Nicky Stevens: Eurovision victory like winning biggest eisteddfod in world

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Media caption,
Brotherhood of Man sing Save All Your Kisses For Me

Not many Eurovision Song Contest winners describe their moment of triumph as "like winning the biggest eisteddfod in the world".

But as the only person from Wales to win the competition, Brotherhood of Man's Nicky Stevens from Carmarthen is well qualified to describe her success in such a fashion.

Her group's song Save All Your Kisses For Me not only won Eurovision in 1976 by a record margin, it also went to number one in 33 countries, shifting six million copies along the way.

Not bad for a singer whose first gig was at the Tabernacle Chapel in Carmarthen when she was four years old.

Nicky, now 65, is still bubbling about that "magical" night in The Hague 39 years ago and the pride she feels about being Wales' only winner.

Image source, Nicky Stevens/BBC
Image caption,
The original Brotherhood of Man line-up of Martin Lee, Nicky Stevens, Lee Sheriden and Sandra Stevens are still performing together. Inset: Nicky Stevens today

"I'm glad to say no-one has taken my crown away," she said from her home in Dorset.

"It's always a good feeling knowing you're the only one of anything. It's great.

"The night we won it was magical... dream-like.

"It was like winning the biggest eisteddfod in the world.

"Everyone on the night was saying 'you've won it, you've won it' and I wouldn't believe it until the woman announced it. I was so full of excitement.

"We're still in the Guinness Book of Records as getting the highest number of votes and it's still the biggest selling Eurovision song in Britain.

"We really felt like the whole of the UK was right behind us. Very magical, wonderful feeling."

Brotherhood of Man had been together for four years when their stellar moment arrived in Holland in 1976.

They had already had a couple of hits across Europe, but it was the global success of Save All Your Kisses For Me that changed their lives and helped sustain a career that is still going strong in its fifth decade.

"Things did take off after that," Nicky said.

Image caption,
Mary Hopkin is probably best known for her song Those Were The Days

Flying Welsh flag

  • Pontardawe-born Mary Hopkin represented the UK at Eurovision 1970 in Amsterdam with Knock, Knock Who's There?
  • The 1960s pop star finished second with 29 votes, losing out to Ireland's 32-votes winning song All Kinds of Everything sung by Dana

"I remember landing in Sri Lanka four years after Eurovision and we could see from the plane that there were hundreds of people outside the airport.

"We couldn't believe they were there for us."

But after four decades of singing the infectious chorus of Save All Your Kisses, you would think Nicky and the rest of the band might just be getting a little tired of it.

"Not at all," said Nicky rebuffing any such suggestion.

"Because of that song we have played major theatres all over the world, performed in front of royalty and played with some of the biggest stars in the world.

"It has such a special place in our hearts. But it's not just us. People who weren't even born when it won love that song.

"It's played such a big part in people's lives.

"I'm very proud of it. It has brought in work for us and we are still going strong in our 43rd year."

"Even now, every time we start that song, no matter where we are, the place always goes crazy.

"It was even on TV recently on Gogglebox - I was shrieking laughing."

Media caption,
UK Eurovision entry revealed

This year the UK was represented by Electro Velvet in the Eurovision final in Vienna on 23 May.

Their song Still In Love With You has one big fan.

"I really like it," said Nicky.

"It's different and not trying to be an Eurovision anthem. It's a happy, bright song. It stuck in my head after just one hearing.

Also in the news in April 1976

Image source, PA
Image caption,
James Callaghan arrives at 10 Downing Street with his wife Audrey in 1976
  • James Callaghan becomes Prime Minister after retirement of Harold Wilson, defeating Roy Jenkins and Michael Foot in the leadership contest
  • British Leyland launches its innovative new Rover SD1 replacing the ageing P6 series
  • Comedy actor and Carry On star Sid James dies on stage at the Sunderland Empire Theatre due to a heart attack

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