Making Your Mind Up

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"Making Your Mind Up"
Making your mind up .jpg
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
Songwriter(s) Andy Hill / John Danter
Producer(s) Andy Hill
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
Artist(s)
As
Language
Composer(s)
John Danter
Lyricist(s)
Conductor
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 the 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.[1]

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.[2] Choreographer Chrissie Whickham, a former member of dance troupe Hot Gossip, spent two days with the group working on the dance routine.[3]

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.[4] 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.[5] It rose to No.5 the following week.[6] 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 release, being usually substituted by 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.[7] 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.[8] 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.[3]

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.[9] 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. 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 famous 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
Australia[18] 6
Austria[19] 1
Belgium[20] 1
Denmark[20] 1
Ireland[21] 1
Israel[20] 1
The Netherlands[22] 1
Germany[23] 5
New Zealand[24] 3
Norway[25] 2
Spain[20] 1
South Africa[26] 7
Sweden[27] 2
Switzerland[28] 3
United Kingdom[9] 1

In the UK, "Making Your Mind Up" was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Beauty and brains behind Bucks Fizz”, David Wigg, Daily Express, 15 June 1981
  2. ^ “Brendan Martin's Euro Diary”, RTÉ Guide 10 April 1981
  3. ^ a b The Bucks Fizz Story Glassbeach Media - DVD documentary
  4. ^ Eurovision Song Contest Serbia 2008 | Eurovision Song Contest 1981 participants Archived 2008-09-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ UK Charts - 22 March 1981
  6. ^ UK Charts - 29 March 1981
  7. ^ Weekend Star (Irish newspaper), Eurovision 81 review
  8. ^ Cheryl Baker interview on Wogan, BBC Television, April 1986
  9. ^ a b UK Official Charts - Bucks Fizz
  10. ^ Buzzjack.com - Top selling singles of the 1980s
  11. ^ Bucks Fizz early years - Fans top 40, 2007 Archived 2009-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Nul Points, BBC documentary, 1993]
  13. ^ Radio 2 -" Bucks Fizz is best for Radio 2 listeners"
  14. ^ Eurovision Song Contest 1982 | Year page | Eurovision Song Contest - Belgrade 2008 Archived 2008-07-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ BBC Radio 2 - Making Your Mind Up
  16. ^ Rolling Stone website - Live Aid appearance on Jagger with Turner, 1985
  17. ^ eurovision.tv - Marie N performance
  18. ^ Australian Chart Book, 1970-1992
  19. ^ Austrian Charts
  20. ^ a b c d O'Connor, John Kennedy. The Eurovision Song Contest - The Official History. Carlton Books UK ISBN 978-1-84442-994-3
  21. ^ Irishcharts.ie - Irish Chart details
  22. ^ Dutch charts
  23. ^ German charts
  24. ^ New Zealand charts
  25. ^ Norwegian charts[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ South African Charts
  27. ^ Swedish chart
  28. ^ Swiss charts
  29. ^ BPI award certification and release date Archived 2008-01-06 at the Wayback Machine.