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Football & Movie Music: Fever Pitch

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[ This is the last post (for now) in a mini-series looking at music used in footie movies.
Previous entries: Jimmy Grimble, Mean Machine, Bend It/Becks, WSC ]

This film: (short version) exploresfootballanditseffectonrelationshipscultureandsociety.

(Longer version) If you’ve read the book then you know that it tells the story (in semi-fictional form) of Nick Hornby’s frustrations with his favourite team and looks at our obsession with the beautiful game and how it affects our life.

The film version…at least how I see it…is about a man’s struggle with his love of football and his relationship with women.

The star and the movie in question was:

Colin Firth in: FEVER PITCH

Colin Firth in Fever Pitch

Firth admitted himself that he didn’t like football, but I think he was the biggest bankable star at that time. (It was the late 90′s and the choice could have been either him or that fop Hugh Grant so…)

Plot summary for those who haven’t seen either:

“Paul Ashworth (Colin Firth) is a school teacher. He is an uncomplicated man whose life consists of his fan obsession with the Arsenal Football team. His growth from adolescence to adulthood is carefully woven with his love of this football team. Paul seems to go through his life totally unaware of the fact that he simply charms everyone. His love of the game is so strong that it affects his mother, sister, co-workers, students, and even their parents. Everyone feels that “Paul is Arsenal and Arsenal is Paul”.

Enter Sarah Hughes (Ruth Gemmell). Ms. Hughes. Will those charms of Mr. Ashworth work on “iron knickers Hughes”? Will Sarah be able to interest Paul in anything other than Arsenal? It’s a joyful fight to the finish, with actual Arsenal football scenes and a look into Paul’s young life where the seeds of his obsession began. ”

» Source

It was released in April 1997 but it took two years before an American The cover of the American release of Fever Pitch - click to view larger audience could ignore it (which they did) and before they could also be very confused about the content when it eventually made it’s rental/retail appearance over there too.

If you haven’t clicked that link go on and have a look. Kirk Anderson has a righteous rant as to why septics never saw the original Fever Pitch movie. [An illustration as to one of the reasons to the right there]

Then in 2005 some Hollywood producers exacted their revenge (maybe because of the Longest Yard/Mean Machine thing) with their insipid version, which they say wasn’t a remake but “a retelling of the story” this time with baseball.

In order not to confuse or upset the UK audience it was renamed as : “The Perfect Catch”.

- Back to the original…

The Soundtrack:

Fever Pitch soundtrack cover Which was billed as “Fever Pitch: Music and Moments from the Film” did exactly that. There were snippets of dialogue in between tracks which were actually in the film.

The soundtrack was selected – and no surprise to read that after High Fidelity – with the involvement of Nick Hornby himself.

no images were found

I don’t think I have a copy of the book any more… hang on… No I can’t find it.     I was sure I’ve still got it somewhere… can’t remember giving it away or anything… maybe it’s in the shed…

*1 hour later*

Nope can’t find it.

But I do remember that in the book Hornby wrote the titles of songs he was listening to at that point of time. Ah my memory is going, I’m sure he did but it’s a haze now. Could someone please confirm that I’m not going mad and that this was something he did the book ?

Returning to the soundtrack though – the author wrote an introduction in the booklet in which he mentions that music-wise, 1989 was a nightmare year to set a movie.

I have to agree, there was some dire stuff put out back then so with a nod to Nick Hornby I’ve created my Fever Pitch Soundtrack Mixtape, in which none of the songs are from that period:

Mixtape
» Various – Fever Pitch Soundtrack Mixtape
22MB/24.06 mins

The songs on my mixtape are:

  • Neill MacColl & Boo Hewerdine – Cafe ’68
  • Harry J Allstars – Liquidator
  • The Pogues – Fiesta
  • The Who – Baba O’Riley
  • Tim Hardin – How Can We Hang On To A Dream
  • Neil MacColl & Boo Hewerdine – Fever Pitch


Plus the snippets of dialogue.

Extra time:

If it’s been a long time since you’ve seen the film you can remind yourself here.

One thought on “Football & Movie Music: Fever Pitch”

  1. Pat Walsh says:

    As a Gooner, Fever Pitch is one of my favourite books. The film is poor and really has nothing to do with the book, apart from its closing chapters. Even though the High Fidelity novel is full of lists of songs there are very few mentions of music in the book of Fever Pitch. Each chapter is given a (usually football-related) title. One chapter is titled Just Like a Woman, but has nothing to do with Dylan. However, there is a chapter called Sugar Mice and Buzcocks albums that refers to matchday rituals and superstitions. One of his superstitions was that he once played the first side of The Buzzcocks’ Singles Going Steady LP during the final 20 minutes of a match that was on the radio. Arsenal had been a goal up and he couldn’t bear the agony of listening to the commentary in case they lost the lead. Arsenal won, so he repeated this again, but with less success. The number of references to music in the Fever Pitch paperback seems to be on a par with the amount of football references in High Fidelity

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