Right, well, you asked for it. When I say that, of course, I mean one of you asked for it. This was going to be about Cup Final songs but, to be completely frank, they’re exceptionally difficult to find, without shelling out hard-earned money. When I have more time, I will locate “Diamond Lights”, “Head Over Heels In Love” (Kevin Keegan’s single from the late 1970s) and whatever that dreadul sub-hip-hop dirge was that Andy Cole released a few years back. There will also be (possibly as early as tomorrow) a post on here about football theme tunes on the television. I’ve just got a few to convert from Realmedia to mp3 and I’ll be ready to rock your worlds with that.
If I’m honest, I’ve done no research into this whatsoever, so whatever I say on this subject is open to rigorous critical analysis. I think we have the England football team to blame for the abominations that we are to hear. I have no idea whose idea “Back Home” was, but it went to number one in the summer of 1970 (a year that was, other than this, possibly music’s finest year – at least in the singles charts), and viewers of “Top Of The Pops” were even treated to the sight of the team onstage at the TOTP studio, wearing dinner jackets and bow ties, belting it out. Progress is progress and everything, but I can’t help but think that we’ve lost something over the last few years or so. Of course, it didn’t do them any good, as a vomitting Gordon Banks, Alf Ramsey’s tactical stupidity (subsituting Bobby Charlton was twenty minutes to go to rest him for the semi-finals) and Peter Bonetti’s Teflon-covered jersey did for England’s chances.
Things started to get out of hand a couple of years later, when Chelsea released “Blue Is The Colour” for the 1972 League Cup final against Stoke City. This is another jaunty, parpy effort, that was apparently beloved of the era. Inexplicably, it went to number 5 in the charts. How did this happen? Surely only Chelsea fans bought this, and this was in the era when you had to sell over a hundred thousand records in a week to get to number one. Quite asides from that… it wasn’t even the FA Cup Final! It was the League Cup! You know: that tournament that Arsene Wenger moans about for having to put out a bunch of 16 year-olds in. Again, it didn’t do them any good, as Stoke beat them 2-1. And he royalties from the sales didn’t make them rich, either. They elected to build the financially ruinous East Stand (the only bit of Stamford Bridge from the 1970s that remains today, fact fans), were relegated in 1974, and came perilously close to going bust. Always good to remind Chelsea fans of that, by the way.
A couple of months later, Leeds United released… erm… “Leeds United” in time for the Cup Final, but it’s the b-side, “Leeds Leeds Leeds” that has become better known, largely because it was adopted as a terrace anthem at Elland Road. If you listen carefully, you can hear the Eddie Waring-esque rasp of the local accent. This time, The Curse was lifted, as Leeds beat Arsenal 1-0 at Wembley, at a time when the national pastime was laughing at them almost-but-not-quite winning major competitions.
I’m not sure where “United United” comes from. All I do know is that it was performed by The Stretford End Boys and that it is funkeh, albeit in a 30 seconds long 70s TV detective show kind of way. United, for the record, probably have the worst record for football songs of all. Yes, even worse than Liverpool. Whilst putting this little compilation together, I was going to put Status Quo’s “Come On You Reds”, but decided not to, as a moral move on behalf of my bandwidth. Considering some of the other shit on here, that’s really saying something.
We can skip forward a few years to the early 1980s now, and this, if I may say, is much more like it. Chas & Dave had, of course, recorded “Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspur” in for the centenary Cup Final in 1981, but it’s “Ossie’s Dream” that made it onto here, primarily for Senor Ardiles’ own immortal line in the song. Altogether now: “in the cup for Totting-ham”. Chas & Dave (from Edmonton, I believe – stone’s throw from White Hart Lane) have a long-standing affiliation with Spurs. Ten years later, they were back with “It’s Lucky For Spurs When The Year Ends In One”, which featured the memorable refrain, “It’s lucky for Spurs when the year ends in one, they first won the cup when the century begun”. Should Tottenham make the FA Cup Final this year, I will be campaigning for a Chas & Dave Cup Final record.
Finally, a couple more Cup Final songs that are guaranteed to make your ears bleed. First up is “The Boys In Old Brighton Blue”, by The 1983 Brighton & Hove FA Cup Final Squad (possibly one of the longest artist names ever to grace the charts). Brighton don’t have the same sort of support as Chelsea or Leeds United, so this only made it to number 65 in the Top 100, but it does sound, to me, like the archetypal Cup Final song. Finally… Christ. Look, I know they were being “funny” when they recorded it, but was there really any need for “Anfield Rap”? I mean, honestly. WAS THERE?
Right , and that’s that for now. I hope that your ears bleed as much as mine have over the last couple of days or so. And to think… I didn’t even upload Slade, performing a toe-curler called “Give Us A Goal”…