Saturday, 19 November 2011

Figaro - Brotherhood of Man: 1978

File:FigaroBrotherhood of Man.jpg
By 1978, Brotherhood Of Man had experienced a certain amount of chart success in both the UK and Europe, notably so with "Save Your Kisses For Me" and "Angelo". Following this, came the surprise failure of their next single "Highwayman" (released in late 1977). In January 1978, they released this song, which borrowed the title-idea from their previous No.1 "Angelo". The song became a No.1 hit in February, spending one week on top of the charts in the UK and becoming one of the twenty best selling singles of the year. This was to be Brotherhood of Man's final No.1 single. It was awarded a Gold Disc by the BPI in February 1978.

"Figaro" was written by band members Lee Sheriden and Martin Lee along with their manager Tony Hiller, who also produced the track. The lead vocals are sung jointly by members Sandra Stevens and Nicky Stevens. The distinctive opening drum roll on the song was performed by Clem Cattini of the 1960s band The Tornados.

The song tells of a (presumably) Spanish cabaret singer who is intent on gaining the interest of young ladies. As co-writer Hiller stated; "That came about because my daughter went on holiday and came back talking about all the dishy Spanish waiters trying to pick up the girls." Musically, the song has been reported on many occasions of its similarity to ABBAs "Fernando", and while this may be partly true of their previous No.1 ("Angelo"), stylistically, these particular songs are very different apart from similar titles. Member Sheriden denies these allegations. Ironically however, it was ABBA themselves who knocked Brotherhood Of Man off the top of the charts in the UK, with their single "Take A Chance on Me".

Single by Brotherhood of Man
from the album "B for Brotherhood"
B-side"You Can Say That Again"
Released6 January 1978
LabelPye Records
Writer(s)Tony Hillier /Lee Sheriden /Martin Lee
ProducerTony Hiller
Brotherhood of Man singles chronology
"Beautiful Lover"

Figaro" became a hit in many European countries, including Ireland, where it was also a No.1 hit. The song featured on the group's album B for Brotherhood and was followed up by top 20 hit "Beautiful Lover". "Figaro" went on to be voted best song of the first half of 1978 by readers of Look-in magazine and best song of the year by viewers of TV's Magpie. A cover version was recorded for the Top of the Pops album series, appearing on Volume 63 and The Best of 1978.

Preceded by
"Uptown Top Ranking" by Althea & Donna
UK No 1 Single
11 February 1978
Succeeded by
"Take A Chance on Me" by Abba

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