Listen: Puppet On A String / Sandie Shaw
Puppet On A String / Sandie Shaw
As a kid growing up in the US, I never quite understood what the Eurovision Song Contest was. I do recall seeing lists of the various entires for a few years running. Seems each country from the mainland had one, and England got their entry as well. Despite that bit of water safely guarding them from being part of Europe when it might not have been convenient, in the case of this competition, the water was ignored.
Pretty much all the entries sounded dreadful and were of no interest to me, except occasionally those UK ones. Or at least the artists performing them.
Must have been ’67 when Sandie Shaw’s ‘Puppet On A String’ was one such entry. Despite anything previously involved with said competition, I loved this one. A backing track that mimicked The New Vaudeville Band playing ska, topped off with Sandie Shaw’s perky sulky voice, provided an unexpectedly wonderful recipe.
Simultaneously, her hip factor went out the window, so unhip an event Eurovsision apparently being. For a few years there, she was a happening, barefooted, Yardley mod girl type. Despite this record hitting #1 in England, suddenly things changed in hipsville.
But like Lulu, the years have treated her miraculously well. Neither of them appear to age, at all, shockingly. Maybe up close, but at even the slightest distance, this pair look like a million bucks.
‘Puppet On A String’ didn’t make it over that two week hump of airplay in America. Getting a true chance to sink into the public’s awareness level and become a hit meant surviving that fortnight of ‘new single’ rotations. So for a brief window, the record sounded spectacular coming through the dashboard of our family’s car, an emerald green ’64 Ford. Both the local Top 40′s gave it some decent spins, keeping me throbbing for one of my then heart throbs.