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A Song For The Grovers

Matters more trivial permeate my conscience today dear reader. You see Iam suffering the precise opposite of the dreaded writers' block, in that I have an urge to pen something but the square route of sod all in which to pontificate on. I mean, there is some pre season friendly against some kind of Austrian XI tonight. (I presume, by this, it will be XI footballers we will be facing and not eleven illustrious Austrians. Though the thought of Walcott skinning Schwarzenegger on the right handside whilst Hitler and Mozart look on disconsolately from the touchline is an amusing reverie). However, it's hardly sufficient to produce alengthy dissertation on. Thoughts extend to the season ahead, but it's not really appropriate to begin assessing our chances when the squad is not yet fully assembled and certain situations have yet to reach adefinitive conclusion. Blatter and Platini, aka Tweedle Deum and Tweedle Dee, have managed to save some face of late by keeping the lower part oftheir faces shut. Real Madrid are still fondling their wooden spoon through a media fed cauldron of shit. So what else is there really to think about?

Which song should Arsenal emerge to the pitch to of course! Last season Arsenal alienated most with the choice of Elvis Presley's 'The Wonder of You.' I have to admit it grew on me as the season drew on, but there again tumours grow on a person, it doesn't necessarily make them a very good idea. This is an altogether more taxing question than it originally appears. I'm sure shrouded in the parochialism of one's own music tastes, one could formulate an entire set list for our boys to run out to. (Personally, I'd love to hear Rage Against the Machine's 'Wake Up' blasted over the PA system as the player's line up in the tunnel. But I've a feeling it might ostracise a good portion of our fan base)! The song which the players emerge to has to be of the right pitch and tone to lift supporters and make them want to stretch their vocal chords in support of the team. Sunderland used to tap into this sense of theatre brilliantly by blasting Mozart's 'Requiem' over the speakers at a barely tolerable volume, the screeching violins not only had the home support upstanding in militaristic readiness, but drowned out any noise that might be emanating from the away enclosure. It was pretty intimidating too. Manchester has a rich musical history on which to draw and United can often be heard taking the pitch to 'I Am The Resurrection' or 'Love Will Tear Us Apart.' Whilst Citeh like to emerge to 'Roll With It', another defiant, fist shaking anthem to appeal to the typical footballsupporting demographic.

In our case, London's musical history is less well defined, it's too big a place to really pinpoint within the bounds of a three minute pop song.It's also far too bohemian and cosmopolitan. Besides which, all the best Northern bands end up becoming absorbed by London A&R men anyway.'London Calling' by the Clash has been so overdone (I know it's currently played at the Den, Stamford Bridge and usually Upton Park for London derbies). Whilst London has a multitude of famous musicians, Bowie, Jagger, Rotten, Strummer, they somehow belong to something bigger than Geography. I was born in the same hospital and the same delivery room as David Jones (David Bowie to the plebs), but still do not feel as though he ostensibly belongs to me in any sort of way. In short, it's hard to think that any supporters of a London club could feel the way that City fans do about the Gallaghers or United the Stone Roses. (Though another of my local clubs, Crystal Palace amusingly adopted the Dave Clark Five). Nor do we Londoners have a mutually inclusive taste. This means we have to press slightly more populist buttons. (As well as being careful not to play songs by artists whose affiliation is with any serious rival. I mean, coming out to 'Gertcha' by Chas 'n' Dave would be a massive PR gaffe in more ways than one).

This would entail finding a song that, whilst anthemic and generally well known by 60,000 supporters, could not err too readily on the side of cheese. Whether you like to admit it or not, I know there's a good chance you know the words to 'Dancing Queen', but I reckon we would be treated to a few more William Gallas sit ins were he forced to lead his troops into battle to Abba. Hip hop is, fine genre though it is, a definite no no. The over 40 demographic is the most presently visible at the Grove, plus hip hop restricts audience interaction. (Though the sight of rows of greying old men, 'giving it some shoulder' to Mos Def's 'Mathematics' appeals greatly). But as well as being accessible and anthemic without being ridiculous, the song has to contain just enough oomph to get everybody going. Trickier than it sounds. We could all don lighters and join arms to Bob Marley's 'One Love (Get Ready)', but the net result might not be 60,000 fans ready to roar their boys onto victory. In fact, it's more likely we would forgive the referee all his bad decisions with a dismissive 'meh, everybody makes mistakes.' Songs about brotherhood and kinship do not really lend themselves to the partisan sporting arena.

This is where Chelsea have pulled off a neat trick with the Harry S.Allstars instrumental before kick off, a catchy tune which can easily be embellished with a firm cry of 'Chelsea!' at the end. So what is this mystical tune we can use to rouse supporters from their slumber pre match and bring those in Club Level rushing from their buffet lunches in their seats? The song Arsenal typically leave the pitch to is Curtis Mayfield's 'Move On Up', which is exactly the sort of uplifting toe tapping genius we should probably arrive into the fray to. At all costs we must avoid identikit tosh such as 'Let Me Entertain You' or Fatboy Slim's 'Right Here, Right Now.' It must be quirkier and more idiosyncratic than that, like Birmingham's adoption of ELOs 'Mr. Blue Sky', something we can ostensibly call our own. 'In Between Days' by the Cure ticks a lot of the boxes, but it is a song about heartbreak, so again a no. Simon and Garfunkel's 'You Can Call Me Al' is possibly too camp.

Public Enemy's 'Show Em Watcha Got' is tempting and uplifting enough, but sails too close to the hip hop winds, despite being a skit. The answer has to come from soul music, an old Stax or Atlantic record, soul cuts through enough age barriers. Soul has a a big enough cultural relevance for modern hip hop and R n B, whilst older supporters are likely to be familiar with their days dancing to Northern Soul 45s. For me, something like Stevie Wonder's 'Uptight' or 'Superstition' or 'Knock on Wood' by Eddie Floyd, bass driven groovers that could get the most arthritic of knees out of their seats. (Any older supporters who think that constitutes a dig at them should be aware that I suffer osteo arthritis in my knees!) Anyways, I know a number of music lovers frequent the forum, so I'd appreciate your suggestions and I'll see about trying to communicate these suggestions. As Elton John once sang, I know it's not much, but it's the best I can do.LD.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday July 28 2008

Time: 7:51PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
The Wonder Of You is begining to grow on me .... but Id rather have something a little more "in your face". I think Arsene Wenger should choose "F*** you I wont do what you tell me"
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28/07/2008 20:03:00

'The Impossible Dream', would do it for me. Every lyric to that song speaks us versus the world and I love f-ing love that! Okay, okay I own a couple of Honda two wheeler's as well! Damn that advert 8-)
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28/07/2008 20:14:00

Ahhhhh yes, I have heard that one suggested. I'd be happy with some Andy Williams. Killing In the Name is a decent tune, but not sure how Arsenal season ticket holders who are policemen/women would feel about being told that they burn crosses!
Little Dutch
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28/07/2008 20:16:00

Song 2 by Blur is my choice
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28/07/2008 20:27:00

I've got used to the wonder of you although I love hearing Curtis Mayfield's move on up and wouldn't mind if we came out to that one or the Undertones teenage kicks another one they play at the end of games. If it wasn't so cheesy 'Young Guns' by Wham would be the perfect Anthem for us!
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28/07/2008 20:28:00

P.S. we would need to change the words though!
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28/07/2008 20:29:00

If it's strictly instrumental, 'The Egg Travels',by James Newton Howard (From Disney's Dinosaur) or, 'Voices', by Vangelis would be nice.
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28/07/2008 20:37:00

Smack my bitch up - The prodigy!! :-p
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28/07/2008 20:39:00

Dropkick Murphys - The Gauntlet.
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28/07/2008 21:10:00

What's that AC DC song "For Those About To Rock We Salute You" or something? It incorporates cannon fire and everything, it's perfect. There are no other contenders, it IS The Arsenal Theme "For those about to rock (insert cannon fire blast) we salute you" out walk the Arsenal players. AC DC even have a cannon as the image for that song, it's perfect.
Professor Calculus
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28/07/2008 21:40:00

If you can ignore the CSI connotations, The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again" seems perfect. I can imagine the intro reverberating around the stadium just before the players come out, and as a diehard Arsenal fan, Mr. Daltrey would probably let us use it for free!
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28/07/2008 21:59:00

led zeppelin- kashmir Or pendulum-blood sugar
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28/07/2008 22:17:00

Rage Against the Machine - Renegades of Funk ;D
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28/07/2008 22:18:00

Not that Chas & Dave number?
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28/07/2008 22:39:00

How about Wu-Tang - bring the Mother *****in' ruckus ? lol I jest of course. The Elvis one grew on me but I rarely saw it belted out with enthusiasm by supporters. Or some classic Shostakovich, Imagine that beltin out before kick off..hells yeh lol...very atmospheric indeed. As for an anthem, I don't really know tbh
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28/07/2008 22:40:00

I am the one and only - Chesney Hawkes... I would love to see any team coming out to it.
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28/07/2008 22:53:00

'Coming out' being true with that Chesney number!!!
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28/07/2008 22:54:00

haha fair play to you --- but you have to admit, it has the atmosphere :P
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28/07/2008 22:59:00

yeh the atmosphere of a cack school disco Zola! Be'ave. The traditionalist old boy blazer brigade at Arsenal would have a collective seizure at some of the suggestions here lol. Just as Hip Hop will never happen at the Grove until the war generation finally shuffle off there will never be a place for heavy rock either, both are just too niche. I don't think it neccessarily has to be a song as such, maybe a piece from a film score? My choice is an instrumental and an absolute **** kicker.....The Guns of Navarone. 60,000 giving it large to THAT brass line :)
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28/07/2008 23:50:00

**** the world by 2pac
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29/07/2008 00:32:00
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29/07/2008 00:53:00
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29/07/2008 00:58:00

"A Song" for the Grovers = Alex Song. (Not funny I know, but someone had to say it...) :P
Lou the Gunneress
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29/07/2008 01:54:00

the violin version of live and let die by escala anyone ? they were on britains got talent . they do a catchy version would be a good tune to come out to , anyone ????
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29/07/2008 10:02:00

i think that bit about "songs about brotherhood and kinship" is slightly off: The song most identifiable with a team is "you never walk alone". how about "living on a prayer" by BJ (stands 4 bon jovi, not blow job!)?
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29/07/2008 10:07:00

I have a few suggestions. How about Radio Gaga by Queen? That would be amazing. would be just like Live Aid every home match! or maybe Paradise City by Guns N Roses? i like the idea of 60,000 people including Fat Old Dave and other old people air guitaring and headbanging to it....
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29/07/2008 10:18:00

One of those days - Limp Bizkit!
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29/07/2008 10:24:00

Smooth criminal by Alien Ant Farm!!!
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29/07/2008 10:26:00

no, wait: "smells like teen spirit" - nirvana!!! that's got to be it! or "twist and shout", for the older guys (beatles version)
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29/07/2008 10:28:00

Adigio for strings - DJ Tiesto ... Now that would be a great song for arsenal to come onto the pitch to!!!
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29/07/2008 10:29:00

Prodigy - Spitfire
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29/07/2008 11:21:00

Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries
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29/07/2008 11:46:00

I thought Sunderland's was Wagner?! If not, it's a bit cliche but we could have that one. I can't stand all this scarf waving b0llox, it's embarrasing how much the club has read into the 'magic of Anfield' and so blatantly trying to re-create it.
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29/07/2008 12:20:00

Im telling you, "Song 2" by Blur is the best option. And that Honda one (impossible dream)
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29/07/2008 12:31:00

I thought Sunderland was different but may be getting Sunderland and Middlesboro mixed up. Alterative is all my life by Foo Fighters but may be a bit too rocky.
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29/07/2008 12:40:00

SONG 2 by Blur!!! XD
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29/07/2008 13:09:00

how about 'coup' by 23 skidoo, it has samples of bombs exploding and soldier shouting from apocalypse now. perfect for going into battle. it's the one chemical brothers ripped off for 'block rockin beats' for those who don't know.
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29/07/2008 13:38:00

do the dog
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29/07/2008 14:11:00

the intro to soppranos......woke up this morning got myself a gun
fran merida
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29/07/2008 14:50:00

woke up this morning, chosen One Remix by Alabama3
fran merida
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29/07/2008 14:54:00

Or how about "Dragon Blade" by Kozo Nakamura. It's instrumental, but it's great! xD
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29/07/2008 15:42:00

Dancing queen by Abba!!!
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29/07/2008 18:48:00

You Win Again by The Bee Gees. Sounds cheesy but easy to relate too and humorous with 60,000 singing it! Prof's AC/DC suggestion is good too.
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29/07/2008 19:55:00

Ace of spades - iron maiden!!!!!!!
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29/07/2008 20:51:00

I mean Motorhead. Doh!!!
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29/07/2008 20:52:00

Baba O'riley, The Who, great build up and intro and the lyrics even sort of work, not to mention Roger Daltry is an Arsenal fan! You know i'm right
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31/07/2008 01:45:00

Baba O' Riley is a great call, the intro would be perfect for when the teams are in the tunnel. The song was also used in the cinematic adaptation of Fever Pitch.
Little Dutch
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31/07/2008 09:07:00


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