Wednesday, 24 April 2019

My Top Ten Cricket Songs

Summer is coming and with it, the sound of leather on willow will echo again through country villages. I'm not really a cricket fan, but I'd rather sit and watch it on a hot day than be anywhere near a football stadium, that's for sure. Here's ten songs about cricket... with no songs about crickets and nothing by Buddy Holly's old band, I'm afraid.

10. The Duckworth Lewis Method - Jiggery Pokery

Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy and Tom Walsh from Pugwash (pictured above) recorded two complete cricket-themed albums (or "kaleidoscopic musical adventures through the beautiful and rather silly world of cricket"). Their band was named after a mathematical formula used to calculate cricket scores.

This particular song is about the infamous "ball of the Century" played by Aussie cricketer Shan Warne against English batsman Mike Gatting in 1993.

I took the crease to great applause and focussed on me dinner.
I knew that I had little cause to fear their young leg spinner.
He loosened up his shoulder and, with no run-up at all,
He rolled his right arm over, and he let go of the ball.

9. Squeeze - It's Not Cricket

OK, maybe this one's not about cricket, just the expression. Still, it's always good for a chuckle.

She used to do a topless down at the Surrey Docks 
With tassels on her whatsits she did a t'riffic job 
Of raising all the eyebrows of every lunchtime mob 
She went with all the tossers who kick about a ball 
They say their club's the greatest, and she has kissed them all 
At the Arndale Center, she's up against the wall 
I can't name names cause that's not cricket 

See also Electric Trains.

8. Sherbet - Howzat

The famous cricketing expression turned into a love song by Australian band Sherbet... became an anthem at cricket grounds around the world.

You messed about
I caught you out

7. The Go-Betweens - I Just Get Caught Out

Here's another song about getting caught out, from another (albeit far superior) Aussie band.

6. Half Man Half Biscuit - Fuckin 'Ell, It's Fred Titmus

A song about bumping into a cricketing legend in your local shop while looking for ten pence off Lenor...

Oh, Dracula comes from Transylvania
Stevie nicks books about kleptomania
Johnny looked out of his bedroom window
And shouted to his mum: “Fred Titmus!”

5. The Kinks - Cricket 

The Kinks, of course, being a quintessentially English band, mentioned cricket rather a lot in their songs. See also Do You Remember Walter? and, of course, The Village Green Preservation Society.

4. Pet Shop Boys - Can You Forgive Her?

Speaking of quintessentially English bands...

Remember when you were more easily led
Behind the cricket pavilion and the bicycle shed
Trembling as your dreams came true
You looked right into those blue eyes and knew...

3. 10CC - Dreadlock Holiday

I don't like cricket...
I love it!

I've explained the origins of this song (and its rather odd video) before, in My Top Ten Hairstyle Songs. It's amusing that the video wasn't filmed in either Jamaica or Barbados... but Charmouth, Dorset.

2. Shirley Lee - When An Old Cricketer

A song about our Number One song today, which also happened to be one of John Peel's favourites. Here Shirley takes the theme of Roy Harper's classic and adapts it into a heartfelt tribute to the legendary DJ.

1. Roy Harper - When An Old Cricketer Leaves The Crease

Quietly heartbreaking. A song about nostalgia and how it was never quite as good as we remember it. More apt than ever given current events.

When the moment comes and the gathering stands and the clock turns back to reflect
On the years of grace as those footsteps trace for the last time out of the act
Well, this way of life's recollection, the hallowed strip in the haze
The fabled men and the noonday sun are much more than just yarns of their days.

Any cricketers in your collection?


  1. There could only ever have been one choice for number one!

  2. King Short Shirt - "Vivian Richards" is fun.

  3. Love The Duckworth Lewis Method!

  4. Roy Harper - a complete enigma of a thing which I'm never sure I really like. Good, bad, indifferent - a complete one-off who does what he wants whether you like it or not.
    Hats off to him indeed


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