Eurovision Song Contest: How a Wakefield couple joined Brotherhood of Man and went on to win Eurovision with smash hit Save Your Kisses For Me

In 1976, the UK sang their way to victory at the Eurovision Song Contest, much to the joy of millions of fans. And as the celebrations came to an end, it was back to Wakefield for half of the winning group. This is their story.

Friday, 21st May 2021, 10:44 am

Husband and wife team Lee Sheridan and Nicky Stevens joined Brotherhood of Man in 1972, three years after the band was formed by record producer and composer Tony Hiller.

Just four years later, the group would go on to win the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest in The Hague, the Netherlands.

They sang their way to victory with pop hit Save Your Kisses For Me, which went on to reach number one in 33 countries.

In 1976, the UK sang their way to victory at the Eurovision Song Contest, much to the joy of millions of fans. And as the celebrations came to an end, it was back to Wakefield for half of the winning group. Photos: Evening Standard/Getty Images and JPI Media

The group took home an incredible 164 points - including the coveted 12 points from Belgium, Greece, Israel, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland.

And when the dust settled, and the Brotherhood of Man members headed home, it was to Wakefield that Lee and Nicky retreated, ready to celebrate their victory with their friends and family.

They kicked off the celebrations with a street party hosted by their neighbours in Hall Green.

The couple had a long history of performing, and were well known in their home city.

Husband and wife team Lee Sheridan and Nicky Stevens joined Brotherhood of Man in 1972, three years after the band was formed by record producer and composer Tony Hiller. Just four years later, the group would go on to win the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest. Pictured is an article from the Wakefield Express in 2011.

In 2008, while on tour with fellow ESC winners Bucks Fizz, the husband and wife due sat down to recall their times performing in the city.

A report at the time read: In the early days they cut their teeth playing at now-long gone venues in the city, including Wakefield Theatre Club in Belle Vue.

And they still hold a special place in the hearts of people in Wakefield.

When they arrived at Theatre Royal Wakefield ahead of their show on Wednesday they were met by a crowd of groupies.

Nicky Stevens, Martin Lee, Lee Sheridan and Sandra Stevens, who represented Britain in the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest with the song 'Save All Your Kisses For Me'. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Ms Stevens, 63, said: “Wakefield holds a lot of memories for us. Its good to be back in the city. We were living in Hollingthorpe Road, which I loved, when we were on Eurovision.

“I can always remember coming back from the Netherlands – our neighbours held a huge street celebration for us. We’re still in contact with them and some of those are coming to see us.

"We had to move to London soon after we won and there were a lot of tears when we left.”

The group were already at number one in the charts with Save All Your Kisses For Me when they won Eurovision in 1976.

But it transformed their careers, and they still perform with the winning line-up today.

Mr Lee, 61, said: “If someone had told me when we were writing that song that we’d still be performing it 30-odd years later, I’d never had believed them.

“We were up first on stage at Eurovision, and thought we had to do something different, something people would remember.

"So we came up with the dance and we rehearsed every day until we knew it backwards and it just worked.

"We were the first people to do a choreographed dance – after us everyone did it.

“But it didn’t stop the nerves, I was shaking. There were millions of people watching us.”

After Eurovision the band went on to have a string of hits including Angelo and Figaro, and even won three Ivor Novello awards for songwriting.

But they say they remain indebted to Eurovision.

Ms Stevens said: “I hope they never stop it. We’re still here today on the strength of that one song alone. It’s amazing.

“I can’t imagine what our life would’ve been like without Eurovision.”

In 2011, the couple sat down for another interview with the Express as they prepared to settle in and enjoy Eurovision on the 35th anniversary of their win.

It read:

EUROVISION legends Brotherhood of Man have been saving all their kisses for 35 years.

The seventies chart kings have been getting nostalgic about their 1976 triumph on the eve of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Band members Martin Lee and Sandra Stevens, who hail from Hall Green, were given a hero’s welcome when they returned home to Hollingthorpe Road three-and-a-half decades ago.

The husband and wife team became national treasures along with bandmates Lee Sheridan and Nicky Stevens after clinching victory in Hamburg with Save Your Kisses for Me.

The song went on to top the charts in 55 countries and they became an institution on Top of the Pops. They cemented it with follow-up hits Figaro and Angelo.

But the happy couple, who are now in their sixties, recalled their pre-fame days playing at now defunct venues like Wakefield Theatre Club and Mecca.

Mr Lee said: “We had a lovely bungalow in Hall Green, opposite our neighbour who we are still friends with now.

"We are still friends with everybody there. It was a fantastic time.

“We had to leave because we had to be by the airport. It was just a nightmare, we were up at four in the morning.

"We were lucky enough to be in all these shows. Three major shows a week, everywhere in the world.”

Ms Stevens said: “I remember Jimmy Tarbuck saying we are the luckiest people in the world because we get to see the world and we are getting paid to see it.”

The couple will be glued to the TV this Saturday to watch the UK Eurovision entry by boy band Blue.

They think it stands a good chance as Blue are known on the continent - just like Brotherhood of Man were when they won.

Ms Stevens said: “I think Blue look great and they sound great. The song is very good. Whether it will win, well that’s entirely on the night.

"It’s how they look on the night and what impression they make. They are up there for me.”

She added: “It’s a great feeling to win for the country.

"Wouldn’t it be great for them to bring those medals home. All power to them.”

Mr Lee hopes Blue can overcome the tactical voting that has marred recent contests.

He said: “It just a shame this becomes involved in such a simple situation. It’s a song contest.

“It’s not a war contest, a who gives to who contest, it’s a song contest.”