Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE) announced earlier today that Sandie Jones, Ireland’s representative at Eurovision 1972, passed away at the age of 68.
Jones, who came in 15th at Eurovision 1972 in Edinburgh, Scotland, with “Ceol an Ghrá,” made history as the first and only singer to perform a song in Irish at Eurovision. Aimee Banks picked up the tradition of mostly-Irish language songs in 2015 at Ireland’s debut at Junior Eurovision.
Jones came in 15th out of 18 in a tightly contested event, with Luxembourg’s representative Vicky Leandros eking out the win with “Apres Toi” over the United Kingdom’s New Seekers and “Beg, Steal or Borrow.”
Born in 1954 in Crumlin, Ireland, Jones was one of 11 children. She began her recording career in 1969, releasing five singles before she was selected by Ireland to perform the Joe Burkett and Liam Mac Uistin penned “Ceol an Ghrá.” Though she did not fare too well in Edinburgh, the single made it to Number 1 on the Irish charts. She followed it up with “What do I do?” later that year, another smash hit for Jones that landed at Number 1.
Jones continued recording throughout the decade, and had further Top 20 hits. Jones moved to the United States in 1980, and after 1981, largely remained absent from the limelight.
Her family had advised that Jones had been ill for some time. Her brother Tony Jones started a GoFundMe account on Tuesday, stating that his sister’s last wish is that she be returned to and buried in Ireland with her family. Those wishing to contribute can do so here.
Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Jones and her friends and family at this time.
How will #YOU honor this giant of Irish language music? Let us know in the comments below, in our forum, or on social media.