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Football Crazy

Football Crazy

As part of Bluecoat’s celebration of Liverpool FC winning the 2019/20 season Premier League, our Artistic Director Bryan Biggs has compiled a music playlist on a football theme. Drawing from his own vinyl collection and with a little help from the internet, the selection focuses on LFC and the many records released by the team, fans and others over the past five decades.

However, there are also tracks in this Top 40 about other teams, about victories and defeats, the World Cup and European Championships; records that inspired football chants and songs that feature them; anthems you love and hate; tunes to sing along with or dance to.

Together, they reflect the fascination that football has held for musicians for nearly a century and a half, starting with Football Crazy, written in the 1880s and recorded by Scottish folk duo Robin Hall and Jimmy MacGregor in 1959.

The playlist covers many musical genres including pop, comedy, prog rock, reggae,  punk, indie, country, and disco, from the UK, Europe, Jamaica, Kenya and USA. A warning though: the playlist includes some truly awful records (that can be easily skipped by moving onto the next track), and a few – the real sound of the terraces – that include some colourful language.

 

Football Crazy YouTube Playlist

 

Football Crazy Spotify Playlist
(with fewer tracks)

 

Bryan has also trawled our My Bluecoat archive to create a new slideshow featuring football-themed artwork over the past 40 years.

Watch the slideshow


Football Crazy playlist track listing

 

1. Albert Whelan, Pass! Shoot!! Goal!!! (1931). Music hall singer and entertainer popular during the first half of the 20th century, Whelan (1875-1961) cut many novelty songs. This one (also covered by Gracie Fields, version on Spotify) is a 10” shellac 78rpm. And sounds like it’s from another age – it is.

 

2. Robin Hall and Jimmy MacGregor Football Crazy (1959). The earliest-known football song, written in the 1880s. It was popularised later by, amongst others, this Scottish folk duo.

 

3. The Routers, Let’s Go (Pony) (1962). This is where the football handclap came from: a minor hit from Californian session musicians who previously recorded as B. Bumble & The Stingers.

 

4. - - - ?, Roarin' And Scorin' (1966). Adopting the Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann, this tribute to Merseyside’s two rival clubs, both then enjoying success, was by a mystery band, later revealed as The Konda Group. Not on Spotify

 

5. Mac & Party, Liverpool (probably 1963). A popular ‘taarab’ musician from the 1950s and 60s, Yaseen Mohamed released this after Kenya’s independence. Originally released on Mombasa’s Mzuri label, this obscurity was recently reissued as a tasty 45 by Afro7.

 

6. Lonnie Donegan, World Cup Willie (1966). Donegan left his skiffle roots behind for this rousing tribute to England’s World Cup mascot, a cuddly lion decked out in a Union Jack.

 

7. Rod Hudd, The Day We Won The Cup (1966). Another novelty single, as comedian Hudd celebrates the day, never since repeated, when England won the World Cup. Not on Spotify

 

8. 1970 England World Cup Squad, Back Home (1970). Valiant effort, four years later, by the England squad whose progress in Mexico ended with a quarter-final defeat to Germany, though the record stayed at number one for three weeks - presumably till the lads were back home.

 

9. The Clement Bushay Set, Football Reggae (1972). UK-based reggae and lovers rock producer Bushay cites an eclectic mix of football references on this 45, a mint vinyl original of which will set you back £100. Not on Spotify

 

10. Michael Bentine, Football Results (1962). Long before the Lottery, the football pools (which are still going) were a popular form of betting on football results. Bentine, of comedy gang The Goons, mimics a radio broadcaster’s excitement, then realisation he hasn’t hit the jackpot after all.  

 

11. Pink Floyd, Fearless (1971). An early sample of the Kop singing, from the Floyd’s Meddle LP. Perhaps a reason why the prog rock giants were so popular in 80s Liverpool scally culture.

 

12. Liverpool Football Team, We Can Do It (1977). LFC has put out a string of 45s over the years. This glam stomper is wrapped in a picture sleeve of the team showing off the previous season’s silverware. They won everything going.

 

13. Big in Japan, Match of the Day (1979). From the Merseyside compilation Street to Street, a 2-minute instrumental written by Bill Drummond and Ian Brodie, on blistering guitar. Sadly, no Jayne Casey vocals. Not on Spotify so the TV Match of the Day theme tune instead

 

14. Ed Banger, Kinnel Tommy (1978). Released on Manchester’s Rabid label, Banger (without his band, The Nosebleeds) berates the hapless Tommy, a sentiment heard at Sunday league football pitches across the country.

 

15. Dillinger vs Trinity, Natty Dread on the Ball (1977). From the two Jamaican DJs’ sound-clash LP, Clash. ‘Natty Dread on the ball and Babylon fall’, as Man Utd and LFC are namechecked.

 

16. The Undertones, My Perfect Cousin (1980). Feargal Sharkey sings of clever cousin Kevin who beats him at Subbuteo, an image of which adorns the 45’s picture sleeve.

 

17. Half Man Half Biscuit, All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit (1987). More Subbuteo in the first of several playlist tracks by Wirral’s finest, who have made football songs into an art form. From the LP Back in the D.H.S.S. Again.

 

18. Half Man Half Biscuit, I Was A Teenage Armchair Honved Fan (1987). Also on Back in the D.H.S.S. Again, a tribute to Honved FC from Budapest.

 

19. Jah Scouse, Merge (1984). Apart from a drawing of Bill Shankly on the cover, this obscure 45 from the Moxham brothers, with Jah Scouse toasting, seems to have no connection to Liverpool FC.

 

20. Barmy Army, Sharp As A Needle (1989). Track from brilliant Adrian Sherwood-produced English Disease LP on On-U Sound, its sleeve created by Merseyside artist, Steve Hardstaff. Kenny Dalglish is ‘sharp as a needle’, the crowd sings Abide With Me and You’ll Never Walk Alone.

 

21. New Order, World in Motion (1990). England’s Italia 90 effort from New Order, featuring a John Barnes rap, Keith Allen gegging in. ‘Some of the crowd are on the pitch, they think it’s all over’. And it was, as usual, for England.

 

22. Pop Will Eat Itself, Touched By The Hand Of Cicciolina (1990). Tagged the 1990 ‘Unofficial World Cup Theme’, this sample-heavy track’s video features Hungarian-Italian former porn star, politician and singer, La Cicciolina.

 

23.Black Grape, England’s Irie (1996). Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder and Bez join Keith Allen and Joe Strummer to provide the soundtrack to Euro 96, held in ‘irie’ England. The Lighting Seeds’ Three Lions paled in comparison.

 

24. Lighting Seeds, Three Lions ‘98 (1998). Baddiel and Skinner join Ian Broudie and Co. again to update the annoyingly infectious ‘football’s coming home’ anthem.

 

25. Barmy Army, Devo (1989). Arguably the best track from the English Disease LP, as West Ham and England midfielder Alan Devonshire gets the Barmy Army

 

26. Carlene Carter, Ring of Fire (1980). Carlene Carter was 12 when her mother June Carter married Johnny Cash, whose version of this song, written by June and Merle Kilgore, has become a Kop favourite.

 

27. Joe Fagin, The Pride of Merseyside (1987). Echoes of Johnny Cash’s I Walk The Line, lyrics by Craig Johnston, produced by local band Alternative Radio. Not to be confused with 1983-86 LFC manager Joe Fagan.

 

28. The Kopites Liverpool, We Love You (1973). Perennial Liverpool favourite from the Shankly era - Ray Clemence, Kevin Keegan, Steve Heighway and John Toshack all mentioned.

 

29. Liverpool Football Team 1986, Sitting On Top Of The World (1986). Sung by the team itself, the lads obviously hadn’t learnt the lesson of Back Home and dozens of other naff home-made team records: stick to the football.

 

30. Barmy Army, Que Sera Sera (1989). This samples Shankly’s philosophy that football is more important than a matter of life and death. In these coronavirus times, Klopp’s view is that it’s not. ‘Whatever will be will be’.

 

31. Frankie Dee, Reggae Ball (2017). ‘Run, Chelsea, run, Liverpool’s after you’, sings Kenyan dancehall favourite Dee.

 

32. Half Man Half Biscuit, Friday Night And The Gates Are Low (1995). From album

Some Call It Godcore, more football minutiae observed by the Tranmere fans who famously gave up the chance to appear on prime-time British TV show The Tube, as their beloved team was playing at home that night.

 

33. Half Man Half Biscuit, Even Men With Steel Hearts (1995) … ‘love to see a dog on the pitch’. Sublime lyrics from Nigel Blackwell in our penultimate Biscuits’ track.

 

34. Primal Scream, Big Man Meets the Scream Team (1996). Adopted as the unofficial Scotland Euro 96 song but banned by the BBC for reasons that will become obvious when you hear it. Includes strong language

 

35. The Farm, All Together Now  (1990). Pete Hooton’s song was inspired by British and German troops playing football at the front during a Christmas Day truce in 1914. ‘All together now in no man’s land’ – just like today?

 

36. The Fans, Olé Olé Olé (The name of the game) (1987). Excruciating, but worth it for its Euro-kitsch disco value: ‘soccer’ sung as ‘sucker’.

 

37. Jamie Webster, Allez Allez Allez (2018). Recorded by Jamie and the team at Liverpool’s Boss Night, this supporters’ song defined LFC’s 2017-18 Champions League campaign. Includes strong language.

 

38. Fine Art, Sunderland Are Back In The First Division (1979). Described as ‘the most brilliantly awful football record ever made’, this reminder that it’s not just the likes of Liverpool that have a pop music history, celebrates SAFC’s return to the top flight (before inevitable relegation). From the classic compilation LP, Flair 1989: The Other World Of British Football.

 

39. Half Man Half Biscuit, The Referee's Alphabet (2002). From the Cammell Laird Social Club CD. ‘F is the farce into which most games would descend if we weren’t there’.

 

40. Gerry And The Pacemakers, You’ll Never Walk Alone (1963). This is where it all started. The third of three consecutive UK number ones in 1963 for a Liverpool band who were not The Beatles.

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