TV Cream counts down the official, unofficial and unmerchantable World Cup releases from two decades of A-side pitchside aural action.
1970: BACK HOME, ENGLAND WORLD CUP SQUAD
The original and tuxedoed best, as performed by the entire squad in evening dress giving all they’ve got the give, although we’re actually not sure if that grainy film footage they always wheel out is from TOTP or some sort of primitive promo. Dunno. Back Home was written by the dream team of Martin and Coulter, who were obviously dab hands at, ahem, rousing national singalongs, having already penned Puppet On A String and Congratulations for Eurovision. And curiously enough, cover versions of both turned up on the accompanying cash-in World Cup LP, The World Beaters Sing The World Beaters, only with the players going “Yee-ha! Rrrrriba, rrrriba!” all over the place, cos that’s what they do in Mexico, isn’t it? The sleeve notes are great, mind, with references to “Your actual ‘reggae’ music with Gordon Banks in true Caribbean form” and stuff. Ace. Anyway, here’s the, er, B-side to Back Home, Cinnamon Stick:
1974: EASY EASY, SCOTLAND WORLD CUP SQUAD
No England this time, so Martin and Coulter switched allegiances to Scotland, with magnificent, foot-stomping, tartan-waving Rollers-style results. In full, then… Yabba dabba doo, we support the boys in blue, and it’s easy, easy!/Yabba dabba doo, we are gonna follow you, and it’s easy, easy!/Yabba dabba day, we’ll be with you all the way, singing eeeeeeeasy!/Ringa dinga ding, there goes Willie on the wing and it’s easy, easy!/Ringa dinga ding, knock it over for the king, and it’s easy, easy!/Ringa dinga dong, now we know we can’t go wrong and it’s eeeeeeeasy!/(middle eight) Come on, now we’re really gonna roll, gotta get another goal, woah-woah-woah!/Come on, just another one to win, stick it in! Stick it in! Stick it iiiiiiiiiin!/Eenie meanie moe, get the ball and have a go, and it’s easy, easy!/Eenie meanie moe, we’ll let everybody know that it’ easy, easy!/Eenie meanie my, now we’re really flying high, and it’s eeeeeeeasy! (repeat first verse until first-round elimination)
1978: OLE OLA, ROD STEWART
They had Dalglish, Buchan and Macari. But as David Baddiel once pointed out, “Ole ole, ole ola, we’re going to bring that World Cup back from over tha’!” is not perhaps the finest lyric in the world. Especially as Rod says it about ten million times during the record. But given that he also tries to rhyme ‘nation of five million’ with ‘really turn the heat on,’ perhaps it wasn’t surprising. Magnificently frenetic effort, nonetheless, with loads of bongos and whistles and stuff, cos that’s what they do in Argentina, isn’t it? Brilliantly hostage-to-fortune third verse, in which Rod writes off the fortunes of every team except Scotland. “Holland without Cruyff just ain’t the same”, hmm?
The unofficial opposition came from the tediously tam-o’shantered Andy Cameron and the one anecdote he’s been wheeling out in all the clip shows. We did like Tony Blackburn’s introduction to his record on TOTP, however. “He’s going to tell us… all about Ally’s Tartan Army.”
1982: THIS TIME (WE’LL GET IT RIGHT)/ENGLAND WE’LL FLY THE FLAG, ENGLAND WORLD CUP SQUAD
Best remembered of the 80s releases, reaching number two on the back of those aforementioned Pops appearances with the lads all lined up in Admiral jumpers and surrounded by air hostesses, with balloons and stuff flying about. Secretly likeable stuff, actually, with bizarre mass kazoo solo and amiably rousing lyrics (“This time, more than any other time, this time/We’re gonna find a way, find a way to get away, this time/Getting it all together, to win them all!”), a tiny clip going on to become the typically oblique yet oddly moving coda to Saint Etienne’s 2002 album Finisterre.
The double A-side was the B-Cal riffing Fly The Flag (“We’ll take more care of them/and we’ll flyyyyyy the flaaaaaaag!”). And bonus points for being released on RAK.
Scotland had their biggest hit with the BA Robertson-penned, comedy-flavoured We Have A Dream, while Northern Ireland weighed in with the oft-overlooked, Dana-assisted Yer Man (“When Yer Man gets the ball, Northern Ireland has it all!”).
1986: WE’VE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD AT OUR FEET, ENGLAND WORLD CUP SQUAD
Now we’ve got a bone to pick with clip show compilers, cos they keep showing the slow, ballady B-side of this record (When We Are Far From Home) instead of the uptempo Jossy’s Giantsesque A-side (“We’ve got the whole world at our feet/There’s not a single team that we can’t beat/They’ll all be dancing in the street/Cos we’ve got the whole world at our feet!”).
Why they made a video for the B-side, we have no idea, but sort these things out, please. Mention also to Scotland for Big Trip To Mexico, but not for Northern Ireland as we can’t remember their record. But alas we didn’t forget Peter ‘Pete Beale’ Dean’s I Can’t Get A Ticket For The World Cup Final. Didn’t chart, amazingly.
1988 ALL THE WAY, ENGLAND FOOTBALL TEAM
Not a World Cup record, but this effort from Euro 88 just manages to sneak under the wire. Billed in actual fact to ‘The England Football Team Featuring The Sound Of Stock, Aitken, Waterman’, close listening reveals no discernable footballers on this record, and we reckon it was just Mike, Matt and Pete with their voices multiplied to make it sound like two dozen. Magnificent video, however, the highlight being Tony Adams piloting a speedboat, and a memorable performance on Wogan, with the team in nasty Umbro tracksuits on a load of fitness equipment – Waddle on exercise bike etc. They could face any stormy weather, just as long as they could play together, be together.
1990 WORLD IN MOTION, ENGLANDNEWORDER
Yes, yes, Keith Bloody Allen might drone on about how it was originally ‘provocatively’ going to be called E For England, but only he gives a toss about shite ideas like that. The greatest ever football record by default, yes, and it did nick Stephen and Gillian’s theme to Making Out, but still ace, if only because of the effortless cool of the video (note Barnes in non-England Adidas top, which would never be allowed now) compared with Allen’s later Look Everybody We’re Being Ironic efforts, viz England’s Irie (“I live in a land of class hypocrisy, we’re going to win the National Lottery” – oh purlease) and the gloriously off-the-case Fat Les, a sort of shite football version of the KLF aimed exclusively at Crispin and Jasper down the Groucho. Oddly, Ken Wolstenholme re-recorded *that* commentary for WiM, getting the words wrong, then moaned about it. See also the 12″ with the line ‘Call the carabinieri’ (do you see?) which we like best.
Scotland meanwhile pitched up with the godawful unreconstructed Say It With Pride (“We’re gonna walk tall in the sun!”) which sounded a charity record and had people like Fish and, eurgh, Runrig on it.
And Ireland did We’re On The March With Jackie’s Army, which had Jack Charlton barking his football philosophy all over it and Clannad going ‘Ole, ole, ole…’