Author Topic: What's the story behind...?  (Read 50835 times)

Offline Devon Red

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What's the story behind...?
« on: September 20, 2012, 02:43:01 PM »
Poor Scouser Tommy. I've been wondering how a song as lyrical as Poor Scouser Tommy gets started, how it catches on, and why certain songs stand the test of time? I've done a quick internet search and can't find anything concrete, although there are some suggestions that the song has been extended over the years, with the Rush lines the most obvious additions. So, does anyone know who wrote the original version? And how did the song become a Kop classic?

More generally, I would like this to be a thread for anyone to ask questions about little bits of club trivia, anything you might have wondered about and not known where to ask. Only one rule; there's no such thing as a daft question, so no super-fans jumping down peoples throats for not knowing what a Liverbird is supposed to be (what the heck is that ugly avian anyway?).

Offline The 5th Benitle

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 02:53:55 PM »
From EOTK:
 
Most of you will know the song, many of you will sing it week in and week out, either standing on our famous Spion Kop or sitting at home on your sofa watching the game. The question is, do you know the story behind it?
The chant was first heard on the famous Standing Kop in the 60′s, during my personal favourite time in Liverpool history under, in my opinion, the greatest manger who ever lived Bill Shankly. There’s two distinct tunes in the song, even though they do blend well together. The first tune is ‘Red River Valley’ and the second part is a tune called ‘The Sash’.
Although the song was first sang on the Kop in the 60′s there is one distinct modification that many of you will know about. In 1982 we had a historic Merseyside derby win against our rivals Everton, the song boasts Ian Rush’s four goals in the game in an almost mocking way towards our counterparts across Stanley Park. This can usually be followed with a rousing verse of  ’all you need is Rush’ to the tune of The Beatles classic ‘All you need is love’.
The story is about a young Scouser who’s sent off to fight in the war, unfortunately the lad is shot down and with his last breaths he utters the verse that begins with ‘oh I am a Liverpudlian’ just to show his love for the team he supports. One common misconception is the line ‘Under the Libyan sun’ many confuse this with ‘Under the Arabian sun’ or ‘Under the Radiant Sun’. However, the line is ‘Under the Libyan’ so don’t forget that next time you’re in the stands!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this breif history of the Kop classic. Hopefully of the course of the next few weeks I’ll bring more stories behind Kop chants, especially those that are lesser known such as ‘Those Were The Days My Friend’ and ‘The Reds Are Coming Up The Hill Boys’.

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 03:16:53 PM »
It's nothing like the bloody sash, mind. ;D

Edit: and it's set to the tune of 'Do you take it in the hand, Mrs Murphy?'.

Offline Devon Red

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 03:36:07 PM »
Thanks for that. The EOTK history is interesting, but for me it misses out the most important bit. What happened before it was first heard on the Kop? Was it written by just one person? How did it go from words on paper to being belted out by thousands of Kopites?

Offline Fat Scouser

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 04:58:48 PM »
How did it go from words on paper to being belted out by thousands of Kopites?
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Offline Shady Craig

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 05:04:55 PM »
Always thought it was 'hot Arabian Sun' , good to know

Offline timmyonions

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 05:19:59 PM »
Always thought it was 'hot Arabian Sun' , good to know

Now you know....

Slow it down eh ?
 
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Offline driftinwest

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 05:20:53 PM »
5th, from the mid 60's to the early 70's I was a survivor of the boys pen ( as you know you had to peel an orange in yer pocket or get mugged in there) I remember many songs and chants, but the first time I can remember it really getting belted out was the first reply of the 4 game semi against Arsenal in 1980 at Villa Park, I knew the song before then but that night we nailed it and I remember being next to the dividing fence in the Holt end and Arsenal fans just went quite as PST was belted out they'd never heard a football song like it and where gobsmacked. As I said I know it was around and sung in the pubs before then, and thats where I learned it before matches, but can't remember hearing it full on inside the grounds we visited or Anfield till after that semi-final. I always wondered who put the first words to it one hell of a song to come out the kop, unique and brilliant for a football song.
If my assistant had not signalled a goal, I would have given a penalty and sent off goalkeeper Patr Cheh. he beeped me to signal the foul. The noise from the crowd  stopped me hearing it, I have been involved at places like Barcelona, Ibrox, Old Trafford, Arsenal, but I've never in my life been involved in such an atmosphere. IT WAS INCREDIBLE

Offline Shady Craig

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Re: Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2012, 05:27:40 PM »

Offline Devon Red

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Re: Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2012, 10:40:30 AM »
que

I think he means that it gets sung too quickly these days. I guess it's the difference between belting it out as a 'chant' and singing it as a 'song'. A bit like the difference between Fields of Anfield Road and Fields of Athenry. Same tune of course, but the Irish fans sing it slower, which makes it sound a bit more like a hymn, a bit more atmospheric. I like both versions, it's just interesting that they sound different.

Anyway, now that I've shamelessly bumped my own thread, are there really no posters on here who can tell me who wrote Poor Scouser Tommy? Does anyone even know if there really was a Scouser called Tommy that this song is based on?

Offline DanJay87

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2012, 10:47:23 AM »
I think "Tommy" refers to the "British Tommy". Tommy was the nickname for a soldier during both wars i think. Same way a Bobby is a copper.
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Offline redk84

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2012, 10:59:07 AM »
This is a sensitive one...apologies for any offence caused but it was before my time and was wondering the real story behind it....if there is any...

what is the meaning behind the banner the mancs used to brandish..... "Shankly 81" ?

I know it is the year the great man passed...my understanding was that it was their response to munich songs by celebrating the death of our icon?
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Offline paisley1977

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2012, 11:00:07 AM »
First heard it in a pub on Wembley high street before the Bruge game 1978 and it was an Arabian sun that day.
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Offline Bigly Red Richie

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2012, 03:39:07 PM »
This is a sensitive one...apologies for any offence caused but it was before my time and was wondering the real story behind it....if there is any...

what is the meaning behind the banner the mancs used to brandish..... "Shankly 81" ?

I know it is the year the great man passed...my understanding was that it was their response to munich songs by celebrating the death of our icon?
Indeed it was.

It was purely there to mock Liverpool fans, and was on occasion accompanied by a skeleton, held up as a trophy corpse of sorts.



The 80s was not a nice time to be a match going fan, as every time something was shouted, sung or displayed, unfortunately it just upped the anti, in a tit-for-tat escalation of hostilities.

From songs, banners, and the famous beer bottles, darts and golf balls with six inch nails through them, getting thrown from stand to stand to cause injury.

And you think there's hostility now!

Footabll supporting now a days is a pale imitation of what it was when there were terraces.  Both in good ways and bad ways.

What you see today is the happy-clappy watered down version.

Offline alfonso

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2012, 05:36:34 PM »
This is a sensitive one...apologies for any offence caused but it was before my time and was wondering the real story behind it....if there is any...

what is the meaning behind the banner the mancs used to brandish..... "Shankly 81" ?

I know it is the year the great man passed...my understanding was that it was their response to munich songs by celebrating the death of our icon?

Here is an image from the 85 FA cup semi at Goodison.
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Offline pooley

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2012, 06:41:52 PM »
I remember a long time ago somebody telling me that a version of this song was originally sung by one of the Scottish teams, possibly Rangers before us. If that is true or just a myth, I can't say and when I first learned  the song we sang' Arabian sun' too.
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Offline Shady Craig

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Re: Re: Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2012, 06:53:54 PM »
I think he means that it gets sung too quickly these days. I guess it's the difference between belting it out as a 'chant' and singing it as a 'song'. A bit like the difference between Fields of Anfield Road and Fields of Athenry. Same tune of course, but the Irish fans sing it slower, which makes it sound a bit more like a hymn, a bit more atmospheric. I like both versions, it's just interesting that they sound different.

Anyway, now that I've shamelessly bumped my own thread, are there really no posters on here who can tell me who wrote Poor Scouser Tommy? Does anyone even know if there really was a Scouser called Tommy that this song is based on?
cheers for explaining his reply as I didn't have a clue what he was on about, and I do agree it is sung a bit too quickly.
Now my memory is shit but I'm sure I read a write up saying some history to the Tommy song years ago, it is to do with a soldier being called a Tommy like someone said above but there was more explaining of its roots in what I read but for the life of me I can't remember at the moment , I will get back to you if and when I do

Offline Lad

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2012, 07:00:47 PM »
I remember a long time ago somebody telling me that a version of this song was originally sung by one of the Scottish teams, possibly Rangers before us. If that is true or just a myth, I can't say and when I first learned  the song we sang' Arabian sun' too.

Indeed the second part of the anthem sung to the tune of the Sash is definately a Rangers tune.
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Offline Scarlet

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2012, 07:22:36 PM »
Indeed the second part of the anthem sung to the tune of the Sash is definately a Rangers tune.

It might be sung by Rangers, but using  'The Sash' tune needed no inspiration from anywhere as it was heard every 12th July here.

I remember singing 'Oh I am a Liverpudlian' to  the Sash, right through the 60's, no idea who wrote it but the Scouse Tommy was added in the 70's.

We used to sing another one I liked but I don't know what the originality of the tune is.

'we're the boys from Anfields Spion Kop
Our team is Liverpool FC
We like to sing and shout because we know
We'll cheer our team to victory,  ..and so on 

Anyone know where the tune is from?

Offline 12C

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2012, 08:09:55 PM »
I remember being given a photocopied sheet outside the Kop before a game, must have been 1975 or so. It had the words to "Scouser Tommy" on it and I remember the Kop belting it out that day. And yes, the original words were 'Arabian sun'. The Highland Division also was, I believe, a reference to the Liverpool Scottish (though as a kid I thought the Seaforth Highlanders were from Bootle so a pinch of salt may be added). In fact, if my mother has not thrown them out, the sheet should be somewhere with all my old programmes and memorabilia in her loft. Awesome song when sung well.
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Offline 12C

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #20 on: September 22, 2012, 08:13:02 PM »
We are the men from the Anfield Spion Kop is to the tune of the US Marine Corps Hymn. " From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli" ;)
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Offline Shady Craig

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Re: Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #21 on: September 22, 2012, 09:11:09 PM »
I remember being given a photocopied sheet outside the Kop before a game, must have been 1975 or so. It had the words to "Scouser Tommy" on it and I remember the Kop belting it out that day. And yes, the original words were 'Arabian sun'. The Highland Division also was, I believe, a reference to the Liverpool Scottish (though as a kid I thought the Seaforth Highlanders were from Bootle so a pinch of salt may be added). In fact, if my mother has not thrown them out, the sheet should be somewhere with all my old programmes and memorabilia in her loft. Awesome song when sung well.
bloody knew it was Arabian Sun and not Libian sun, thanks for making that right in my head

Offline 12C

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #22 on: September 22, 2012, 09:25:39 PM »
Might have the odd senior moment but I can remember the glory that was. Sang that song to my sons to get them asleep, the inlaws are all blues mind, so imagine when they sang it to their uncles :D
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Offline TheCharlatan

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2012, 09:26:00 PM »
Indeed the second part of the anthem sung to the tune of the Sash is definately a Rangers tune.

The song is a hundred years old, it celebrates the Williamite victory in Ireland after Derry, Aughrim, Enniskillen and the Boyne were won. Rangers sing it because King William was a protestant and he deposed the Catholic James II from the throne in the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

I noticed over the years that it has become common to replace the tune in the "I'm a Liverpudlian"stanza where the Sash tune is supposed to be sung with the "My Old Man's a Dustman" tune. Not exactly sure why but I rarely hear the Sash tune being sung to that bit anymore. Maybe because it is being sung faster than it was ten or twenty years ago
« Last Edit: September 22, 2012, 09:32:14 PM by TheCharlatan »

Offline Redrebel54

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2012, 09:39:49 PM »
I'm glad someone else has confirmed Arabian sun. I first heard this in about 75 in the Liver, Waterloo. One Friday night before a home game, a few bevvies, and loads of Liverpool fans in, totally chocker, and a few started it up, it got picked up, and I remember there being the words there on a table, but wouldn't have dreamed of keeping them being as by the time we'd finished they'd been lying in beer sodden tables and floors for a few hours. Well done 12C for keeping a copy. I do deffo remember singing it on the Kop the next day, but cannot remember what game it was.
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Offline iwear no colours

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #25 on: September 22, 2012, 11:19:03 PM »
This link my help you it says Lybian sun which is what I have sung since 78
http://www.anfield-online.co.uk/features/lfcsongs.htm

Offline 12C

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #26 on: September 22, 2012, 11:23:35 PM »
Ahh! I always was a one for souvenirs. If the collection is still in the loft, I have a Newcastle rosette I swopped on the tube after the 74 cup final. Chant "We only like yer bevvy"  A good day out!
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Offline 12C

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #27 on: September 22, 2012, 11:33:27 PM »
Redrebel, I am either not as old as you, or could not blag into an ale house, but the sash is an old lodge song that anyone from Liverpool or especially the Everton area would know. The old story that Liverpool were the Protestant team and Everton catholic was often told in the 70's when we were kids. but as me mate said " I'll have to change me religion if you want me to support Everton. Rather a Protestant than a blue"
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Offline RedGreen

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2012, 11:35:22 PM »
We are the men from the Anfield Spion Kop is to the tune of the US Marine Corps Hymn. " From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli" ;)

More formally known as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (how appropriate for tomorow!)  :P
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Offline TheCharlatan

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2012, 11:39:29 PM »
More formally known as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (how appropriate for tomorow!)  :P

Different song mate. The Battle Hymn of the Republic is "My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord" with the chorus as "Glory Glory Hallelujah"

He is referring to the Marine's Hymn: "From the shores of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli"

Offline Redrebel54

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #30 on: September 23, 2012, 12:18:24 AM »
Oh I know about the sash being sung a fair bit in Liverpool. July 12th they'd march from Marsh Lane to Seaforth station. Used to love watching the mace throwers mind. I remember a group of arl girls (must have been about 30+ max, but it WAS old to me back then :)) and they were singing this to a well known Orange tune.
"Oh we hate Bill Shankly
And we hate St. John
But most of all we hate big Ron
And we'll hang all the Kopites
One by one
On the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey".

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Offline -Willo-

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #31 on: September 23, 2012, 12:22:16 AM »
This would be one of the best chants going if it weren't sung so quick, no one can even understand what's being said if you don't know the lyrics yourself and it ends up bein about 200 fans singing it quick as fuck and with that you just get a big noise..

"Oh I am a Liverpudlian keucnekcunekfhnwkunekchnfckenckcnekcn I like tomeckunfefuncrkvnkecnkrun EVERY WEEK support the team that plays in rediucneiunkv we edwefer team called LIVERPOOL"

Etc..
Shame someone can't express a different point of view without the howling mob needing to persecute the guy, forums are meant to have differents points of view, not some party line ! Deal with it.

Offline TheCharlatan

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2012, 12:39:18 AM »
This would be one of the best chants going if it weren't sung so quick, no one can even understand what's being said if you don't know the lyrics yourself and it ends up bein about 200 fans singing it quick as fuck and with that you just get a big noise..

"Oh I am a Liverpudlian keucnekcunekfhnwkunekchnfckenckcnekcn I like tomeckunfefuncrkvnkecnkrun EVERY WEEK support the team that plays in rediucneiunkv we edwefer team called LIVERPOOL"

Etc..

Laughed at this because that's exactly what you hear :lmao

Offline vivabobbygraham

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Re: Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #33 on: September 23, 2012, 12:45:50 AM »
bloody knew it was Arabian Sun and not Libian sun, thanks for making that right in my head

Just to fuck it up again mate it was deffo Libyan. I never read the copy but do remember it being sung around 75., I picked the song up on the kop and in the Sandon. Don't reckon there will be an author. Songs just grew out of the kop and the boozers surrounding it. That was the magic, the gravy where we dipped our bread.
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Offline vivabobbygraham

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #34 on: September 23, 2012, 12:52:57 AM »
Oh I know about the sash being sung a fair bit in Liverpool. July 12th they'd march from Marsh Lane to Seaforth station. Used to love watching the mace throwers mind. I remember a group of arl girls (must have been about 30+ max, but it WAS old to me back then :)) and they were singing this to a well known Orange tune.
"Oh we hate Bill Shankly
And we hate St. John
But most of all we hate big Ron
And we'll hang all the Kopites
One by one
On the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey".

You sure this is an orange tune?

2nd verse

Oh, to hell with Liverpool and Rangers too
We'll throw them all in the Mersey
And we'll fight,fight, fight, with all our might
For the boys in the royal blue jerseys


...If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same

Offline Devon Red

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #35 on: September 23, 2012, 08:31:28 AM »
"Oh we hate Bill Shankly
And we hate St. John
But most of all we hate big Ron
And we'll hang all the Kopites
One by one
On the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey".

I'm friends with an Evertonian auld arse who sang this to me (ar at me) once after a few bevvies. He told me that when he was growing up in Liverpool the Catholics were blues and the Protestants were reds. I'm not sure how this adds up with the various tunes used by both sets of fans, there doesn't seem to be a clear divide. But he did also say that there was never any sectarian nastiness, and that maybe it was more of a folklore division than a reality.

Offline WOOLTONIAN

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #36 on: September 23, 2012, 09:11:14 AM »
I'm friends with an Evertonian auld arse who sang this to me (ar at me) once after a few bevvies. He told me that when he was growing up in Liverpool the Catholics were blues and the Protestants were reds. I'm not sure how this adds up with the various tunes used by both sets of fans, there doesn't seem to be a clear divide. But he did also say that there was never any sectarian nastiness, and that maybe it was more of a folklore division than a reality.

The division of Faith is a myth.
We are divided only by the colour of the shirt.
Too many families in Liverpool are split right down the middle Liverpudlian - Evertonian for this to have any merit.
The fact that Everton were originally called St Domingo's caused most confusion.
We are the Reds and they are the Blues is another point of confusion.
Our Original kit was Blue / White, theirs was pink

Your question on Origins of TOMMY
Cannot remember who wrote it or when it was first sung.
But it went from being sung by 10's to 1000's by the method all songs become popular.
It starts in pubs like The Park and The Albert and then transfers to the Ground
Living descendant of Sir Thomas Brodrick, Vice Admiral of the Red in the 18th Century

Offline Robotforaday

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #37 on: September 23, 2012, 09:11:47 AM »
I don't know too much more than what's been said here... that the second part to the tune of The Sash My Father Wore ("Oh I am a Liverpudlian") came first as a song in its own right, and then the tale of the Poor Scouser Tommy dying ("Let me tell you the story of a poor boy..."), to the tune of Red River Valley was added to the start sometime in the mid 70s

One thing I DO remember which was interesting was someone here on RAWK saying that the first part ("Let me tell you the story of a poor boy") was adapted from a Glasgow song about a soldier. Anyone know anymore and could say whether this was true? I'll try and dig up the post where this claim was made...

Offline Robotforaday

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #38 on: September 23, 2012, 09:15:05 AM »
Here it is:
while we can take the credit for adapting PST for the terraces we can't take credit for the song.

Actually, as 92a mentioned earlier in the thread, it's two songs stuck together. The first part to the tune of the Red River valley was a song sung in the bars of Scotland for many years before it made it's way to Liverpool with amended lyrics as PST in 1976. The second part of course is an amendment of the Sash that was sung on the Kop many years before PST was introduced.

Here's the lyrics to one version ( I'm sure it had a few depending on who was singing) of PST as it was sung in Scotland many years before it made it's way into Liverpool folklore

Gather round and I'll tell you a story
Of a boy who was taken from home
Not to fight for his King or his country
But to fight for the old folks at home

Well they put him in the Highland Division
and they sent him to a far distant land
It was there that this brave Scottish Laddie was killed by and old eytie gun

as he lay on the battlefield dieing
with the blood poring down on his head
as he lay on the battlefield dieing
These were the last words he said

won't you bury me out in the desert
won't you bury me out in this sun
won't you bury me out in the desert
my duty to Scotland is done

Now as you sit by your firesides in Scotland
and this war it is over and done
just remember that brave Scottish soldier
who was killed by that old eytie gun.

And the original lyrics to our version were always "Libyan Sun"


Offline rob1966

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Re: What's the story behind...?
« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2012, 09:30:05 AM »
bloody knew it was Arabian Sun and not Libian sun, thanks for making that right in my head

I learned the song by just listening when I started going on the kop in the early 80's and I have always sung Arabian Sun.

Needs slowing down, far too fucking fast these days.

Indeed it was.

It was purely there to mock Liverpool fans, and was on occasion accompanied by a skeleton, held up as a trophy corpse of sorts.



The 80s was not a nice time to be a match going fan, as every time something was shouted, sung or displayed, unfortunately it just upped the anti, in a tit-for-tat escalation of hostilities.

From songs, banners, and the famous beer bottles, darts and golf balls with six inch nails through them, getting thrown from stand to stand to cause injury.

And you think there's hostility now!

Footabll supporting now a days is a pale imitation of what it was when there were terraces.  Both in good ways and bad ways.

What you see today is the happy-clappy watered down version.

Heard it said the other day on telly (and its in another thread on here) that the animosity only really started when they started winning the Prem. Utter bollocks, thats just the footy started in 1992 shite. As far I can remember and from what I've heard from people older than me, it was bad in the early 70's. First time I went to a Manc game as a kid (1980 ish), I couldn't believe the atmosphere. It was sheer hatred. I'd been to games where there was sharpened coins flying about (you could see them glinting in the floodlights) and I remember walking down the Anny Road as Spurs were trying to force the gates after the game to get out, but the Manc game was something else.

A great time to watch football, but also a horrible time.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 09:37:54 AM by rob1966 »