25.

The song was succeeded as winner in 1995 by Secret Garden representing Norway with "Nocturne". It was succeeded as Irish representative that year by Eddie Friel with "Dreamin'".

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of their victory, Harrington and McGettigan performed a gig in the Sugar Club in Dublin in 2014. Graham reminisced about the inspiration of the song while accepting his Eurovision trophy: "As I stood on the stage at the Point Depot, through the applause and the cheers, I heard a sound roll in over the Liffey Banks – the sound of a rollin', rumbling piano... and for a moment, I wasn't there. I was back in the Stadium on Bourbon Street, on that steamy Dublin night in 1991. Thank you Fats!"


Chart performance for "Rock 'n' Roll Kids"
Chart (1994) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[2] 42
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[3] 30
Ireland (IRMA)[4] 2

See alsoEdit

  • Following three consecutive Irish victories in the ESC in 1992, 1993, and 1994, writers of the Father Ted comedy series wrote an episode entitled "A Song For Europe" jumping on the idea that RTÉ would pick a song that would lose on purpose.


  1. ^ Lynch, Michael (2016). What's Another Year (First ed.). Dublin: Liberties Press. p. 133. ISBN 978-1-910742-43-3.
  2. ^ "Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan – Rock 'n' Roll Kids" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  3. ^ "Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan – Rock 'n' Roll Kids" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  4. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Paul Harrington". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
Preceded by Eurovision Song Contest winners
Succeeded by