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Jack in the Box (song)

For other uses, see Jack-in-the-box (disambiguation).
United Kingdom Jack in the Box
Eurovision Song Contest 1971 entry
Country United Kingdom
Artist(s) Clodagh Rodgers
Language English
Composer(s) John Worsley
Lyricist(s) David Myers
Conductor Johnny Arthey
Finals performance
Final result 4th
Final points 98
Appearance chronology
◄ "Knock, Knock Who's There?" (1970)   
"Beg, Steal or Borrow" (1972) ►

"Jack in the Box", written by David Myers and composed by John Worsley, was the United Kingdom's entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 1971, performed by the Northern Irish singer Clodagh Rodgers.

The singer expresses her strong feelings of love to a man who treats her like a toy, thus providing the "jack in the box" simile, as she feels that in exchange of his love, she would gladly "bounce on a spring" like the aforementioned toy (but isn't so thrilled to do it without reciprocation). At the end of the song, however, she lets this man know that one day she will be fed up enough to leave, so she hopes he will tell her he loves her, as she will do anything (within a reasonable time frame) to hear those words.[1]

On February 20, 1971, Rodgers sang six songs at the UK National Final, A Song for Europe, which was aired on the television series It's Cliff Richard!.[2] Rodgers was chosen by the BBC to be the United Kingdom's representative for that year, with the intent to ease tensions between Great Britain and Northern Ireland[3] (severe fighting due to The Troubles had strained relations). Due to a postal service strike, regional juries voted and picked "Jack in the Box," the third song performed that evening, to accompany Rodgers to Dublin.[2] Rodgers later said she received death threats from the Irish Republican Army for representing the United Kingdom at Eurovision.[3]

In 1971, each national broadcaster were required to show "preview" videos; the BBC used footage from It's Cliff Richard! to showcase during Preview Week. At Dublin, the song was performed ninth on the night, after Luxembourg's Monique Melsen with "Pomme, pomme, pomme", and before Belgium's Lily Castel and Jacques Raymond with "Goeiemorgen, Morgen." For the performance Rodgers wore a pink frilly top and spangled hot pants.[4] At the end of judging that evening, "Jack in the Box" took the fourth-place slot with 98 points.[5]

After Eurovision, the song placed at #4 on the UK Singles Chart.[6] It remains her most famous hit.[7]

Cultural reference

This song features prominently in the Monty Python's Flying Circus episode, "The Cycling Tour", in which a motorist named Mr. Gulliver (Terry Jones) believes, as a result of head trauma, that he is Clodagh Rodgers. At the end of the episode, a large Terry Gilliam-animated monster, who has been eyeing the cyclist lead character Mr. Pither (Michael Palin) from behind a bush, waits until Pither is gone, jumps out, and jumps up and down while singing Rodgers' rendition of "Jack in the Box."[8]


Preceded by
Knock, Knock Who's There?
United Kingdom in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Beg, Steal or Borrow

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