Footy Club songs: The Geelong one is crap (A potentially career limiting article)

As good as Geelong have been in the last 6 years and as much as they are loved on the Almanac pages by so many fanatical and pleased followers, there’s something that needs to be said about the golden boys from Sleepy Hollow.

Their song is lousy.

There, I said it, on these pages, out loud. In front of many smug Cat fans, and the Cat mad Almanac founder and editor.

(These are what in corporate life are called career limiting moves.)

Before anyone gets into an obvious slanging match, I will admit that there is a little bit of over-exposure in my dislike for the Geelong song, what with it being sung I imagine 3 weeks out of every 4 since 2007.

And if you are winning flags with their regularity, you probably couldn’t care less how many times it is sung or what it sounds like. As a Richmond fan, that would fall into the category of ‘a nice problem to have’

Maybe then it is like a pop song on an FM station, that’s good to start with but starts to peeve you real quick through massive over-exposure.

But to me, the Geelong song is just bland, plain and uninteresting. Despite a great tune, full of triumphal music, the Geelong song has no ‘up’ moments and shots of the players singing it in the rooms seems to indicate even they find it boring.

Collingwood’s song ends on a high (“for the good old, Colling-wood”), Essendon’s too (“as the Bombers fly UP”). Hawthorn end with a flourish (“we are the mighty fighting HAWKS!”)

Richmond has the famous “Yellow and Black” and “We’re from Tig-er-land!” cries, nuff said there.

Carlton’s song is wonderfully full of arrogance, and the start is brilliant.

Melbourne, although hearing it sung recently is like spotting Haley’s Comet, is at least a rousing song that stirs the Member’s area and has “the emblem of, the team we love” to stir the faithful.

But Geelong’s theme ends flat. The lines are too static, full of short sentences and no real high points. It doesn’t finish ‘up’, instead “down at Kardinia Park” is sung on a descending or low note (Sorry to keep using these highly technical musical phrases, but you get the drift I hope)

Some songs invite additional words or club phrases (Collingwood’s “cor blimey” or the Hawks “4,3,2 one for all…”). This extra stuff creates player involvement, which enhance the whole experience.

I love the fact that the Geelong song says they are the “greatest team of all” but the song really doesn’t bear that out with an invitation to passion and yelling.

The Sydney song ends really well, with “onward to victory” being something you can really feel a team of tired warriors yelling out to each other after a hard fought win. And anything that has the line “shake down the thunder from the sky” has something going for it.

“The team of the mighty West” is pretty good, again an up finish, although the St Kilda song, which starts really well, doesn’t end on a high for mine.

(By the way, the North song seems to be like Evie Parts1, 2 and 3, or Bohemian Rhapsody, with three completely different parts when sung in its glorious entirety)

The songs of the long standing traditional (Victorian) clubs have been around for ages, and any move to update them is usually met with fierce resistance. It’s the traditional versions of the songs that allow us to sing with a straight face reasonably ridiculous lines like “see the barrackers a-shouting, as all barrackers should”, “come what may you’ll find us striving”, “they like to send us, we’ll keep our end up”, “our boys who play this grand old game” and comparing a premiership to a cakewalk.

But at least there’s some shouting, yelling and rallying moments with these songs. Big notes win votes they say on reality TV music comps, and the same can be said for footy songs.

Witness how angry we get when the TV cuts to the news on a Sunday afternoon before we get to see the team sing the song. How incredible would it have been to listen to Port Fairy or the Brothers in Queensland sing their song after breaking their respective three year losing droughts, as described in Almanac pages in recent months.

Club songs get sung at weddings and funerals, are bonding points for all supporters and can bring a tear to a grown man’s eye.

The Cats have been an incredible team in recent years, undoubtedly full of champions on every line, with a depth of grit and determination that (ask any Hawthorn fan) are incredible to witness.

Their recruiting is amazing, their culture exemplary, their business model a benchmark and their winning record at home the envy of all.

They have been by far the team of the last few years.

They are one of the truly great sides in the modern era and would match up well against the great teams from any time in AFL/VFL history.

But they have crap song.

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.

Comments

  1. I love the catchiness of the music in te Geelong song, and the words are revered – but then, I am a Cats fan, tee hee.

    You mention the entirety of the Roos song – how about the second verse of the Cats song? Not oft sung or widely known, but it packs a bit more of a punch. CD versions of the club song have it, well worth a listen. The lyrics go as such (sung to the same tune as the first verse):

    “So stand up and fight!
    Remember our tradition.
    Stand up ad fight!
    It’s always our ambition.
    Throughout the game to fight with all all our might
    Because we’re the mighty blue and white.
    And when the ball is bounced
    To the final bell
    Stand up and fight like hell.
    STAND UP AND FIGHT LIKE HELL!”

    Obviously, it does not get a lot of love in AFL officialdom because of the lightweight cussing.

    And yes, nothing compares to “YELLOW AND BLACK!!!” (Richmond will forever be the envy of every other club for having the single coolest club song in the history of the universe), but “STAND UP AND FIGHT LIKE HELL!!” is a hell of a good battle cry.

  2. Have to say I disagree Sean. Love Bizet and love the music from Carmen. Geelong have done a great job of adapting this extract from his opera. Aside form that, very impressive analysis of all the other clubs songs. And aren’t they all an ornament to our great game? (well the Victorian ones, that is.)

  3. I am a lifelong Tiger and will always lap up other supporters saying our song is the best (while understanding that they are being patronising on account of our consistent under-achievement).

    BUT the best lines in any club song are;
    “Out we come, out we come, out we come to play
    Just for recreations’ sake and (to) pass the time away”

    I think that from the 2nd movement of the North cantata

  4. Cat from the Country says:

    The Cats theme song stopped me getting seasick while on a holiday recently. What a pity I didn’t have access to the second verse. I would have known it word perfect after an hour on a rollicking boat! Go Cats!

  5. Neil Belford says:

    Sydney has the best song, no-one else gets to Call Down the Thunder from the Sky AND have a banjo solo.

    And Sean, you dont have to suck up to those cat loving gits just to say their song is crap. It is crap, it was written in the sixties by a West Australian carpet salesman name of John K Watts (East Perth player). Wattsie actually had a fine career as a buffoon on morning radio, and was at times interesting – which as you have pointed out, is more than can be said for the legacy he left Geelong.

  6. As a Geelong fan, it doesn’t particularly bother me that you don’t like the song, but you’re wrong about one thing : it’s more like every four out of every five weeks.

  7. Ed, sadly you may be right with that stat.

    T Bone, love Carmen’s music (and her museli bars)

    Susie, second verse seems better than the first, hadn’t heard it (bit like the mystery second verse of the national anthem). Sounds like it has the big finish I’m after.

    4Boat, agree, that North one is sensational

    Sean

  8. Maybe I’m the only one but I find the singing of the club songs for the cameras staged and mildly embarrassing. Maybe its because I’m a Geelong suporter and have become jaded. And yes I agree the ending is a bit of a disappointment but as I remember they sing/play it after the game, not before so its motivational value is pretty much nil anyway.

  9. They’re all crap. Watching footballers belt out the club song is the musical equivalent of your grandfather sitting you down in front of the phonograph and borinfg you to death about the greatness of the tune while forgetting to put his teeth in.

  10. Sean – like all great songs the beauty is in the lyrics. If you sing it often enough it grows on you.

  11. mickey randall says:

    From an ethnomusicological perspective, Richmond’s song is the best.

  12. Peter Flynn says:

    John K Watts in 1963.

    It’s generally thought that the song was inspired by Stand Up and Fight, a song from the 1940 movie Carmen Jones. The movie was set to the music of Carmen.

    Prior to the Watts’ song, the theme song used was close to the current North Melbourne theme song.

  13. daniel flesch says:

    Am in qualified agreement with AJ and Matty Q. Making the first -gamers stand in the middle looking embarrassed while those in the circle throw liquids over them is Year 9 schoolboy stuff. And they always sing flat. All of ’em. They should have singing lessons . Would make another bonding exercise. And accompaniment with a portable musical instrument like a piano accordian or a concertina . Maybe even bring the water girls in to hit the high notes. And chuck all but one of the photographers out – the papers can take it in turns to be the snapper and share the pics. There , fixed it.

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