Making Your Mind Up

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"Making Your Mind Up"
Single by Bucks Fizz
from the album Bucks Fizz
B-side "Don't Stop"
Released 12 March 1981
Genre Rock and roll
Length 2.39
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Andy Hill / John Danter
Producer(s) Andy Hill
Certification Gold [1]
Bucks Fizz singles chronology
- "Making Your Mind Up"
(1981)
"Piece of the Action"
(1981)
United Kingdom "Making Your Mind Up"
Eurovision Song Contest 1981 entry
Country United Kingdom
Artist(s) Bobby G,
Mike Nolan,
Jay Aston,
Cheryl Baker
As Bucks Fizz
Language English
Composer(s) John Danter
Lyricist(s) Andy Hill
Conductor John Coleman
Finals performance
Final result 1st
Final points 136
Appearance chronology
◄ "Love Enough for Two" (1980)   
"One Step Further" (1982) ►

"Making Your Mind Up" is a song by British pop group Bucks Fizz. It was the winner of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest and a UK Number-one single. Released in March 1981, it was Bucks Fizz's debut single, the group having been formed just two months earlier. From 2004 to 2007 the BBC used the name Making Your Mind Up for their Eurovision selection show in honour of the song.

Background[edit]

Origins[edit]

In late 1980, songwriter Andy Hill teamed up with John Danter and composed "Making Your Mind Up" with an eye to entering it into the A Song for Europe finals the following year. Working with his then girlfriend, Nichola Martin, a former singer, they set about recording a demo of the song to enter. This featured the vocals of Hill, Martin and Mike Nolan, a singer Martin had worked with before. Martin then set about gathering a line-up to enter the song with, based around her and Nolan. With the song already entered under the name Bucks Fizz, Martin and future manager, Jill Shirley recruited Cheryl Baker, Bobby G and Jay Aston to the line-up, with Martin herself dropping out. The song secured an entry into the final along with another Hill/Danter composition, "Have You Ever Been in Love", which would be performed by Martin and Hill under the name Gem.[2]

Martin and Shirley secured a recording deal with RCA Records and Hill spent a week at Mayfair Studios in London with the group recording the song and its B-side. Backing vocals on the record were supplied by Alan Carvell, who also went on to be one of two backing singers in the Eurovision performance. The song was published by Paper Music, which was a year-old publishing company owned by Billy Lawrie – himself a songwriter and brother of singer Lulu.[3] Choreographer Chrissie Whickham, a former member of dance troupe Hot Gossip, spent two days with the group working on the dance routine.[4]

The lyrics of the song are largely meaningless, although it can be argued that they are about making the decision to commit to a serious relationship.

Eurovision success[edit]

On 11 March 1981, Bucks Fizz performed "Making Your Mind Up" at the Song for Europe finals and despite being up against favourites and current chart group Liquid Gold, won the contest with ease.[5] From this point, the group undertook much promotion of the song around the UK, including an appearance on Top of the Pops, whereby the single entered the UK charts at 24. It rose to No.5 the following week. A promotional video was filmed by the BBC for the Eurovision previews as they had done in previous years. The video depicts the group walking around Harrods department store in London. In line with other previous preview videos, the group do not lipsynch any of the words. This video has never been released on any official Bucks Fizz video or DVD releases, in its place is the group's first appearance on Top of the Pops.

On 4 April the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest was staged in Dublin. In a close contest throughout the voting procedure, "Making Your Mind Up" managed to secure a victory with 136 points, beating second-placed Germany by a small margin of four.

The song is held in affectionate regard by many Eurovision fans, and is generally considered to be a classic example of a pop song from the Contest. Reaction was less favourable to the group's performance of the song, which was considered to be off-key, and led to much criticism that the members were chosen more for their appearance than vocal ability.[6] In addition, the performance is best remembered for the startling moment when the two male members of the group whipped off the skirts of the two female members – only to reveal shorter skirts underneath, a shrewd touch generally considered to have just swung the balance in their favour, and to be a defining moment in the competition's history. Member Cheryl Baker has since commented on their poor performance stating that she sang the song in a higher key to the rest of the group due to nerves.[7] Mike Nolan has said that on the night the microphones got mixed up, with Baker and Jay Aston singing on the lead microphones which had a higher volume.[4]

Aftermath[edit]

"Making Your Mind Up" went to No.1 in the UK following the victory and remained there for three weeks, becoming one of the biggest selling songs of the year.[8] It also saw the group in high demand throughout Europe, with the single hitting No.1 in many countries and charting in the top ten in Australia. The record eventually sold four million copies worldwide. The single began a run of 20 UK hits for Bucks Fizz and was quickly followed up by "Piece of the Action" and debut album, Bucks Fizz.[9] At the end of the decade, "Making Your Mind Up" was No.47 in the UK top selling singles of the 1980s.[10] Despite the success of the song, fans of the group don't consider it to be a good representation of their work, while member Cheryl Baker doesn't rate it as one of their best songs.[11][12] The song is still well liked by members of the general public and remains the group's best-remembered song. In 2013 BBC Radio 2 listeners voted "Making Your Mind Up" as the best-ever British Eurovision entry.[13]

In the Eurovision, the song was succeeded as a UK entry by "One Step Further" by Bardo, who were managed by the same team as Bucks Fizz. As a winner, it was succeeded by "Ein Bisschen Frieden", sung by Germany's Nicole.[14] The song title has also given the name to the UK selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest.[15]

The now infamous skirt rip of the dance routine (which was mirrored by Mick Jagger and Tina Turner at 1985's Live Aid) has appeared in many contests since that time – most notably as part of Latvia's Marie N's performance of "I Wanna", which won for Latvia, in 2002.[16][17]

"Making Your Mind Up" was spoofed by many artists following its success, with alternative titles: "Me vas a volver loco (You're Going to Drive Me Crazy)" (by Spanish group Parchís), "Rock and Roll Cowboy" by German singer Maggie Mae and "It's Only a Wind Up" by British comedy group Brown Ale.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Making Your Mind Up" (Andy Hill / John Danter) (2.39)
  2. "Don't Stop" (Andy Hill / Nichola Martin) (4.08)

Chart positions[edit]

Country Peak
position
United Kingdom[8] 1
Ireland [18] 1
Austria [19] 1
The Netherlands[20] 1
Belgium[21] 1
Spain[21] 1
Israel[21] 1
Denmark[21] 1
Sweden[22] 2
Norway [23] 2
New Zealand[24] 3
Switzerland[25] 3
Germany[26] 5
Australia [27] 6
South Africa [28] 7

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Preceded by
"This Ole House" by Shakin' Stevens
UK number one single
18 April 1981 - 2 May 1981
Succeeded by
"Stand and Deliver" by Adam and the Ants
Preceded by
"What's Another Year" by Johnny Logan
Eurovision Song Contest winners
1981
Succeeded by
"Ein bißchen Frieden" by Nicole
Preceded by
"Love Enough for Two" by Prima Donna
United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest
1981
Succeeded by
"One Step Further" by Bardo