Tony Hiller – He Wrote The (Football) Songs

Stealing and slightly misusing that line from the Manilow song to introduce our next subject – Tony Hiller.

Along with the previously featured Harold Spiro, the pair of them were responsible for a large percentage of the most well known football tunes.

The team singalongs was only a small part of Tony’s musical output though. His compositions and productions dominated the charts back in the day.

Before we get to that a quick background about him – and it is very quick because there isn’t that much online. His official website has the following:

Born in London, England, he began his musical career as a member of the song and dance duo The Hiller Brothers, sharing the stage with his brother Irving. The Hiller Brothers appeared with many performers of the time…

It goes on to name those performers. As it says, many performers.

The list of his songs, productions and awards is a lengthy one. Go and have a look at his Wikipedia entry to view all his achievements.

I want to highlight his most well known and biggest success before we move on – This was with the creation of Brotherhood Of Man. In 1970 the first group performed the Tony Hiller composition “United We Stand”, a song which became a patriotic anthem covered hundreds of times since.

Sample lyric:

For united we stand. Divided we fall
And if our backs should ever be against the wall
We’ll be together, Together, you and I…

Then in 1976 with a new line up they won the 1976 Eurovision Song Contest for the UK with “Save All Your Kisses For Me”.

Now to concentrate on the more important Hiller productions – his football tunes…

The crossover with Harold Spiro is going to be a constant one, so open that link in a new tab if you want to remind yourself of the songs already posted.

The first collaboration with the aforementioned was in 1972 when Hiller produced and co-wrote a single released under the name Hoagy Pogey.
I suspect as I wrote in the other post that the singer was probably Harold Spiro.

Then a year later Spiro had success with the Cockerel Chorus and “Nice One Cyril” [see other post] But just before that they co-wrote, he produced another single “Only A 1000 A Day” [see other post] And they also collaborated on Northeast – “A Ticket For The Game” See other post, etc… you get the idea.

We now go forward to that golden year for Hiller – 1976 and in a one-two double as well as winning the Eurovision Song Contest, he also wrote and produced the 1976 FA Cup Final song for Manchester United.

manchester united fc 1976 fa cup single cover
The opening lyrics are:

“United we stand, divided we fall..”

» Manchester United FC – Manchester United

No wait, go and listen. Hiller did borrow the first four words from his first big hit with Brotherhood Of Man but then resisted temptation to get the 1976 Man United FA Cup squad to do a full cover of the song.

It is your standard late 70’s football song fare, a group singalong. In this one though he also managed to get the team to whistle for a bit. As I said go and have a listen, about 1 minute 50 seconds in.

That is all interesting but that is not the interesting part of the single.
That would be the B side.

For reasons unknown and lost in time now – somehow Martin Buchan, the Manchester Utd captain, was allowed to perform his own self-penned tune.

Those of you who are regular visitors to Football and Music know that it’s never a good idea to let a footballer sing. Ever.

manchester-united-martin-buchan

» Martin Buchan – Old Trafford Blues

Buchan in the song has a cheeky dig at his teammates. Sample lyrics:

There’s Alex Forsyth.
He’s the one they call the ball boy’s friend.
His crosses to the far-post, land up in the Stretford End.

Then there’s Brian Greenhoff.
He’s got lots of skill.
And he really needs it,
To play with Gordon Hill.

But that’s still not the end if it. There was the FA Cup Final of which they sang. In which the favourites Man United would play the unfancied Southampton and in which that same Manchester United would lose, 1-nil. Not only that a song about this final would be written. Sung here by Jasper Carrott.
(The audio isn’t very good, turn the up the volume on your device.)

It would be another nine years before Tony Hiller and Harold Spiro collaborated again with the 1985 FA Cup Final song for Everton – and yet again I am going to refer you to the previous post for the full details. Click on the single cover:

Everton - Here We Go

Then a year later, a World Cup year, Tony found some new song writing partners. With this new collaboration of Hiller/Bradly and Stewart James, they achieved total football and music domination.

They started, as always, with the FA Cup. This was a historic one between the Merseyside neighbours. Also notable from a F&M point of view because of the respective cup final songs.

You are about to learn something here which I bet you never knew. I’ll include a couple of picture galleries so you can scroll through and see if you can spot it:

» Liverpool FC – Sitting On Top Of The World

» Liverpool FC – Running Like The Wind
» Everton FC – Everybody’s Cheering The Blues

» Everton FC – Only 90 Minutes Away

Yep. Complete control by the record company. The clubs must have been bunged a few quid by Columbia to do this. Hiller was a gun for hire so he was probably fine with it. I don’t know if the fans of the teams cared or even knew.

Did you listen to the songs above ? I’m unsure if any footballer actually sang on any of them. It could have been just a bunch of people who happened to be in the studio at the time.

We are not finished there. As I said total domination by Hiller that year and aided by the record label they continued on to the World Cup. Galleries:

» England 1986 World Cup Squad – We’ve Got The Whole World At Our Feet

» England 1986 World Cup Squad – When We Are Far From Home

(Additionally: There was also an album – World Cup Party)

» Scotland 1986 World Cup Squad – Big Trip To Mexico

» Scotland 1986 World Cup Squad – Carry The Hopes Of Scotland

(The A side was co-wrote with Scottish singer-songwriter Rab Noakes)

I recommend you listen to the B sides of both singles above. They are both ballads and could have been used in Hiller’s other passion – the Eurovision Song Contest.

Tony took a few years off after this but in 1990 he teamed up with Barry Upton for the Crystal Palace FA Cup Final single.

The A side – Glad All Over – is a cover of The Dave Clark Five tune, an anthem that Palace adopted. The B side was the Hiller/Upton composition.

» Crystal Palace 1990 FA Cup Squad – Glad All Over

» Crystal Palace 1990 FA Cup Squad – Where Eagles Fly

Another four years would pass before the final time that Hiller (along with Upton) would write an F.A. Cup song:

» Chelsea 1994 FA Cup Squad – No One Can Stop Us Now

I thought there was an official video, can’t find it now. And so for the last time – take a bow Tony:

» Chelsea 1994 FA Cup Squad – We Thank You Sincerely

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