"Puppet on a String" is the name of the Eurovision Song Contest-winning song in 1967 by British singer Sandie Shaw. 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. 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.
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.
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." 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 female at the time) and was a big worldwide smash (the biggest selling single of the year in Germany). 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").
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 official website on 26 February (her actual 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.
The song was covered in over 200 versions in over 30 languages.
- Bulgarian (Кукла на конци, "Kukla na kontsi") - by Маргарита Радинска (Margarita Radinska)
- 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 Dukkemann on His Master's Voice. The Norwegian lyrics were written by Juul Hansen.
- Russian: 1968, Emil Gorovets (Эмиль Горовец), title: Я не кукла ("I am Not a Puppet")
- Slovak: In 1967 Slovak singer and actress Tatjana Hubinská released the single Ako malý psík (literally "Like a Puppy", in fact a Slovak version of "Puppet on a String", 0130166 Supraphon, mono). Ako malý psík was also covered by Jana Procházková
- Swedish: Sprattelgumma, by Siw Malmkvist, 1967
- 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
|Preceded by||UK number one single
27 April 1967 (3 weeks)
|Preceded by||Eurovision Song Contest winners||Succeeded by|
|Preceded by||United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest||Succeeded by|