Celtic Songs: Mark McGhee

 

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It may come as a surprise to younger Celtic supporters, but there was once a time when Mark McGhee’s name rang out in tribute around the terracings at Ye Olde Celtic Park.  Yes, the miserablist Motherwell manager, he of gurny greetin’ face and forked flaming tongue, nowadays best renowned for childish fall outs with Celtic managers and coaches, was once a fans’ favourite  back in the 1980s.

Some players wear the Hoops bursting with pride.  McGhee often looked like he was about to burst through them.  Burly, chunky and big-boned are some of the euphemisms that are applied to the fatties in football these days  but Celtic fans weren’t concerned about McGhee’s not inconsiderable girth.  The former Aberdeen and Hamburg striker was a strong addition to Davie Hay’s squad and this song was sung with only a slight tongue-in-cheek:

 

He’s fat!

He’s round!

He’s worth a million pounds!  

Mark McGhee!

Mark McGhee-eeeeee!

 

No matter that in today’s money he would be worth the equivalent of Moussa Dembele’s big toe, a million was a lot for a player back then.  The man known to his team-mates as ‘Dingus’ served Celtic well in his four seasons at the club when he was usually a spare striker to the likes of McClair, Johnston, Walker and McAvennie – yet still scored 34 goals in 113 appearances.

His tenacity helped beat Hearts in the 1988 Scottish Cup semi-final and keep alive the dream of a Centenary Double and he scored Celtic’s only goal in front of a 100,000 crowd away to Dinamo Kiev in 1986.  His rotundity did not stop  him finding the net when the chance arose and, as a Celtic fan, he played a proud part in that unforgettable Centenary season.

 

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More Celtic songs and chants can be found here – get singing!  

Review: ‘Kenny of the Celtic’

Book review:  ‘Kenny of the Celtic’ by Stephen Murray 

 

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The story of how Kenny Dalglish rose through the ranks at Celtic and became the best British forward of his generation is one that has long been overshadowed by his outstanding success at Liverpool.  Yet it is also how the story of how Celtic, on the cusp of creating a second side to equal the achievements of the Lisbon Lions, managed to throw it all away.   The pain of that lost opportunity – and the departure of a truly great and iconic player – is still keenly felt, as Stephen Murray’s book expertly illustrates.

This is a forensic and fascinating account of the rise to fame of a gifted footballer whose hallmark was a dedication to his which craft outshone most of his peers.  Little surprise that on arriving at Celtic Park he soon became close friends with the equally committed Danny McGrain.  Both joined the club in May 1967 and it was they who spearheaded the group of young players garnered by Sean Fallon who became known as the Quality Street Gang, including fellow future internationalists Davie Hay, Lou Macari and George Connelly.  Those five formed the backbone of what could – and should – have become a Celtic team par excellence.  The departure of Dalglish after ten years at Celtic Park was the death knell of those ambitions.

 

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By that time Kenny was no longer a talent but a talisman also.  Captain of Jock Stein’s team, they enjoyed a close relationship forged in the heat of battle.  Season by season this book tracks Kenny’s rise from callow midfielder to supreme striker.  The goals flowed and Stein’s stream of silverware continued while the Lions were gradually replaced without Celtic losing their stranglehold on the League title – and maintaining their position as a major force in European football.  These truly were glory days.

The way that the author approaches the story is what makes this read so rewarding.  Each of the Dalglish seasons is embroidered with tales and snippets culled from fan memories, newspapers and contemporary Celtic Views.   This is football from the fan’s perspective, a similar approach to that adopted in the author’s impressive debut Ten Men Won The League.  On different forums and social media Celtic supporters were invited to contribute their favourite Kenny memories and stories.  The author also set up a Twitter account – @KennyofCeltic, well worth a visit itself – to promote the idea of the book and encourage people to share their favourite Dalglish moments, photos etc.

All of these efforts combine to give the book a genuine flavour of following Celtic in the ’70s, capturing the sights and sounds of the terraces, from an age where football was not overwhelmed by wall-to-wall media coverage.  Most importantly, the involvement of individual Celtic fans reveals the sheer devotion there was for Dalglish at the time – and the desperate heartache when he left for Merseyside.

 

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It took the Celtic support a long time to forgive Kenny his decision to leave, even though it was recognised that his chances of establishing himself on the European and world stages would improve by moving south – as he proved immediately, winning two European Cups in successive seasons in the red jersey of Liverpool.  The book suggests that the desire of the Celtic board, led by Desmond White, to cash in on Dalglish outweighed their ambition for the club.  His move to England, following Macari and Hay, as well as the loss of Connelly, meant the end of hope for those Celtic fans who had seen their team reach the apex of European football and thought the might do so again.  What this book confirms though is it was a great time while it lasted – and is well worth remembering, in gratitude.  The sight of Kenny of the Celtic, in full flow, celebrating yet another goal with a smile as wide as the Clyde, will always remain.

If you want to make Christmas special for that someone in your life with an affection for Celtic, get them this book.

And if you love them, buy them the author’s 4-2 book as well!

 

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The Shamrock rating:  7/10 

 

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To buy ‘Kenny of the Celtic’ click here:   http://cqnbookstore.co.uk/shop.php?p=75

 

To buy ‘Ten Men Won The League’ click here:   https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ten-Men-League-Stephen-Murray/dp/1503109747

 

Follow the author’s writings on the Celtic Underground site:  http://celticunderground.net/

 


 

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The Final Hurdle

CELTIC’S ROLLERCOASTER RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LEAGUE CUP

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Celtic’s relationship with the League Cup has never been an easy one.  From awkward first liaisons to moments of sheer bliss (Hampden In The Sun) and a period of sustained love and harmony, it has ultimately proved a bitter and painful coupling – with only occasional moments of satisfaction in recent times.  Could all that be about to change this weekend?

It took Celtic ten years after the League Cup’s introduction in 1946 to reach a final.  This was one of the club’s most barren periods and it took a replay in that first final – against Partick Thistle – for it to sit proudly on the old Celtic Park sideboard, where the Scottish Cup and the old League trophy had been regular residents.  That Celtic team, managed by Jimmy McGrory, liked it so much they went right back out and won it the following season, in the most amazing circumstances:  7-1 against Rangers, a record British senior cup final score to this day.

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United Irishmen:  Captain Bertie Peacock and Charlie Tully celebrate the 7-1

Yet, seven years would pass before we made it into another League Cup final, losing 2-1 to Rangers in front of 91,423 fans in 1964.  This was the first of an incredible run of FOURTEEN straight appearances in the competition’s Final tie, from season 1964-5 through to 1977-8.  After that initial disappointment, Jock Stein’s team won it five years in succession.  Rangers were defeated the first two years of the five, 2-1 (Hughes 2) and 1-0 (Lennox) respectively.  This was followed by an extraordinary final against Dundee in 1967 where the teams shared eight goals, Celtic running out 5-3 winners (with five goals being scored in the last 17 minutes!).

A feast of goals was repeated the next year when Hibs were beaten 6-2 with Bobby Lennox grabbing a hat-trick. A more straightforward 1-0 victory over St Johnstone in October 1969 thanks to a Bertie Auld goal meant it was five League Cups in a row for Celtic – a feat that has not been equalled in the competition – and the club were developing a strong attachment to the trophy, as were the support.

Cheers soon turned to jeers though.  Despite reaching the final in the following eight years, Celtic would only record a single victory – the memorable 6-3 thrashing of Hibs in 1974 when Dixie Deans scored three.  The lamentable stretch either side of that final included three defeats to Rangers, a shock 1-0 loss to Dundee who had Celtic favourite Tommy Gemmell in their side – as well as the barely believable (even after more than 40 years!) 4-1 hammering from Partick Thistle, with the Jags having scored the four goals without reply by the 37th minute.

From the mid-70s onwards the League Cup was as popular with the Celtic support as a fart in an elevator.  The Celtic players became disenchanted too with four years elapsing before another final appearance, leading this time a rare victory:  2-1 against Rangers in December 1982, thanks to Nicholas and McLeod.  Was Celtic’s luck in the competition beginning to change?

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Sombrero-sporting Tommy Burns and Davie Provan celebrate in ’82

Not a bit of it.  The competition was now in the midst of a myriad of name-changes thanks to sponsors ranging from Skol Lager to Coca-Cola and Bell’s Whisky to CIS Insurance, and underwent various changes in formats and times to make it more popular with fans and to work around ever-increasing European commitments.  (It is now sponsored by what sounds like a bookie’s stall in the Barras).

The fine trophy lost a bit of its lustre along the way and remained a stranger at Celtic Park.  From the 1982 success Celtic did not win it again until 1997, fifteen ridiculously long years.  In that time another three miserable finals were lost to Rangers but the 1994 loss on penalties to First Division Raith Rovers was much, much more painful to endure (you may have heard of it – it’s on virtual auto-replay on the BBC Sport Scotland website and their radio and TV platforms).  It took goals from Rieper, Larsson and Burley beat Dundee United 3-0 at Ibrox in November 1997 to finally end the miserable sequence, allowing Wim Jansen to claim the trophy in what was to prove a momentous season for Celtic.

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AwNawThere’sAnnoniOanAnawNoo – Rico enjoys the moment in 1997

It was next won two years in succession in very different circumstances.  A 2-0 win over Ebbe Skovdahl’s Aberdeen (Riseth, Johnson) in March 2000 was scant consolation for a club and support still reeling from a home Scottish Cup KO by Inverness Caley Thistle and the resulting departure of manager John Barnes.  Things were so, so different a year later though when a Henrik Larsson hat-trick against Kilmarnock secured Celtic’s first Treble since 1968-9 (only the 3rd in the club’s history) in Martin O’Neill’s first season in charge.

That was as much joy as the Blessed Martin had in the competition.  Gordon Strachan’s team were the next Celts to win the cup in 2006, beating Dunfermline 3-0 (Zurawski, Maloney and Dublin) and it was the current Scotland manager who struck silver again three years later, beating Rangers 2-0 after extra time with goals from Irishmen O’Dea and McGeady making it a memorable St Patrick’s celebration.

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Big Mick McManus captains Celtic to victory over Walter Smiths’ Rangers in 2008

Only once has the League Cup been in Celtic hands since – in March last year when Kris Commons and James Forrest delivered a 2-0 Hampden win over Dundee United.  Ronny Delia was to be denied a Treble in both his seasons in charge but there is real optimism abounding that Brendan Rodgers will be able to go one better.

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To do so he has to tip the weight of League Cup Finals in Celtic’s favour:  at present we’ve reached the final thirty times but won only fifteen of them.  It is truly a lamentable record and one that needs to improve.  If Celtic are to ever fall in love with the competition again, a sustained run of success is needed.  Reverting to an early season competition with a final before Christmas might just help, especially if this season’s form can be repeated in the years ahead.

While Celtic are unbeaten domestically, Aberdeen will prove tough opponents on Sunday.  Their form has improved of late and they have a decent strike-force to select from.  It should be a memorable encounter.  It is hard to escape the feeling though that Celtic have rarely been better placed to win this trickiest of trophies than right here, right now.  If anyone can deliver that fine old piece of silverware – and perhaps lead us on to a much sought-after and historic Treble – the man from Carnlough can.

Amen.

 

 

EDIT:   Job done!  16-15

 

Aberdeen v Celtic - Scottish League Cup Final

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Book Review: ‘Hoops, Stars & Stripes’

Hoops, Stars & Stripes: The Andy Lynch Story     Andy Lynch with Paul John Dykes

 

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Andy Lynch has more than a few claims to fame.  Yet there can be few people out there who can boast of the fact that they were given their nickname – in his case ‘Kipper’– by none other than the legendary Jock Stein himself.

The story of how this Govan bhoy earned his moniker is one of many excellent tales told here which combine to give a tremendous flavour of what life was like as a Celt in the great man’s latter years in charge at Celtic Park.  Andy Lynch was a bystander and regular participant in the events which saw Celtic’s fortunes mirror those of a rollercoaster.  It was in February 1973 that he joined a record-breaking Celtic team which had just won 7 League titles in a row.  He would go on to experience the loss of Jock Stein while he recovered from a near-fatal accident, the Double-winning success of 1976-7, the sacking of Celtic’s greatest manager a year later quickly followed by the last day 4-2 League winning sensation of 1979.  Fortunately, Andy didn’t go to Celtic looking for a quiet life.

He was a Celtic fan from his earliest days, even though it was outside Ibrox that he collected money looking after cars on match days.  His time as a ball boy at Hampden gave him a unique view of cup finals and international fixtures.  His early promise saw him sharing dressing rooms with a youthful Kenny Dalglish and Vic Davidson who would form part of Celtic’s ‘Quality Street Gang’ but his beloved team didn’t come calling and he struggled to make an impression early on.  His determination was there to see as he didn’t give up on the dream, joined Queen’s Park and then entered the junior ranks before he finally got picked up Hearts – and was a first team player in Scotland’s top league within a matter of months.

 

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Andy Lynch – as a youngster at Tynecastle

 

Andy came across more than his fair share of characters on the road to Celtic Park and beyond.  The first team coach at Hearts in the late 1960s was future Rangers’ manager Jock Wallace, renowned for his no-nonsense approach to training and . . . well, everything, really.  It didn’t come as a great surprise to the young Lynch to find his coach urging the Hearts players to “get into these Fenian bastards the day!” before an encounter at Celtic Park.  What was less expected was the coach’s cry of “Let’s sort out these Orange bastards!” before the Edinburgh team took on Rangers.  He had his battle fever on permanently, it seems. Other supporting roles in the Andy Lynch story go to Flax Flaherty, a one-eyed paper seller at Queen Street station who used to tap up players on behalf of Jock Stein; the unforgettable Johnny Doyle as both friend and foe; Brian Clough who promoted ‘the art of the deal’ before Donald Trump was ever heard of; and the great Franz Beckenbauer of the mighty New York Cosmos in the hey-day of the North American Soccer League, which Andy enjoyed as both player and coach.

It was funny to read of the start of Andy’s professional career as an accomplished left-winger when it was at left-back he would be best remembered as a Celt. That followed a tactical decision made by Jock Stein at a time when Andy had been struggling to find form after successive injury problems hampered the start of his Celtic career (and came close to killing it off) and the team couldn’t achieve any kind of consistency in the left side of the defence.  It was to prove a great solution for both player and club.

 

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Andy takes on Harry Hood at Celtic Park – they would soon be team-mates in the Hoops

In due course ‘Kipper’ became a Celtic skipper when Danny McGrain fell victim to serious injury and he still got among the goals, even from the left back berth.  He was joint top scorer (with Tom McAdam) in the 1978-9 season, hitting 13 goals with 10 coming from the penalty spot.  It was, of course, the 1977 Scottish Cup Final against Rangers when Andy’s spot kick wrote his name in the Celtic history books for ever.  The chapter dedicated to that incredible experience is one of the book’s best as Andy’s memories of the game are intercut with television commentary from the match.  It’s a novel technique that works really well here.  Andy’s advice generally on the art of the penalty kick and the attendant pressures (having Dundee United players throwing mud at you in the run-up won’t feature in many coaching manuals) is also genuinely insightful.  Another fine feature of the book that made an impression is the detailed recall of Andy getting into the dressing room at Celtic Park before everyone else (having made his way across the city by public transport in a Hearts blazer and tie) and setting foot on the hallowed turf for the first time, viewing the old Jungle and terraces from the opposite perspective to that he was used to.

 

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Andy in his prime and loving life as a Celt

 

The striking quality of the cover design (with Andy in classic ‘70s hoops with the club crest in the centre) reflects the writing inside.  This is the third Celtic book that Paul John Dykes has written and yet again he comes up trumps, telling the story of Andy Lynch in a fresh, absorbing and entertaining way with lots of great insights into Celtic and the professional game, both here and in the States, from the ‘70s and ‘80s.  Andy hasn’t exactly been a shy and retiring figure since – he once phoned up Celtic Chairman Desmond White and offered his own services as Manager to his old club!  His role in the attempt of an Arab Sheikh to buy Liverpool FC from Gillett and Hicks six years ago was a million metaphorical miles from the sands at Gullane where Jock Wallace worked him until he was sick.  It is one of the most bizarre stories in a book brimming with tales.

This is one Lynch mob well worth joining.

 

The Shamrock rating:  7/10 

 

Hoops, Stars & Stripes: The Andy Lynch Story by Andy Lynch with Paul John Dykes

Pub:  CQN Books

£14.99

Buy direct from CQN books HERE

 

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New t-shirt: The Pride of Europe Tour, 1966-7

The Shamrock is pleased to release a new t-shirt to celebrate this 50th anniversary season of Celtic’s ascent to the very top of European football.

Celtic’s European tour is mapped out from Zurich to Lisbon and all memorable stops in between as Jock Stein’s team became the first British and only Scottish team to be declared Champions of Europe.

This unique design with Cesar stencil and memorable quote from the great Jock Stein is available for only £15.

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Ordering info and close-up photos available here:

https://theshamrockglasgow.wordpress.com/three-leaf-merchandise/

 

 

Sounds of the 60s: In the Heat of Lisbon

Image result for "Lisbon Lions" AND singing

 

Fifty seasons on and our resident music lover Bear takes us back, way back, to discover who were Top of the Pops in that glorious week when Celtic were declared the Champions of Europe . . .

 

The musical scene when Celtic won the big prize in May 1967 was an era of change in musical styles.

It was a year that welcomed a new type of music as the Merseybeat era faded into history. The nation welcomed the beginnings of the progressive rock phenomenon.

If you want to know what tunes Celtic fans were celebrating Celtic’s big win in Lisbon, take a look back to the Top Ten singles in the chart in the week we made history.

 

In reverse order:

 

10 – Frank and Nancy Sinatra took the number ten slot with the only known instance of father and daughter reaching No. 1 on the American Billboard.  Their rendition of Something Stupid contained the line “And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like I love you,” prompted Nancy to make a strange quote some years later when she said it was “very sweet” that some people referred to it as ‘The Incest Song’!  

Nancy had a short lived music career having charted a year earlier with her recording of These Boots Are Made For Walking.

 

 

9 – Jimi Hendrix had his third hit coming in at number nine that week with The Wind Cries Mary.  Hendrix composed the song after a mini bust up with his girlfriend Kathy Etchingham over the lumpy mashed potatoes she had cooked. The resultant argument saw Jimi spending the night at a friend’s flat without her.  Kathy, whose middle name is Mary, revealed this in an interview with the BBC World Service in 2013.  Jimi sometimes teased her by using her middle name and played her the song on guitar after they made up.

His greatest and best known recordings include Purple Haze, All Along The Watchtower, Voodoo Chile and Hey Joe.

 

 

8 – Lulu (Marie Lawrie), a wee Glesga burd fae Dennistoun, was successful with her second hit single, The Boat That I Row, a Neil Diamond song.   Her debut hit, Shout, was composed by the Isley Brothers. Lulu also had a winner for Britain in the 1969 Eurovision Song Contest with Boom-Bang-A-Bang.

To choose the Eurovision song, Lulu sang six songs in a row on her BBC1 show Happening For Lulu.  In the ensuing postal vote (Remember stamps?) one particular song called I Can’t Go On polled last in the vote count.  This supposedly rubbish song was composed by a young Elton John and Bernie Taupin.  Ironically Lulu would later go on to record this song, as did Elton himself.

 

 

7 – Confirming the eclectic mix of styles that managed to make it on to the charts in 1967, The Dubliners contrived to make “Seven Drunken Nights” a pop hit at number seven!

The song is a bawdy ballad featuring a drunkard who returns home seven nights in a row to find flimsy evidence of his wife having an affair – only to have each of his claims debunked by a seemingly plausible explanation!

The original Dubliners lineup included Ronnie Drew and Luke Kelly and the band had some famous songs including Free the People, Black Velvet Band and latterly Carrickfergus and Four Green Fields. They also collaborated with The Pogues on a re-issue of The Irish Rover for their 25th anniversary in 1987.

 

 

6 – Pictures of Lily by The Who was berthed in the no 6 spot.  The song was controversial in the context of Sixties’ morals and was banned by the BBC for its sexual connotations. Pete Townshend, the composer, later said: “The song is merely a ditty about masturbation and the importance of it to a young man” although the lyrics actually never mention the word. A tame excerpt from the lyrics contrives to crucify the BBC’s virtuous stance.

“Pictures of Lily
Made my life so wonderful
Pictures of Lily
Helped me sleep at night
Pictures of Lily
Solved my childhood problem
Pictures of Lily
Helped me feel alright.”

The Who went on to be one of the top rock bands Britain has ever produced, recording songs like Won’t Get Fooled Again, Baba O’ Reilly and the acclaimed rock opera Tommy.

 

 

5 – Sandie Shaw was Britain’s entrant for the 1967 Eurovision Song Contest and claimed number five in the charts with her version of Puppet On A String.  The song itself was one of Sandie’s least liked songs and she was quoted saying “I hated it from the very first oompah to the final bang on the big bass drum.”  She hated it so much she went on to record it in five languages!

On the Desert Island Discs show in 2010 Sandi revealed that the BBC had wanted to sack her immediately before the show as she had been embroiled in the divorce of the model Veronica Sands at the tender age of 18.

After the Eurovision show Sandi got locked out of her hotel room in Vienna and slept the night in the corridor with only her fur coat and a bottle of champagne for company.

 

 

4 – The Beach Boys were at number four with their version of an old Crystals’ classic And Then He Kissed Me. The song was re-written from the boyfriend’s viewpoint and re-titled And Then I Kissed Her.

It was released against the wishes of the band by their record company as a filler while the Beach Boys took time to finish their Heroes And Villains single.  The Beach Boys, including the three Wilson brothers (Brian, Dennis and Carl) produced their famous Pet Sounds album in 1966.

 

 

3 – Dedicated To The One I Love was number three for The Mamas & The Papas although it had been a hit previously for two other groups including The Shirelles in the early 60’s.  Lead singer on the song was Michelle Phillips.   Mama Cass Elliott (Ellen Naomi Cohen) featured on many singles for the group including California Dreaming and Monday Monday before going solo.

Mama Cass had previously attended high school in Virginia with The Doors’ front man Jim Morrison. In a hedonistic rock n’ roll coincidence she died in the same flat at 9 Curzon Square, in London’s Mayfair, as The Who’s drummer Keith Moon – four years apart yet both were aged 32 years old.  The flat was owned by the legendary singer Harry Nilsson

 

 

 

2 – Waterloo Sunset at number two and remains one of The Kinks’ most iconic songs. Their music remains popular:  Sunny Afternoon, a West End musical about the band won an Olivier Award in 2015 for Outstanding Musical Achievement.  There have been a few interpretations of what the song was about but Ray Davies, the composer, stated in an interview in 2010 that the song was originally called Liverpool Sunset as he had a great fondness for the city.

Ray was a tad late revealing this astounding information as a London FM radio poll in 2004 named Waterloo Sunset as “The Greatest Song About London”, while Time Out magazine had also declared it “The Anthem of London.”

 

 

Which brings us to Number One in the most memorable week of The Sixties . . .

 

1 – Silence Is Golden was at no.1 position from the previous week.  The song was written by The Four Seasons’ Bob Gaudio and the renowned songwriter Bob Crewe. Originally a “B” side to Rag Doll for The Four Seasons in 1964 it was then covered by The Tremeloes who took it to the top position three years later.

Crewe and Gaudio were song-writing legends who composed songs from the 1950’s through to the 1980’s.  A selection of their most popular songs include, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Sherry, The Sun Aint Gonna Shine Any More, Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You and Let’s Hang On.

 

 

To illustrate the musical metamorphosis of the times there were other contrasting songs entering and leaving the charts in the months around May 1967.

On the lighter side there was I’m A Believer by The Monkees, Carrie Anne by The Hollies and Jeff Beck’s Hi Ho Silver Lining while The Beatles pitched in with Penny Lane before the epoch-defining Sergeant Pepper album was released  in June that year.

The black soul genre was represented by Respect from Aretha Franklin along with Martha and The Vandellas’ version of Jimmy Mack.

The emergence of the progressive rock scene was heralded by the timeless classic A Whiter Shade Of Pale by Procol Harum whilst Pink Floyd were at the genesis of their career with See Emily Play.  This was a full six years before the release of Dark Side of the Moon, the album that propelled them into rock history.

So there you have it.  Celtic’s European Cup victory transcribed to a musical tapestry that I’m sure properly portrayed the era as you remember it – or as your granddad told you!

We plan to print a similar feature when Celtic win the Big Cup again in Cardiff in 2017…

 

Hail x 2

Bear

 

Twitter:  The Bear@FeedTheBear1888

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A Celtic Retrospective