Tom Hark (We Want Falmer) - The Story of a Hit!
You can hear the Hit here
'OUR GROUND'S TOO SMALL
THE COSTS TOO HIGH
OUR CLUB WILL DIE'
In 1996 the Goldstone Ground was destroyed by uncaring moneymen.
After years of fans' campaigns Brighton & Hove Albion still doesn't have a
proper home. So here's another chapter in the story of the Albion
supporters' battle to save our club...
In November 2004 I had the idea of reclaiming the Piranhas' national
football ska hit 'Tom Hark' for Brighton with new lyrics in support of our 5
year battle for our new stadium at Falmer, with the dual aim of raising
money for the Albion's Alive & Kicking Fund and trying to take the song, and
the Falmer For All Campaign, into the Top 20 in the month before the Public
Enquiry restarted in February 2005...
The Piranhas were Brighton through and through, in the forefront of the
local punk scene in the late Seventies and early Eighties. I first saw them
at the legendary Vault, used to watch them every Sunday at the Alhambra,
then as their popularity grew followed them up to London to the Marquee and
all the way to that legendary 1980 hit. It has always seemed quite ironic to
me to hear 'Tom Hark' blasting out from other clubs' PA systems and chanted
by opposing fans - especially ironic when other teams scored against us, and
played it to celebrate!
So I rewrote Boring Bob Grover's lyrics to support our stadium bid (' For
years the planning process has dragged on and on/A paralytic snail wouldn't
take that long/We're stuck in an athletics track we really hate/Like playing
in Albania Division Eight!') and went to the Greys in Southover Street to
ask Bob if he wanted to be involved. He declined, but gave us his
Then I gathered together a great bunch of local musicians: Dave, Dan and
McGhee from music hall/punk crossover outfit The Fabulous Fish Brothers
(they are also in my band Barnstormer) Marlon, Cooky, Alan and Tony from
excellent local ska outfit Too Many Crooks and sax playing actor Ralph from
the Brighton Beach Boys (not to mention Withnail and I and Harry Potter)
We went straight into the studio where the newly named 'Seagulls Ska'
recorded our new version of 'Tom Hark' along with a seriously ska version of
our beloved anthem 'Sussex By The Sea' arranged by my wife Robina - and the
alternative 1990 Cup Final song for our rivals Crystal Palace...
Skint Records, our main club sponsors, put the record out on the hastily
formed Falmer For All label, released it on January 3rd, about 6 weeks after
the idea had been first conceived, after a long pre-sale campaign
orchestrated on the excellent Albion forum North Stand Chat
AND WE GOT TO NUMBER 17 IN THE CHARTS!
(and Number 1 in the indie charts!)
The single was played in full on the Radio 1 Top 40 Chart Show, we had major
national press coverage in The Times, Guardian, The Independent, Mirror, Sunday
Mirror and Sun (!) among others, national TV including a short appearance on
Football Focus, features on Radios 4 and 5 and loads of local and regional
media coverage of all kinds. The single sold out of its first pressing of
5,000 in two weeks with people buying it all over the country: to date it
has sold around 6,500 copies. Something which started as an idle thought in
the Brighton PA box at a home match had succeeded beyond our wildest
dreams, bringing the Albion's plight to a truly national audience - not
just a football one either, and it's still selling!
1. TOM HARK (We Want Falmer!) (Bopeape/Baine/Grover)
2. SUSSEX BY THE SEA (Instrumental Version) (Traditional)
3. SUSSEX BY THE SEA (Singalong Version) (Traditional)
4. ROLL UP FOR THE DONKEY DERBY.... (Baine)
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