UK: Mary Hopkins Eurovision was the ultimate humiliation

by Russell Davies 2,109 views

Mary Hopkins the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest representative for the United Kingdom has spoken about her feelings on performing her entry Knock Knock, Who's There? in Dublin. Despite being the pre-contest favourite, Hopkin came second to All Kinds of Everything, performed by Irish singer Dana. She now talks of the humiliation of competing in the competition.

I was so embarrassed about it. Standing on a stage singing a song you hate is awful. Unless you’re expressing what’s inside there’s just no point said said Hopkin, 59, the Welsh singer who now lives in Swansea. Despite despising the song, Hopkin was forced to perform the song in all of her subsequent summer shows as Knock Knock, Who's There? went on to become a number 2 hit in the UK charts and was very popular with her fans. She said: We had a wonderful musical director, Tony Evans, who’d be two feet from me conducting the orchestra and he’d mouth dirty versions of the lyrics and I’d be grinning while singing sweetly. Otherwise, I’d be on auto-pilot, planning my shopping list for the next day.

Before she had agreed to take part in the contest she hold been told by BBC executives that there would be a very high calaber of songs to choose from, I was persuaded to do it by promises such as ‘We’re going to raise the standard of the songs’ and ‘We’re going to attract really good writers’, but for me it was the ultimate humiliation she said. Hopkin became a huge international star in 1968 first appearing on the talent television show television Opportunity Knocks and releasing her debut single, Those Were the Days. Produced by Paul McCartney, it became a number one in the UK and number two in the USA in the charts. She was signed by The Beatles' record label Apple and provided backing vocals to some of the legendary Beatles hits including Hey Jude and Let It Be.

Hopkins also spoke about her competing for chart success with the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Sandy Shaw. At the start of 1968 Sandy was a big international singing star whilst Mary was fresh with the success of winning Opportunity Knocks. Both artist had produced different versions of Those Were The Days and were looking for chart success in the UK. Apparently there’d been a copy of Those Were The Days lying around Apple, where people wandered in and out all day, and someone took a copy to Sandie and told her they wanted it to be out the same day as mine, said Hopkin. I said, ‘That’s the end of my career!’.But it backfired on Sandie because people thought it was a horrible thing to do. Many years later, for a Top Of The Pops anniversary show, I met Sandie. She gave me a big hug and said, ‘All’s fair in love and war’. Hopkin version of Those Were The Days became a hit all over the world, whilst Shaw’s version of the song failed to chart.

To see Mary Hopkin's performance in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest click on the link below:

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