Eurovision legends’ legacy safe after Ryder is pipped at the post
Sam Ryder’s bid to win the Eurovision Song Contest fell at the final hurdle.
Denying him the opportunity to etch his name alongside previous winners from the United Kingdom.
Ukraine's Kalush Orchestra rode a wave of public support to claim top spot, with Ryder’s Space Man ballad finishing second after initially topping the jury vote.
The UK’s love affair with Eurovision had been sorely tested in recent years, with last place finishes in 2019 and 2021 suggesting the rest of Europe was annoyed about Brexit.
Jade Owen was the last singer to bag a top 10 spot when she came fifth in 2009, while the UK has not won the competition since Katrina and the Waves stormed to victory in 1997.
The UK’s steady fall from grace in Eurovision is in stark contrast to events in 1976, when Brotherhood of Man romped to victory ahead of France representative Catherine Ferry.
According to research by Betway, their Save Your Kisses for Me has become the biggest selling song from the Eurovision Song Contest ever in the UK.
The group’s journey to the top began in 1969, when songwriter and record producer Tony Hiller used session singers to perform his songs.
After scoring a worldwide hit with the song ‘United we Stand’ in 1970, Hiller subsequently decided to form a definitive line-up for Brotherhood of Man.
Martin Lee, Lee Sheriden, Nicky Stevens and Sandra Stevens were pieced together and went on to enjoy success on mainland Europe.
Hiller was keen to crack the UK market, so he entered Save Your Kisses for Me in the A Song for Europe competition.
After beating second placed act Co-Co by just two points, Brotherhood of Man progressed to the Eurovision Song Contest in the Netherlands and duly won.
The song became a major hit around the world, hitting the top of the charts in more than 30 countries. It also entered the US charts.
Save Your Kisses for Me stayed at number one for six weeks in the UK, earning the group a platinum disc and finishing the year as the top selling single of the year.
The song eventually sold six million copies worldwide and helped Brotherhood of Man become one of the biggest music acts of the 1970s.
The group’s success was undoubtedly the inspiration for another UK success in 1981, when Bucks Fizz narrowly fended of Germany to etch their names into Eurovision folklore.
The skirt-ripping routine during Making Your Mind Up is still viewed as one of the most defining moments in Eurovision history.
Having claimed two victories in six years, it was a surprise that in took another 16 years before the UK won Eurovision again.
Katrina and the Waves had enjoyed success in the 1980s before dropping out of the limelight during the following decade.
However, they made a triumphant return to the limelight at the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest, with Love Shine a Light winning by a then record margin of 70 points.
The song gave Katrina and the Waves their best-ever chart position, peaking at number three in the UK and becoming a hit across Europe.
Its feelgood vibe seemingly laid a template for further UK success in the competition, but this was not forthcoming.
Only three UK acts had finished in the top 10 before Ryder achieved the feat last weekend, highlighting the country’s dramatic Eurovision demise.
Despite missing out on victory, Ryder can rightly be proud of his efforts in restoring the UK towards the top of the Eurovision tree.
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