Runner-up Talk: Linda Martin (Ireland 1984 and 1992)

Everyone remembers the winner of Eurovision. But the number two or three might be a bit more difficult. That’s why in the series Runner-up Talk we interview that candidates, de first and second runner-ups, and ask them to their memories of their participation. Sometimes it’s a video interview, sometimes a written interview. This week: Linda Martin from Ireland.


  • Name: Linda Martin
  • Nationality: Irish
  • Year of participation: 1984
  • Song: Terminal 3
  • Place: 2nd
  • Remarkable: won the festival in 1992, took part 9 times in the Irish national final (4x solo, 4x with Chips and 1x as Linda Martin & Friends).

When did you decide to take part in the National Song Contest?

‘I decided I wanted to win ESC after watching my friend Dana winning the contest in 1970.’

How did you get selected for the National Song Contest?

‘Tom McGrath was head of entertainment in RTÉ television at that time. I had to audition for him and he kept my audition on film. Then when Terminal 3 reached the final selection, he asked me to sing it.’

First you took part as a member of Chips, later as a solo artist. Did you believe you could or would have more success as a solo artist? I’ve listened to the Chips songs ‘We Can Fly’ and ‘Goodbye Goodbye’, the only ones that I could find online, and I’m surprised you didn’t win the Irish national final earlier. It must have been a really strong national final.

‘You’re right, I sang as a member of Chips. Then I started to win Song Contests here in Ireland as a solo performer, for example the Castlebar Song Contest. After that I knew I wanted to stay solo.’

None of the songs you didn’t win the national final with are officially online, is there a reason for that? Only the two Chips songs mentioned in the previous question are on a YouTube-account.

‘No reason at all. I’ve no idea why they’re not online. They’re certainly in RTE’s archive.’

Two years after your second place you already gave it another try to reach Eurovision. What did you make to try again? Did you feel you could win Eurovision?

‘Johnny Logan is a very close friend of mine. At that time we were both managed by Louis Walsh out of his office.
Johnny promised me he’d write me another song for ESC after Terminal 3. It took him 8 years.
He really felt Why Me was a winner.’

Would you have returned to Eurovision if you would have won in 1984?

‘Probably, because Why Me was so strong.’

What were your expectations before the contest of 1984?

‘I really just wanted to do well. At that stage I wanted to work extensively in Europe. ESC was the perfect vehicle to relocate. I was pretty innocent regarding the Contest.’

What were your expectations before the contest of 1992?

‘By 1992 I knew so much more. Again I wanted to finish top ten.’

How do you look back at the night of the final of 1984?

‘I look back with wonderful memories. Meeting people I’m still friends with and realising how close we were to winning.’

How do you look back at the night of the final of 1992?

‘Champagne sorta fogged my memory of the winning night. (laughs) But I knew that this was a whole new beginning in my career.’

How did Eurovision influence your life after your 2nd place?

‘Well, really, 1984 made me realise that I wanted to win and to look for another song.’

We know that Louis Walsh asked Johnny Logan to give the songs he was writing to you. Was it his intention to take part again himself with these songs, did he write them for someone else or did he just write them without knowing yet whom he would give the songs to?

‘Johnny wrote both songs for me.’

Would you have taken part without these songs or were there other songs you could choose from?

‘I’ve been offered so many songs from very kind and talented people, but I never felt sure about them and turned them down.’

You won in 1992, as the first from three Irish victories in a row. How did that feel for you?

‘I was delighted that Niamh won, she’s a great friend of mine. I was delighted that Ireland was now a force to be reckoned with.’

After your victory you said ‘This is the last time that I will take part in Eurovision. You will never see me in it again.’ Do you still think about it that way or would you like to represent Ireland 1 more time?

‘Well, ESC has been so good to me…. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving. So I always support it.
Maybe if Johnny wrote a duet I’d reconsider.’

How do you look at Eurovision today?

‘I still hold it close to my heart wishing that Ireland will win again.’

How do you look at Ireland at Eurovision nowadays?

‘Ireland needs to take ESC seriously. Then maybe our fantastic songwriters will get involved.
We also need to find amazing seasoned performers. ESC is not for beginners.’

Watch Linda Martins performance at ESC 1984 again underneath: