Mike Brady Presents: The Songs of Football’s Greatest Sons

The Footy Almanac reprises this post by Damian Balassone which in part features Ron Barassi who passed away a few days ago.




It is 1981 and I have been saving up for weeks.  My goal is to purchase the new Mike Brady album The Songs of Football’s Greatest Sons. Every cent I can get my hands on is going towards this purchase: pocket money; handouts from nonna; leftover change sitting on dad’s bedside drawer; I even raid my sister’s piggy bank on several occasions.  When I finally scrounge together the $8.82 required, I march into Kmart Doncaster with a pocketful of pennies and complete the transaction.



In the early ’80s, the soaring melodies of Mike Brady are everywhere.  Even if you hate footy, there is something about the chorus of ‘Up There Cazaly’ that gives you the chills.  You feel like you’re flying for a screamer on some muddy suburban ground.  But just as the chorus is seemingly winding up, something truly transcendent occurs: a pressure valve is released and Brady launches into an otherworldly key change. It’s as if the whole chorus is building up to this emotional crescendo. It’s as if the spirit of the listener is elevated above the pain and monotony of everyday life to some beautiful place of refuge in the clouds above VFL Park.



In our household there is a war that occurs every Saturday night: Seven’s Big League clashes with Young Talent Time.  My big sister who is an aspiring singer is nuts about Joey Perrone and co, while I am a passionate Peter Landy man.  At six-thirty there is a mad rush for the television and before it turns ugly – the folks will have to intervene.  More often than not, an uneasy compromise is reached and we watch the start of Seven’s Big League, before switching over to Johnny Young for the last part of Young Talent Time.  Over the next few years I watch countless renditions of ‘All My Loving’ by the YTT team.  A slower, poignant version of the song is always performed to close out the show, and I must confess (though I never admit it to my sister) I am rather fond of the song.  I am a sucker for a good melody.



But there is one Saturday night in September 1980 where I win the battle and manage to watch an entire episode of Seven’s Big League without objection.  Towards the end of the show, as the clock nudges half-past eight, Peter Landy introduces Mike Brady’s new song ‘One Day in September’.



Goosebumps galore.  It is the equal of ‘Cazaly’.  Brady has done it again.  This visual footage that accompanies the song features scenes from the 1979 Grand Final and concludes with two balding blokes with bushy moustaches holding the premiership cup aloft.  It almost looks like something out of the twelve stations of the cross.  This means something.



Football’s such a part of this whole town
And we know that you won’t let us down



Percy and Jezza hold the 1979 VFL Cup aloft [Source: Author]


So you can imagine the excitement when midway through ’81 Brady releases his new album The Songs of Football’s Greatest Sons.  It is a must have.  The album contains thirteen new songs and is a musical tribute to the greats of Australian Rules Football, with each VFL club represented.  Indeed it proves to be a precious possession for me and many of my footy-obsessed mates from school.  We memorise and recite these lyrics continually, and in doing so, become enamoured with the folklore and history of the game we love.



From the opening notes I am hooked.  A rollicking banjo introduces us to the evasive skills of Darrel Baldock:



Now no-one ever touched him
Or caught him with the ball
They sought him here
They sought him there
But he was never there at all



The subject of the next song is the all-bionic Peter Moore, foretelling the prototype footballer of the future: the tall, athletic big man:



When they build ’em in the future
They’ll build ‘em to Peter’s plan



Moore is also seen singing with Brady in the album’s inner jacket, along with an assortment of newspaper clippings and photos of the players featured on the album.



Inner lining of Mike Brady’s album [Source: Author]


Teddy Whitten makes a comical guest appearance on ‘It All Sounds Like Football to Me’ in a sort of Q&A type session with Brady.  ‘Flyin’ High to Glory’ takes you to Windy Hill skies and the aerial feats of John Coleman.  ‘Big Gun From Over West’ immortalises Polly Farmer and his revolutionary use of the handball.  Other legends featured on the album are The Infamous Captain Blood (Jack Dyer), The Ballad of the Paleface Kid (Keith Greig), Cold Blue Eyes (John Nicholls), The Heart of the Lion (Kevin Murray) and The Kiss of Death (Lou Richards).



But the highlights of the album for me are the Peter Hudson, Bobby Skilton and Ron Barassi songs.



‘One Goal to Beat ‘Em All’ chronicles Peter Hudson’s attempt to beat Bob Pratt’s record in the 1971 Grand Final:



Hudson number 26
150 through the sticks
Just one more goal to beat ’em all
C’mon Huddo, get that goal
C’mon Huddo, get that goal



‘Bobby Dazzler’ celebrates Bobby Skilton’s exquisite (and ambidextrous) skills:



Bobby Skilton was his name
Bobby Dazzler was his game


He kicked the ball with either foot
You couldn’t tell his natural boot
On his left or on his right
Bobby Skilton red and white



The album concludes with the stirring ‘Man of Iron’ honouring the great Ronald Dale Barassi.  A heartfelt, spine-tingling tribute to the captain of the great Australian game.  In this track all the hallmarks of Brady’s astonishing song-making skills are on display: the wistful lyrics, the clear diction, the subtle chord changes that take you along for the ride, the melodic verses that build up to the inspirational chorus:



Barass you’re the captain
The one that led ‘em through
Barass you’re the captain
Up there amongst the few
Barassi you’re the captain
Of the Hall of Fame
Barassi you’re the captain
Of our great Australian game



The record in all its glory [Source: Author]


The album can be found in its entirety HERE.




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About Damian Balassone

Damian Balassone is a failed half-forward flanker who writes poetry. He is the author of 'Strange Game in a Strange Land'.


  1. DB- great article. For the record I reckon “One Day In September” is the superior tune. Come grand final day it’s the one I want to hear. Did YTT ever feature “Up There Cazaly”? That could’ve brokered peace in your house.

    PS- loving seeing your anthology in shot on The Front Bar.

  2. Robert Allen says

    Nice work Damian. I only ever owned the cassette so was unaware of that glorious inside sleeve. And to think Mike Brady says he knew nothing much about footy when he wrote Up There Cazaly in 1979. Someone must’ve given him a crash course in footy history in the two years between then and this album!

  3. Thanks Mickey, you might well be right about ‘September’ above ‘Cazaly’ – they both get me everytime. I’m a sucker for that formula. And thanks re The Front Bar – they’ve given it a good run over the past month. Highlight for me was seeing it next to Tony Shaw.

    Thanks Robert. I do wonder if Noel Delbridge (the advertising guru) helped Brady out with some of the content. Maybe gave him a few ideas to run with & then Brady worked his magic. Did you interview Brady for your book? I love how Brady merges Cazaly into the Bobby Skilton song.

  4. Love it. The buzz for us Queenslanders when these songs were released was huge. Link to the world of football.

  5. Thanks JTH. I imagine these Brady songs allowed the rest of Australia a peek into Late 70s/Early 80s Melbourne footy culture.

  6. A lot of familiarity for me here Damian. We just had the Cazaly single in our record collection, this album sounds fantastic. The arguments over YTT or the footy replay were present in our house as well. I don’t remember any issues with The Henderson Kids, that must have been on in the summer

    Thanks for this great piece

  7. Cheers Shane. Thanks for reading. Speaking of ‘Cazaly’, here’s the with the original clip from 1979. Talk about taking you back to the day…..just magic….and a nice escape from the present…


  8. My mate Tommy had this album on cassette tape.
    But after a big night in the United Kingdom Hotel (in Bendigo) – during which the publican played the album through the pub’s sound system – it was lost forever.

  9. Ha. Great story Smokie. I reckon my copy got played to death as well. Thank God for the internet where all these things live on:


  10. Adam Delbridge says

    Just came across this blog.,…Damian is on the money. Noel Delbridge, my late father, spent a weekend with Mike writing the tracks at his place in Eltham. Mike was/is a brilliant composer but he had no interest in VFL. I recall a time Mike was over at Dad’s place and the footy was on. It was a point the difference with two minutes left. Mike got up, and said, ‘Ok, Noell, I’m off”.
    Even if you’d just arrived from the moon, you’d at least sit out the last minute just out of curiosity!!!!
    Noel would have provided the structure and background for each track and Mike would have fine tuned the lyrics to ensure they scanned. Noel also co-wrote ‘Little bit of Cazaly in us all’ and many of the Channel 7 football themes of the 80’s. In his final years Dad would listen to this album on a regular basis to help him escape the gloom of aged care. All the best…Adam

  11. So glad to hear from you Adam. I suspected that your father was heavily involved with the composition of these songs. Thanks for confirming. I always had a habit of checking songwriting credits when looking at vinyl records and “Noel Delbridge” is there for all to see. He really did a fabulous job wording Mike Brady up for this album – the content is incredibly detailed and historically right on the money – it provided this 8-year-old kid with a great VFL history lesson – I grew upon this stuff – and I know heaps of other kids who did as well.

    I remember all those other Channel 7 & anthems “Little bit of Cazaly”, “This Mighty Game is Ours”, etc. I also remember one in 1980 where Mike Brady was singing from the top of the scoreboard at VFL Park – have never been able to find on YouTube. It’s nice to know your father was involved. Didn’t he also write a book about Mike? I recall a CD being included with the book, which contains lots of Mike’s songs and advertising jingles.

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