Rock 'n' Roll Kids
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"Rock 'n' Roll Kids" was the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest 1994, written by Brendan Graham and performed for Ireland by Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan. The song was Ireland's sixth overall victory, and represented an unprecedented third consecutive time that the same country had won the contest.
|"Rock 'n' Roll Kids"|
|Eurovision Song Contest 1994 entry|
|◄ "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 proved factual. 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 the various decades including the 60s, the 70s, the 80s, and the 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".
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.
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!"