Friday, April 30, 2010

Back Home

1970- I was just a little kid but I remember collecting Esso gas station figures of the England World Cup squad and had way too many of Francis Lee. Probably an omen. Anyhow, the World Cup that year was in Mexico and England were defending champions (yep, hard to believe, but true!). Bobby Charton, Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst, Alan Ball, Gordon Banks and co. set off to the exotic land of Mexico but left us with one of the greatest football songs of all time, "Back Home."
A typically ragged anthem of out of tune male voices of course but the song hit a nerve as our boys set off half way around the world. And they knew we'd be watching because the World Cup in Mexico was the first satellite World Cup with grainy pictures beamed back to us in Europe. Families in England were flying on planes for the first time, zapping off to Benidorm in Spain but the England team were going further. We understood foreign travel now- knew you shouldn't drink the water and that not all cops around the world were like our jovial Dixon of Dock Green. And of course, our goalkeeper goes down with food poisoning and our captain gets falsely arrested in a blackmail scam (he was the target not the perpetrator).
England suffered a terrible defeat in the quarter finals and went out to West Germany but the song "Back Home" went to number one.
Forty years on and Mark E. Smith of the Fall puts out an unofficial World Cup song Yep, another musician who loves his soccer. But more on them next time.....