Clodagh Rodgers signed for Decca records in 1961, at the age of 14. She made a number of recordings with Decca, changing to Columbia in the mid 60's, but her career took off only after she signed to RCA.
After a slow start her recording of the Kenny Young song "Come Back & Shake Me" shot up the charts, giving her a million selling gold disc and launching her into stardom in 1969. She followed this with another top 4 hit "Goodnight Midnight," plus "Biljo," which resulted in her being the best selling female singles artist of that year.
She also won the award for "The Best Legs" in British show business and insured her voice for one million pounds. The further single releases "Everybody Go Home," "The Party's Over," and "Lady Love Bug," continued her chart success in the next few years.
Clodagh became a major household name and TV star, even if the hits didn't quite match her profile. In 1970 she was asked to represent the UK in the 1971 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. According to John Kennedy O'Connor's The Eurovision Song Contest – The Official History, part of the reasoning behind the BBC's invitation was their concern over what reaction the UK entrant would get on the stage from the Irish public.
Clodagh received death threats from the I.R.A. as a result of her appearing for the UK. Heralded by two separate front cover features on the BBC listing's magazine The Radio Times, Clodagh appeared as the resident guest on It's Cliff Richard, a prime-time variety show hosted by Cliff Richard on BBC1 from January 1971, performing one shortlisted song a week for six weeks, followed by a performance of all six on week seven and a repeat of the six songs immediately after.
Viewers would normally have been asked to send in postcard votes for their favourites, but owing to a postal strike, regional juries decided the winner, with "Jack In The Box," written by John Worsley and David Myers, being named the winner the following week.
The song that placed fourth in the UK selection, "Another Time, Another Place," later became a hit for Englebert Humperdinck. For the first time in the Eurovision Song Contest, broadcasters were required to prepare a 'preview' video of the song for broadcast in all the participating Eurovision countries, helping promote the songs before the big night.
In Dublin, Clodagh finished in fourth place, behind Monaco, Spain and Germany. It was the first time since 1967 that the UK had not placed first or second. The single became Clodagh's third and last UK Top 10 success reaching number 4.
Despite only one more chart single, "Lady Love Bug," at Christmas 1971, Clodagh continued to be a major TV star in the UK, guesting on many shows, appearing in cabaret and in concerts and summer seasons.
On Irish TV, The Clodagh Rodgers Show won an award at the Golden Rose TV festival in Montreux, and Clodagh starred in many other shows, including Seaside Special for the BBC Television (she hosted the first ever show from Great Yarmouth), The Morecambe and Wise Show and The Two Ronnies.
Clodagh also made a mark with her impressions of fellow artists such as Cilla Black, and often worked with Mike Yarwood, Des O'Connor, Tommy Cooper, Bob Monkhouse and Dickie Henderson in variety.Clodagh was a regular performer in UK resort "Summer Seasons" sharing the bill with Mike and Bernie Winters amongst others.
This success was mirrored on stage, where she has starred in London's West End in her own show at the Talk of the Town (breaking Sammy Davis Jr.'s box office record); in Cinderella at the London Palladium (again breaking box office records); and in two musicals (to date).
These were Pump Boys and Dinettes at the Piccadilly and Albery Theatres, and Blood Brothers at the Phoenix Theatre. She also appeared in the UK tour of Blood Brothers between 1995–1998. Clodagh continued with TV work through to the late 1970's and when signed to Polydor records in 1976, it seemed her recording career would re-ignite, but despite saturation airplay and many TV appearances to promote the song, the 1977 single "Save Me" failed to chart.
The track was covered in the US by Louise Mandrell in 1983, who took it to number six on the country charts. ("Save Me" was also covered by the South African all-girl band Clout in 1977.)In 1978, Clodagh teamed with Terry Wogan on the ITV game show 3, 2, 1 in the programme's first Christmas Special Celebrity edition and the pair became the first ever 'contestants' to end up with the infamous 'Dustbin' rather than a prize for charity! She split from her manager and husband not long after the birth of their son and opted for motherhood over performing, although she did release two singles on the Precision label in 1980.
One of these tracks was "My Simple Heart," which was placed on the B-Side. Shortly after its release, The Three Degrees released their version of the song and took it into the UK top ten. Similarly, Clodagh had released "Stand By Your Man" as the B-Side of her 1971 single "Lady Love Bug.
" This was later a number one hit single for Tammy Wynette in 1975.Her second husband, guitarist Ian Sorbie, died in 1995, not long after their Paignton based restaurant business collapsed, leaving them bankrupt.
In 1996, the first of two CD retrospectives were issued, bringing Clodagh back into the limelight once more. In 1998, she made a rare TV appearance with other former Eurovision artists, performing comedian John Shuttleworth's Eurovision parody Pigeon's In Flight on BBC2, just before the 1998 contest was staged in Birmingham.
In 1999, Mint Royale issued a track "Shake Me," which sampled Clodagh's original recording of "Come Back And Shake Me." The track was featured in the UK TV production Queer As Folk. More recently, Clodagh played a recurring character in the ITV continuing drama series, The Bill.
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