Udo Jürgens was an Austrian composer and singer of popular music whose career spanned over fifty years. He won the Eurovision Song Contest 1966 for Austria, composed close to 1,000 songs, and sold over 100 million records. In 1950, he won a composer contest organized by Austria’s public broadcasting channel ORF with the song “Je t’aime”. In 1952 Udo Bolan, as he was called then, formed the Udo Bolan Quartet In Klagenfurt, Austria appearing regularly at the Café Obelisk in Klagenfurt. The quartet played regularly at various dance and jazz venues and also broadcast on Radio Alpenland and the British Forces Radio network. In 1950, he won a composer contest organized by Austria’s public broadcasting channel ORF with the song “Je t’aime”. He wrote the 1961 worldwide hit “Reach for the Stars”, sung by Shirley Bassey. He represented Austria 3 times in the Eurovision Son Contest: in 1964, 1965 and 1966. The entrance of 1966, “Merci Cherie” is one of Jürgens’ most recognized compositions. Jürgens’ version alone sold over one million copies, and the song is covered very often by other artists. In the following decades he continued composing, performing and releasing songs. Since 2015, Udo Jürgens holds the worldwide-record as the artist with the longest presence in the charts ever – more than 57 years from his first entry 1958 till 2015.
On 21 December 2014, Jürgens died of acute heart failure in at the age of 80.
With Austria’s success at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, the first since Jürgens’ success in 1966, Jürgens expressed his interest in performing in the interval of the next contest. With his death, the organisers of the 2015 contest in Vienna paid tribute to him with a tribute day on 20 May and at the beginning of the grand final.