The Football Hit Parade: As the UK Top 40 celebrates its 60th birthday, we take a look at the best (and worst) footie songs
17:15 GMT, 14 November 2012
It has provided the soundtrack to life in the British Isles for 60 years.
Whether you enjoyed the songs on vinyl, cassette, CD or iTunes download, the Top 40 singles chart has been as much a staple in national life as Butlins, village greens and Wimbledon.
The first 'hit parade' was released in a brand new magazine called New Musical Express precisely 60 years ago today, with Al Martino's 'Here in My Heart' top of the pops.
Since then, the Sunday afternoon countdown has dictated what we hear on the radio airwaves, what we watch on the music channels and what we flock down to the record shop to buy (or flock to the internet to download).
Top of the Pops: England players recording 'World In Motion' with New Order in 1990 – a football number one
And, very occasionally, in amongst the Beatles and the Stones, Madonna and the Spice Girls, would be a bunch of very awkward looking footballers packed into a sweaty recording studio mumbling lines from a crib sheet.
In the last six decades, there have been 54 tracks recorded by clubs that have charted in the Top 75 and a further half dozen or so recorded by footballers on their own.
The majority are, of course, FA Cup final records, designed to bring fan anticipation to fever pitch ahead of the big Wembley day out.
In the studio: Man United players with 19-year-old Katrina Wallis, who co-wrote their 1985 Cup final song 'We All Follow Man United'
And there's quite a few English and Scottish efforts before the national team jets off to the World Cup – and inevitable failure.
So on this anniversary of the 'Top 40', Sportsmail salutes some of the best (and worst) football records.
1970: England – ‘Back Home’
England had plenty to sing about heading into the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico. They were, after all, the defending champions and one of the tournament favourites. Accordingly, the squad got together to record ‘Back Home’ and started the tradition of the England squad single at major tournaments.
Such was the feel-good factor towards the idea, it spent three weeks at number one in the summer of 1970 and definitely ranks as one of the better football singles with all the players sounding as if they want to be there.
Unfortunately, England couldn’t replicate their success of 1966, crashing out to the Germans in the quarter-finals.
Squad sing-song: England's 1970 World Cup squad on Top of the Pops performing 'Back Home'
(Top row) Peter Osgood, Brian Kidd, Emlyn Hughes, Peter Thompson, Peter Bonetti, Allan Clarke, Norman Hunter, Unknown (2nd row) Harold Shephardson, David Sadler, Nobby Stiles, Francis Lee, Ralph Coates, Les Cocker (trainer), Terry Cooper, Colin Bell, Tommy Wright and Alan Ball. (Front-row) Geoff Hurst, Alex Stepney, Gordon Banks, Bobby Moore, Jack Charlton, Jeff Astle, Alan Mullery and Martin Peters
1971: Arsenal – ‘Good Old Arsenal’
The start of the seventies brought plenty of cheer for Arsenal, who scooped the league and cup Double in 1971 and were widely considered the best team in the land.
To celebrate, they released this upbeat hit called ‘Good Old Arsenal’ which was more of a chant set to the tune of Rule Britannia, but very catchy nonetheless.
It reached number 16 in the charts but there’s some great players singing along, including Bob Wilson, George Graham, Frank McLintock and Charlie George.
Good old Arsenal: The Gunners lifted the Cup in 1971, beating Liverpool 2-1. Their cup final single reached 16 in the charts
1972 – Leeds United – ‘Leeds United’
After Arsenal’s brief spell of dominance, the brilliant Leeds side of the seventies became the pre-eminent side on the pitch and in the recording studio. This was proven in the 1972 Cup final, when the Yorkshire side beat Arsenal 1-0.
This eponymous hit marked the occasion, essentially a homage by the players to themselves, and reached number ten in the singles chart. A sample line: ‘There’s a red headed tiger known as Billy/And he goes like a human dynamo/Mick the mover of course, he can work like a horse/And Top Cat Cooper’s always on the go…’
However, it’s the B-side that stands the test of time – ‘Leeds Leeds Leeds’ – better known as ‘Marching on Together’ is a terrace favourite at Elland Road today.
Cup success: Leeds United captain Billy Bremner gets the Cup from the Queen after a 1-0 win over Arsenal in 1972
1972: Chelsea – ‘Blue is the Colour’
Another one that has stood the test of time, Chelsea’s March 1972 hit was released to mark their appearance in the League Cup final against Stoke City (which they lost). It reached number five in the charts and has been the club’s signature tune ever since.
This archive film shows how the players needed a little encouragement, and a few takes, to get to the finished product. Thankfully, Osgood and company often got it right first time on the pitch.
All together now! The Chelsea players record 'Blue is the Colour' in readiness for the 1972 League Cup final
1975: West Ham United – ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’
Bellowed from the stands at the Boleyn since the 1920s, the West Ham club anthem was given a seventies twist when the Hammers reached the 1975 FA Cup final, in which they beat London rivals Fulham 2-0.
The hit wasn’t all that successful, however, charting at 31. It did beat the Cockney Rebels punk version of five years later – that only reached 35.
Old-fashioned knees-up: Trevor Brooking of West Ham and Alan Mullery of Fulham on the piano before the 1975 Cup final with some attractive vocal backing
The Cockney Rebels take the mickey on Top of the Pops in 1980
1978: Scotland and Rod Stewart – ‘Ole Ola’
Quite how Rod Stewart was persuaded to do this track I don’t know – presumably it was an overwhelming sense of patriotic duty or a genuine belief that Scotland would return from Argentina 1978 with the World Cup.
Despite being pretty abysmal – there’s a great verse explaining why all the world’s best teams will flop – this song was in the charts for six weeks and peaked at number four.
1978: Nottingham Forest – ‘We’ve got the whole world in our hands’
At around the same time, this gem was in the charts too, albeit some way behind Rod and the boys. Forest, who were on their way to the pinnacle of European football under Brian Clough, teamed up with local one-hit wonders Paper Lace to record this.
There’s some very uncomfortable looking players and backroom staff as the camera pans round the dressing room, including Clough on the end. But certainly would have approved of the lyrics: ‘We’ve got the whole world in our hands/We’ve got the best team in the land.’
Once again from the top: Brian Clough leads the players on a run through as they head to Birmingham to record 'We've got the Whole World in our Hands in 1978
1982: Tottenham Hotspur – ‘Tottenham, Tottenham’
‘Looks like we’re into another Cup final, boys.’
‘Better think of another catchy tune then.’
‘We could get a really big name in this time, get it to number one.’
‘Doubt anyone will do it, all quite busy.’
‘Hmm. Give Chas and Dave a bell…’
Number 19 in the chart!
POP QUIZ: Which Spurs player featured on the same episode of Top of the Pops twice in one night (Answer at the bottom)
1985: Everton – ‘Here we go’
When Everton made the 1985 Cup final against Man United, they hoped that booking into the same Abbey Road recording studio as The Beatles for their record would inspire them to victory.
Unfortunately, The Fab Four would probably storm out in protest at the Everton effort ‘Here we Go’ which, yes, was the terrace ditty repeated over and over again.
Someone was singing along though, as it made number 14 in the charts.
Footsteps of the Fab Four: Everton's 1985 cup finalists make their way to Abbey Road studios to record 'Here we go'
Extraordinary: John Barnes leads his Liverpool teammates in the Anfield Rap of 1988
1998: Arsenal – ‘The Hot Stuff’
Donna Summer’s 1979 hit ‘Hot Stuff’ is regarded as one of the best songs ever and is regularly listed in all-time greatest countdowns. So what a good idea to take her amazing vocals and twist them very cleverly to mention players in your squad.
That’s what Arsenal did to mark their march for the Double in 1998 and it made number nine on the countdown. This is actually quite a sophisticated job, just look at the third verse:
We were on the march with Arsenal’s army
With Tony, Martin, Nigel and Lee (COME ON!)
And vivent les francais, baby, and Patrick Gilles
Et tu es magnifique mon Petit
Hot Stuff! Martin Keown, Ian Wright and Dennis Bergkamp get stuck in to Arsenal's cover of the Donna Summer classic in 1998
1999: Andrew Cole – ‘Outstanding’
Ok, Andy, nobody’s arguing with your goalscoring prowess, especially not during Man United’s Treble season, but is there really a need to bring out a rap to persuade us. No, really, there is no need…
Peaked at number 68 at the end of the century.
POP QUIZ ANSWER: Steve Archibald featured twice in the same episode of Top of the Pops in 1982, first singing 'We Have a Dream' with the Scotland World Cup squad and then alongside his Spurs teammates and Chas and Dave for 'Tottenham, Tottenham.'
THE FULL CHART – EVERY FOOTBALL SONG TO APPEAR IN THE UK TOP 75
Year: Artist and song (highest chart position, number of week in top 75)
1970: England national team with 'Back Home' (Number one, 17 weeks)
1971: Arsenal with 'Good Old Arsenal' (No. 16, seven weeks)
1972: Leeds United with 'Leeds United' (No. 10, ten weeks)
1972: Chelsea with 'Blue is the Colour' (No. five, 12 weeks)
1974: Scotland national team with 'Easy, Easy' (No. 20, four weeks)
1975: West Ham United with 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles' (No. 31, two weeks)
1976: Manchester United with 'Manchester United' (No. 50, one week)
1977: Liverpool with 'We Can Do It' (No. 15, four weeks)
1978: Nottingham Forest and Paper Lace with 'We've Got the Whole World in Our Hands' (No. 24, six weeks)
1978: Scotland national team and Rod Stewart with 'Ole Ola' (No. four, six weeks)
1981: Tottenham Hotspur with 'Ossie's Dream – Spurs Are On Their Way To Wembley (No. 5, eight weeks)
1982: Tottenham Hotspur and Chas and Dave with 'Tottenham, Tottenham' (No. 19, seven weeks)
1982: England national team with 'This Time'/'England We'll Fly the Flag' (No. two, 13 weeks)
1983: Liverpool with 'Liverpool (We're Never Gonna…)/Liverpool Anthem' (No. 54, four weeks)
1983: Manchester United with 'Glory Glory Man United' (No. 6, five weeks)
1983: Brighton and Hove Albion with 'The Boys in the Old Brighton Blue' (No.65, two weeks)
1985: Manchester United with 'We All Follow Man United' (No. 10, five weeks)
1985: Everton with 'Here We Go' (No. 14, five weeks)
1986: England national team with 'We've Got The Whole World At our Feet' (No.66, one week)
1986: Liverpool with 'Sitting on Top of the World' (No. 50, two weeks)
1987: Tottenham Hotspur and Chas and Dave with 'Hot Shot Tottenham!' (No. 18, five weeks)
1987: Coventry City with 'Go For It' (No. 61, two weeks)
1988: England national team with 'All the Way' (no. 64, two weeks)
1988: Liverpool with 'Anfield Rap (Red Machine in Full Effect' (No. three, six weeks)
1990: Crystal Palace and The Fab Four with 'Glad All Over/Where Eagles Fly' (No.50, two weeks)
1990: England national team and New Order with 'World in Motion' (number one, 12 weeks)
1990: Scotland national team with 'Say it with Pride' (No. 45, three weeks)
1991: Tottenham Hotspur with 'When the Year Ends in One' (No. 44, three weeks)
1992: Leeds United with 'Leeds Leeds Leeds' (No. 54, three weeks)
1993: Manchester United and The Champions with 'United (We Love You)' (No. 37, two weeks)
1993: Arsenal and Tippa Irie/Peter Hunnigale with 'Shouting for the Gunners' (No. 34, three weeks)
1994: Manchester United with 'Come on You Reds' (number one, 15 weeks)
1994: Chelsea with 'No One Can Stop Us Now' (No. 23, three weeks)
1995: Manchester United and Stryker with 'We're Gonna Do It Again' (No. six, six weeks)
1995: Everton with 'All Together Now' (No. 24, three weeks)
1996: Manchester United with 'Move Move Move (The Red Tribe)' (No. six, 15 weeks)
1996: Liverpool and Boot Room Boyz with 'Pass & Move (It's the Liverpool Groove)' (No.four, four weeks)
1996: Scotland national team and Rod Stewart with 'Purple Heather' (No. 16, five weeks)
1997: Rangers with 'Glasgow Rangers (Nine in a Row)' (No. 54, two weeks)
1997: Chelsea and Suggs with 'Blue Day' (No. 22, five weeks)
1997: Middlesbrough with Bob Mortimer/Chris Rea with 'Let's Dance' (No. 44, one week)
1998: Arsenal with 'Hot Stuff' (No.9, five weeks)
1999: Manchester United with 'Lift it High (All About Belief)' (No. 11, five weeks)
2000: Arsenal with 'Arsenal Number One/Our Goal' (No. 46, one week)
2000: Chelsea with 'Blue Tomorrow' (No.22, two weeks)
2002: Lincoln City and Michael Courtney with 'Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep/Jagged End' (No. 64, one week)
2002: England national team and New Order with 'World in Motion' (reissue) (No. 43, two weeks)
2004: Yeovil Town with 'Yeovil True' (No. 36, one week)
2004: Millwall with 'Oh Millwall' (No. 41, one week)
2007: Bristol City and The Wurzels with 'One for the Bristol City' (No. 66, one week)
2008: Cardiff City and James Fox with 'Bluebirds Flying High' (No. 15, two weeks)
2010: Leeds United supporters with 'Leeds Leeds Leeds' (No. ten, one week)
2010: England national team and New Order with 'World In Motion' (another reissue) (No.22, four weeks)