My song today is ‘Save Your Kisses for Me’. This was the winning song of the ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ in 1976. It was performed for the United Kingdom by the ‘Brotherhood of Man’, in The Hague, Netherlands. The lyrics and music were written by Tony Hiller, Lee Sheriden and Martin Lee; the latter two being members of the band. The song became a worldwide hit, reaching Number 1 in many countries, including the UK, where it became the biggest-selling song of the year. Overall, it remains one of the biggest-selling Eurovision winners ever, and the biggest such seller in the United Kingdom.
‘Save Your Kisses for Me’ was originally written by member Lee Sheriden in August 1974. On bringing the song into the next songwriting session, others thought that the title was clumsy and reworked it into ‘Oceans of Love’. Sheriden was unhappy with the changes and the song was shelved. A year later when it came to finding songs for the next album, they discovered that they needed one more song and Sheriden again put forth ‘Save Your Kisses for Me’. This time it was accepted.
Soon after, manager Tony Hiller was keen for the group to try for Eurovision, now that the qualifying rounds had changed in the UK. Up till now, a singer was nominated to perform, but for 1976 it was opened to different singers to enter their own songs. ‘Brotherhood of Man’ put forward ‘Save Your Kisses for Me’ and it was accepted as one of the 12 finalists. It won ‘A Song for Europe’ on 25 February 1976. The song was released as a single and reached Number 1 in the ‘UK Singles Chart’, two weeks before the Eurovision final was held on 3 April.
The bouncy jingle described the gently conflicted emotions of a young man leaving an adored loved-one in the morning as he leaves for work. The song's final line provided the twist: that he was leaving a three-year-old behind, ending with "Won't you save them for me...even though you're only three?".
The song is the biggest selling single for a winning entry in the history of the contest. It also still holds the record for the highest relative score under the voting system introduced in 1975 (which has been used in every contest since). After winning the contest, the song reached Number 1 in many countries across Europe and eventually sold more than six million copies. In the UK, it stayed at Number 1 for six weeks and was certified ‘Platinum’ by the BPI in May 1976, becoming the biggest selling single of the year. The song also hit Number 1 in several other countries, such as France. It also went all the way to Number 1 on the ‘Easy Listening’ chart.
When I look back at my romantic courting years of the late 1950s and 1960s, I would have to admit to always wanting to be in the company of beautiful young women, and I rarely kissed any frogs in order to find my princess among them. However, I must also confess to having kissed a few young women who were too beautiful to ever be described as being a frog, but who were more than a few leaps away from being truthful with me. In short, they were not above board with me, and could accurately be described as having belonged to the ‘Toad in the Hole Club’.
I recall meeting one young woman at the ‘Ben Riley Dance Hall’ in Batley when I was twenty years old who certainly belonged to the ‘Toad in the Hole Club’. The young woman in question was a great bopper and could ‘turn’ her body at such speed that she made one dizzy to watch her on the dance floor bopping to a fast record. She spun like a top when she pirouetted her body like a ballet dancer on the spot but did not turn and twist her dancing body in the traditional rock and roll style that makes full use of a simultaneous swaying motion of the female hips. The distinction may not seem much to the reader who is unacquainted with bopping, but to all-male rock and roll viewers watching the lovely ladies from the side of the dance floor in their wide-flared dance dresses that have a circumference span of six feet when fully opened, it’s the difference between seeing the sights of heaven or hell!
To the initiated bopper or peeping-tom wallflower sitting out the dance, the rock and roll dresses of female rock and rollers are designed to deliberately reveal legs, thighs, black fishnet stockings and suspender belt, as well as knickers whenever the lady dancer turns and twists her body to the simultaneous swaying motion of her hips. As for the ballet dancing spinning on the spot, the turn is so fast that before the flared rock and roll dress has had the opportunity to fully open like an umbrella at operational circumference, the pivoting speed has started the flared garment turning back on itself, wrapping the dress around the dancer’s hips; thereby revealing nothing of note. Why do you think that the female ballet dancers wear tutus? If they didn’t, there would be no way that they could show off their clean knickers to the audience when they strutted their stuff on the dance floor!
Back to the young woman at the ‘Ben Riley Dance Hall’ in Batley. The female in question who I started dancing with was in her mid-late twenties and was a stunner in the looks department, as well as being a great bopper. The night went well, and I took her home when the dance had ended. When I dropped her at her house door, I kissed her goodnight and I arranged to see her again at the dance hall the following week. What a kisser she turned out to be. It almost took me a full week to regain my breath! I fell in love with her instantly and thought that the following seven days could not come around quick enough.
During the following week, I discovered from another girl I knew (who knew my date) that the young woman was six months pregnant and the father of her expected child was currently serving a one-year prison sentence for assault, riot and affray. The stunning young woman had never mentioned to me her pregnancy or the circumstances of the father to her expected baby who was waiting in the wings of Strangeways Prison for the happy event. She might have intended to tell me the following week when we met up as arranged, but having found out about her 'toad in the hole’ in advance, I decided it was more prudent to ‘cut and run’ there and then.
I had planned to go to Canada for a few years at the age of twenty-one and travel around some of the States, and if there was one thing that I did not need getting emotionally entangled with at that moment in time (four months away) it was the pregnant woman of a violent serving prisoner who was due for release before my ship sailed. I missed attending the ‘Ben Riley Dance Hall’ for a long while after and started bopping elsewhere. I was naturally disappointed losing such a stunning kisser, but so pleased that I’d discovered her ‘toad in the hole’ before committing myself any farther.
This song also reminds me of Silvia Hinchcliffe. Silvia was my next-door neighbour for the whole of my teenage years when we lived on Windybank Estate. She was three years older than I was, but she was also a young girl who believed that young teenagers should not be allowed to grow into male adulthood without becoming acquainted with the anatomy of a female’s body, as well as learning how to kiss a lady properly. Defining the kiss as having been ‘properly’ performed (according to Silvia Hinchcliffe’s belief) meant leaving the person being kissed wanting more of the same, and second helpings a third time! Every growing teenager needs a ‘Silvia Hinchcliffe’ to advance them on their slow road to manhood. Every growing teenager needs a Silvia Hinchcliffe as a next-door neighbour, a navigator and guide to the female anatomy, and a kissing instructor par excellence.
All new council houses on our newly-built estate had large gardens, ceramic baths that were fixed to the floor and weren’t made of tin and hung on a wall, an inside and an outside loo which did not have to be shared with the neighbours and a brick-built outhouse that was attached to the house itself. Our outhouse was one of my favourite places where I could get a bit of peace and quiet from my six brothers and sisters, as well as getting away from the prying eyes of my parents. I would spend many an hour up on the roof of our outhouse, especially when it was sunny or whenever I needed to ‘take time out’.
I will not tell you of all the things I used to get up to whenever I was up the roof, but Silvia Hinchcliffe would invariably join me on top of the outhouse whenever she saw me up there. It was up on the roof where Silvia taught me how to kiss sexily by entwining our tongues within a mouthful of mingling saliva. Silvia taught me much, much more than that, however, and it would not be either inaccurate or untruthful to say that had Silvia never shown me hers and let me feel it, in exchange for a glance and a tug of mine, then I might never have known what exactly what I was looking at the very first time I saw one!
These experiences of mine up on the roof of the outhouse with Silvia Hinchcliffe during my youthful years were simply invaluable and served as ‘my rights of passage’ from boy to young man, as well as representing the most pleasurable and sexually exciting of experiences any young boy still at school could possibly anticipate. At the time, we were each good-looking teenagers. In many ways, I was too advanced for my age and sexy Sylvia probably wanted a ‘toyboy’ of her own into the bargain to practise on. By the time, I went away to Canada at the age of twenty-one years, Silvia had started dating a man from nearby Robberttown, and when I returned from Canada a few years later, she had left her widowed mothers home and had presumably married him.
Despite everything Sylvia and myself ever got up to on the roof of our outhouse, what I will remember her most for is the first time I kissed her. She stopped me mid-stream, placed my hands around her bottom, and after telling me to squeeze her tight said, “Not like that, Billy. Not like that”. Without any warning, she looked into my eyes as though she was anticipating tasting the best piece of chocolate she’d ever digested, and after taking the deepest of breaths she started my voyage of the longest kiss in the history of rampant teenage lust.
The only way I can accurately describe the experience is to say that Silvia allowed her tongue to softly slither inside my mouth and then in one fell plunge, dive down my throat far enough to kiss my tonsils. She sucked the air out of my lungs like some sexual French-kissing vampire, so much so that I bet when she next took a bath, she would still have had the impressions of my hands (as I held on squeezing for dear life) deeply impressed into the cheeks of her lovely bum!
I will never hear ‘Save Your Kisses For Me’ without instantly recalling Sylvia Hinchcliffe and our times up on the roof of the outhouse.
Love and peace Bill xxx