Sandie Shaw was one of Britain's most successful female singers of the 1960s. She had a string of hits following her professional debut in 1964 and in 1967 she won the Eurovision Song Contest with the iconic 'Puppet On A String' which took her once again to the top of the charts. She spoke exclusively to us about her Eurovision experience.
Sandie Shaw, the stage name of Sandra Ann Goodrich, was born in Degenham in 1947. She began singing professionally in 1964, the same year that she had her first number one single; (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me. A string of hits followed, including re-recordings of her songs in Italian, French, German and Spanish. Sandie was known for her trademark barefoot performances, something that many subsequent Eurovision participants emulated including Denmark's most recent winner, Emmelie de Forest.
In 1967 she was chosen by the BBC to represent the United Kingdom at the Eurovision Song Contest. "British songwriters were asked to submit songs for me to sing. Five finalists were selected and I sang one song each week on a Saturday night television show. The public then voted for their favourite which was Puppet On A String, explained Sandie. The rest, as they say, is history.
The 1967 Eurovision Song Contest took place at the Großer Festsaal der Wiener Hofburg in Vienna. The contest had a very glamorous setting: the stage included three revolving mirrors and a staircase entrance in the middle. At the beginning of Sandie's performance her microphone famously failed yet she carried on regardless. "I was so focused on delivering the best performance for the UK that I would have carried on even if the stage collapased! I was also very relaxed with the European audience as I had already worked there for many years and I felt everyone's support and friendship," Sandie said.
The United Kingdom led from an early stage in the voting and towards the end had a convincing lead, so much so that the presenter Erika Vaal, declared the United Kingdom the winner before the last jury's votes were cast! Does Sandie have a favourite Eurovision memory? Unsurprisingly her victory is the thing which stands out. "Winning is always the greatest feeling!" Sandie was the first ever Eurovision Song Contest winner for the United Kingdom.
The birth of a Eurovision classic
Puppet On A String provided Sandie with her third UK number one single, a record at the time for a female artists, and was a hit around the world. Following the win there were many attempts by other participating countries to emulate the particular sound of the song, with varying degrees of success. Puppet On A String had become a Eurovision classic. Could any of Sandie's other songs have taken her to the top of the scoreboard? The Eurovision winner thinks not; "Puppet was a one-off bespoke Eurovision song."
Over the years there were times when Sandie was openly critical of the Eurovision Song Contest but she has embraced it in recent years and re-released a new version of Puppet On A String in 2007. "Nowadays I sometimes watch it. The voting at the end is exciting!"
In 2013 Sandie received an honorary doctorate for services to music and entertainment over 50 years from Essex University. In that same year she also announced that she was retiring from music. She continues to concentrate on her career as a psychotherapist and provides psychological support for those in the fields of entertainment, media and sports.
Eurovision.tv would like to extend a special thank you to Sandie Shaw for taking the time to share her Eurovision memories. You can find out more about Sandie, including the latest news about her many projects, on her official website.