410. ‘Angelo’, by Brotherhood of Man

You’ve got to love how arbitrary the pop charts can be. How utterly unconcerned they are with what came before. From Donna Summer’s thrilling vision of the future; to this. The Brotherhood have returned, whether you wanted them to or not…

Angelo, by Brotherhood of Man (their 2nd of three #1s)

1 week, from 14th August – 21st August 1977

In my post on their 1st number one, ‘Save Your Kisses for Me’, I suggested that Brotherhood of Man had a whiff of ABBA about them. Two boys, two girls, a Eurovision winning song… Well, here they’re not even trying to hide the similarities. It’s ABBA-lite, Bjorn Again with an original song. (And it’s not even that original…)

Can you guess what ABBA song this is heavily influenced by? Long ago, High on a mountain in Mexico… Cue marching drums and folky guitars. We meet a shepherd boy called Angelo, who met a young girl and he loved her so… It’s a Romeo and Juliet story. She’s rich; he’s not. They run away together, forever, avoiding danger, strangers… (the lyrics read like rhyming 101). Until life catches up with them and they kill themselves. Meanwhile the darting pianos from ‘Dancing Queen’ turn up for the chorus.

It is actually quite a brutal topic for a very throwaway song. They saw them lying there, Hand in hand… (They run all the way from the mountains to the sand, just so they have something to rhyme with ‘hand.) I wonder if it was shocking at the time, for a basic little pop group to sing so flippantly about suicide? We had ‘death-discs’ a-plenty in the early sixties, but they all died in car wrecks and plane crashes, not at their own hands…

‘Fernando’ is far from being my favourite ABBA song, so this dodgy knock-off was never likely to grab me. What I will give it is that the female leads – in contrast to the male-led ‘Save Your Kisses…’ – give it their all. A song can be complete crap, but at the same time redeemed by a singer who sounds as if they believe wholeheartedly in said crap.

Amazingly, Brotherhood of Man will be back shortly, for their third and final #1. They really got some mileage out of their Eurovision fame. Equally amazingly, that disc will also be named after another Spanish-sounding hombre, ‘Figaro’. I have never heard it, but will be shivering in anticipation until we arrive.


20 thoughts on “410. ‘Angelo’, by Brotherhood of Man

  1. Yes, the Fernando similarities were blatant with this one, and you’re right about the switch to female-led vocals, much better and that’s entirely down to Abba’s success and influence as Pop Music started the move gradually from being male-dominated vocals to the female-led 21st century Pop Music. In the first BRITS in 1977 (celebrating 25 years of British Music (mostly) for the Queen’s Jubilee) the only lead female vocals to feature that weren’t “female vocalist” (Shirley Bassey won) was in the nomination for Abba’s Arrival album in Best International Album (Simon & Garfunkel won, pretty much fairly). I liked the tune, and as “inspired-by’s” go it’s not too bad, though really Abba should have got the top spot with album track Tiger (I’m biased) if they’d bothered to release single 4 off the album – but 4 singles off albums wasn’t yet the norm. You’re right to quake about Figaro though….. 🙂

    • Ooh, now I’m really looking forward to ‘Figaro’! Is it so bad it’s good, or just plain awful…?

      I mean, this doesn’t sound much like ‘Fernando’, so I’ll give them that, but the lyrical similarities are very apparent.

      • Ooh, what and spoil your enjoyment of Figaro? 🙂 I’ve always viewed it as an annoying catchy nursery rhyme – it’s nothing like Angelo and it got on my tits after 2 or 3 weeks and stayed there 🙂 Popular though….!

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  3. Sorry I got so far behind man!
    This doesn’t do it for me but like you said…their heart is in it so they are selling it as much as they can.

  4. Pingback: 418. ‘Figaro’, by Brotherhood of Man – The UK Number Ones Blog

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