The ECD Manchester City Blue is dedicated to the memory of Helen "The Bell" Turner, 1920-2005.
The song Manchester City Blue had its first airing at Eastlands during the Fulham game in 2005, when Ray was extremely honoured to have been interviewed at pitch side during half time. It was an emotional day all round. Ray said hello to everyone he knew except his pregnant wife Kerry sat behind the goal. He looks forward to hearing the end of it shortly. The master of ceremonies later read a beautifully composed eulogy to Helen, the fair icon of club, which put everything in perspective.
Helen was and always will be, part of our club. Part of our individual history too, and I think that I speak for all fans when I say she will always be remembered with fondness. There are too few characters like Helen in the world. Her family kindly donated Helen's bell to the club and today, fans can see it on proud display in the museum.
None of this would have got as far as it has without the fantastic help and support of Ian Howard, the club's marketing manager. We are massively indebted to Ian for everything he has done; at times we must have caused him real grief on top of his already busy workload. Nonetheless he has continued to offer us support with our project and for this we will always be grateful.
Thanks also go to security staff at Eastlands, the girls on reception and everyone who helped us during the making of the video. We camped out at the stadium for two or three days, not once did we come across anyone who created problems or barriers to what we were doing.
To all the fans out there: the club and the staff are a seriously awesome bunch of people. Our club is in great professional hands and the future is going to be very bright -trust us, we've seen it from the inside, these guys are GOOD.
download the lyrics for the three City songs here:
manchester city football club
Manchester City Blue Video Trailer (16 Meg) MPEG-1
Click the dandelion clock images to play the files. If nothing happens then try right clicking the icon and taking the 'save as' option. Then try running it from your computer in a suitable media player. If you have problems getting the video trailer to play in your chosen media player for you, try downloading VLC, this is a very versatile free media player which plays most formats.
rick, jo & cameraman
I had the privilege of singing Blue Moon in Mark Radcliffe's Radio 2 studio, accompanied by Rick Wakeman on piano. Rick had flown in form Chicago at the end of his US tour the day before; unfortunately he was a little jetlagged and given his work commitments he was forced to decline my invitation to lay down a keyboard track on Manchester City Blue. He's a great guy with a wicked sense of humour, when he and Mark got started things got seriously funny. We decided to film him at the piano for the video with the ball entering the scene from behind the camera, Rick catches the ball, gives a fist to the camera and shouts "City!" before throwing the ball behind him and resuming his rendition of Blue Moon.
gidge, ray, jo & mark
Mark Radcliffe is a lifelong City fan, his mum lives in Bury which is where most of the band are based these days. We filmed him for the video in his BBC studio in Manchester, just before he went on air. Alongside a couple of guitars and a banjo hung on the wall, was a framed signed Danny Tiatto Man City shirt. We used this as part of the backdrop for Rick Wakeman's cameo in the video.
frank's mum says "no drums after 7"
Being Frank Sidebottom must be every bit a surreal as one might expect. Shortly before he took part in an event where he was reading Samuel Beckett with a Dalek at CHELSEA space, Chelsea College of Art and Design, Frank was with us at Eastlands playing Gidge's drums at the mouth of the players tunnel. He is an accomplished musician himself and has a recording studio at home, presumably in his bedroom or shed in Timperley. Granada Reports who were covering the video shoot interviewed him for the evening news show. I'm sure he rehashed on of my jokes, but I'm not sure it worked so I'll let that go. Talking of letting things go, Rob Hallam our director, has been a long standing member of Fran's fan club. He said that many years ago he sent of his postal order to Frank but that to date, the promised official fan club club badge had failed to materialised. There were a few tense moments as disgruntled fan faced off with celebrity hero, I didn't hear exactly what was said but fortunately it all ended up amicably. Unfortunately Gidge had forgotten Frank's fee, which was a pound of black pudding. I guess we'll have to owe it to him.
ricky hitman hatton
ray, ricky & gidge at phoenix camp
I consider us to have been really privileged to have been allowed access to Ricky Hitman Hatton at Camp Phoenix in Denton when we did. He was a few weeks away from his big WBA Welterweight world title fight in Boston and was supposedly locked away in training, incommunicado with the media. Fortunately this true blue made time to see us when he heard we were shooting the video. I have to thank his dad, ex-City player Ray Hatton for making the necessary arrangements for us. Camp Phoenix is a surreal place, not only is it set in the most intimidating gym I have ever seen, but there is a large aggressive iguana whose name escapes me roaming free in his trainer's office. Perhaps he was part of the training team, advising Ricky on some primeval moves? Like all the celebrity fans we met during the making of the video, we found Ricky to be a really friendly down to earth guy with a great sense of humour. I am starting to wonder whether having a great sense of humour is the common factor that bonds all City fans? I guess that an ability to laugh is an essential attribute of being a City follower? As the adage goes, "if we didn't laugh, we'd cry" - but perhaps not in this gym.
alan and nige of galaxy 102
gidge, alan, jo, tom, nige, ray and alistair
Galaxy 102 presenters Alan and Nige, are great guys and every bit as funny as they are on air. The band are wearing Macmillan Cancer Support t-shirts sporting the maxim "live for Saturday". If you haven't had the pleasure already, check out these guy's morning shows on Galaxy 102. In the video you will see the pair sharing a bath in the City dressing room. They do leave their tops on, so the video is still okay for children. These guys are real professional performers; they made it look as though they had been sharing a tub for years. We never did find the soap.
ray, tom, jo, stuart, gidge & al
Stuart is every bit as energetic, funny and amiable as he appears to be when broadcasting. His deft touches playing football outside Eastlands during the video shoot genuinely belie his advancing years, as does his mischievous sense of humour! Stuart had worked before with director Rob Hallam on a Sky TV motor show, where he had dubbed him "Reverend Bob". With most of the band hailing from the Bury area in Lancashire, Stuart suggested that his appearance fee ought to be two pounds of black pudding from Bury market. Thankfully this turned out not to be a euphemism (well you never can be too sure when working with media professionals).
john with rob the director at eastlands
With John Stapleton doing the early shift on GMTV as well as meeting filming commitments across the pond, we had to grab a small window of opportunity to fit him in the schedule. The fact that John flew up from London just before the match and he had a return ticket straight afterwards is testimony to the guys loyalty to the club - especially considering the slide in form the team were experiencing towards the end of the 05/06 season. We snatched a few minutes together outside the main reception during half time at the Fulham game. In this scene, John heads Rob's unique Ballcam™ to the cheers of dozens of City fans who were enjoying the spectacle with their half-time pint and growler from high on the spiral walkway.
background to the project
It was Christmas 1979 and I was still a schoolboy in Salford. Malcolm Allison had again taken over the helm at Manchester City and the club was in its third consecutive year of UEFA Cup competition. Blondie were hovering outside the top ten with their single Union City Blue and the country was experiencing its coldest winter for many years.
I really didn’t enjoy school and during lessons I would frequently withdraw into my own world, composing lyrics and songs to pass time until I was free to go home and pick up a football. I had always wanted to write a tribute song for Manchester City, but as far as I could see, Blondie had already done all the work and come up with a masterpiece. Union City Blue ought to have been written for Manchester City (perhaps it was!). The lyrics speak of power and passion while the powerful guitar melody created images in my mind of heroes and glorious goals. I wanted to take the song and shape it into the perfect tribute song that I knew it could be. Little did I know that it would take me more than a quarter of a century before I made the vision a reality.
After leaving school, among other things, I studied Performing Arts at Salford and it was here where I joined my first band as a front man. Inside Edge were formed during the early nineteen-eighties during a period when recession hit Manchester produced a plethora of guitar based indie bands. In 1985, we emerged victorious in the Greater Manchester Band of the Year Competition, beating seventy two other original bands at the now defunct Cloud 9 bar. Amid interest from Atlantic Records and despite the cutting of a debut AA side single on our own label, the band split after internal wrangling over who was going to manage the band.
Since then I fronted a number of creative original bands including Kind of Blue and My Private Ocean, signing a publishing deal with Kid Menthal Music in the nineties. I eventually semi-retired to the safety of cover bands before eventually joining Bury based outfit, The Sounds Alliance. TSA was a new departure for me as lead vocals would be shared with outstanding female singer Jo Giblin; it was the opportunity I had been waiting for all these years, and with a great female voice on board, I set about making the vision of a tribute song for Man City a reality.
In 2005, I penned new lyrics for Union City Blue and submitted them to Chrysalis Music. My publisher informed me that Debbie Harry personally approved or declined permission to proposed amendments to her songs; the necessary paperwork was despatched via London to the States and it took a few nail biting months before I received a reply. Finally I received the news I had been waiting for, the new lyric Manchester City Blue was officially approved by Debbie Harry and we could set about recording the track.
Chrysalis informed me that the previous year, some Everton fans had been given permission to amend the lyrics of the same song into Mersey City Blue, but that as far as they knew, there had been no commercial recording of the song. It was clear to me that I would have to get a move on if we wanted to get our version out there first, so we recorded it and I submitted a demo of the song to Manchester City. We were delighted to hear that it had received a warm reception.
On Sunday October the 2nd 2005, at 11.15 AM on a Sunday morning, I attended the earliest ever kick off of a Premiership football match, as Man City took on struggling Everton at Eastlands. It was an emotional day as the club marked the passing of iconic fan Helen “The Bell” Turner with a moving eulogy. I recall thinking to myself that it might be appropriate to dedicate the future CD to her memory. At half time, the speakers in the ground belted out our song, Manchester City Blue and I was honoured with an invite down onto the pitch to do an interview. City went on to beat Everton 2 – 1, during a day which was capped by a rare wonder goal scored by Danny Mills.
Before we knew it, all the local newspapers were carrying the story of the song; things got a little crazy when it made the pages of The Sun. They reported that Stuart Pearce had commissioned me to write the track as a theme song for the team to run out to on match day. A number of radio interviews ensued and I was asked to clarify The Sun story on Talk Sport. After the interview, I received an email from the Everton fan who had written Mersey City Blue. He lamented the 2 – 1 loss and the fact that his club had declined an invitation to support his efforts to produce the tribute song and he wished me luck with the project.
I wrote a new song for the club called All Roads Lead to Eastlands; this number was inspired by the view from local beauty spot Werneth Lowe, where the whole of Manchester can be seen. I had driven up there a few years earlier on what by even Manchester's wet standards was an incredibly rainy evening, to watch the firework display of the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games. It was a strange and memorable period for me as East Manchester where I lived at the time, was shaken over several weeks by a cluster of strong earth tremors.
From outside the Hare and Hounds pub near the crest of the Lowe, you can see the city which once was littered with the stalagmites of mill chimneys, undergoing its second revolution, as dozens of perilously precarious looking construction cranes convert what were the derelict quarters into fashionable housing.
It was at this point that the band underwent a period of fundamental change. After a couple of years of doing mostly covers, writing songs had rekindled our taste for creativity. For us to continue as a unit, it was clear the band was going to have to become an outlet for our creativity and to reflect this, we decided to change the name of the band to The Dandelion Clocks.
I like the irrepressible and indomitable spirit of the dandelion. Categorised as common weed and despite the best attempts of most people to eliminate them, they always seem to spring back, adorning the municipal verges of suburbia with legions of bright orange flowers. And then when they go to seed, each perfect sphere comes complete with a jester collar and a handle to become both a plaything for children, and the stuff of folklore.
Having been brought up in the city where government troops massacred working people at Peterloo, for me the unforgivably maligned dandelion perfectly symbolises the spirit of the working class and ordinary folk. It also compliments the city’s symbol of 19th century industrial power, the bee. Those illustrious magnates and power brokers of yesteryear conveniently overlooked the fact that without the flower, there can be no bee.
For the video, we teamed up with the brilliant Rob Hallam of Big Tank Productions. Ian Howard at the club arranged permission for us to shoot the video in the stadium so I invited a number of celebrity City fans to join us. Throughout the spring and early summer of 2006, we met up and filmed with Frank Sidebottom, Stuart Hall, John Stapleton, Al and Nige from Galaxy 102, Ricky Hitman Hatton, Moonchester, Mark Radcliffe and Rick Wakeman, to name but a few.
The story in the video is of a young City fan having a kick about outside the industrial backdrop of the huge gasometer at Eastlands. After a brief kick about he half volleys the ball into the next shot, which is the band performing live outside the reception of the stadium. The ball is passed from person to person on a journey which takes it inside the ground, through the dressing rooms, through Mark Radcliffe’s studio at the BBC and a variety of other interesting places before being caught at the end by the same lad who by now is stood in front of the artistic backdrop of the B of the Bang sculpture.
During the video, in some shots we don Macmillan Cancer Support t-shirts. We had a lot of fun filming (despite the relentless icy wind) and received a lot of help in putting together the project from great people, so it seemed only right that we use the opportunity to help do a little good by publicising this very worthy cause.
Simon Jackson, a very talented and imaginative guy at Moonjuice Creative did the CD artwork for us; it was he that came up with the stark blue dandelion image which is now the band logo. He perfectly realised my idea of incorporating clockwork cogs or gears into the band name, I wanted the dandelion clock concept to be a fusion of the natural and the industrial. The simple CD sleeve he initially agreed to produce mushroomed into a much larger project; including an eight page booklet, full credit to him for doing a superb job.
I have been amazed at the goodwill shown by so many people in the making of the CD. It has been really hard work, with amazing highs and crushing lows. But then being a City fan, I should be used to that. Most of all, it has been great fun and on the way I have learned a lot, accrued some incredible memories and made some good friends. I hope that you enjoy listening to the songs, watching the video and reading about the background of the project. It took over twenty five years to get there, but I think it was definitely worth the wait. ray godwin