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  • Writer's pictureMark Howitt

Songs in the Key of My Life: 3

Save Your Kisses for Me, Brotherhood of Man (1976)

Three years after Todd Rundgren recorded I Saw the Light, and 14 years before I caught that night train from Bologna to Luxembourg with the funk of Deee-Lite ringing in my ears, a boy in Edinburgh recorded this in his diary, his 1976 Puffin Reader’s Diary:

Saturday 2 April

There were only 6 people at badminton - two of which played darts. The Eurovision Song Contest was won by Great Britain with the Brotherhood of Man singing Save Your Kisses for Me.

Monday 5 April

Susan’s Birthday. I gave her tennis socks and sweat bands. Mum and Dad gave her £10, a record, two books and a pair of Union Jack socks. Susan and I went into town to Menzies where I got my Paddington book signed by Michael Bond. Bought the Brotherhood of Man record.

It’s hardly James Lees-Milne or Henry ‘Chips’ Channon, but I was only 11.

The joint purchase of the Eurovision Song Contest winning record has been a source of sibling dispute ever since. Susan maintains that it was by mutual agreement that we split the 62p cost of the single. I'm pretty certain that I was tricked in some way, feeling that since she had that very morning scooped £10 she could have afforded to buy it herself. Still, I don't bear grudges and it only comes up in conversation every few months, most recently when she sent me a text saying "U need to move on". She could be right.

As to what happened to that Paddington book, I wish I knew. An advert for Forum Auctions on the back page of a recent Private Eye shows a signed copy of A Bear Called Paddington selling for £7,000 earlier this year. Puts a bit of perspective on the 31p.

It's easy now to take pot shots at the Brotherhood of Man, a kind of end-of-the-pier, Butlins holiday camp type band. And, true their sound is dated, but they enjoyed great success during the late 1970s, Save Your Kisses selling 6 million copies (still the highest selling Eurovision winner ever) and they followed it up with another two number one singles. The band was still touring, with the same line up - Martin Lee, Nicky Stevens, Lee Sheriden and Sandra Stevens - who had won Eurovision in 1976 at the Congresgebouw in the Hague, until 2022. They must have been doing something right.

Though it hurts to go away, it's impossible to stay

But there's one thing I must say before I go

I love you (I love you), you know

I'll be thinking of you in most everything I do

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