First Division footballers they may have been, but Brighton’s team of ’82 also made an audacious bid for pop fame and hip-hop credibility.
From left to right, here are the rather earnest-looking Gordon Smith, Steve Gatting, Perry Digweed, Andy Ritchie, Jimmy Case, Gary Williams, Gary Stevens, Gerry Ryan, Michael Robinson and Steve Foster seeking to set the world alight with their dulcet tones and Farah slacks, not to mention their previously unrevealed rapping skills:
In the Brighton v Tottenham match programme from March 1982, it was announced:
Last Wednesday our first team squad had a unique day out when they travelled to recording studios in South London to cut their first record. The record is entitled ‘In Brighton’ and should be available on general sale in early April.
Howard Krugar, who lives in Hove and specialises in organising concerts for some of the world’s biggest stars, is the man behind the idea and he is hopeful of the disc making the charts. In fact it is highly likely that the Albion squad will appear on ‘Top of the Pops’.
Also involved in the record is BBC football commentator Peter Brackley who livens things up with commentary on a memorable Albion goal… which one? Well, for that you’ll have to buy the record.
Thanks to the lads at We Are Brighton, you can hear ‘In Brighton’ here:
Based on the Drifters’ song ‘On Broadway,’ the song received a positive response from John Henty who gave it a spin at Radio Brighton on Sunday 4th April. With dubious lyrics such as ‘Big Fozzie keeps it tight for Brighton’ and the boast of ‘Playin’ at the Goldstone Ground, where good football’s always found’ (sadly, no football of any kind down there now), not to mention even dodgier singing, the song probably did not have much of a fanbase outside of Brighton supporters.
Nevertheless, it was also played by Peter Powell on Radio One. However, as notes that month in the Brighton v Manchester United programme lamented:
Last week Peter Powell played the disc on his Radio One show but allowed his own support of Wolves to colour his comments on the merits of the recording.
The song was also erroneously aired on BBC’s ‘Match of the 80s’ series in the 1990s in its coverage of Brighton’s FA Cup run of 1983, with Danny Baker hesitating about even calling it a ‘song’! And, just in case you are wondering, the Andy Ritchie goal that Brackley acts out a commentary on is almost certainly this swerving free-kick belter from the Brighton v West Bromwich Albion game in February 1982:
The other track on this Double A-side was ‘The Goldstone Rap’, which this very blog you are reading takes its name from. Looking at it now, it’s amazing to think that Brighton & Hove Albion were at the forefront of the UK hip-hop scene in 1982, especially as this was almost certainly the first ever football song to feature rapping.
Unlikely to win any prizes at the MOBO awards, the rap memorably includes such lyrical gems as:
‘When you make that cross you’re gonna cross it fine / Give the ball to the player on the dead ball line.’
Never mind the MOBOs, though. Were you at Busby’s Night Club on Kingswest, Kings Road, in Brighton on the evening of Tuesday 6th April 1982? If you were, you would have been present to the grand launch of the single, as Brighton & Hove Albion’s first team squad belted out their musical masterpieces on stage! Sadly, I have no video footage of this priceless moment.
When released to the general public, the colour sleeve of the 7″ looked splendid, with the players proudly posing in front of the temporary Lego Stand in all its glory:
The price was a bargain £1.20. Buyers of the single from the club shop were also given a chance to enter a great competition to win two tickets to Dallas, Texas, with British Caledonian Airways.
So, was the Brighton release a launchpad to instant chart fame and fortune? Unfortunately, the single sank without trace but it gave Steve Foster (whose vocals also featured on the England 1982 World Cup song ‘This Time’), an opportunity to meet up with proper singer David Soul and wing a copy to the ‘Starsky and Hutch’ star:
Years later, I was wondering about ‘The Goldstone Rap’ and imagining what it would have sounded like if it adopted the electro sound of 1982’s other great hip-hop release, ‘The Message’ by Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. Thanks to the power of the internet, and due to a discussion on North Stand Chat, I got to find out.
Major props to Ian, the DJ who created this ‘Goldstone Message’:
A much enhanced version, I hope you’ll agree. In terms of pushing at the limits of what was possible for music and Brighton & Hove Albion footballers, it was certainly close to the edge.
Some MP3 files for your listening pleasure:
(right-click to ‘Save Target As…’ or ‘Download Linked File’)
The Goldstone Rap
The Goldstone Message
Other Wrap posts about Brighton & Hove Albion songs:
Carol Manns – ‘Seagulls’ (1979) – a video!