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!

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