Saturday, March 27, 2010

In good voice:Scotland vs England

The largest sporting event in the world will kick off soon in South Africa. Professional sport and marketing are closely wedded and by the time of the FIFA World Cup South Africa we will be wearing the same gear the soccer players wore during the competition. Scotland is one of the oldest football nations in the world (England the other) and fiercely proud of playing in eight World Cup tournaments. They have qualified on nine occasions and in 1950 took the unprecedented decision to not participate because they felt ill prepared and did not consider themselves worthy as British Champions. Despite the nation’s unenviable record the squad have never advanced beyond the first round of the finals competition. Historically they are considered talented and brave hearted with play sometimes bordering on the brilliant, but the efforts of the qualifying Scottish National Squads have always been fruitless. To the Tartan Army failure to qualify to the World Cup competition is a disgrace. Scotland’s failure yet again this year has left all ‘Jock Tamson’s bairns’ melancholic. The last time Scotland qualified for a World Cup final was in 1998 in France. The only positive note to all of this is we have not been exposed to yet another Scottish Football Squad song.
These events kicked off in 1966 when England won the World Cup (and never been allowed to forget it). The tournament had an official song called 'World Cup Willie'. It was sung not by an Englishman, but by a Scot called Lonnie Donegan. The single did not sell particularly well and remains a curio. Jimmy ‘Greavsie” Greaves, himself a member of the England Squad, was less than complementary about the choice of singer at the time and considered him passé. At the next FIFA World Cup Mexico (1970) Scotland did not qualify. The defending champions England went to Mexico strong in squad and with a team song that would top the UK charts. “Back home” was recorded in a tiny recording studio with all the England team present. The song was written and produced by Bill Martin (Scotsman) and Phil Coulter (Irishman) – well it is Great Britain after all. ‘Back Home’ set the bench mark for all squad songs to follow. A lyric triumphantly proclaiming the trophy was pretty much in the bag and there was not much point in anyone else turning up set to a simple tune. England got knocked out in the quarter finals after a major scandal alleging misbehaviour in the camp. By 1974, Scotland were back in the finals which were hosted in West Germany. To celebrate their return to the world stage the Scottish squad recorded a little ditty entitled “Easy Easy.” Although the single got into the UK Top Twenty, Scotland was eliminated in the first round (What’s new?). England did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup West Germany.

Argentina hosted the World Cup in 1978 and horror of horrors, England again failed to qualify. The Scottish manager, Ally McLeod mistakenly talked up his team strongly inferring it was more or less a foregone conclusion they would win the championship. The ever gullible, Tartan Army thought so too and in the resulting euphoria which proceeded the competition saw comedian, Andy Cameron (born in England) jump on the bandwagon. He recorded Ally’s Tartan Army which became a hit. Determined to do succeed the Scotland World Cup Squad engaged the help of another cockney Jock, Rod Steward. 'Ole, Ola' (Mulher Brasilieira) [We're gonna bring that World Cup back from over there], like Ally’s Tartan Army sold well and both charted in the UK Top Ten. Sadly Scotland faired less well on the field and were dismissed somewhat dramatically from the competition at the end of another scandal filled first week. Rod and Andy did like wise were summarily dismissed from the pop charts. Spain hosted the FIFA World Cup 1982 and old rivals Scotland and England were back in contention. The England World Cup Squad released ‘This time (We’ll get it right)’ (co-written by Chris Norman of Smokie) and the Scottish Squad had “We have a dream” written by B.A. Robertson. Both songs charted but while England went through to the second leg of the competition, Scotland was un-ceremonially dumped at the end of the first week.What’s new?

In 1986 the World Cup was again held in Mexico. Scotland qualified this time but were knocked out in the first round of the competition. England meantime lost in the quarter finals. England’s official world cup song "We've Got the Whole World at Our Feet"/"When We Are Far from Home" and Scotland’s ‘Big trip to Mexico’ both faded quickly. The same song writers wrote both songs. The Old Enemies were back at it in the Italian World Cup finals in 1990. Scotland World Cup Squad’s "Say It With Pride" flopped at the lower end of the Top 50 as the Tartan Army’s team failed to make it through to the second week of competition. World in motion by Englandneworder (England and New Order) topped the charts but the England team went out in the semi finals on penalties.
By the time the 1994 FIFA World Cup was hosted by the US (neither Scotland nor England qualified), so there was no song. Four years on the World Cup France 1998 saw Scotland qualify and this time with the help of Del Ametri and their dedicated single "Don't come home too soon." As usual the song did better than the team and the Scottish squad were back home to listen to it in the Top Twenty. The official song of the England National Football Team was "(How Does it Feel to Be) on Top of the World?" by "England United." This was a makeshift ‘supergroup’ consisting of Echo and the Bunnymen, Space, Spice Girls and the lead singer of Ocean Colour Scene, Simon Fowler. The song was written by Ian McCulloch. The song and the team did quite well but England lost again on penalties and failed to make it through to the quarter finals. Scotland did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup South Korea/ Japan 2002 but England did and once again lost in the quarter finals. The official World Cup song did not involve the squad that fell to the golden tonsils of Ant & Dec with We’on the ball. By this time there was a plethora of other songs and music associated with the competition but most were unconnected to the English Football Association. In 2006 Germany again hosted the World Cup finals. No Scotland, but England was there with World at Your Feet" by Embrace as the official England World Cup song. Did well too but England were knocked on penalties in the quarter finals again.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be held in South Africa (and Scotland will not be represented). England will be there but no word yet what the official anthem will be. Work has already begun on the official FIFA and since Germany 2006, FIFA have sanctioned a CD of songs by a variety of artists reflecting contemporary music styles. This year the net profits will be donated to Africa-related charities and all of FIFA's net profits will go to the Official Campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup(TM) "20 Centres for 2010."

Worth a listen
Lonnie Donegan
World Cup Willie (1966)

English World Cup Squad
Back Home (1970)
This time (We’ll get it right) (1982)
We've Got the Whole World at Our Feet" / "When We Are Far from Home (1986)
Englandneworder (English World Cup Squad with New Order)
World in Motion (1990)

Scottish World Cup Squad
Easy Easy (1974)
Ole, Ola' (Mulher Brasilieira) [We're gonna bring that World Cup back from over there] with Rod Stewart (1978)
We have a dream (1982)
Big trip to Mexico (1986)
Say It With Pride (1990)

Andy Cameron
Ally’s Tartan Army (1978)

Del Ametri
Don't come home too soon (1994)

England United
(How Does it Feel to Be) on Top of the World? (1994)

Ant & Dec
We’on the ball (2002)

Embrace
World at Your Feet (2006)

Ricky Martin
La Copa de la Vida'(1998)

Anastacia
Boom (2002)




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