Sixties City presents a wide-ranging series of articles on all aspects of the Sixties, penned by the creator of the iconic 60s music paper  Mersey Beat

Sandie Shaw

Sandie Shaw
Sandra Ann Goodrich was born in Dagenham on 26th February 1947. Although she had the opportunity of attending Art College, she opted for working in the local Ford car factory instead. At the age of 17 she’d come second in a talent contest which led to a place on a concert bill with Adam Faith. After the show she visited Faith’s dressing room where she sang ‘Everybody Loves A Lover’ and Faith was so impressed he put her in contact with his manager Eve Taylor. Taylor changed her name to Sandie Shaw and, within two weeks, had arranged a recording contract with Pye Records.

Her first single ‘As Long As You’re Happy Baby’ was penned by songwriter Chris Andrews, who was to write several other number for her, but it was her second release, ‘There’s Always Something There To Remind Me’, a cover of a Bacharach and David song, which took her to the No.1 spot in the British charts, a position she held for three weeks.

She also topped the charts with ‘Long Live Love’ and her other British hits included ‘Girl Don’t Come’, ‘I’ll Stop At Nothing’, ‘Message Understood’, ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Nothing Comes Easy’. Although her highest American chart position was only No.42 with ‘Girl Don’t Come’, she was internationally popular in Europe and South America, also recording most of her hit singles in French, Italian, Spanish and German for the Continental market.

It was problems with work permits which prevented her from promoting herself in America. In addition to appearing on all the major pop TV shows such as ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’, ‘Ready, Steady, Go!’, ‘Top of the Pops', ‘A Whole Scene Going’, ‘Cilla’ and ‘This Is Tom Jones’, Sandie had her own six-part TV series ‘The Sandie Shaw Supplement’ in 1968. She is probably best remembered for her 1967 appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest, which she won with the song ‘Puppet On a String’, penned by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter, becoming the first British singer to win the contest.

This became her third British chart topper, was a worldwide smash hit and the biggest selling single in Germany that year. Despite it's huge success, Sandie wasn’t enamoured of the number, but was later to admit, “It is a song which has been the source of much grief, hilarity, circumspection and, I have to admit, financial reward for many years".

Sandie was to marry fashion designer Jeff Banks in 1968 and the couple had a daughter, Gracie, in 1971. In the meantime she continued recording, although her last Top Ten entry was ‘Monsieur Dupont’ in 1969. Later that same year she recorded ‘Heaven Knows I’m Missing Him Now'.

The Seventies was a decade which saw the breakdown of her marriage, the loss of her recording contract and a situation in which she was virtually penniless and had to work as a waitress to support herself and her daughter. Despite her problems, resulting in a loss of confidence, she had, during the decade, appeared as a stage actress in ‘Hamlet’ and ‘Saint Joan’, co-wrote a musical and begun a lifelong interest in Buddhism.

The Eighties became a more positive decade for her and she married Nic Powell, co-founder of the Virgin Group, and she gave birth to another daughter, Annie. She then began recording again, appeared with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders in which the two duetted on ‘Girl Don’t Come’ and recorded another album. In 1983 she received a letter from ‘two incurable Sandie Shaw fans’ who wrote: ‘The Sandie Shaw legend cannot be over yet – there is more to be done'.

The letter came from Morrissey and Johnny Marr of The Smiths, who had originally been inspired by Sandie’s recording of ‘Heaven Knows I’m Missing You Now’, resulting in Morrissey writing one of their biggest hits ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now'.
Sandie Shaw

Sandie signed with Rough Trade, met Morrissey and recorded some of The Smiths' songs, including their first single ‘Hand In Glove’, which she promoted on ‘Top Of The Pops’, backed by The Smiths. She also embarked on her first University tour in twenty years.

In 1991 she published her autobiography ‘The World At My Feet’ and from 1992 studied at both Oxford University and the University of London for three years, becoming qualified as a psychotherapist. She was also to divorce Powell and married Tony Bedford in 1996.
By the end of the decade she had joined the Royal Society of Musicians and became an Honorary Professor of Music.

In the 21st century Sandie continues to record and her vast number of recordings have appeared on a considerable number of compilations, which is good news for the singer as she succeeded in winning a legal battle to establish ownership of her entire recording catalogue. During the Sixties in particular, she was noted for performing in her bare feet, but in August 2007 she underwent corrective surgery on what she regarded as her ‘ugly feet’. She was to say "I have always wanted beautiful feet. My husband says that when I was being created, the design team did a great job until they got down to my ankles".
Sandie Shaw

Mersey Beat Magazine Bill Harry attended the Liverpool College of Art with Stuart Sutcliffe and John Lennon and made the arrangements for Brian Epstein to visit The Cavern, where he saw The Beatles for the first time. Bill was a member of 'The Dissenters' and the founder and editor of 'Mersey Beat', the iconic weekly music newspaper that documented the early Sixties music scene in the Liverpool area and is possibly best known for being the first periodical to feature a local band called 'The Beatles'. He has worked as a high powered publicist, doing PR for acts such as Suzi Quatro, Free, The Arrows and Hot Chocolate and has managed press campaigns for record labels such as CBS, EMI, Polydor. Bill is the critically acclaimed author of a large number of books about The Beatles and the 60s era including 'The Beatles Who's Who', 'The Best Years of the Beatles' and the Fab Four's 'Encyclopedia' series. He has appeared on 'Good Morning America' and has received a Gold Award from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.

Article Text Bill Harry               Original Graphics SixtiesCity     Other individual owner copyrights may apply to Photographic Images

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