“You have to write your column tonight,” said Mrs Williamson. “Do you know what you’re going to do yet?”
“Yes,” I replied, “I’m going to write about Scotland’s World Cup songs.”
Mrs W: “Have there been many?”
Me: “Oh yes.”
THE ONES I’D RATHER FORGET
1974 – “Easy, Easy” by the Scotland World Cup Squad
Yaba daba doo we support the boys in blue and it’s easy, easy
Yaba daba doo we are going to follow you, and it’s easy, easy
Yaba daba day we’ll be with you all the way, singing ea-sy
I could go on but it only gets worse. Listen if you have to. I think it was a B-side, and the A-side ain’t much better.
1982 – “Viva Scotland” – Ben Gunn
I have a friend who makes a point of getting this one inside my head on every tour we’re both on because he knows I think it’s shite and it annoys the pants off me. I’m not sure why it annoys me so much – I can’t decide whether it’s the awful marching tune, the crap lyrics, or the fact that it ever so gently sucks itself into my brain and says “You like me, you really do, you like me.” Whenever I find myself humming it I have to retreat into the nearest bar for a wee cappuccino, my preferred tipple on tour.
Snippet listenable here:
1998 – “Don’t Come Home Too Soon” – Del Amitri
Sorry, Justin, but this is just rubbish in every way. I know this song means something special to you, but we don’t need mournful ballads, we need stirring anthems. With better titles.
PROPS TO THE ENGLISH SECTION
Another pal, Malky, stated in the comments the other week, “I have English friends and I like their beer and fashion.” Well, despite some taking my earlier rant as being anti-English, I do in fact like many of their people, a lot of their warm ales, and one of their counterfeit Paul Smith umbrellas that was recently made in Shenzhen. And on top of this, many of their popular music combos are almost as fine as those highlighted on Dear Scotland, so I have to acknowledge some of their fine World Cup music too.
1990 – “World In Motion” – New Order
England were the first to break the 60s/70s/80s habit of having the playing squad sing the tune, with popular-at-the-time New Order writing the anthem for that memorable summer. It did feature “The John Barnes Rap” so it wasn’t all good – but even so, I am ashamed to admit I have caught myself absent-mindedly humming this one once or twice.
1998 – “Vindaloo” – Fat Les
Cool Britannia gone mad. Genius in so many ways. Blur, Damien Hirst, and Keith Allen in a xenophobic, multi-cultural, obnoxious, self-deprecating, menacing, self-indulgent collaboration which spoofs a famous Verve video.
Go on, you know you love it and you wish we’d thought of it first – replace Vindaloo with Irn Bru and you have what could have been the 1998 anthem that carried us to a rematch against Brazil, back in the Stade de France for the final. It was wasted on them.
2010 – “England’s Heartbeat” – Shuttleworth
This is even more bizarre. Mark E Smith of the Fall – who’d have thunk it? I’m not entirely sure I like it (*) – it is about England after all – but I don’t dislike it and as a piece of pop music it’s better than many of our efforts.
(*) I do quite like it, if I’m being honest.
BACK TO THE STUFF WE CAN ALL ADMIT WE LIKE
1978 – “Ally’s Tartan Army” – Andy Cameron and my Primary 2 Class
How mental did the entire Scottish nation go in 1978? I’ll tell you how mental. In our Primary 2 music class our stuck-up old cow of a music teacher taught the whole class the words to Ally’s Tartan Army and had us singing it – three weeks in a row. This was supposed to be school – they were supposed to be *educating* us, for heaven’s sake – and yet this is what they were teaching. It’s no wonder I am emotionally retarded – but at least I will always remember the lyrics.
1978 – “Que sera, sera” – Andy Cameron
Meanwhile, in the Spanish class…
ONE YOU’VE PROBABLY NEVER HEARD
1978 – “Hoat Pies For Us Argentina” – Bill Barclay
Lyrics include the phrase “a wee bit Scottish luck” – wish they’d been a wee bit more specific about the type of luck we needed.
Only 11p for a first-class stamp – those were the days.
1998 – “Carnival de Paris” – Dario G
Forever known to me as “The Irn Bru Song” after the Tartan Army created an entire set of lyrics to this song out of only two words: “Irn” and “Bru”. French, yet universal. Tragic, yet magic. Cheesy, yet inspiring.
Shite, but brilliant.
Little-known fact: Dario G are a trio from Crewe named after legendary Crewe Alexandra manager Dario Gradi. Respect!
1974/2010 – “We’ll Be Coming/Easy, Easy” – Tartan Specials vs 1974 World Cup Squad
All you need to do is pair up a crap song with a great song and you get musical footballing excellence. It’s like the 1970s happening in the 21st century.
[Full disclosure: I know the Tartan Specials very well. How well? I can probably get you a signature, for a small fee.]
1977 – “Happy Hooligans of Wembley” – Gaberlunzie
Technically this shouldn’t be in here as it’s not a World Cup song but I love it, despite the “we’re only here for the bevvy” sentiment. I once listened to a legendary TA man sing the entire song, a capella and unaccompanied, on the train from Celje to Ljubljana after a 3-0 victory over Slovenia. In a carriage with Elvis Presley. You don’t get to do that very often.
AND THE ALL-TIME GREATEST SONG EVER, NOT JUST THE GREATEST SCOTLAND WORLD CUP SONG, SIMPLY THE GREATEST SONG, EVER, NO ARGUMENTS, PERIOD. YOU KNOWS IT!
1982 – “We Have A Dream” – John Gordon Sinclair and the 1982 World Cup Squad (with thanks to BA Robertson)
I know someone from Cumbernauld whose image lies on the Gregory’s Girl cutting room floor. His schoolyard sweetheart wife made it in as an extra. John Gordon Sinclair had a bigger part to play in that film, but he will forever be legend to me for giving voice to a nation of football dreamers.
Altogether now: “I awoke, in the night, with a fever – and the sky was the darkest blue…”