Oct 06


FT + Popular83 comments • 17,758 views

#286, 16th May 1970


It wasn’t the first football record by a long way, but “Back Home” ticks all the genre’s traditional boxes. Rousing tune graspable by fans between 8 and 80 – yes. Heavy involvement by actual players – yes. Doughty message of hope – oh yes.

This last was a slight twist on the football songs of the 60s, generally knocked out around Cup Final time (though the Cup Final song’s 70s and 80s heyday postdates “Back Home”). In a Cup Final the odds of victory are greater so the tone of the song can be more triumphant, presenting the team as an unstoppable machine destined to win. At the start of a World Cup campaign – even this World Cup campaign, which England began as defending champions and with a squad apparently thought superior to the ’66 team – hubris is to be avoided, so the team songs tend to be a little more humble, stressing effort not achievement. “Back Home”, with its emphasis on heroic and selfless scrapping, certainly fits this bill.

The song’s particular pivot though is the gap, and the link, between the team and the fans watching in England. This neatly touches on something exciting about the 1970 world cup. The England team had travelled to South America before, but only in the pre-Telstar days of radio broadcast. Now the “folks back home” would watch colour pictures, beamed live from the other side of the world (well, Mexico), at a time when the booming travel industry was bringing exotic locations tantalisingly closer. For good measure, the 1970 squad’s Mexican adventure fell foul of some familiar foes of Brits abroad – dodgy tummies and run-ins with local law enforcement – but some of what makes “Back Home” charming is the vicarious thrill of travel.



  1. 1
    rosie on 2 Oct 2006 #

    I told you there was worse than Dana to come! Like this embarrassing charabanc singalong!

    Next business please…

  2. 2
    Tom on 2 Oct 2006 #

    Haha, sorry, it’s one per day at most now – we will all have to find things to say about “Back Home”!

  3. 3
    Pete Baran on 2 Oct 2006 #

    But the tune to Back Home is really rather good. And whilst the singing is woeful, there is a real comunal insecurity about it. “And we’ll give all we’ve got to give, for the folks back home” is a peculiarly British way of saying that we may be the best in the world, but that doesn’t mean we’ll win even if we run every bodily fluid out of our body.(Runs every bodily fluid as it ended up being).

    Not great, but oddly important I think.

  4. 4
    Tom on 2 Oct 2006 #

    Also – crucially – it doesn’t outstay its welcome – 2 minutes and thats your lot.

    I don’t think the singing’s bad – it’s a bunch of blokes chanting stuff, which can be unpleasant certainly but not usually on technical grounds: near the note is generally good enough in these circs.

  5. 5
    Marcello Carlin on 2 Oct 2006 #

    Until recently this was the only number one single which I didn’t own (why? Glasgow, 1970, *insert year of your choice*, need I say more?) but I found it on one of those Best Footie Anthems Ever-type compilations and got it for the sake of completeness.

    Amazing how Martin and Coulter – a Scotsman and an Irishman, respectively – could write anthems for both England and Scotland (“Easy Easy,” 1974 and INFINITELY SUPERIOR) without getting lynched.

  6. 6
    jeff w on 2 Oct 2006 #

    I was a bit too young (5) for this song to have permeated my consciousness at the time. And now virtually all post-1970 hearings of “Back Home” have been obliterated by Skineer & Baddiel’s appropriation of the tune as a motif (meme?) in their so-so World Cup TV programmes of the 1990s.

    For that matter, I don’t recall seeing any of the actual 1970 World Cup at the time. (I mentioned on the “Sugar Sugar” thread that, if we had a TV at all, it would have been a B&W one. Also, I assume most of the matches would have been on past my bedtime.)

    But what I DO recall – with much fondness – is my Esso England World Cup 1970 Coin Collection. One “silver” “coin” for each member of the squad, their heads and signature engraved onto the “heads” side of the coin. Between them my dad and my uncle successfully acquired (blagged?) all 22 coins that made up the set, and I remember mounting them in the special board that held the collection with some pride.

  7. 7
    rosie on 2 Oct 2006 #

    To be fair I don’t really think this one is worse than Dana. I might give it 3 rather than 4, but that’s splitting hairs. It certainly doesn’t make me wince the way Dana does. But I do have an aversion to blokish singalongs, especially of the sporty kind.

    On the other had I have a feeling that I was a good deal more swept up in that World Cup than in more recent ones. It was a more innocent time for football and the players were, on the whole, decent chaps rather than overpaid brats such as we see today, and there was an outside possibility of bumping into one of the in the pub. If Wayne Rooney had been taken into custody this year in Frankfurt or wherever charged with shoplifting, the cynic in me might well have believed it. The charge against Bobby Moore was an outrage.

    Oh, and I do remember the family sitting round the telly – I think we had colour by this time mainly because the old black & white set had blown up earlier in the year – and being heartbroken at the manner of defeat.

  8. 8
    Erithian on 2 Oct 2006 #

    Compared to the World Cup Final in ’66, England’s team for the iconic group game v Brazil replaced Cohen, Wilson, Jack Charlton, Stiles and Hunt with Wright, Labone, Cooper, Lee and Mullery, and as you rightly say, many a good judge thought it a better team.

    I agree with Pete about the tune – I’m no musicologist, but the way the refrain emphasises words which might otherwise be lost to the off-beat – WE’LL give ALL we’ve GOT to GIVE – adds an extra swing that makes the whole more memorable than a mere footy song. Up there with the best of the genre.

    For the benefit of our transatlantic readers who might not know the story, England went out 3-2 in the quarter-final to West Germany, following two unwise substitutions while leading, and with world No 1 goalkeeper Gordon Banks missing due to illness. It’s popularly supposed that the feel-bad factor induced by this defeat was influential in the General Election defeat suffered by Harold Wilson a few days later: if anyone reading this is interested in “alternative history”, read “What If Gordon Banks Had Played?”, a history which starts from a scenario where Banks plays, England win and so does Wilson. As a consequence, Edward Heath loses the Tory leadership not to Thatcher but to Enoch Powell, which sets off a train of events including all-out war with Ireland, the bombing of the House of Commons, the assassination of the Queen and the imprisonment of Thatcher. And we were saved all of this by Banksie’s tummy bug.

  9. 9
    GeorgeB on 2 Oct 2006 #

    It’s a good song, excellent in the football context. And I like the fact that this was around at the same time as Don Fardon’s Belfast Boy, which is quite the best and grooviest song about football or a football player in the English language. As usual, the Brazilians are in a different class with any number of stone classics – particularly those by Jorge Ben.

  10. 10
    Brian on 2 Oct 2006 #

    My vote for best World Cup Song has to be ” Don;t COme Home Too Soon ” by Del Amitri . Sung for Scotland in the ’94 World Cup in France it has those greats lines

    “So long, go on and do your best,
    Let all France have whiskey on it’s breath,


    But if I have a dream at all ,
    it’s for once you won’t be on that stupid plane .
    Even Long shots make it”

  11. 11
    wwolfe on 2 Oct 2006 #

    It’s always risky to speak in absolutes, but I have a hunch this record has no analogue in the American charts. I wonder if there’s an American counterpart: a song whose subject and performer has no analogy on the British charts.

  12. 12
    blount on 2 Oct 2006 #

    “jock jams” obv a huge (and treasured) part of american music but this does strike me as something with no analogue on the american charts. obv songs tied into sports teams (‘we are family’ + ‘ain’t no stopping us now’ maybe most prominent i can really recall) and teams by sports teams (the immortal ‘super bowl shuffle’, the awesome take on ‘another one bites the dust’ by jimmy ‘spiderman’ allen) but nothing on a national level and nowhere near the sense of tradition that english world cup anthems have.

  13. 13
    blount on 2 Oct 2006 #

    songs by sports teams rather

  14. 14
    Tom on 2 Oct 2006 #

    Well this started the tradition really – the 1966 ‘tie-in’ (when England actually won it!) was “World Cup Willie” by a forlorn Lonnie Donegan and nobody bought it. Quite what alchemy “Back Home” worked to hit so big I’m not sure, but it opened the floodgates.

    (I know Tottenham among others were making team records in the 60s – were they hits?)

    As far as I know, no other country embraces its footie records quite like England. I guess it’s a unique combination of collective ownership (we invented the game) and underdog status (but we’re not that good at it) that allows stuff like “This Time (We’ll Get It Right)” and 30/40/50/x years of ‘hurt’ to flourish.

  15. 15
    blount on 3 Oct 2006 #

    yeah i was sorta stunned glancing at a brief world cup history earlier this summer to see that apparently england has only won the thing once? i really don’t even know how that’s possible – soccer’s really really popular there right? recent (u.s.) sports team anthems – the chisox and fans rallied around journey’s “don’t stop believin” to their first title in nearly 90 years last october (song adoption prompted by either some chisox hanging out in a bar and either podsednik or piersynski i forget shouting to either the bartender or someone programming a jukebox to “play some fucking journey”), and the squawks got some usage out of a version of “sweet home alabama” refitted to “sweet shaun alexander” after their star rb (and crimson tide alum). how many of these england wc anthems have been any sort of hit in the us? i know i heard “world in motion” at least a little bit on college and modern rock radio at the time (“dry yr eyes” – the biggest “hit” the streets have had stateside – doesn’t count right?).

  16. 16
    blount on 3 Oct 2006 #

    also another uk charts phenom w/o analogue in the us (in this case probably just due to the lack of focus on the singles chart, the lack of that trainspotting chartwatcher element in the us (in comparison to the uk at least)(compare ilx uk chart thread action to us chart thread action), and the much much lower profile pop music has in comparison to tv or movies over here) that you may want to touch on tom is the xmas #1 single hysteria (i can remember watching the incredibly awful love, actually w/ some friends who were confused as hell at the focus on having a number one single at xmas)(that movie was confusing in it’s portrait of the uk in general – is xmas really established as the time people confess their secrets? is ‘watching titanic’ a normal male bonding experience? and would that one hottie really be considered fat?)

  17. 17
    Marcello Carlin on 3 Oct 2006 #

    Quick answer to why the Xmas #1 phenomenon in the UK is a phenomenon:
    (a) smaller market;
    (b) the Xmas season apparently counts for some 70% of all annual record sales.

  18. 18
    Marcello Carlin on 3 Oct 2006 #

    The phenomenon of television comedy actors and talent show winners regularly having number ones in Britain during the ’70s (and beyond) I suspect likewise has no analogy in the US market (at least not until American Idol) – or is there a comparison (one-offs like the Partridge Family notwithstanding)?

  19. 19
    alext on 3 Oct 2006 #

    [OT: Love Actually bears no resemblance IN THE SLIGHTEST to what the UK is actually like. It’s not even how anyone here imagines it, or would like it to be: it’s one guy’s vision of what he imagines Americans would like to believe the UK is like! (and he may very well be wrong!)]

  20. 20

    world cup willie was goleo‘s dad — proving that some evolutions are best left uncarmodised

  21. 21
    GeorgeB on 3 Oct 2006 #

    The Partridge Family as an American exception is a funny one too, because they were based on the Cowsills, a real pop group that wasn’t a pop group (in that it was a family affair) and because Shirley Jones and David Cassidy had an impressive showbiz/singing heritage. Anyway, the England squad also released an LP – which had covers of Sugar Sugar and Lily the Pink among other delights. It was round vinyl with facsimile autographs on the front. They went for it in a big way. As for earlier football songs, for some reason the Manchester United Calyspo (50s) and recordings by the Spurs double team stick in the mind.

  22. 22
    Marcello Carlin on 3 Oct 2006 #

    On one of the el records Bend It compilations there’s a terrible effort from about ’61 entitled “Tip Top Tottenham Hotspur” allegedly co-written by Bruce Forsyth.

  23. 23
    Tim Hopkins on 3 Oct 2006 #

    “TTTH” is by no means the worst even on that LP! Madness and wrongness lies down the primrose path of an interest in football records.

    (Blount, England’s relative lack of success in the World Cup is less surprising when you consider that there have only been 18 World Cups, and England didn’t enter the first 3 or 4. Also, you should bear in mind the fact that England aren’t really very good.)

  24. 24

    also, in a sense, everything england does is a kind of win

  25. 25
    Mark M on 3 Oct 2006 #

    “soccer’s really really popular there right?” – Soccer is really, really popular in most countries, with India probably being the most significant exception. Even in Australia and the US, the two sport-obsessed country where association football is somewhat down the list of biggest games, an awful lot of people still play it. FIFA has 207 member countries, but only seven of those have ever won the World Cup. England’s record, therefore, is not bad at all. Quite apart from the fact that they are often rubbish…

  26. 26
    Erithian on 3 Oct 2006 #

    Blount (re post 16) – an odd time to be discussing the Christmas Number 1 phenomenon, apropos of a springtime World Cup record, but just a few thoughts: seasonal-themed No 1s go back as far as Let’s Have Another Party or Christmas Alphabet in the 50s, and certain Beatle songs bring Crimble to mind for many (as the Beatles had three consecutive Xmas No 1s, only matched by the Spice Girls). But I guess it really became important when the Christmas Top of the Pops became an established BBC fixture just ahead of the Queen’s Christmas broadcast. The ultimate Christmassy chart was probably ’73 (Slade, Wizzard, Elton) just as the TV ratings peaked. More on that when Tom gets there.

    When marketing strategies changed in the 90s so that records usually entered at their highest position, the Christmas No 1 became a one-week race so the record companies splurged all their marketing on those seven days of maximum sales – which is why there’s such an obsession over it now. The tendency to gift the Xmas No 1 to whoever’s won Popstars or X Factor is marketing laid bare. Nowadays every chancer you can imagine tries their luck with a Christmas single – the same, especially post-“Three Lions”, goes for football tournaments. I’m still hoping the sight of Neil and Christine Hamilton’s World Cup record was just a bad dream.

  27. 27
    Tom on 3 Oct 2006 #

    The tendency to gift the Xmas No 1 to whoever’s won Popstars or X Factor is marketing laid bare.

    This is *slightly* unfair – reality TV singles tend to sell well whenever they’re released, as byproducts of popcult phenomena far more popular than ‘pop music’ as a whole is. So aligning the release of the Shayne Ward single with Christmas may be ‘marketing laid bare’ but he’d have got to #1 anyway.

    A more interesting example of Xmas single marketing was the Darkness/Gary Jules race in 2003 (which pushed the Pop Idol single out of the running). The Darkness spin was “At last a proper Christmas single like Slade used to make!”. The Gary Jules spin was “Wouldnt it be amazing if this moody single beat the tinselly tat?”. Both good solid marketing propositions and a very close (and lucrative) race.

  28. 28
    markgamon on 3 Oct 2006 #

    Rousing tune?

    Funny. I can’t remember how it goes.

    I can remember the Dana one. And even Zager and Evans. But not this drivel.

  29. 29
    Tom on 3 Oct 2006 #

    “Rousing” needn’t mean “Memorable 35 years later”, obviously.

  30. 30

    the entire concept of “rousing music” falls well outside almost ALL present-day habits of cultural approval, doesn’t it? drinking songs? seachanties? hymns? songs before you go into battle? viz songs which “get your blood up” for important upcoming physical (or spiritual) effort

  31. 31
    Marcello Carlin on 3 Oct 2006 #


  32. 32

    are they all basically marching songs? i think “back home” gets a bit fiddly for this — but its fiddliness is one of the things that’s wrong with it

  33. 33
    Marcello Carlin on 3 Oct 2006 #

    It tries timidly to be reggae just like Puppet On A String did, but there is a 25th-anniversary-of-VE-Day residual bring-the-boys-home air to the record.

  34. 34
    markgamon on 3 Oct 2006 #

    I can remember ‘Land of Hope and Glory’. That’s pretty rousing.

  35. 35
    Marcello Carlin on 3 Oct 2006 #

    Especially when Tim Brooke-Taylor used to stand to attention to it in his Union Jack Y-fronts in every episode of The Goodies.

  36. 36
    Erithian on 3 Oct 2006 #

    Where on earth is the reggae element in “Back Home”??

  37. 37
    Mark M on 3 Oct 2006 #

    Or Puppet On A String, whose rhythm is surely oompah?

  38. 38
    GeorgeB on 4 Oct 2006 #

    Yes, it’s not really a marching song, is it? A bit too fiddly as you say, and the sentiment isn’t at all harsh or martial. It doesn’t brag – which is a surprise as they were champs and expected to win the thing again. It is rousing in a nice and simple kind of way, though. Incidentally, the final track on the LP is “There’ll Always Be An England”, but as they’ve run thru things like Ob-La-Di, Sugar Sugar and the rest, it can’t really be a serious attempt to inspire a certain kind of patriotic support. Sort of linking this with a previous entry – didn’t the fans of Wolverhampton Wanderers sing the Lee Marvin song as “I was born under a Wanderers scarf”? Further, West Ham fans sang “(Bobby Moore) Viva Bobby Moore” and everybody used Yellow Submarine in some way. Twas truly a go(a)lden age!

  39. 39
    intothefireuk on 4 Oct 2006 #

    I still have that Esso world cup coin collection – how sad is that ? This is the Mother of all football songs being the first one to gain popularity outside of the football community. Shortly after this we had ‘Blue is the colour’ and ‘Good old Arsenal’ respectively from Chelsea’s and Arsenal’s squads in the charts. All of these mass sing-a-longs keep their hooks very simple for ease of use by the fans.

  40. 40

    haha i still have some petrol-station WHITE PLASTIC* BUSTS of footballers — was this from the 1974 world cup tho?

    *the plastic has started to denature into goo on some of them — apparently it mustn’t touch rubber or their FACE MELTS

    “blue is the colour” is rousing AND memorable and A LOT BETTER than poxy old “land of hope and glory” (which like a lot of poorly designed public hymns has too wide a vocal range for non-singers to comfortably manage) (grumpy ex-choirboy mumble mumble)

  41. 41

    actually i am mad no i do not STILL have them — they were in turn damaging the rubber of thr MUCH MORE IMPORTANT figurines* so i binned em

    *don’t ask or i will TELL

  42. 42
    Marcello Carlin on 4 Oct 2006 #

    Can’t have been 1974 ‘cos England didnae qualify in ’74 UNLIKE SCOTLAND

  43. 43

    also i would have “too old” for such nonsense oh wait

  44. 44
    jeff w on 4 Oct 2006 #

    mark’s heads probably from a year or two earlier? I remember collecting plastic busts of Famous American Indians (Cochise etc.) in the early 70s – tho’ whether they came from a petrol station or out of a cereal box I don’t recall now.

  45. 45
    Chris Brown on 4 Oct 2006 #

    Dragging us back to Christmas here – I presume the idea of scheduling Shayne Ward for Christmas was to maximise sales. 2004’s X-Factor single actually came out on the 20th December, which was too late for a Christmas Number One anyway. In fact, the disadvantage (for them) of running these shows so close to the end of the year is that they can’t get an album out in time for Christmas, which is where the money is.
    Oh, and ‘Christmas Is All Around’ was released as a single in real life, but only got to 26.

    Forgive my ignorance, but was it ’74 or ’78 when England didn’t qualify? They didn’t have a hit in either year, which seems odd given the size of their hits either side of the decade.

  46. 46
    Mark M on 5 Oct 2006 #

    England didn’t qualify in ’74 or ’78, a shocking decline after ’66 & ’70 (although admittedly it was a 16 team tournament in those days).

  47. 47
    Mark Grout on 5 Oct 2006 #

    The b-side “Cinnamon Stick” is bizarre. A song about seeing a girl at a cafe sucking a cinnamon stick is rendered strange by everyone singing it, as if the whole squad were taken by her charms..


  48. 48
    Zoe on 19 Jan 2007 #

    Are the links broken here? I am desperately trying to get hold of a download of this song for a project – can anyone help me?

  49. 49
    Tom on 19 Jan 2007 #

    There aren’t any links to song downloads on Popular, because it’s not an MP3 blog – it’s reviewing very well known songs in general.

    Email freakytrigger@gmail.com though and I’ll see if I can help.

  50. 50
    alext on 19 Jan 2007 #

    b-b-but how is something allowed to be on the internet without having any illegally distributed copyright material attached to it!!

  51. 51
    Caledonianne on 16 Jul 2007 #

    Marcello is right. This is bilge. 1970 was the last time wee Scots boys would collect England world cup medals. After the 1974 General Elections even Esso wouldn’t be so crass.

  52. 52
    lesley rees on 21 Aug 2007 #

    I live in perth western australia and I would like to know if anyone can tell me where I can get the song back home from.Please email me back if anyone knows where I can buy it from,whether it is in england or australia.

  53. 53
    wichita lineman on 24 Mar 2009 #

    First football hit alert: the latest edition in the British Hit Parade series, 1958, includes Manchester United Calypso by Edric Connor. Not in the Guinness book as it only charted in Melody Maker. It is a strangely upbeat tribute to the club in the wake of the Munich air disaster. Lyrics include “A bunch of bouncing Busby babes” (quite) and “they deserve to be knighted” (prescient).

    Edric has a voice that sounds like a Trinidadian Edmund Hockridge. He arrived in Britain in ’44 and was a regular on BBC radio, according to the sleevenotes, “presenting calypsos and Caribbean folk songs. In 1951 he organised a variety of performances for the Trinidad All Steel Percussion Orchestra while they were in London for the Festival of Britain.”

  54. 54
    Erithian on 24 Mar 2009 #

    Wichita – According to http://www.bestoftrinidad.com/profiles/edricconnor.html
    he recorded the United Calypso in 1956, the year the Babes won their first League title and two years before Munich. Edric Connor was apparently the first black actor in the Royal Shakespeare Company, which is quite a landmark.

    From the real thing to a skilled imitator: Lance Percival was famed for his calypsos on “That Was The Week That Was”, and in 1979 guested on BBC’s “Sports Report” on Cup Final day, writing and performing a calypso about the match (Arsenal 3 United 2) so rapidly that I heard it on the radio while sitting on the coach in the car park at Wembley!

  55. 55
    wichita lineman on 24 Mar 2009 #

    Thanks Erithian, that makes more sense. It must have charted in sympathy with the decimated United team’s amazing FA Cup run, all the way to the final.

    Odd how Edric’s name isn’t better known… not to Horsham-born me, anyway.

  56. 56
    lonepilgrim on 24 Mar 2009 #

    re 55 Hey WL I’m also Horsham-born

  57. 57
    Waldo on 4 Sep 2009 #

    Yep, the Esso coin collection. Happy Days!

    I loved Erithian’s breakdown way upthread of what might have happened back home (see what I did there?) had Banksy played instead of Catty against the Krauts. Catty? – Peter Bonetti from my beloved Chelsea, who admittedly had a stinker, as did Brian Labone, the centre half from Everton who stood like a statue when Muller hooked in the winner. At school, all Chelsea supporters were vilified. If West Ham had won the World Cup in ’66 (Moore, Hurst, Peters), Chelsea had lost it in Mexico. It was also outragious fortune for Bonetti, a goalkeeper of true world class and a lovely bloke too, to be largely remembered for that one game. Painful memories for nine year-old Waldo, then, but nothing to compare with v Poland, Wembley 1973, when the whole sky fell in.

    As for “Back Home”, to be blunt, it’s just a novelty record just like any other. One thing to be remembered perhaps is that England were, of course, World Champions going out to defend their crown with a far superior squad than had won it. The fact that they failed was directly due to the German game and Ramsey’s woeful substitutions but ultimately to the genius of the immortal Brazilian winners, who wound up the 4-1 victory in the final against a magnificent Italian side with Carlos Alberto’s wonder goal, which I still maintain is the greatest I have ever seen.

  58. 58
    Erithian on 17 Dec 2010 #

    As Waldo has reminded me, today we’ve lost one of the band but not one of the squad. Ralph Coates of Burnley (later of Spurs) was awarded the first of his four England caps against Northern Ireland in April 1970, and sang on “Back Home”, but wasn’t included in Sir Alf’s final party to actually go to Mexico. So he was part of “The England World Cup Squad” but wasn’t part of the England World Cup Squad. Which is almost as sad a fate as Pete Best’s when you think about it.

    RIP to football’s second most famous comb-over.

    (While I’m here – Waldo, the Carlos Alberto goal was scored with Brazil already 3-1 up four minutes from time against a beaten Italian side knackered from extra-time in their semi-final v West Germany. In other words, the tackles weren’t exactly flying in and you have to take that into account in measuring the quality of the goal.)

  59. 59
    Tom on 17 Dec 2010 #

    Is this thread revival also a little poke at me to finish the next entry, sitting on the servers half-done while I wrap other Xmas/end of year things up? ;)

  60. 60
    flahr on 17 Dec 2010 #

    You can finish writing it if you try. Come on, Tom, express yourself ;)

  61. 61
    Waldo on 18 Dec 2010 #

    Yeah, Tom. That must be it. Ralph Coates timed his death just to wind you up!

    Erithian – Quite true about Carlos Alberto’s goal. It still looks special each time I see it, though, and dear old Kenneth Wolstenholme was far from unimpressed.

  62. 62
    enitharmon on 18 Dec 2010 #

    Yes, come on, this principessa is bloody fredda in her stanza, watching the stars.

    Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle! All’alba vincerò!

  63. 63
    enitharmon on 18 Dec 2010 #

    Incidentally, even without Ralph Coates the 1970 England squad has fared less well than the 1966 squad, Brian Labone and Keith Newton having succumbed in addition to Bobby Moore and Alan Ball.

  64. 64
    Waldo on 19 Dec 2010 #

    # 63 – Re the ’70 squad: My own great Chelsea hero, Peter “The King” Osgood, is also back in the pavilion, of course. As is Emlyn Hughes, who made the 22 but didn’t get a game, I don’t think.

  65. 65
    wichita lineman on 28 Dec 2010 #

    Just had a blinding revelation on this one. The super-compressed production, more 1960 than 1970 and rather Meek-y, is intended to sound as if it’s coming over the tannoy, echoing around the terraces of a pre-Taylor report football ground. Cut in mono, its odd soup of echoes and reverbs have given it an edge over most football records for me.

    Ralph Coates was the subject of a letter in When Saturday Comes just a couple of months back. He was born in Hetton-le-Hole, Co. Durham, and the writer suggested that, as this is the only fact anyone knows about the place, there must be a Ralph Coates Avenue there, or a Ralph Coates Theatre, or maybe a Ralph Coates Museum of Modern Art.

    In part as a tribute to Ralph (who seems like a lovely man on youtube footage), I’m planning a motoring holiday next summer from Hetton-le-Hole to Hutton-le-Hole. One looks like the arse end of nowhere, the other is a spectacularly beautiful village.

  66. 66
    Waldo on 29 Dec 2010 #

    65 – I think that there must be a fair chance of a tribute to Ralph being instigated in his birth place now that he has thrown a seven, although his finest career moment was probably when he was playing for southern softies Tottenham when he scored the winner in the 1973 League Cup Final against Norwich. Ralph galloped in to slam an unstoppable shot past Pakistani-born ‘keeper Kevin Keelan. Yep, a comb-over great was Coatesy. God love him!

  67. 67
    Billy Smart on 29 Dec 2010 #

    Has anyone else here read ‘The Glory Game’, Hunter Davis’ classic behind-the-scenes account of the 1971/2 season at Spurs? Coates comes across quite sympathetically in that account, as a modest man trying to fulfill the expectations of a star signing. Alan Mullery, however, comes over as an intolerable bighead.

  68. 68
    Waldo on 31 Dec 2010 #

    #67 – Yes indeed, Billy. “The Glory Game” is a classic of the period. It was, as you imply, Coates’ first season at Tottenham after his transfer from Burnley and the season when Cloughie’s Derby, an unfashionable team of nobodies, won the title. The book had an index, where the squad answered a set of questions. One concerned voting attitudes. Many answered this with “Tory but not really interested.” The only one who seemed to buck the trend was a young Steve Perriman, who said: “Labour…Aren’t all the players Labour?”

  69. 69
    Lena on 18 Apr 2012 #

    On a quest of their own: http://musicsoundsbetterwithtwo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/heroic-kludge-moody-blues-question.html Merci for reading, everyone!

  70. 70
    DanH on 12 Jan 2013 #

    This song denied the best Moody Blues song ever a spot at #1, and thusly denying the Hayward-Lodge lineup a #1. Boo.

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    wichita lineman on 12 Jan 2013 #

    Ooh, spooky. Listening to Our Children’s Children’s Children and saw this… I knew there had to be a really solid Moody Blues album and I think this is it. Mellotrons, lyrics about space travel, more mellotrons, very good.

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    Jimmy the Swede on 14 Jan 2013 #

    #70 – Yes, Dan. The blocking of “Question” was indeed a tragedy. A truly brilliant record by the Moodies. A mini masterpiece.

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    Mark G on 14 Jan 2013 #

    It actually has helped it, being number 2, as it hasn’t been overplayed and eventually hated, as “Nights in white satin” has….

  74. 74
    Jimmy the Swede on 15 Jan 2013 #

    “Nights in White Satin” wasn’t number one either, though. And I for one have never hated it. In fact I actually bought it when it was re-released in 1972. I agree, however, that “Question” hasn’t indeed been overplayed and that when it does get a spin they tend to cut it, which is monstrous.

  75. 75
    Mark G on 15 Jan 2013 #

    I knew that, but had “Question” made it, it might have been. Instead, I got it at a jumble sale in a bunch of singles that had been kept in nice poly lined cardboard sleeves (not disintegrated), along with “I’m just a singer in a R&R band” and others.

    NIWS is in the pile along with “Whiter shade of pale” of “Singles I never much liked (Deram)”

  76. 76

    […] ENGLAND WORLD CUP SQUAD 1970 – “Back Home” | … click here … […]

  77. 77
    weej on 16 Jun 2013 #

    This just came up in the mp3 shuffle and I had a proper listen to it for the first time – so, some thoughts.

    1. I know the song primarily as the theme tune to Fantasy Football League. Which makes me wonder how many other jokes I missed.
    2. The squad themselves are as good or bad as you’d expect – but the brass section behind them (especially their production) sounds utterly 1960s in a very un-hip way. How different would this backing have sounded if produced in any other year? I’d venture the vocals wouldn’t change much.
    3. Thanks to Erithian at #8 I’ve just spent ten minutes finding the Gordon Banks / Enoch Powell alternative history and the best part of a day reading it. I can save everyone the ten minutes by pointing you here – http://web.archive.org/web/20070301223917/http://www.btinternet.com/~chief.gnome/ – it’s a good read if you know enough about British politics in the 70s and 80s.

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    Jimmy the Swede on 10 Aug 2013 #

    Good luck to Charlotte Green,
    If you know what I mean.

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    Jimmy the Swede on 20 Dec 2015 #

    May I record here a tribute to dear old Jimmy Hill who has gloved one after a protracted illness. A fun figure for many (which he sometimes was as a pundit), he made an huge mark on the game itself and essentially realized that the most important people in the game were the fans. That credo certainly doesn’t apply to many at the head of the game today. RIP, Jimmy and chin-chin!

    SPOTY might be worth a special look tonight, especially if one particular candidate is interviewed by Clare Balding.

  80. 80
    lonepilgrim on 25 Oct 2017 #

    My Dad wasn’t a football fan so I missed out on the highs and lows of following a team (both local and National). However, as my Grandad worked for Esso, I did get the full set of commemorative coins mentioned upthread. I do remember feeling a mild sense of outrage when Bobby Moore was accused of theft but that’s all I can remember from the time. The tune has a Gang Show vibe about it with the ‘enthusiastic’ male voices belting out the lyrics. Enjoyable for nostalgic reasons but not for much more.

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    Lazarus on 12 Feb 2019 #

    RIP Gordon Banks. I was never that much into it, but the 1970 WC is probably my earliest sporting memory.

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    Natacha on 5 May 2021 #

    In June 1970 England’s 22-man squad set off to Mexico to defend the World Cup that had been won so memorably atWembley 4 years earlier. Comfortable, if uninspiring, 1 0 wins over Rumania and Czechoslovakia sandwiched a defeat to the eventual champions Brazil by the same score in a classic match widely regarded as one of the technically finest soccer matches ever played. The points gained ensured passage to a quarter-final against West Germany where, improbably, the team blew a 2 0 lead and contrived to lose 3 2 after extra time.

  83. 83
    Gareth Parker on 30 May 2021 #

    Not much to add here, I feel Tom’s 4/10 is on the money.

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