The Eurovision Song Contest has had a lot to answer for over the years, but one thing I won’t hold against the contest is bring Bucks Fizz to the world. Â OK, the band may be looked back on now as being a bit cheesey, but at the time they were very popular and whilst I wouldn’t consider myself a fan as such I still remember many of their songs today, and hearing them always conjures up happy childhood memories for me.
Bucks Fizz were a manufactured band, put together to perform a song written by Tony Danter and Andy Hill as a contender for the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest. Â That song was Making Your Mind Up, and the line up finally chosen to perform it were Cheryl Baker, Jay Aston, Mike Nolan and Bobby G (his surname is Gubby, so no wonder he shortened it to just “G”).
A dance routine was choreographed that featured the gimmick of the girls initially wearing long skirts which were then pulled off by the boys to reveal mini skirts underneath. Â Apparently Baker favoured the longer skirts whilst Aston wanted something shorter, so this way both were satisfied, and who knows, if it were not for this gimmick maybe the song would not have done so well?
The song was released as a single in the run up to the Eurovision Song Contest, and reached number 2 in the UK charts by this time. Â When the song won, beating Germany’s entry by just four points, the song climbed that last place to reach number one, and also took the top spot in eight more countries as well.
Unlike most Eurovision bands though, Bucks Fizz were determined not to be a one hit wonder, and quickly followed up with a string of hits including The Land Of Make Believe and My Camera Never Lies,Â both of which reached the number one position in the UK. Â Over the next three years they released three albums which all did very well, but internally the group were beginning to suffer friction about the direction the band should take.
The tragedy struck. Â In 1984 Bucks Fizz were on a sell out tour of the UK when their tour bus crashed, which caused near fatal injuries to Mike Nolan, leaving him half blind and needing brain surgery. Â Whilst happily Nolan made an otherwise full recovery, this incident was the catalyst that caused the band to start to fall apart. Â First, Jay Aston left in 1985, to be replaced by nightclub singer Shelley Preston.
Shelly stayed with the band until 1989 when she left leaving Bucks Fizz as a trio comprising Cheryl, Bobby and Mike. Â Cheryl then left in 1993 to concentrate on her TV career and family, and was replaced by Heidi Manton and Amanda Swarzc, which takes us up to 1996. Â This is when things start to get complicated!
Mike and Amanda leave the band and are replaced by David Van Day (from well known eighties band Dollar) and Karen Logan. Â When David too left the band he joined up with Mike Nolan and two new female singers to create a second Bucks Fizz. Â Much confusion was caused over which was the real Bucks Fizz, with arguments and court cases over who owned the band name, and I won’t try to explain the details here as I don’t really understand it all myself! Â Suffice to say, in its various guises Bucks Fizz has had no less than 15 members, so that gives some idea of how confusing it all is.
I’ll leave you then with a clip of the song (and dance) that brought them fame, introduced by who else but Terry Wogan, as they performed the song on TV for the first time before it was chosen to represent us in the Eurovision Song Contest. Â Listen out for one of the band say “Here We Go” near the beginning of the song – I don’t think that was meant to be part of the song?