In 1972, the United Kingdom broadcaster (BBC) commissioned the first group to represent them at the Eurovision Song Contest. Not just any group, though, they picked the chart topping quintet, the New Seekers, who recorded the million selling single, ‘I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’.
On 12 February 1972, Eve Graham, Lyn Paul, Peter Doyle, Marty Kristian and Paul Layton, performed six songs as part of the Song For Europe selection on the It’s Cliff Richard show. The public voted, and placed the Eve Graham led, One By One in second place with 27314 votes. Way ahead, was Beg Steal Or Borrow, featuring Lyn and Peter, with 62584 votes.
The group performed fifth at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland on March 25, 1972, receiving 114 points and placing 2nd, beaten by Greece’s Vicky Leandros, representing Luxembourg, with Après Toi, which scored 128 points.
Both songs reached number 2 in the British charts. You can find Beg, Steal Or Borrow and One By One, on the 2020 triple album release, Gold.
Beg, Steal Or Borrow – opinions from fans
In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this British entry from 1972, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.
Michael O. – The New Seekers were my favourite group before Abba, and my first ever concert, so of course, this is my favourite British entry of all time. I do not believe the group ever recorded anything that wasn’t a 5 star track. I was devastated when they split up Thank goodness there was another band from Sweden waiting in the wings in 1974.
John D. – This is easily my favourite UK entry that came second. The contest was always only a two horse race in my opinion and Vicky Leandros had the only song and performance that could beat the great harmonies and charisma of the New Seekers on the night. I never liked the score system they used in the early 70’s but at least the cream rose to the top in 71, 72 and 73. Beg, steal or borrow is still instantly recognisable and one of the best ever UK entries.
Alvaro S. – Even if I was -16 years old back in 1972 I can instantly recognise this rock sound from the 60s or 70s and the outfits. I like how the sound and the performance makes us go back to this psychedelic decade. It is an enjoyable carefree song.
Jill R. – Beg, Steal Or Borrow is a nice, happy song. It wasn’t better than the winner Après Toi, but certainly one of the best songs in 1972. Still I´m not loving it. Most of the song is quite good. The chorus is really catchy. It reminds me of some other song which I can´t recall at the moment. But I really dislike when they sing “I bring you looove, looove”, especially at the end of the song. I shiver with discomfort when I hear that end note. Such a shame for an otherwise pretty likeable song.
Charlotte J. – Being born in the mid 1970’s, this is very much a part of the sound image from my childhood. I remember cassette tapes with The New Seekers, Cliff Richard, Brotherhood of Man, ABBA, Baccara etc. Back then, they weren’t classified as Eurovision acts, they were just popular artists. Naturally, I am influenced by the music my parents played back then. I love this song. It’s damn catchy and extremely easy to sing along to. It’s very 1970’s, but when making playlists for whatever occasion; birthday party, road trip or a ‘mixed tape’ for a friend, this is one frequently added.
Jacques H. – The New Seekers. Not new at all for me, at least the song Beg, Steal Or Borrow as it resonates well through my life. But new to me was that they participated for the UK in 1972. I love this song. It is uplifting, a clever melody and then Après Toi won. Which I can also fully relate to. If I were to choose now, it would result in the same top 2. Great music. Yes, that is Eurovision!!
Amira M. – I didn’t even notice the time fly by listening to this song. The song is well written and with a good melody that leaves a positive vibe. Furthermore their harmonies were superb. Fantastic entry for the UK
Steve P. – For trivia buffs, The New Seekers were the first band** to perform at the Eurovision Song Contest. They were already well known thanks to the commercially successful I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing. As with that song, I find Beg, Steal or Borrow to be a very pleasant, inoffensive sing-along that you find yourself humming hours after hearing it. The tight harmonies of the group add to the appeal. I recently watched the 1972 contest and had the UK 5th, which is a bit lower than the juries 2nd placing for them.
** Note if you don’t consider Peter, Sue and Marc, a band.
Enjoy the New Seekers Eurovision performance of Beg, Steal or Borrow in the video below.
The New Seekers – a brief biography
Formed in 1969, the New Seekers first huge hit came in 1971 when Never Ending Song Of Love spent 5 weeks stuck in second place in the British charts, and they were then asked if they’d like to represent the U.K at Eurovision.
I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing, spent four weeks at Number 1 at the start of 1972. Beg, Steal Or Borrow reached number 2, and then Circles hit number 4 later in the year. Peter Doyle left the group in 1973 and was replaced by Peter Oliver.
The group became a much in demand act all over the world, and scored their second number 1 song, You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me in January 1974, followed by their final hit, I Get A Little Sentimental Over You, later in the year, before splitting up.
In various configurations since, the group reformed in 1976, and scored their last chart entry in 1978 with Anthem. In 1980 the group tried for Eurovision again with the song Tell Me, but it was disqualified before the final selection.
The group still tour to this day, with Paul being the only original member left in the band.