Yesterday with the FA Cup it was a couple of ska classics and today we continue with another from 1970 which is being revived exactly 40 years later.

The 1970 England squad gather round
Pictured: The 1970 England team [wearing their club kits] gathered around a car… for reasons unknown now.

Warning: This is the first England track from somebody in the "biz", that's the show biz and not the football biz. There will be more to come. Sadly many, many more.

It was some fortuitous timing by Ray Chan when he emailed me after reading my reminisces about the 1970 World Cup which featured the following artist. At the time I was looking at ska tunes and England, then in popped into my inbox a message from Ray telling me that Christie, one of those I featured, had re-recorded their No. 1 single from back then – and that it was an England/WC song.

– Before we get to the new track, a bit about the tune which knocked the ’70 England World Cup Squad single Back Home off the top of the charts.

The song back then:

Yellow River is a popular song recorded by the British band Christie. Written by band leader Jeff Christie, the song was offered to The Tremeloes, however they turned it down so Jeff Christie added his own vocals and released it. The song became an international hit, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in June 1970. As mentioned, it knocked off the England World Cup song which was at the top of the charts for one week only.

There was an urban myth that went around saying that Tony Christie sang the song (because of the name similarity) but he didn’t, not even a cover version.

The song is the thoughts of a young man whose time in the army is over and he is looking forward to returning to his home on the Yellow River. The actual location of the Yellow River is not known.

The video had the group on a barge sailing down the River Thames.

Jeff Christie, founding and remaining member, and his thoughts:

Jeff Christie “…Originally I was sceptical (about turning Yellow River into a World Cup song) and not very keen as there have been attempts before from others whom I was less than impressed with. I also was concerned about protecting the integrity of the song, not to mention the possibility of having it adopted by drunken louts on the terraces.

That said, the Producer David Robertson convinced me to try it out with the ultimate choice of veto if I was not happy with the end result.

The idea of including the rapper and the ska feel, plus all the different mixes he plans and the ‘multi-cultural cross genre’ ambience of the track, have moved the goal posts (no pun intended) to a place that I’m more comfortable with, and actually feel it’s quite good.”

» Read the full post his MySpace page.

The song right now:

Article via Tower Hamlets:

Aggi DukesAggi raps for England’s Lions

An east London rapper is hoping to score a number one hit with a reworked version of classic pop song Yellow River.

Aggi Dukes from Bow has teamed up with Jeff Christie, who originally had a hit with the track back in 1970, to update it for a new generation titled Hat Trick of Lions (Come on England). Aggi, 27, predicts the song will be a huge anthem for the football World Cup and will be released to tie in with the tournament in June.

He said: “The song has been tweaked to make it more relevant and accessible to young people. It was a massive hit when it first came out and we are hoping we can replicate that success for a new generation. I’m really looking forward to the public reaction.”

The new track boasts a who’s who of the UK’s finest Reggae and Ska performers and musicians. Mafia and Fluxy – Drum and Bass duo are the UK’s premier Ska/Reggae rhythm section, having worked on a regular basis with the Skatalites and the Ethiopians who were responsible for the Ska invasion in the early 60’s that left an indelible mark on football. The brass hooks are supplied by Matic Horn’s heavyweight Henry ‘Buttons’ Tenyue who has worked with Aswad, UB40 and Godfather of soul James Brown. Up and coming UK underground rapper Aggi Dukes adds a hip-hop kick that summarises our love for the game.

At the moment it isn’t known where this can be downloaded. I’ll update this post when I have that info.

Christie then and now Audio:

Video with lyrics:

» Link to video


– More info on Jeff Christie.
– Aggie Dukes on MySpace.
– Mafia and Fluxy on MySpace.
– The Facebook Support Jeff Christie’s ‘Hat Trick of Lions page.

Once again a big thank you to Ray – and to Eliz for her invaluable information.

One Reply to “England River Ska”

  1. I might be biased, liking Ska, but this is a rather catchy remake 😀 (never really got into the original)
    still not THE ‘knaller’ for a World Cup song…but so far my favourite of all unofficial anthems… not that I’ve heard any German WM song I’d belt out in the summer.. yet.

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