Sing when you’re winning

"Back Home" by the 1970 England World Cup Squad

Ever since the English national football team, still flushed with success from winning the 1966 World Cup, decided that their defence of the title would be enhanced by recording a pop single, football and music have gone together like cheese and custard. Professional footballers will insist on making tools of themselves by attempting to sing, rap or just mumbling incoherently in the hope of matching their success on the pitch with success in the charts. It’s not an easy thing to do, partly because the inherent tribalism of football means that while a player may have his team’s supporters on his side, there are countless other teams whose fans wouldn’t touch his record with a barge pole; but mainly because records by footballers are shite.

But can this theory hold true all the time? Are all footballers loutish oafs with the musical talent and sophistication of a warthog on a bouncy castle? What about those who buck the trend, who gave 110% in the studio and got a result at the end of the day? Leaving aside World Cup or Cup Final songs where the whole team reluctantly chants a song in unison, here are five (actually six, but two of them count as one) footballers who released singles in their own right. Will good or bad prevail? Find out in this hastily conceived and ill thought out penalty shoot-out! Continue reading

Top Of The Pops, 14 June 1979 – “When the time was ready, we had to sell the telly.”

Mike Read

You will have seen several of tonight’s songs on last week’s BBC Four showing of TOTP – that’s because the 7 June episode never happened and any recollection you may have of such an episode is a left-wing sponsored drug-induced hallucination. Instead here’s nice, wholesome, family-friendly Mike “Hello chums!” Read who, despite being an active UKIP supporter and the man who famously refused to play Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s Relax, hasn’t been accused of anything actually illegal and so is deemed worthy of your time. The weird thing that happened didn’t happen with the top 30 captions last week was also clearly some kind of coded message to perverts, as this week we’re back with the comforting full-frame images while the old-fashioned values of Sister Sledge’s We Are Family confirm that everything is right with the world. Continue reading

Top of the Pops, 7 June 1979 – What kind of man could I be if I can’t talk about what I see?

New top 30 captions!

Batten down the hatches, the next episode of Top of the Pops is one we’re supposed to be pretending never happened. BBC Four have jumped from the 31st of May straight to the 14th of June with no explanation, filling Twitter’s #TOTP hashtag with “LOL Yewtree” and “Wasn’t this on last week?” tweets. I don’t intend to get into discussions about whether or not the BBC should be writing Jimmy Savile out of history, or even why he was still regularly hosting TOTP in 1979 when he seemed hopelessly out of his depth alongside young guns like Kid Jensen, but it seems terribly unfair for all these acts to have their performances stricken from the record simply because it was Janglebeast’s turn to present the show. Thankfully most of the forbidden episodes were repeated on UK Gold in the 1990s, so copies do turn up if you know where to look. The full episode is online here and there’s an edited version with all traces of Savile removed at the top of this page. The top 30 countup is accompanied by Tubeway Army, like Savile has any idea what that even means, and it’s interesting to note that the layout of the top 30 captions has changed, even if the photos haven’t. Continue reading

Top Of The Pops, 31 May 1979 – There’s a word that I don’t understand.

Paul Burnett

Watch on iPlayer – while stocks last!

This week’s host is Paul Burnett. Who? That’s right. One of the less well remembered Radio 1 DJs of the time, he did the lunchtime show for five years in the late ’70s and early ’80s, so if you were around then you would have been listening to him announcing the brand new top 40 on a Tuesday; you might also remember his Fun At One slot in which he played a comedy record every day at 1pm. If you’ve been following the TOTP repeats since they started in 2011 you’ll also have seen him as one half of Laurie Lingo & The Dipsticks performing their hit Convoy GB, although as the other member was Dave Lee Travis you probably won’t see that again (and if you find the Hairy Cornflake objectionable these days for whatever reason, for God’s sake don’t click that link). Burnett seems to host TOTP roughly once a year, always provoking a flurry of “Who the hell is this?” tweets, so now you know who he is, but this seems to be his last appearance as host so it doesn’t really matter. The top 30 countdown (or countup if you want to be really pedantic about it) is accompanied by Anita Ward’s Ring My Bell, which is on its way up to number 1 so no doubt we’ll hear plenty more of it in the weeks to come. Continue reading