In addition to a brilliant recording career, Sandie Shaw also became a favorite on British television. Between appearances on Ready Set Go!, Thank Your Lucky Stars, and Top of the Pops, she was trademarked as the barefoot beauty who turned revolutionized the infamous swinging dance styles of the sixties. In addition to endearing to the British audience, Shaw also recorded most of her top songs in other languages such as French, German, and Italian. Because of this, her popularity soared throughout Europe, becoming one of the most beloved entertainers among its fan base. Clean through the 60s, Shaw recorded and released a total of six studio albums, most of it featuring material written by her songwriting partner, Chris Andrews.
The music, both cover versions of other classics and originals, met with considerable commercial success until 1967. In response to this decline, Shaw’s musical career shifted to become more of a cabaret-style as a means to win back some of the audience, as well as earn new ones. At first, she was reluctant, fearing she’d lose even more fans in the process of this change. However, her participation in the Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna, Austria, along with the fan-chosen song “Puppet on a String,” she was officially declared the winner in1967. This was one of the five songs she performed on The Rolf Harris Show and her least favorite as she felt it was a stark contrast to her musical repertoire.
Fashionable Career Paths
Not only did Sandie Shaw earn her place as one of the UK’s best-selling recording artists of all time since “Puppet on a String,” but she also became noted for her own fashion label which began in 1968. Also in 1968, she began her own television program, The Sandie Shaw Supplement. Despite this, her recording career continued she opted to go into retirement in 2013. After her recording contract with Pye expired in 1972, she retired as a pop singer so she could venture further into other endeavors. Adding to her resume as a singer, songwriter, and fashionista, Shaw also became a writer of children’s books, and rock musicals, as well as an actor in stage and theatrical productions. At one point, she retired from the music business entirely to become a waitress in London before recording and releasing two more singles in 1977. She officially re-entered the public spotlight in 1982 after collaborating with the group, BEF to record “Anyone Who Had a Heart” for their album, Music of Quality And Distinction.
Throughout the 1980s and into the 2010s, Sandie Shaw continued to perform until she officially went into retirement from the entertainment industry in 2013 so she could further pursue her psychotherapist career on behalf of a clinic she started with her husband in 1997. Tony Bedford, who is her third husband, is a psychologist. Prior to this, her first husband was fashion designer Jeff Banks, to whom she was married from 1968 until 1978. From 1982 to 1995, her husband was Nik Powell. With Bedford, Shaw helps run their Barefoot Therapy: The Arts Clinic as they offer psychological support to individuals in the entertainment, media, and sports industries.
Sandie Shaw Musical Legacy
As a performer, Sandie Shaw has seven studio albums to her credit, as well as eleven main compilation albums, and ten extended plays (EPs). The discographic portfolio featuring Sandie Shaw is extensive as she also has a flurry of collaborative works with a number of artists, as well as recorded works belonging to a series of nations worldwide.
Top 10 Sandie Shaw Songs
# 10 – I’ll Stop at Nothing
Released in 1965, “I”ll Stop at Nothing” became a number-four hit on the UK Singles Chart as a magnificent romantic ballad, sung by what seemed like a lovestruck teen determined to win the heart of her love interest. It was one of many hits that would appear on the 1966 album, The Golden Hits Of Sandie Shaw, the first of many compilation albums that feature the best of Shaw’s recorded material as a musical artist.
#9 – Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now
In 1969, “Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now” was a Sandie Shaw performance that later inspired The Smiths to cover this classic, turning it into a big hit in 1984. Although it never charted, it was inspirational enough to witness The Smiths approach Shaw, hoping to work with her to bring forth the single “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.”
Steven Morrissey, frontman of The Smiths, claimed to be an incurable Sandie Smith fan as this wasn’t the only song she produced he would record himself, either as a solo artist or with The Smiths. The staying power of Smith’s songs twenty years after they were first released to the public remains a testament to how amazing her talent is as a singer and why 1960s music remains a source of inspiration for upcoming artists today.
#8 – Think It All Over
1969’s “Think It All Over” was the final single written for her by Chris Andrews. This German-influenced track became a number-four hit on South Africa’s Springbok chart and a number forty-two hit on the UK Singles Chart. In Australia, “Think It All Over” charted at number seventy-nine. Recorded in more than one language, the English version was much like the cabaret-style music Sandie Shaw adapted in 1967 as a means to keep her career from sliding into obscurity.
In a musical confession where she admits she is too young to think about long-term relationships, this cute and playful number was one of the very reasons why Shaw was so appealing to an audience that couldn’t get enough of this amazing songstress.
#7 – You’ve Not Changed
On the UK Singles Chart, “You’ve Not Changed” was a number eighteen hit, and it peaked as high as number six in Australia after it was released in 1968. For Sandie Shaw, she felt this was one of the best singles she performed in some time, favoring this 1967 song for the gem that it is. In her vocal performance, she addressed her love interest and how he hasn’t changed since the two met, also by chance, the previous year.
#6 – Message Understood
On the UK Singles Chart, “Message Understood” became a number six hit, and on the Irish Singles Chart at number seven. In Canada, it peaked at number twenty-one and it also charted as high as number sixty-six in Australia. The songwriting talent of Chris Andrews enabled Sandie Shaw to witness her fifth straight top-ten hit in the UK. In this lyrical performance, Shaw addressed her love interest she understood something was wrong with their relationship as she clued in he found someone new in his life that no longer left any room for her. Released in 1965, it was one of many hits for Shaw that made her so popular in the UK, as well as throughout Europe.
#5 – Monsieur Dupont
1969’s “Monsieur Dupont” was originally a 1967 German song sung by Manuela. Sandie Shaw’s English version became her final top ten hit on the UK Singles Chart. It was also a number six hit in South Africa, as well as a fan-favorite among the French Canadian-speaking audience as it inspired Quebec’s Les Milady to record her version that was also released in 1969. While in Paris, France, Shaw sported attire to look like a French police officer as a means to promote “Monsieur Dupont.” When the real police observed her near the French president’s residence, they hauled her to the station for what was perceived as public mischief. When it was realized there was no harmful intention and it was for a song, tensions eased and she was let go.
#4 – Girl Don’t Come
On the UK Singles Chart, 1965’s “Girl Don’t Come” peaked at number three while on the US Billboard it was a number forty-two hit. For Sandie Shaw, it was her biggest hit in the United States and has since become one of her signature songs. This ballad was not well-favored by Shaw at first but when it was released on the B-side of the record that featured “I’d Be Far Better Off Without You” on the A-Side, it was “Girl Don’t Come” that became the fan-favorite between the two. This was obvious when it was performed on television and on the music charts and it has since become one of her signature hits.
In Canada and South Africa, “Girl Don’t Come” became a number two hit and it was popular enough in Australia to peak at number forty-eight. As for the impression on the U.S. audience, odds are it would have been even greater if the red tape at that time hadn’t prevented her from being able to obtain an American work permit so she could promote her music more directly.
Interestingly enough, “Girl Don’t Come” was the one and only song released by Sandie Shaw that made an appearance on the US Billboard before it was banned by the corporates that were in charge of the American music industry at that time. It was also why they wouldn’t grant her permission to perform on U.S. soil. The reason for this was due to a mislabeling of “Girl Don’t Come” to “Girls Don’t Come,” which was how it was credited in the U.S. before it was pulled.
#3 – Long Live Love
“Long Live Love” became Sandie Shaw’s second number one hit on the UK Singles Chart after it was released as a single in 1965. She favored this song over “It’s Not Unusual,” which wound up becoming the breakthrough hit for Tom Jones and his career as a recording artist. As for Shaw, “Long Live Love” did indeed become one of the biggest hits of her own career as it also topped the official charts belonging to Ireland and New Zealand. At the very least, it was a top twenty hit among the nations of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Norway, and South Africa. On the US Billboard Hot 100, it charted at number ninety-seven. Leave it to a brilliantly sung tune of teenage romance from a young woman’s point of view to win over a captivated audience, which is exactly what “Long Live Love” did, and still does.
#2 – (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me
Originally recorded as a demo by Dionne Warwick in 1963, the hit version of “(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me” first began with Lou Johnson in 1964 after it peaked at number forty-nine on the US Billboard Hot 100. As for Sandie Shaw’s version, her version topped the UK Singles Chart in 1964 and sold over 65,000 copies within the first week of its release as a single. In the US, her version peaked at number fifty-two but was an easy number one favorite in Canada and in South Africa.
This single was also a top ten hit among the nations of Ireland and the Netherlands. In Australia, it peaked at number sixteen. Over the years, a number of versions of this lyrical tale of the narrator always seeing something that reminds them of their former love have been covered by a number of artists. The Naked Eyes came forth with their version in 1983, turning it into an international hit, as well as making it a number eight hit on the US Billboard Hot 100.
#1 – Puppet on a String
“Puppet on a String” was an epic song for the UK as it won the Eurovision Song Contest that was held in Vienna, Austria, in 1967. It was one of five songs that were performed on The Rolf Harris Show that allowed the public to vote for their favorite. While Sandie Shaw didn’t care for this song at all at first, the fans loved it enough to make it as the UK’s official entry. When Eurovision announced “Puppet on a String” as the winner, this was the first time the UK won its highly competitive contest.
Not only did this put “Puppet on a String” as the UK’s number one hit but it also placed Sandie Shaw in the record books as the UK’s breakthrough in a competition that never saw them win even once beforehand. Furthermore, “Puppet on a String” became Shaw’s third number-one single in the UK, as well as a huge international hit among most nations. Although this song may not have impressed the US Billboards enough, it still won over a global audience like no other. It became certified gold by the UK’s British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and had sold well over four million copies worldwide. Not only did “Puppet on a String” become the best-selling Eurovision winner as a single to date but it is also estimated that it has become the biggest selling single by a UK-based female artist of all time.
Feature Photo: Ron Kroon, Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989 – negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang 2.24.01.05, bestanddeelnummer 920-0374, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/nl/deed.en>, via Wikimedia Commons
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