Article of the week: Long live love

13 June 2020

REFLECTION

Bandmaster Adrian Lyons (Colchester Citadel) looks back at a Salvation Army connection with the Eurovision Song Contest

THE Eurovision Song Contest is one of many events that were cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the evening of 16 May, when the final was due to be broadcast, BBC One aired a number of Eurovision-related programmes. The evening began with an edition of Pointless Celebrities, which was won by Dana and SuRie – although they failed to come up with a pointless answer to win cash for their charities. Dana then finished the show by reprising her 1970 Eurovision winner, ‘All Kinds Of Everything’. It is a lovely song, reminding us of the days when a simple ballad sung by a schoolgirl was enough to win.

Since that hit 50 years ago Dana’s career has included singing, broadcasting and television presenting. She was a member of the European parliament from 1999 to 2004 and last year, aged 68, she returned to the recording studio to release her latest album, My Time.

Dana is a devout Christian and a lovely person. A few years ago I was privileged to host her for an excellent evening in Colchester when she mixed singing with chat about her life, career and faith.

A quiz question could be: Dana won the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest for Ireland with ‘All Kinds Of Everything’, but what was the UK entry that came second? The answer is Mary Hopkin with ‘Knock, Knock Who’s There?’

In the early 1970s, unlike in recent years, the UK entry had a habit of just missing out on the top spot. In 1971, Clodagh Rodgers represented the UK and came fourth with ‘Jack In The Box’. Strangely, I remember ‘Jack In The Box’ but have no recollection of Monaco’s winning entry ‘Un Banc, Un Arbre, Une Rue’ (‘A Bench, A Tree, A Street’) sung by Séverine, but perhaps that is my problem. In 1972 the New Seekers sang ‘Beg, Steal Or Borrow’ and finished in second place, while in 1973 Cliff Richard only managed third place with ‘Power To All Our Friends’.

In 1974 Olivia Newton-John sang a great song for the UK. In the history of popular music, however, ‘Eurovision 1974’ means only one thing: Abba. When BBC One polled the British public on the greatest Eurovision entry the outcome was surely never in doubt: that year’s winning entry, ‘Waterloo’. The other songs didn’t stand a chance.

This is a shame because Olivia Newton-John’s entry was all about The Salvation Army. The song (written by Valerie Avon and Harold Spiro) was called ‘Long Live Love’ and, if you are of a certain age, you may remember the lyrics ‘Sister Anna carrying the banner for the Sally Annie band’.

I suppose in some ways it was always going to pose a challenge as a Eurovision entry because the imagery would only be recognised in countries where Salvation Army open-air ministry was a feature of life. Given that, the song did remarkably well to come joint fourth.

Since 1974, the imagery of the Army’s open-air witness has become much less familiar to the public. Nevertheless, other aspects of the song stand the test of time and are relevant today.

 

Long, long live love,

Love is to care,

Caring and sharing,

Long, long live love.

All the kids, like ten tin soldiers in a row,

Follow hand in hand;

Sister Anna, carrying the banner

For the Sally Annie band.

Singing songs of praise and glory,

We all learnt to love their story,

Good things are comin’ to ya,

Glory, glory, hallelujah.

Long, long live love,

As long as we live,

Living for giving,

Long, long live love.

On a wet day, dry day, great to be alive day,

Brother takes the stand,

Cymbals ringing, everybody singing

With the Sally Annie band.

Just a band of happy people,

Teachin’, preachin’ love is equal

When you feel the Spirit move ya,

 

Glory, glory, hallelujah

Long, long live love,

Love is to care,

Caring and sharing,

Long, long live love, love, love, love, love.

Oh… long, long live love,

As long as we live,

Living for giving,

Long, long live love.

 

ADRIAN IS ONE OF HER MAJESTY’S INSPECTORS (SCHOOLS)

 

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