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Puppet on a String

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"Puppet on a String"
Puppet On A String.jpg
Single by Sandie Shaw
B-side"Tell The Boys"
ReleasedMarch 1967
LabelPye [1]
Songwriter(s)Bill Martin and Phil Coulter[2]
Producer(s)Ken Woodman[2]
Sandie Shaw singles chronology
"I Don't Need Anything"
"Puppet on a String"
"Tonight in Tokyo"
Eurovision Song Contest 1967 entry
Finals performance
Final result
Final points
Entry chronology
◄ "A Man Without Love" (1966)   
"Congratulations" (1968) ►

"Puppet on a String" is a song recorded by British singer Sandie Shaw. The song was written by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter. It is best known as the British winning entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1967, held in Vienna.[3][4]

It was her thirteenth UK single release. The song was a UK Singles Chart number one hit on 27 April 1967, staying at the top for a total of three weeks.[5] Al Hirt released a version of the song in 1967 that went to number 18 on the Adult Contemporary chart and #129 on the Billboard Hot 100.[6]

Eurovision Song Contest

Shaw had originally performed the song as one of five prospective numbers to represent the United Kingdom in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest on The Rolf Harris Show. She had never been taken with the idea of taking part in the contest but her discoverer, Adam Faith, had talked her into it, saying it would keep her manager Eve Taylor happy. Taylor wanted to give Shaw a more cabaret appeal and felt that this was the right move - and also felt that it would get Shaw back in the public's good books as she had recently been involved in a divorce scandal.[7]

Of the five songs performed, "Puppet on a String" was Shaw's least favourite. In her own words, "I hated it from the very first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum. I was instinctively repelled by its sexist drivel and cuckoo-clock tune."[8] She was disappointed when it was selected as the song she would use to represent the country, but it won the contest hands down, though it has always been felt that this was partly due to her existing popularity on the continent (she had recorded most of her hit singles in French, Italian, German and Spanish). As a result, "Puppet on a String" became her third Number One hit in the UK (a record for a woman at the time) and was a big worldwide smash. In Germany, the single was the biggest seller of the entire year, reaching sales of over 1 million copies. Globally, the single achieved sales in excess of 4 million, making it the biggest selling winning Eurovision track to date.[9] Some estimates suggest this makes the track the biggest selling single by a British female artist of all time.[10] Shaw also recorded "Puppet on a String" in French ("Un tout petit pantin"), Italian ("La danza delle note"), Spanish ("Marionetas en la cuerda"), and German ("Wiedehopf im Mai").[11]


Shaw re-recorded "Puppet on a String" in early 2007 in honour of her 60th birthday. This took place after Shaw visited her friend, musician Howard Jones, and found him playing some chords on his keyboard and humming a melody. He encouraged her to continue the melody and before long she realised that it was in fact "Puppet on a String." They recorded the new, slow-tempo electronic version of the song and sent it to producer/mixer Andy Gray who put the final touches on the song. Shaw stated that she loved the new version (having spent a great deal of her life hating the original) and released it exclusively for free download from her, and Howard Jones', official website on 26 February (Shaw's birthday). It was available for free download for sixty days. As a result of its popularity, Shaw continued to put out new songs on her website for download for the remaining months of her 61st year.

Other covers

The song was covered in over 200 versions in over 30 languages.[12]

  • Bulgarian (Кукла на конци, "Kukla na kontsi") - by Маргарита Радинска (Margarita Radinska)
  • Chinese:
  • Dutch: title: Speelbal in de wind ("Beachball in the Wind") by Reggy van der Burgt, later by Anneke Grönloh
  • Finnish: by Maarja-Leena (Hentunen), title: Sätkynukke (single, Philips PF 340 791)
  • Lithuanian: by Violeta Riaubiskyte under the title Lele.
  • Norwegian: In 1967 Bente Aaseth released the single Sprellemann on His Master's Voice. The Norwegian lyrics were written by Juul Hansen.
  • Portuguese: In 1967 by Simone de Oliveira released her version, entitled "Marionette" .
  • Spanish: In 1967 by Lea Zafrani released her version, entitled "Marionetas en la cuerda", with the same lyrics as Shaw's, witten by Manuel Clavero.
  • Tamil : In 1969 by Nantha Balan Selvanayagam
  • In 1990, the song was covered by Ana Faria as Feira Popular and performed by children/teenpop group Onda Choc. The song is about an evening out at Feira Popular de Lisboa. It's featured on their eighth album with the same title[15]
  • Hungarian: 1967, Zsuzsa Koncz as Paprikajancsi
  • Russian: 1968, Emil Gorovets (Эмиль Горовец), title: Я не кукла ("I am Not a Puppet")[16]
  • Slovak: In 1967 Slovak singer and actress Tatjana Hubinská released the single Ako malý psík just a next Day after Eurovision Song Competition (literally "Like a Puppy", in fact a Slovak version of "Puppet on a String", 0130166 Supraphon, mono).[17] Ako malý psík was also covered by Jana Procházková[18]
  • Swedish: Sprattelgumma, by Siw Malmkvist, 1967[19]
  • Mantovani made an instrumental version on the 1968 release The Mantovani Touch
  • There is a rocksteady version by Ken Boothe on the Studio One label
  • Lady Marmalade released a version entitled "Puppet On A String (Blueboy Remix)"
  • Lily Allen released a track "Alfie" which uses the melody of 'Puppet' but none of the lyrics
  • Dutch group Mrs. Einstein released an English language version just after appearing in the Eurovision Song Contest 1997
  • In Poland this song "Ale Marionetka)\' ("What a puppet") was sung by Halina Kunicka

Chart performance

Country Position [4][20]
New Zealand
United Kingdom[2]
South Africa[26]


  1. ^ "Sandie Shaw". 26 February 1947. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 109. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  3. ^ "Eurovision 1967 : United Kingdom Sandie Shaw - Puppet on a string". 21 May 2006. Archived from the original on 6 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  4. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 495. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "Puppet on a String full official chart history". Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  6. ^ "Puppet on a String (song by Al Hirt) • Music VF, US & UK hits charts". Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  7. ^ "Sandie Shaw's Love scandal that almost cost Britain its first Eurovision victory". Retrieved 11 May 2014.
  8. ^ Shaw, Sandie: The World at my Feet. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd; 1991. ISBN 978-0002159210
  9. ^ O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest: The Official Celebration. Carlton Books Ltd 2015. ISBN 978-1780976389
  10. ^ Kelly, Mike. Wot Pop: 50 Years of Hits 1952-2002 - A-Z of Hitmakers Plus the UK's Top 5000 Singles. Southgate Publishers 30 September 2002. ISBN 978-1857411409
  11. ^ "Sandie Shaw, official site, discography". Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  12. ^ "Eurocovers: VII - The Year Of The Puppet". 9 January 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  13. ^ "Eurocovers: VII: Year Of The Puppet - Is that a big string in your hand or". 6 April 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  14. ^ "Eurocovers: VII: Year Of The Puppet - Lara's emotional man - Singapore". Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  15. ^ "Information on Feira Popular album by Onda Choc". Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  16. ^ "Discography of Emil Gorovets" (in Russian). Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  17. ^ "Singles of Tatjana Hubinská". Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  18. ^ "Eurocovers: April 2007". Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  19. ^ "Svensk mediedatabas". Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  20. ^ Steffen Hung. "Chart Performance @". Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  21. ^ "Billboard Magazine, August 1967". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Billboard Magazine, June 1967". Billboard.
  23. ^ a b "Billboard Magazine, May 27, 1967". Billboard.
  24. ^ a b c "Billboard Magazine, July 1, 1967". Billboard.
  25. ^ "Billboard Magazine, June 17, 1967". Billboard.
  26. ^ "Billboard Magazine, June 3 1967". Billboard.
  27. ^ "Billboard Magazine, August 1967". Billboard.

External links

This page was last edited on 2 June 2020, at 14:18
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