Yugoslavia was the first non-Western country to participate in the Song Contest in 1961. This was part of the 'third way' politics of Tito, the then ruler: Yugoslavia was communist, but maintained relations with both the East and the West. Until 1992 - when Yugoslavia had collapsed after years of Balkan Wars - the country organized a national preliminary round in which the various republics that made up Yugoslavia participated. The Yugoslavian entries performed eleven times in Croatian, six times in Serbian, four times in Bosnian, four times in Slovenian and twice in Montenegrin. The Macedonians never saw their language represented, nor did the inhabitants of the provinces of Kosovo and Vojvodina.
From 1977 to 1980, the country temporarily withdrew because of poor results, but the broadcaster received so many requests to reverse the decision that it continued its participation. In 1983 Daniel Popovic finished fourth but scored a huge European summer hit with his Džuli. In 1989 followed the first and only Yugoslavian victory, with Rock me from the group Riva. The following year, the festival was organised in Zagreb, an edition that is still known as one of the most chaotic ever, with problems with the scoring system and a backing track that didn't start.
After 1993 the former Yugoslav republics began to participate in the contest independently, although Serbia and Montenegro participated for a while as Serbia-Montenegro. Kosovo’s participation is still awaited.
(T: Dominic Manley)