When Football Rocked Scotland: Part 2

Popular music and football are brothers in arms (to quote Dire Straits), and for those of a certain generation the two were always the natural highs that got them through their teenage years (and still provide solace in difficult 21st century moments). @AlexHTheMAX counted down five Rock/Pop/football crossovers from Scottish football history here, but now he's back with another five.

Who knew Bob Marley supported Celtic and Frank Sinatra performed at Rangers?!

1.Marley and Celtic

Bob Marley meets Celtic legend Dixie Deans

The late, great Reggae superstar Bob Marley was a massive football fan. The strange thing is, despite his fame, his secret ambition was to visit Celtic Park – and play on its turf.

Bob Marley was such a fan of the Parkhead club that he could even recite the Celtic 1967 European Cup-winning team in full. 

Marley, who died in 1981, stunned Celtic legend John "Dixie" Deans when the pair met in Australia. However Deans, who was playing for Adelaide City FC as his career wound down, didn’t actually know who Marley was.

Ex-Motherwell and Celtic goal machine Deans was introduced to Marley during a training session. Dixie later told the press around the time of the 30th anniversary of Marley's death: “I didn’t know him from Adam I'm quite ashamed to say. Our manager said he was a musician and a keen footballer but the name didn’t register. I remember he was quiet-spoken, almost shy, and his hair was long and looked, frankly, as if it was matted together and needed a good wash.

But Marley shocked him when they got talking about Celtic, saying: “Oh, you know I’m a big Celtic fan. I would love to go to Scotland to see Celtic Park and maybe even kick a few balls there. I know all about Jock Stein."

Marley added: “I love reading about British football teams and Celtic has always been my team. And now it is my son Rohan’s team. He’s only six but he loves Celtic. I can’t tell you how much I envy you having played at Celtic Park.

Added Dixie: “We had a chat about all things Celtic and I was greatly impressed by the great man’s football knowledge. And when we got down to training, I was just as impressed by his football ability.

From Trenchtown to Glasgow, one love for Dixie and Bob, the famous Glasgow Celtic.


2. The Proclaimers: Hi-bees brothers

The Proclaimers & Gordon Strachan say "Hands Off Hibs"

The Proclaimers song Sunshine on Leith, performed by the Hibernian support at Hampden before the 2016 Scottish Cup final v Rangers, is a moment that will give any true football fan goosebumps.
It's always worth a look on YouTube.

Craig and Charlie Reid AKA The Proclaimers are, along with Mission Impossible actor Dougray Scott, Hibs most famous fans. At the height of their musical powers in the early 1990s the Reid's were at the forefront of the "Hands off Hibs" campaign, when Hearts Chairman Wallace Mercer staged an audacious bid to buy the Easter Road side with the idea of building one "Edinburgh United" super-club to represent Scotland's capital.

Reading and Oxford United fans had to put up with similar nonsense when U's Chairman Robert Maxwell attempted to create "Thames Valley Royals" out of a merger of these well known English clubs.

Needless to say, there was no way Hibernian were ever going to be absorbed by their greatest rivals from the west end of Edinburgh and The Proclaimers led from the front in the fight for Hibernian FC autonomy, as the Hi-bees and their fanatical support secured the right to exist as a club in their own right.

An honourable mention too for one Derek Dick of Dalkeith AKA the front man of 80s rockers Marillion, known as "Fish", who also has Hibs in his soul.


3. In a Big Pars Country

The late Stuart Adamson - Big Country & DAFC fan

Dunfermline Athletic are known as "The Pars" and the nickname has a couple of legendary tales as to its formation.

Some say it was coined as a tribute to Dunfermline's parallel stripes on their famous black and white kit, whilst another theory cites a court case involving the Fife club pre-WW1. Apparently a judge asked a former Dunfermline Athletic manager if local rivals Cowdenbeath were "on a par" with the perceived bigger club from East End Park.

In 1981 Stuart Adamson, former guitarist with successful Dunfermline punk band The Skids (one of their hits "Into The Valley" is still a Pars pre-match anthem), returned from London with a new record deal and a new band called BIG COUNTRY. The group contained Adamson, fellow local Pars fan Bruce Watson and two session musicians from down south who went onto become one of the most successful UK bands of the 1980s with hits such as In a Big Country, Fields of Fire, Chance, Look Away and Wonderland.

The band could often be seen at Dunfermline matches throughout their successful musical decade and Adamson and Watson in particular had always been Pars fans, being brought up in the decade of Dunfermline's almost continuous participation in European club competition 1961 to 1970. This was when the likes of Everton, West Brom (both beaten by The Pars), Valencia, Anderlecht, Bordeaux and other big Euro names of the time graced East End Park.

Adamson's untimely death in 2001 was a sad day for everyone at the Scottish League club but band mate Bruce Watson (along with Watson's son) keeps the Big Country sound alive for a new generation of Pars fans.


4. Paper Roses at Killie

Marie Osmond: Kilmarnock supporter

One of the most bizarre anthems in football has to be an old early 1970s Pop/Country hit which was so popular at the time Kilmarnock fans adopted as a sing along on buses to away games.

In 1973, Marie Osmond's brothers, The Osmonds, were already well-established as stars in the pop music world and as teen idols. 

The Osmonds' management convinced Marie Osmond to try her hand at singing as well, and soon she was performing with her brothers on tour, but not officially as a member. When she began to record, she took a different tack from her brothers musically: she decided to try to make it big in country music. Osmond was soon signed to MGM Records in Los Angeles.

Mike Curb, who had overseen Donny Osmond's solo hit covers of oldies like "Go Away Little Girl," "Puppy Love," "Sweet and Innocent," and "Hey Girl," used the same approach with Marie Osmond. 

"Paper Roses" was the first song recorded by Marie Osmond as a solo performer away from her brothers, who were really one of the first ever boy bands, and also her first single release. The single was released in August 1973. MGM promoted the single first to US country radio, and received a good reaction to the song from radio stations and DJ's. Soon the song became a hit for Osmond, going all the way to number one on the country charts. Before long, the song crossed over to pop radio as well, becoming a major hit in the US and UK.

Marie re-recorded "Paper Roses" with the same producer and in the same studio for her 1990 The Best of Marie Osmond greatest hits album on Curb Records because her record label at the time did not have the rights to include the original recording. 

"Paper Roses" is now the Kilmarnock FC anthem and is played at major games throughout the season while Osmond has visited the Ayrshire club on a couple of occasions to sing the song and celebrate her Killie connection.


5. Old Blue Eyes at Ibrox

Souness met Sinatra before his gig at Ibrox

Legends Billy Joel, Elton John and Bon Jovi have all played concerts at Ibrox, but when Frank Sinatra played a memorable gig at the home of Rangers in 1990, it was a match made in football/music heaven as "Old Blue Eyes" showed he could still wow them at the home of the Light Blues of Glasgow.

Souness and Sinatra before the gig and then a pitch side rendition near the end of the concert for fans, as Sinatra left his Ibrox pitch stage and went walkabout, proved to be a musical highlight that matched any big game Gers win at the famous old stadium.

Follow that Harry Styles at Ibrox later this year of 2022, which just happens to be Rangers 150th anniversary.

A thank you letter from the great man


By Alex Horsburgh, written for @TFHB.

©The Football History Boys, 2022
(All pictures borrowed and not owned in any form by TFHB)

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