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City DNA #52: The Boys in Blue (the whole story)

SINGING THE BLUES: The 1972 squad at Strawberry Studios
When City approached a group of young musicians to produce a record in 1972, chances are nobody thought it would leave much of a lasting impression.

Football songs were very much in fashion after England’s rousing World Cup anthem ‘Back Home’ reached No.1 on the UK charts in 1970 and there had been other hits, too.

But by and large (and we’re thinking of Kevin Keegan’s ‘Head over Heels in Love’ and Chris Waddle and Glenn Hoddle’s ‘Diamond Lights’ here), they are forgettable and invariably ended with comments such as “stick to football, lads”.

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This was different.

The musicians in question were largely unknown at the time but well respected on the music scene having been involved in numerous projects and during their attempts to write a hit record, they filled their time in by recording jingles, novelty bits and pieces and whatever brought money in.

                        10CC : The geniuses behind the song
10CC : The geniuses behind the song

Kevin Godley, Graham Gouldman and Lol Creme would go on to form 10cc, but at that stage, they were recording and producing from Stockport’s Strawberry Studios.

Godley and Creme (who would also have a successful spin-off project in future years) were City fans, so when the approach was made to create a song for the team to sing, it was a marriage made in heaven.

Few clubs could claim to have the song-writing skills of a trio who would record ‘I’m Not in Love’, ‘I’m Mandy (Fly Me)’ and ‘Dreadlock Holiday’ – to name just a few – producing their track.

So, City’s first team went to Strawberry Studios to record the song – ‘Boys in Blue’ - that had been written for them by the trio – and it’s not hard to tell there were genuine supporters writing the words – as football songs go, it’s pretty darn good.

Colin Bell, Mike Doyle, Mike Summerbee, Glyn Pardoe, Alan Oakes,Tony Book and Tommy Booth were just some of the players who went along to record (and learn) the lyrics as they went.

Released on RCA Records, it didn’t chart, but became a theme at Maine Road on matchdays and, over the years, became ‘our song’ – long before Blue Moon was first song, a generation of City fans knew every word to ‘Boys in Blue’.

The B-side was nothing to do with the team, moreover a filler called ‘Funky City’.

The rest, as they say, is history and nearly 50 years on, ‘Boys in Blue’ is still part of our matchdays at the Etihad, just as it was at Maine Road.

The reason for its longevity? It’s just a great song.

What isn’t widely known is that City recorded a follow-up a year later called ‘Up the Blues’, written by The Syndicate.

That wasn’t as good and has largely disappeared into the ether.

Below, just in case you’ve been singing the wrong line for the past 48 years, are the lyrics to the song – the best football song in the land, in all the world…

Boys in Blue

City! Manchester City!

We are the lads who are playing to win,

City - the Boys in Blue will never give in!

Football is the game that we all live for,

Saturday is the day we play the game,

Everybody has to pull together,

And together we will stand.

Even if we're playing down at Maine Road,

Or if we play a million miles away,

There will always be our loyal fans behind us,

To cheer us on our way!

City! Manchester City!

We are the lads who are playing to win,

City - the Boys in Blue will never give in.

Blue and white we play together,

We will carry on forever more!

Maybe in another generation,

When other lads have come to take our place,

They'll carry on the glory of the City,

Keeping City in the place..

City! Manchester City!

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