The lyricist Bill Martin and composer Phil Coulter produced some of the most recognisable hits of the Sixties and Seventies, such as “Back Home” for the 1970 England World Cup squad, and the Bay City Rollers’ clap-along “Shang-a-lang”.
But they are best remembered for the Eurovision Song Contest. First up was a fairground number for the darling of swinging London, Sandie Shaw. In the run-up to the 1967 show, she performed five potential entries on Rolf Harris's TV show. Shaw had doubts about representing the UK, but Adam Faith, who had discovered her, talked her into it, saying it would appease her manager, Eve Taylor. Shaw's career was drifting, and Taylor wanted to reinvent her as a family entertainer.
Of the five songs, “Puppet on a String”, as bouncy as a space hopper, was Shaw's least favourite. “I hated it from the very first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum,” she's said. “I was instinctively repelled by its sexist drivel and cuckoo-clock tune.”
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