Discovered by singer Adam Faith, Shaw was taken under the imperious wing of his manager Eve Taylor and launched as a teenage pop star in 1964. Her first single, 'As Long As You're Happy', proved unsuccessful but the follow-up, an excellent reading of Burt Bacharach and Hal David's '(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me' reached number 1 in the UK. A striking performer, known for her imposing height, model looks and bare feet, Shaw's star shone for the next three years with a series of hits, mainly composed by her songwriter/producer Chris Andrews. His style, specializing in abrupt, jerky, oom-pah rhythms and plaintive ballads, served Sandie well, especially on the calypso-inspired 'Long Live Love', which provided her second UK number 1 in 1965. By the following year, Shaw's chart placings were slipping and Taylor was keen to influence her towards cabaret. Chosen to represent Britain in the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest, Shaw emerged triumphant with the Bill Martin/Phil Coulter-composed 'Puppet On A String', which gave her a third UK number 1. After one further Martin/Coulter hit, 'Tonight In Tokyo', she returned to Andrews with only limited success. By 1969 she was back on the novelty trail with Peter Callender's translation of the French 'Monsieur Dupont'.
Attempts to launch Shaw as a family entertainer were hampered by salacious newspaper reports and during the 70s, troubled by a failed marriage to fashion entrepreneur Jeff Banks, she effectively retired. In the early 80s she was rediscovered by Heaven 17 offshoots BEF, and recorded a middling version of 'Anyone Who Had A Heart', previously a number 1 for her old rival Cilla Black. The Shaw resurgence was completed when she was heavily promoted by the Smiths vocalist Morrissey, one of whose compositions, 'Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now' was clearly inspired by the title of Shaw's failed 60s single, 'Heaven Knows I'm Missing You Now". With instrumental backing from the Smiths, Shaw enjoyed a brief chart comeback with 'Hand In Glove' in 1984. In 1986, she reached the lower regions of the UK chart with a cover version of Lloyd Cole's 'Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken"' Her comeback album, on Rough Trade Records, featured songs by Morrissey, the Smiths and the Jesus And Mary Chain.
In 1996, Shaw withdrew from performing and recording to set up the London-based Arts Clinic. This specialist counselling service, run by Shaw under her married name of Powell, uses her experience in the music business to help artists combat problems of stress, drug dependency and eating disorders.
Copyright © 2017 Omnibus Press