**Cue fanfare** For the first time since September 1956 (!) one female artist replaces another at the top of the UK charts. Isn’t it amazing to think that, of the 150 or so chart-topping singles since then, so few have been recorded by women.
Long Live Love, by Sandie Shaw (her 2nd of three #1s)
3 weeks, from 27th May – 17th June 1965
Jackie Trent didn’t last long at the top – a solitary week is all she got – but our Sandie is back to stake a claim as the biggest female star of the decade. Her first #1 – ‘(There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me’ – was a slinky, sophisticated number. Her second is, well, more of the same.
Except ‘Long Live Love’ is perhaps a little more instant, a little catchier, a little jauntier… A swaying rhythm, a brass section, that ribbed instrument that you run a stick along, (you know the one you always got lumped with at Primary School when you couldn’t be trusted with a recorder, or a triangle…) It’s got a slight Copacabana Beach Bar vibe.
After the false start, that is. A guitar gently strums, Sandie’s voice comes through, as fun and flirty as ever: Venus must have heard my plea, She has sent someone, Along for me… And we’re off. Da-da-da-dada-dada-da-da… It’s an ode to the joys of simply being in love. Meeting each night at eight, not getting home till late… I say to myself each day, Baby oh long live love…
As with Jackie Trent before her, this is an uber sixties record. The sort of song you play over the opening credits of a TV show in order for the audience to instantly realise the time and place. And, also as with Jackie T, the lyrics – the overall meaning of the song – are pretty throwaway. She’s in love. She’s outrageously happy. The end.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a catchy little pop song that shimmies along, over and out in two and a half minutes. In fact, it ends pretty abruptly, as if someone’s just pulled the plug and called it a day. Like I said, ‘Long Live Love’ is a simpler song than ‘(There’s) Always Something…’, it doesn’t have that Bacharach and David gloss, but I think I might prefer it. Sandie Shaw certainly liked it – she turned down ‘It’s Not Unusual’ in favour of it and also recorded a successful version in French. She was riding high, and we’ll meet her again before the decade is out.
I like almost everything about this record, except the title. I get what they were going for – it’s got that carefree sixties wordplay to it. But it’s kind of annoying. Like the sort of cutesy slogan a certain type of person would nowadays have stencilled on their living room wall…
Title aside… There may not have been many female led #1s in the sixties, but when they do come along they feel like a bit of an event. Think Shirley Bassey, Helen Shapiro, Cilla and now Sandie. They’re always classy, and well-polished – records that it feels like a lot of time and effort went into. Maybe they just stand out because it’s a woman singing, but I think there’s more to it than that. And the good news is we won’t have to wait too long until the next feminine vocals pop up on a #1 single, and they will be some legendary vocals indeed…
(Shock, horror! There is no YouTube link for the full, original version of ‘Long Live Love’ – so this is the best I can do. Listen on Spotify for the real version.)