Apr 08

BROTHERHOOD OF MAN – “Save Your Kisses For Me”

FT + Popular83 comments • 4,958 views

#387, 27th March 1976

I’ve argued before that there are no good songs about how lovely small children are: some counter-examples were raised in the comments box, but not many, and this surely wasn’t one of them. “Save Your Kisses For Me” is the kind of chirpy material that used to give Eurovision a bad name before the smirkers got hold of it: catchy, but too winsome to really enjoy. I’d point to it as a classic example of cynical Britain fobbing off any old rubbish on the song contest, except Brotherhood of Man actually won the thing. Especially heinous elements: the root-i-toot toy trumpet riff, the persistent triangle accompaniment, the “awwww” final chords after the twist. THE TWIST. Path to redemption: the opening irresistibly reminds me of “Mother’s Little Helper”.



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  1. 51
    Erithian on 1 May 2008 #

    Manchester born and bred though, Waldo, and when I was first old enough to know what football was (around the time Arthur Brown was gracing TOTP with that flaming colander) we were living in Stretford and it dawned on me that that lot who played just up the road were European champions. These days I’m still a Red, but more closely involved with Erith & Belvedere FC’s perennial struggle to get out of the Kent League, and so are my twins born within sight of the Millennium Dome.

    When the appropriate time comes I’ll treat you to the lyrics of “Stretford Enders” – bet you can’t wait.

  2. 52
    Waldo on 1 May 2008 #

    Respect, Erithian, especially with your efforts with Erith and Belvadere FC. My own surrogate side, Eastbourne Borough, are in good shape for the play-offs to the Conference, one step away from the League itself. Most exciting.

    Marcello – I shall be watching the Champions League final at home. You’ll be pleased to know that I do not feature on the C.R.O and even those pesky Russkies could not deny a visa to a guy who’s just a harmless drunken eeedjut? If I was minded to try to obtain one, I would invite Maria Sharapova to act as my sponsor.

    (Cue deep-rooted phlegmy growls from within…)

  3. 53
    rosie on 1 May 2008 #

    I met a Nolan Sister once, when I was invited backstage at the New Theatre, Hull, for the end-of-run party for the Christmas Pantomime. I can’t remember which Nolan it was, mind. I was too distracted by meeting one of my childhood heroes, Lenny the Lion.

  4. 54
    Erithian on 2 May 2008 #

    Waldo – Eastbourne Borough passed E&B on their way up through the Dr Martens League, either side of their name-change from Langney Sports. As I understood it, there were no less than three Eastbourne clubs, but Borough got the council’s backing much to the annoyance of the other two and never looked back!

    One of the “faces” at E&B is George Webb, who plays jazz dates at the club on the first Sunday of every month. His band the Dixielanders played at the Red Barn in Barnehurst just after the war and signed up players such as Humphrey Lyttelton, and the trad jazz boom started right there. George is in his 90s and still playing – he played at George Melly’s last gig.

  5. 55
    Billy Smart on 18 May 2008 #

    Dale Winton’s verdict this afternoon: “Say what you will, I think it was a good record!”

  6. 56
    Billy Smart on 2 Jun 2008 #

    Light Entertainment Watch Update: Yet more! The Brotherhood Of Man were also seen on;

    BE MY GUEST: Featuring Ken Dodd, The Brotherhood Of Man, Paul Daniels, Sacha Distel (1977)

    CRACKERJACK: Featuring The Brotherhood Of Man, Elaine Paige (1978)

    THE GOLDEN SHOT: Featuring Charlie Williams, The Brotherhood Of Man, Ken Dodd (1974)

    THE GRAND PRIX NIGHT OF THE STARS: Featuring James Hunt, Shirley Bassey, The Brotherhood Of Man, Henry Cooper, Patrick Moore, The Chris Barber Band, Lena Zavaroni (1976)

    MIKE YARWOOD IN PERSONS: Featuring Mike Yarwood, The Brotherhood Of Man(1978)

    ROLF ON SATURDAY O.K?: Featuring Rolf Harris, The Brotherhood Of Man (1979)

    THE WHEELTAPPERS & SHUNTERS SOCIAL CLUB: Featuring Bernard Manning, The Brotherhood Of Man, P.J. Proby, Russ Conway(1974)

  7. 57
    DJ Punctum on 3 Jun 2008 #

    PJ Proby on the Wheeltappers I MUST see this!!

  8. 58

    I’m still battered/bruised by his version on OpNox of “An American Trilogy” as the Masked Singer.

  9. 59
    Erithian on 4 Jul 2008 #

    Billy (#56) – picking up on this a long time after the initial discussion, but does anybody else remember “Be My Guest”? It was a variety show with an ace twist – at the end of the show they put all the performers’ names into a hat, drew one out and the winner got to pick the line-up for the following week’s show. Probably ended up as a bonanza for the artist’s agent, so the show didn’t last long. One of my comedy heroes, Bob Williamson (the bloke who re-worked SYKFM as “You Gave Me Kippers For Tea”) got his national TV debut as a result. I think Ronnie Dukes’ mum (remember Dukes and Lee?) won it one week.

  10. 60
    Ron Tennant on 13 Sep 2008 #

    Where can I find clips of P.J.Proby on the Wheeltappers Club & also as the masked singer on Opportunity Knocks?

  11. 61
    Billy Smart on 5 Jan 2009 #

    John Peel Watch: From an article in The Listener (‘Public & Private Taste, 22 April 1976);

    “The Eurovision song is as highly specialised a creature as Miss World and, despite commanding our admiration for its wonderful laboratory freshness, the success of ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’ indicates little other than the baseness of public taste.”

  12. 62
    MikeMCSG on 3 Sep 2009 #

    It was during this record’s run at the top that an era sadly ended with Pan’s People’s last appearance on TOTP. They did two numbers first “More More More” (Andrea True Connection)and finally “Silver Star” (Four Seasons) which featured an extended solo spot for Ruth (the only survivor from the original line up).

  13. 63
    Chelovek na lune on 25 Sep 2010 #

    All I can say (apart from lamenting the lack of a zero) is…had it not been for some of the “twist” references here, there’s no way I would otherwise have listened to that all the way through. What unutterably dreadful tosh.

  14. 64
    Billy Hicks on 30 Apr 2011 #

    Regarding the twist ending, it makes me wonder if Michael Buble’s ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’ would be improved by saving the title line until the very end of the song…so he talks about this girl for four minutes, but wait, he hasn’t met her yet! Obviously you’d have to change the title as well.

    Just me, then.

  15. 65
    Ed on 3 May 2011 #

    Tom: “there are no good songs about how lovely small children are”.

    I refer my Right Honourable friend to my previous answer:


    and on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DX8BeqhCLic

  16. 66
    Chelovek na lune on 3 May 2011 #

    Also, as mentioned elsewhere, “You Came” by Kim Wilde. Can’t think of any more recent ones offhand though.

  17. 67
    Tom on 3 May 2011 #

    The entire of the most recent Kelis album is about her kid, and it’s all absolutely terrific, probably the best pop record of last year. So I’ve changed my tune on the idea of songs-about-kids to some extent. But this is still an atrocity.

  18. 68
    Mark G on 3 May 2011 #

    #65, add the Kinks’ “Days” plz.

  19. 69
    hardtogethits on 3 May 2011 #

    Kooks by David Bowie.

  20. 70
    Paulito on 4 May 2011 #

    Mark @68 – I’ve never heard or read that “Days” is addressed to a child. Hast thou evidence?

    “Kooks” is fun, but twee by the Dame’s standards.

  21. 71
    Snif on 4 May 2011 #

    “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder to twee?

    How about “A Little Ray Of Sunshine” by Axiom…


    Australian hit only, but considered the acceptable face of child songs in these parts (Rory may or may not confirm this :-))

  22. 72
    Mark G on 4 May 2011 #

    #70 re: Days, I can’t find anything that backs it up!

    Maybe it was something Kirsty McColl said at the time of her hit cover version. All the lyrics seem to suggest this reading, but it seems to have been taken as a “thanks guys” to the members of the Kinks where were about to break off…

  23. 73
    Rory on 4 May 2011 #

    @71 Glenn Shorrock with long hair! Crikey.

    A bit before my time, I’m afraid (I was two in 1970), and I don’t remember noticing it on Oz radio in the ’80s/’90s. More enjoyable than Save Your Kisses, though, which unfortunately I remember all too well.

  24. 74
    Lazarus on 15 Apr 2012 #

    Erithian, reading your post at #21 has disabused me of a long-standing assumption that Manchester United’s eponymous Number 50 smash was sung to the tune of “Winchester Cathedral.” Well, it should have been.

  25. 75
    Paulito on 16 Apr 2012 #

    A simple lesson in the difference between brilliance and ineptitude in songwriting: Chuck Berry had earlier used the same twist to heartbreaking effect in “Memphis, Tennessee” (although I find Elvis Presley’s little-known version much more moving than Chuck’s somewhat languid original – hear the King’s take on it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&v=uyipQ-oD5nk&NR=1)

  26. 76
    Erithian on 16 Apr 2012 #

    Sorry Lazarus, you asked for it. Those Hiller lyrics in full:

    United we stand, divided we fall
    We’re gonna be the champions when we score that final gooooooaaaallll…
    (bass drum: boom, boom , boom, boom)

    Manchester United, Manchester United
    We’re the greatest team in the land
    Manchester United, Manchester United
    Sing along and join in the band
    We’re the great sensation, the pride of all the nation
    We’re the boys who set them alight
    We’re Manchester United and you’re all invited
    To celebrate us winning the fight

    We need you to cheer, we need you right here
    As long as you support us we will never have a feeeeeeaaaarrrr…..
    (boom, boom, boom, boom – you can guess the rest)
    (and then they whistle the chorus. Steve Coppell was into Santana FFS…)

  27. 77
    Mark G on 17 Apr 2012 #

    Ah, so is it to the tune of “United We Stand”, the early seventies hit by .. (hang on, i’ll look it up..) ..

    “Brotherhood of Man” ?

  28. 78
    Erithian on 17 Apr 2012 #

    No, but I guess once you get hold of a good lyrical theme you hang on to it!

  29. 79
    wichita lineman on 18 Apr 2012 #

    You can sing Mother’s Little Helper to the tune of SYKFM. Pretty much. Great improvement.

  30. 80
    DanH on 22 May 2013 #

    I watched the promo for this…somehow I survived. Gotta say, the worst part by far was the end after the ‘you’re only three’ lyric, they all did a “see what we did there?” arms cross. Ughh.

  31. 81
    swanstep on 4 Aug 2013 #

    I don’t share the utter contempt for this record that others evidently feel. Why might that be I wonder? Well, until just now, I’d never known what era this record came from, and I’d assumed it was a kind of a Carpenters’ Top Of The World knock-off from 1972/1973. Heard that way, SYKFM sounds almost logical – I mean, if you gave SYKFM to The Carpenters and the Wrecking Crew they’d *make* you love it, and a ‘Memphis, TN’ twist, well, why not? It’s squicky but funny, and it’s not as though pop ever has an excess of either wit or twistiness. So, I wonder whether the particular venom that SYKFM has attracted here is due in part to its atavism – the pop world had seriously moved on by ’76 and the slight monstrousness or monstrous slightness of those ’72 pop stylings *really* rub people the wrong way when delayed.

    Anyhow, I gave Whigfield’s ‘Saturday Night’ a 2 or a 3 (begrudgingly upgraded to maybe a 4 after repeated listens), and I think SYKFM is slightly better than it in every respect (I’d always take SYKFM over SN to cover), so I say this is a 4 (maybe a 5 on the right day).

  32. 82
    mapman132 on 13 Jun 2014 #

    Wow, I never knew “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” won Eurovision :)

    All right, I’ve never knowingly heard this before tonight, although it apparently reached #27 over here. Clearly this hasn’t aged well, but perhaps my enjoyment of being a godparent, or simply the fact I haven’t heard it enough to annoy me, means I have a hard time hating it as everyone else except Swanstep seems to. I’d also give it 4, maybe 5/10. Second time this week I’ve semi-defended an extremely unpopular track on this forum – wonder what’s wrong with me!

    #2 watch note: Had no idea Billy Ocean was having hits this far back. Always thought of him as 80’s only.

  33. 83
    PurpleKylie on 29 Aug 2014 #

    Worst UK winner. That’s all.

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