Brotherhood of Man – UK Star Popsters in the 1970s

The Brotherhood Of Man are a British pop group formed 1969 by songwriter and producer Tony Hiller. Their first single flopped, but the follow-up “United We Stand” was a hit both in the UK and the US. After a few singles that became minor successes, the band went back into prominence when their song “Save Your Kisses For Me” won the top prize at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1976; not only that, it scored high on the continental charts, including their home country where it went to #1. The band continued to achieve high positions on the UK chart with ‘Oh Boy (The Mood I’m In)”, number one hits “Angelo” and “Figaro”, and “Beautiful Lover”. After several lineup changes, the Brotherhood Of Man remains active albeit mostly on the cabaret and nostalgia circuit.

Early successes

Brotherhood of Man is an English pop group formed in London in 1969. The original lineup composed of Hiller’s writing partner John Goodison, Tony Burrows, Roger Greenaway (which would be more popular as the one half of the songwriting team with Roger Cook), Sue Glover and Sunny Leslie (both of whom were already established as Sue and Sunny). The group was then signed to Decca Records’ subsidiary Deram.

The group’s first single “Love One Another” didn’t chart. But its follow-up “United We Stand” climbed all the way to #10 on the UK singles chart in 1970. It also made a big splash on the other side of Atlantic, reaching #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #15 on the adult contemporary singles chart in that same year.

It was immediately followed with “Where Are You Going to My Love” which peaked at #22 on the UK singles chart. Over in the US, it reached #61 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #11 on the Billboard adult contemporary singles chart. It has been covered by other artists such as Olivia Newton-John, the Osmonds and the Miracles. Right after the single hit the peak of the UK charts, Burrows left the band, and was replaced by an American singer Hal Atkinson. With Atkinson, the group continued their chart successes.

Greenaway was the next to quit, and was replaced by Russell Stone. But when following singles failed to make a crack on the charts, the group was dropped by Deram label. The other members quit, but Hiller managed to resurrect the group for various projects. The band’s new lineup consisted of Martin Lee, Lee Sheridan, Sandra Stevens and Nicky Stevens.

Brotherhood of Man was accused for being a copy cat of ABBA (who was rising to fame around the same time), but the band took those criticisms in stride. In 1974 they released another single “When Love Catches Up on You” which proved to be a flop, but their next single “Lady” scored high on Holland and Belgium charts.

However, it was the group’s stint in the 1976 Eurovision contest which brought Brotherhood of Man back to prominence on the UK. Their song “Save Your Kisses For Me” won the the top prize.

The single also brought the group to the pinnacle of the UK charts, where “Save Your Kisses for Me” (released on Pye label) went to #1. It also went #1 on the US Billboard adult contemporary singles chart, and #27 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Save Your Kisses for Me” was to be the first #1 of the group’s three #1 UK chart hits. The song also won awards including the 1976 Ivor Novello Awards for the Most Performed British Work, the Best-Selling British Record and the International Hit of the Year. The single’s album Love and Kisses from Brotherhood of Man reached the Top 20 that same year.

The follow-up single “My Sweet Rosalie,” only notched a #30 in their native land. Their next single “Oh Boy (The Mood I’m In)” reached as high as #8 in 1977. The band reached the peak of their career with a bundle of hits in 1977-1978: “Angelo” (#1 UK), “Figaro” (#1 UK) and “Beautiful Lover” (#15 UK).

Later career

Brotherhood of Man moved to Hiller’s Dazzle label in the late 1970s, before they moved to EMI in 1982, the year Sheridan departed from the group. They recruied a new singer in Barry Upton, and they charted for the last time with “Lightning Flash” (#67 UK). By then, the group had lost their prior luster and instead relegated into the cabaret circuit.

Nicky and Sandra Stevens, Lee Sheriden and Martin Lee, reunited (but Hiller wasn’t present), and together they still continue to perform up to the present. In 2006 the group attended Eurovision’s 50th anniversary where their hit “Save Your Kisses For Me” was voted the most popular UK song entry ever.