This week’s Toppo’s Top Ten takes on a more musical feel and pays homage (well, not quite) to footballer’s who’ve tried their hand at pop stardom.
The lifestyle of a footballer is a glamarous, lavish one. Idolised by fans across the world, their lives are closely followed by the media and amongst some of the most recognised people around, their lives in some ways mirror those of pop stars – so we should not be surprised to see some of them have a go at making music.
A tradition which has petered out in recent years, some would say for the better, is the FA Cup Final song. Every year teams in the final would team up with someone in the charts and record a number celebrating their achievement, think Tottenham Hotspur’s ‘Ossie’s Dream’ penned and sung by Spurs’ fans Chas & Dave in 1981.
Sometimes players have gone it alone and tried to make a successful singing career for themselves with rather underwhelming results – here’s a top ten rundown with a difference….
10: Johan Cruyff
One of the all-time great footballers, Johan Cruyff once tried his hand at singing, with less impressive results. The song “Oei Oei Oei (Das Was Me Weer een Loei) was written by Peter ‘Dutch Elvis’ Koelewijn, and recorded by a 22-year-old Cruyff in 1969 as his burgeoning reputation was increasing in his native Holland with Ajax. The jaunty number was a hit in the Netherlands and in Spain four years later, when it was re-released (in Dutch, mind) following Cruyff’s move to Barcelona. Apparently he was so nervous prior to recording he needed a few drinks to steady himself, quite apt really as you’d need to be more than tipsy to enjoy it.
9: Clint ‘Deuce’ Dempsey
American international Clint Dempsey teamed up with rappers XO and Big Hawk to record ‘Don’t Tread’ ahead of the 2006 World Cup. Dempsey raps himself and while he may be no Eminem, he holds his own amongst more illustrious rapping company, laying down some lyrics about life in the tough area of Fulham.
8: Liverpool FA Cup Final Squad
This FA Cup Final tune makes it into the countdown as it is sung wholly by the Liverpool side which reached the Wembley finale in 1988. John Barnes kicks off proceedings with the line ‘Liverpool FC is hard as hell – United, Tottenham, Ars-enelle….’ and things quickly continue to go downhill. Barnes is followed up by some questionable rapping from the likes of John Aldridge, Steve McMahon, Bruce Grobbelaar and Steve Nicol. Aussie midfielder Craig Johnston teamed up with rapper Derek B to create the song which reached the lofty heights of #3 in the UK Singles Chart.
7: Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle
A famous example of singing footballers which could not be ignored. In 1987 Tottenham Hotspur and England team-mates Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle collaborated to give the music world Diamond Lights. The cheesy number reached #12 in the UK Charts and the mulleted pair appeared on Top of the Pops as the song charted – notice Hoddle’s miming go array near the end of the clip. You get the feeling it was Glenn’s idea as he confidently leads the vocals clearly loving the experience, while Chris awkwardly shuffles and mumbles his way through the track.
6: Franz Beckenbauer
German football legend Franz Beckenbauer was quite the crooner back in his homeland during the 1960’s. The young midfielder was fast becoming the lynchpin in successful Bayern Munich and Germany sides whilst serenading Bavarian women everywhere with songs such as ‘Du bist das Gluck’ (‘You are happiness’) and ‘Eins-null fur die Liebe’ (‘1-0 for Love.’) However his vocal ability is best remembered for ‘Gute freunde kann niemand trennen’ (‘Good friends can never be seperated.’) Here Beckenbauer interrupts a team-talk to give a performance of the uplifiting number…..
5: Ian Wright
After retiring as a player Ian Wright carried on his career through media work and starring in the infamous Chicken Tonight commercial, so it comes as little surprise the former Arsenal and England marksman had a go at singing in 1993. The result was ‘Do The Right Thing’ a tune co-written with Gunners fan Chris Lowe of The Pet Shop Boys. It sounds very much part of the early-1990’s dance craze although Ian’s dance moves in the video leave a lot to be desired – nice hat though Wrighty!
4: Kevin Keegan
In 1979 King Kev released his own hit single. England’s best footballer had also just helped Hamburg to their first Bundesliga title in 19 years and won the European Footballer of the Year title for the second year running. The middle-of-the-road song was called ‘Head Over Heels in Love’ and reached #31 in the UK Singles Chart where it stayed for 6 weeks. In Germany it faired much better, almost making it to #1.
This clip is classic Keegan, his big flares, an even bigger perm and a late 70’s disco feel accompany his performance of the song. Typically the Germans must’ve loved it, they buy David Hasselhoff’s records afterall…..
3: Andy Cole
In 1999 Andy Cole was helping Manchester United win the treble. He was also releasing his own single, which flopped reaching a pitiful #69 in the charts. The song was called ‘Outstanding’ but was anything but. A cover of The Gap Band’s 1982 hit, Cole laid down some rap lyrics over it as clean cut as you’d ever wish to find – one line in particular stands out: ‘I reminisce back to the school yard. I used to work hard. I used to play hard. Got my kicks. From hitting the net. Not from drugs.’ Edgy.
2: Paul Gascoigne
In 1990 ‘Gazzamania’ was in full swing. Earlier in the year his performances for England helped them to the World Cup semi-finals and his tears after being booked against West Germany endeared him to the hearts of everyone watching back home. The cheeky Geordie released a record, teaming up with Lindisfarne to re-work their hit ‘Fog on the Tyne’ but it is Gascoigne’s next assault on the pop charts which makes the list.
‘Geordie Boys (Gazza Rap)’ celebrates the male population of Newcastle accompanied by some pretty poor dance sampling in the background. The video for the song isn’t much better as it mainly consists of Gazza attempting to run and strip off at the same time. It has to be seen to be believed.
1: Chris Waddle and Basile Boli
On ‘Diamond Lights’ Chris Waddle played second fiddle to Glenn Hoddle however the winger was ready to step out of the shadows and have another go at music. By 1991 Waddle was playing for Marseille in France, part of an entertaining team feared around Europe. Team-mate Basile Boli is remembered mainly on these shores for headbutting Stuart Pearce when England met France at Euro ’92 but here, he teams up with Waddle to give us ‘We’ve Got a Feeling,’ a unique pop record accompanied by a quite surreal video.
It’s hard to work out what’s worse, the pair’s Dad dancing midway through or Waddle’s Geordie-French rapping accent and after a few listens I’m still not sure what the song’s about.