Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Crystal Palace F.C. - "Glad All Over"

Welcome back to Songs Of The Stands, just in time for us to look at another classic football chant!

(photo from FM Base)

This week, we're delving back into the Championship to look at London-based club Crystal Palace F.C. With three games left to play, they sit relatively comfortably in the play-off places, albeit by only a couple of points, in fifth position. They also hold the enviable stat of being the second highest scorers in the league, meaning the fans get plenty of chances to listen to the song we're looking at today. That song is "Glad All Over", a staple at Selhurst Park for over 50 years.

As with most football songs, the song was taken from popular culture around at that time. "Glad All Over" was written by Mike Smith and recorded by The Dave Clark Five. Released in November of 1963, it got the group their first ever number one several months later, in January the following year. More impressively, it reached number 6 in the US charts too, one of the first "British Invasion" artists, other than The Beatles, to have success Stateside. It also fared well in other areas of the world, charting highly in mainland Europe and also Australia.

Unlike other football songs, however, the transition from chart to terraces was pretty much instant. Usually, it can take several years before a song is widely accepted as tradition but, in the case of "Glad All Over", it had easily caught on within the year and was solidified in matchday tradition by the end of the decade. So much so, The Dave Clark Five actually played the song live at Selhurst Park in 1968. Ever since then, the song has been sung before, during and after matches (providing Palace win). 

In addition to this, the club also released an official cover version to coincide with their 1990 FA Cup run, in which they reached the final. The single featured several squad members and famous faces, including a very young Alan Pardew and current Sky Sports pundit John Salako. The release also led them to do many promotional performances on TV shows, to much hilarity (see video later on).

John Salako: At home on Sky Sports News
(photo from TV Newsroom)

Whilst Crystal Palace may be the first and original adopters to the song, many other clubs have also used it since as an unofficial anthem of sorts. The most notable of these is US sister club, Crystal Palace Baltimore, who have used the song since the cover version release in the 90's. Other Football League clubs have followed suit, with Blackpool, Rotherham United, Port Vale and Swindon Town all known to play the song after scoring. The tradition has also spread north of the border, with newly-promoted Partick Thistle F.C. renowned for playing it over the PA before kick-off.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for. I promised you a hilarious video and here it is. I present to you the Crystal Palace squad on "Jameson Tonight", performing "Glad All Over"!

Now it's time to get the fans' opinions. This week, I spoke to a family friend and users on The Student Room forum to gauge their opinions and pick their brains.

Richard (59), from Allestree, said, "I actually remember the song from my youth so I've always kind of liked it. It's also somewhat of a lucky song for us as it got us to the FA Cup final when it was released. In my opinion, we should re-release it again now to get us through the play-offs!"

Jamie (24), from Croydon, said, "I like how it's unique to us to be honest. I know other clubs use it but they don't have the kind of history or tradition with it like we do. It's a Crystal Palace song through and through."

Toni (20), also a South London native, said, "I enjoy the song because it's so uplifting and just puts you in a good mood. After a big win at home, when it comes on, it just feels like one big party. It's wonderful."

Anton (19), from Birmingham, disagreed with the general consensus. "I literally couldn't feel any more indifferent towards it than I do now. It's an alright song and I'll sing along if I go to a match but I don't feel any connection to it at all. Plus, if I recall correctly, it features Alan Pardew, who I can't stand as a manager!"

That's all for this week, I hope you enjoyed reading all about this classic football song! Come by next week where I'll be heading into the terraces of one of the most famous Scottish clubs. Don't miss it!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Manchester United F.C. - "Glory, Glory Man United"

This week, Songs Of The Stands visits the home of the champions elect, the "Red Devils", otherwise known as Manchester United!

(Photo from The First Eleven)

With just six games left to go of the Premier League season and 15 points clear, Manchester United look certain to become champions for the 20th time (only!) in their history. And whilst the 75,000-capacity Old Trafford is sometimes criticised for it's lack of atmosphere, one song is almost guranteed to be heard on matchdays.

That song is, of course, "Glory, Glory Man United", a chant that has been sung at both home and away games for over 30 years now. In this article, I'll be looking at the history of this ever-present chant, as well as investigating what the fans who sing it really think.

Unlike many songs featured in SOTS, no one club can lay claim to "owning" the "Glory, Glory" chants. The tune was taken from "The Battle Hymn Of The Republic", an old-fashioned Civil War hymn originally published way back in 1862. The chorus, which originally featured the line "glory, glory, hallelujah", was first used in football in the early 1950's by Scottish league stalwarts Hibernian. The song, titled "Glory, Glory To The Hibees", was originally written by the late Scottish comedian Hector Nicol and has been used by many a club since.

Both Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United began using it in later decades, with both clubs releasing it as commercial singles.

It wasn't until 1983 that Manchester United got in on the act, giving the song a whole new level of notoriety. This particular version was written by Frank Renshaw of Herman's Herbits fame at some point in the late 70's. An avid "Red Devil" himself, he volunteered the track to the club some years later, to which the team agreed. Many squad players at the time sung on the recording, along with a few of Renshaw's friends and associates, including his son, Lee. 

The man himself: Frank Renshaw
(photo from Phil Platt) 

Ever since then, it has become a constant fixture at all of Manchester United's games. And whilst other clubs' renditions have faded away with time (although they are still around), the Manchester tradition has only gotten stronger. So much so, other clubs began using the melody to retaliate at games, with "Who the f**k are Man United?" a very popular opposition chant to this day. Even United fans have been known to sing this version, albeit sarcastically, whilst beating a rival team.

Besides in the terraces, the phrase "Glory, Glory Man United" has also become somewhat of a catchphrase for both fans and the club. This is particularly evident with the official club poster magazine, named after the famous song. It has been published every four weeks since 1994, being met with fantastic sales figures from fans all over the world.

Without further ado, here is the classic track (complete with a fan-made video of some of United's finest moments).


Now, as usual in SOTS, I wanted to get the opinions of the fans. Fortunately for myself, United have one of the biggest fanbases in the world, so you're never too far away from a Red Devil! For this article, I spoke to some family and friends, as well as using The Student Room forum.

Merrick (55), from Derby, said, "I remember going to several games in my 20's when that song was just catching on. That chant, along with seeing Bryan Robson play, are some of my best memories in that decade."

Jake (21), from Derby, said, "For me, it's one of the best football chants around. It's so simple yet so appropriate because Man United's history is all about glory."

Jack (26), from Leeds, recalls his favourite memory of the song. "A friend and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the United v Barcelona Champions League final a few years back. Hearing "Glory, Glory..." throughout that game was amazing, it honestly gave me goosebumps!"

Amar (17), from Salford, wasn't so positive however. "I try and go to as many games as I can and I always sing along with it. Having said that, I don't like the fact that it's not unique to us. Other teams like West Ham have their own individual chant and yet we don't. We're arguably the biggest club in the world! We should at least have our very own song!"

That's all for this post, thanks for stopping by! I'll be back in a few days with a brand new post and, in the meantime, you can join in the discussion by leaving a comment!

See ya!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Sheffield United F.C. - "The Greasy Chip Butty Song"

Welcome back to Songs Of The Stands!

One of the more humorous club songs now, as we visit Bramall Lane, home to Sheffield United!

(photo from Npower)

Affectionately known as The Blades, the club is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most famous in English football. And despite now residing in League 1, they still have their notoriously fanatical support, renowned for belting out "The Greasy Chip Butty Song" at home games.

However, whilst the song is reasonably well known in the footballing world, it's origins are a lot less clear. The song from which it borrowed the tune, "Annie's Song" by John Denver, was a huge hit back in 1975. It is claimed that it was first sung at an away-day victory over Stoke City in the opening match of the 1985/86 season, back when Sheffield United were in the second division. The lyrics were imaginatively reworded to include all of the simple pleasures of Yorkshire life, featuring such past times and luxuries as "a gallon of Magnet" and "a night out in Sheffield". However, other theories suggest that it may have come from a local radio jingle, whilst others suggest that United may have pinched it off someone else (more on that below).

John Denver: The man who started it all
(photo from Audiophile Paradise) 

As with most football songs, there's always a bit of controversy somewhere in their history. "The Greasy Chip Butty Song" is no different, with fans of local rivals Rotherham United instead claiming that they came up with the song. This is heavily disputed though and it is widely acknowledged by most that the song is Sheffield United through and through.

The song's legacy, however, has not stopped at the borders of Sheffield. There are versions out there for other sporting teams (as is what happens with all great chants), including in Norway and Canada. It has even crossed over into completely different sports, with St Helens Rugby Club having their own variation in which they pride themselves on Greenalls ale and kebabs. The Chengdu Blades (Sheffield United's Chinese sister team) also has their own unique version, written by newspaper The Star. The hilarious lyrics are as follows:

"You fill up my senses/ Like a gallon of soy sauce/ Like a packet of chopsticks/ Like a good crispy duck/ Like a night out in Chengdu/ Like a greasy egg noodle/ Like Chengdu United/ Come thrill me again."

And, on that note, let's have a listen to the Sheffield-based original, recorded just before the fiery Steel City derby with Sheffield Wednesday.

(I've also posted the lyrics below as they can be quite hard to pick out in the video)

"You fill up my senses/ Like a gallon of Magnet/ Like a packet of Woodbines/ Like a good pinch of snuff/ Like a night out in Sheffield/ Like a greasy chip butty/ Like Sheffield United/ Come fill me again.... Na Na Na Naa Naa Naaaaa, ooo!"


As with every post for traditional club songs, I got the opinions of a few Blades fans to give you, the readers a bit of perspective. For this, I got in contact with fans via The Student Room and the S24SU forum.

Jack (18), from Sheffield, said, "I think it's great that we have our own distinctive anthem. It always gets me psyched up, especially just before the big derby (with Sheffield Wednesday)!"

Gemma (26), from Ipswich, reinforced the fact that it is special only to them. "It's obviously "our" song and there's nothing like the whole crowd singing it just before a big game. It's also only relevant to people who live in Sheffield, which makes it much more special."

Paul (44), from Gosport, told me about a recent development in the fans' singing habits. "Before, it was only really ever sung at home games. But more recently, we've been singing it at away games as well. The good thing is, the home fans don't really have any reply one it get's up and going."

Riley (24), from Chester, took issue with this new habit though. "It's a good song to sing but it's hard to get going at away games. At home, they play the first line over the tannoy so everyone can come in at the same time but, away, you need one dedicated singer to take the lead at just the right time. At bigger stadiums, including Wembley, it just doesn't work."

Thanks for all their opinions and, don't forget, you can share yours too by leaving a comment.

As for "The Greasy Chip Butty Song", you can debate the pleasures of Sheffield mentioned but no-one can argue the passion with which it is sung.

Thanks for reading folks!

Sunday, 31 March 2013

K'naan - Wavin' Flag

Hello and welcome back to Songs Of The Stands!

As mentioned in my previous post, we're now going to be looking at the 2010 World Cup, arguably the most culturally exciting tournament in recent years. Besides the football, the world became fascinated with South African culture, largely thanks to dynamic opening ceremonies and rich matchday atmosphere (although the vuvuzelas soon became annoying!) In this post, we'll be looking at the unofficial anthem of the tournament, "Wavin' Flag" by Somali-Canadian artist K'naan.

K'naan: deceptively moody
(photo from Too Xclusive)  

Unlike "Waka Waka" by Colombian songstress Shakira (which is technically the official anthem), "Wavin' Flag" was not written with the 2010 World Cup in mind. Originally released the year before and produced by the Kerry Brothers and Bruno Mars, the song was released as the third single from K'naan's third studio album, Troubador. It was moderately successful, peaking at number 2 on the Canadian Hot 100, despite not charting anywhere else.

That all changed in 2010 though, after Coca-Cola chose the song as the company's promotional anthem to celebrate the upcoming World Cup. The song was remixed by The Smeezingtons (again featuring Bruno Mars) to give it a more uplifting feel, complete with the company's famous jingle. In turn, the track featured in all of the brand's commercials around that time. This obviously gave it remarkable exposure across the world and, as a result, the remix was much more successful. In fact, the track reached the Top 10 in 19 charts internationally, including much of mainland Europe, a significantly better return than the original. It was dubbed the "Celebration Mix" due to it's cheery instrumentation and much more positive lyrics.

 Another remix was also released, this time featuring DJ David Guetta and rapper/producer will.i.am. Mixed by Dylan Dresdow, it was used as a B-Side to the Celebration Mix released in Europe. On top of this, 20 bilingual versions were also made for different countries, many of them featuring superstars in that area so as to appeal to that specific population.

To promote the track and the brand, K'naan also performed the song live at many dates on the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, which gave fans the chance to see the world-famous trophy as it travelled to South Africa. The final leg of this tour was of course the Kick-Off Concert, performed in South Africa, in which K'naan was just 1 of nearly 1500 artists to take part.

Now let's have a listen to the live version of the song (from the Kick-Off Concert), which is almost certain to put a smile on your face.

Straight from the off, it's clear to see why Coca-Cola chose this particular song as it's promotional anthem. Lively percussion starts proceedings, seconds before a "woah-oh" version of Coca-Cola's jingle emerges. The song sets itself up from here as nothing but good vibes, as you immediately begin tapping your feet to the ever-present tribal drums that play such a crucial role. It's a nice touch too, as it most definitely gives it a South African feel.

The lyrics in themselves are something special too. As you may remember in my "World In Motion" post a few weeks back, I took issue with the fact that most football songs are lacking in the lyrics department. This certainly isn't the case here however, as these are some of the happiest and downright joyous I've heard to date. The pre-chorus is particularly uplifting as K'naan implores us to "rejoice in the beautiful game" before telling us that "They'll call me freedom/ Just like a waving flag". Not only is it a lovely message, it's ridiculously catchy as well.

At the end of the day, you have to applaud not only K'naan for making such a great song, but also Coca-Cola. Here is a brilliant example of modern marketing that summed up a fantastic World Cup for culture in general.

If you have an opinion on this track or any of the others featured in this blog, feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. - "The Liquidator"

Something of a controversial post now. The track I'm going to be looking at today, "The Liquidator", is claimed to have been started by many different clubs. Among these are Chelsea, West Brom, Northampton Town and Yeovil Town. However, in my mind, "The Liquidator" has always been a Wolverhampton Wanderers song and, as a result, the men in gold will be my main focus.

 (Photo from My Football Facts)

Football can be a cruel and unforgiving mistress. After a woeful 2011/2012 Premiership campaign which saw them relegated to the 2nd tier, things soon got worse for Wolves. They currently sit 23rd in the Championship after seeing many of their high-earning players under-perform in a nightmarish season. As a result, they are among the favourites to go down, having won just 2 of their last 12 games.

Despite this, it is a fair statement to say that Wolves have one of the best traditional club songs in English football (silver linings and all that!). That song is, of course, "The Liquidator" an adrenaline-pumping instrumental that is renowned for sending the crowds crazy (more on that later).

But first, let's look at the history behind the song. Unusually for football songs, "The Liquidator" is a classic reggae-ska track, performed and recorded by Harry J & The All-Stars in 1969. It was originally written, however, by the band The Hippy Boys, who later went on to split and become The Upsetters and The Wailers. The song was intended to be for jazz musician Tony Scott but, instead, was sold to Harry Johnson, who transformed it into a chart success.

 "The Liquidator"
(photo from Last FM)

It's introduction to the terraces is widely believed to be thanks to Chelsea F.C., who used to play the song as part of the chart countdown before matches. It grew in popularity amongst the fans, largely thanks to the clapping and chanting that often accompanied it. Whilst it's origins are disputed, this theory is backed up by the liner notes of the Harry J & The All-Star's Greatest Hits. In it, it says,

"Way back in 1969, supporters of the Chelsea football team revered players such as Bonetti, Osgood and Hollins. The boys performed under the watchful eye of manager Dave Sexton to the tune of Harry J & All Stars chartbuster, "The Liquidator"."

However, it has since been adopted by a large number of English clubs, listed at the start of this article. Most recently, it was re-introduced by Gillingham F.C. in the Npower League 2 for the 2012/13 season, to much praise.

The song's association with Wolverhampton Wanderers, on the other hand, is much more chequered. Due to their unabashed hatred towards bitter rivals West Bromwich album, the song is often accompanied by chants of "F**k off West Brom!" The hatred was so palpable that West Midlands Police soon asked the club to stop playing the track over the PA system as it incited hatred and wound the crowd up too much. It did make a brief comeback in the 2005/06 season, encouraging the fans to clap instead of swearing. However, this was a complete failure. It again reappeared in the 06/07 play-off final (appropriately enough against West Brom). Unfortunately, the Baggies ran out winners and the song was dropped soon after.

Now to listen to the song (minus the swearing, of course!)

As usual in SOTS, I wanted to get the fans' opinions on what makes it a good (or indeed, a bad) football song. Fortunately, I knew several Wolves fans personally who were more than happy to give their thoughts and stories.

James (18), from Swansea, said, "I remember that it used to create a great buzz before games. I'd say my most vivid memory of it would be after we'd won the play-off final vs. Sheffield United. A good song for a very good day!"

Frank (57), from Hinckley, said "I was really disappointed when it got banned. I think a lot of fans would like it back. It's never going to happen though unfortunately".

Samantha (21), from Birmingham, was also disappointed to hear it was banned. "I remember the first time I went to see a game and they played it. It's a really good song to pump the crowd up. It's a shame they banned it."

Jack (23), from Aston, wasn't so keen, however. "I'm not really a fan to be honest. I like the tune but the chanting's a bit unnecessary and it doesn't even fit that well. I'd prefer it more if it were like the "Z Cars Theme" for Everton, where they don't add anything to it."

That's all for this installment folks!

Join me soon, when I'll be looking at the musical jackpot that was the 2010 World Cup!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Chelsea F.C. - "Blue Is The Colour"

Next up on our tour of the terraces is Stamford Bridge, home to one of the Premier League's big boys, Chelsea F.C. And whilst the club may be going through a rough patch at the minute, one thing has remained the same. The fans still sing "Blue Is The Colour", the unofficial anthem for the mighty Blues.

 (Photo from Wallsave)

Written by a trio of writers for Penny Farthing Records, the song was written to coincide with the upcoming League Cup final against Stoke City (who we've covered already in SOTS). The song was performed by many members of the squad at the time, including such greats as Tommy Baldwin, John Dempsey and Eddie McCreadie, among several others. It was released officially on the 26th February 1972, peaking at number 5 in the UK singles chart a month later.

"Blue Is The Colour": The official single
(photo from Chelsea Brasil)

Unfortunately, Chelsea went on to lose that cup final 2-1 thanks to goals from Terry Conroy and George Eastham. However, "Blue Is The Colour" has since gone from strength to strength, being sung before every home game and even at cup ties.

It has also been adopted by other sporting and non-sporting organisations. The Danish national team, the Vancouver Whitecaps and Molde FK have all been known to use the song at times. More interestingly, it was also used on one occasion by the 1979 Conservative Party. In what was eventually a successful campaign, a parody of the song was used with the words bizarrely changed to "Blue is the colour/ Maggie is her name".

Back on track, without further ado, here it is.

More recently, the song made somewhat of a comeback thanks to comedian Russell Howard. After Chelsea's glorious 2012 Champion's League victory, the stand-up comic featured them in a section of his BBC3 show Russell Howard's Good News (see below for video). Towards the end, a clip of  possibly-tipsy defender David Luiz singing the song was shown, with Howard adding in his own hilarious lyrics. The section was hugely popular on social networking sites and received many views on Youtube.

(Warning - the following video contains adult themes and some strong language)

Now, it's that time again to gauge the fans' opinions. This week, I visited The Shed End forum to gather your thoughts, along with the help of Facebook and Twitter.

Jon (39), from London, echoed the sentiment of it being a constant among the turmoil. "It makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. And no matter how many managers we have, this song, our ground and our supporters make us proud to be Chelsea".

Graham (25), from Waterford, agreed. "I think it's a great song, properly original unlike most club songs. It will and should always be played at The Bridge".

Alex (20), from Pembrokeshire, however, wasn't so convinced. "I think the song is a bit cheesy, but I'll still sing along. I've got some good memories of singing it after cup games though".

Ben (27), from East Sussex, offered up an alternative to the song. "I prefer "The Liquidator" if I'm honest. That's the song that makes me feel the anticipation that's part of the live experience. I don't get that with "Blue Is The Colour".

A somewhat mixed bag then when it comes to "Blue Is The Colour". One thing's for sure though. Even if the manager's job at Stamford Bridge isn't secure, the song's position in the club's history and in it's terraces will aways remain.

Thanks again for reading! Stop by again soon for the next installment!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

New Order - "World In Motion"

Welcome back loyal readers!

A bit of a change of pace today. Instead of looking at traditional club songs as I have over the past few weeks, I'm instead going to be looking at another instance in which music and football have met. This will be the first of several posts of this kind, probably done every fortnight or so.

To kick things off, here's New Order with their standalone UK number 1 single, "World In Motion".

Written for the England national team's 1990 World Cup campaign, the track also features several members of the squad, including an unforgettable rapped verse from striker John Barnes. 

Comedian Keith Allen co-wrote the song, tentatively titled "E For England" before it was released. This was soon altered however, after concerns were raised by the Football Association (FA) that it could be interpreted as promoting the drug ecstasy.

It was also re-released for the 2002 World Cup campaign, with David Beckham planned to perform the rap section. Unfortunately, the FA again refused. The song did nowhere near as well upon it's second release, this time unable to even break into the Top 40. A remix was also planned for release to coincide with the 2006 campaign but the track never surfaced.

The track also samples the legendary "They Think It's All Over" quote courtesy of commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme, during the England/Germany final in 1966. Other quotes are also used from that successful campaign, taken from the documentary 'Goal!'.

 "They Think It's All Over":
Geoff Hurst's winning goal in the 1966 World Cup Final
(photo from The Daily Mail) 

Undoubtedly, this is one of the finest and most famous football-related songs to date, largely thanks to the fact that, musically, it doesn't sound like a football song at all. It's classic New Order, from the electronic drum loops down to the trademark synth leads that give it that distinct 80's feel. Frontman Bernard Summer also manages to make some pretty awful lyrics (see "You know you can win/ Don't give up the chase") seem vaguely respectable, his liquid vocals oozing ease and effortlessness.

And then we come to the players' involvement. Paul Gascoigne and co. all join in for the chorus and backing chants, surprisingly not half bad. It gives the track an uplifting feel, embodying the spirit of togetherness. "Yes, we can win it!" it makes you think, despite being very cheesy indeed.

Speaking of cheesy, enter John Barnes. The former Watford and Liverpool striker has a decent flow to his style, although he certainly doesn't help himself with the lyrics. "There's only one way to beat them/ Get round the back/ Catch me if you can/ 'Cos I'm the England man" easily the standout.

 MC Barnes
(photo from Marketing Magazine)

The track rounds itself off with the classic "EN-GER-LAND!" chant that has reverberated around football stadiums for decades. It's a rousing and befitting end to, quite simply, a fantastic showcase of footballers turning to music. Stick to your day jobs boys.

Thanks for reading!