Football and music are interlinked. Fan chants usually follow the tune to popular songs of the day, classic rock anthems or perhaps more unusually hymns! The traditional ‘England’ anthem is trotted out during World/European tournaments. Everybody has their favourite, whether it’s Vindaloo by Fat Les, 3 Lions by Baddiel and Skinner feat. The Lightning Seeds or (my personal fave) World In Motion by New Order (you can’t beat the John Barnes rap in the middle!)
Every Premiership club plays music as the fans filter into the ground, again at half-time and as fans shuffle out at full-time. Generally, this is the latest Chart topper from Rihanna or Lady Gaga or (God help us) JLS.
But some clubs deserve credit fot the music they play either before kick-off or as the teams exit the tunnel. These tunes generally sum up the club for the fans, and the mere opening chords of such music creates a wave of emotion from the pitch upwards. Here’s the Transfer Tavern Top 5 musical introductions.
1) YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE by Gerry and the Pacemakers – Liverpool’s anthem is perhaps the most famous football song in the universe. Originally a showtune from the musical Carousel, the song was recorded by the legendary Gerry Marsden and his band the Pacemakers way back in 1963, and was his second number 1 hit.
The lyrics are amongst the best known in the world, and it’s hard not to get emotional when you hear the Kop in full voice singing the chorus. It’s a shame that Liverpool use the song in many ways, because it’s the perfect song for a funeral.
Lyrically, and musically, it sums up pretty much what everyone wants to say to their friends and family but, despite that, Everton and Man United fans have to settle for My Way or Angels or something. To think, if Marsden hadn’t recorded it, the Kop might have been left singing another of his classics; How Do You Do It?
2) THE LIQUIDATOR by Harry J Allstars – Not as well known as it’s Anfield counterpart, but still a popular tune at Stamford Bridge. A typical example of Mod/Skinhead reggae, the song is a hangover from when Chelsea’s half-time DJ would play reggae hits for the newly arrived West Indian fans. Now Chelsea fans, whatever their ethnic background, strut their stuff to the Trojan Records hit.
If you look closely, you can still see the Fred Perry t-shirts and Ben Sherman shirts dotted around the ground. It would be nice to see Petr Cech wearing a pork-pie hat and braces! It doesn’t have lyrics, because it’s an instrumental piece, but Chelsea fans have adapted it quite nicely. The song is accompanied by rhythmic hand clapping and a full throated CHELSEA at various points.
3) THEME FROM Z-CARS (JOHNNY TODD) – Everton fans are not outdone by their rivals a mile and a half across Stanley Park. They have their own, traditonal tune that gets the Gladys Street jumping. The theme from Z-Cars is based on an old Merseyside folk song, about a sailor named Johnny Todd who leaves his girlfriend behind and comes home to find her shacked up with another lad.
The producers of Z-Cars, which was a TV cop show set in an imagined area of Merseyside, thought it would make a good opening to their show. A big hit in the early 60s (a bit like Everton) the show starred Brian Blessed as PC Smith, and lasted from 1962-1978. Legend has it that Everton adopted the theme when some members of the cast came to watch a match, and such was it’s popularity that they’ve used it ever since (albeit with a funky sax solo in the middle.)
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4) THEME FROM LOCAL HERO by Mark Knopfler – Newcastle are spoilt for choice when it comes to Theme songs. They have a heap of tunes at their disposal ranging from the traditional (Balydon Races) to the sentimental (Home Newcastle) to the frankly ridiculous (Paul Gascoigne and Chris Waddle’s version of Fog on the Tyne.) The tune they use however, is the work of Glasgow born, Newcastle bred Mark Knopfler.
A legend of British music with the band Dire Straits, Knopfler wrote and recorded the song to be used in the film Local Hero, which was the story of an American oil company sending one of its employees to Scotland to negotiate the purchase of an entire village.
Newcastle use the tune as the team arrive on the pitch, and ‘local hero’ Alan Shearer was often the star of such an arrival. Sky Sports would frequently train the camera on him as the theme rang out. Now….well….the most ‘local’ hero is probably Steve Harper or Shola Ameobi.
5) BLUE MOON made famous by The Marcels – They may have millions in the bank, a suave new manager and a team of internationals who between them known about 50 words of English, but City fans still puff their chests out when they hear Blue Moon. It’s quite a common tune, having been covered about a million times, and City play a much punkier version than the 50s doo-wop group The Marcels could have imagined.
Ricky Hatton, used to use Blue Moon as his entrance music complete with an opening from non-City fan Winston Churchill. The best way to hear Blue Moon however, was to hear City fans singing it at Maine Road. They still manage a good version at the City of Manchester Stadium, compete with an actual giant blue moon, but most would admit that the rendition after the last game at Maine Road, was somehting pretty special.
That’s probably the best way to hear all these songs actually. Sat with fans from the actual club, whilst they ring out. Music and football have the power to bring people together, and that’s a beautiful thing. Listen to the music. It’s a good thing to do!
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