Music

When the day is dawning

The Guardian blog takes a look at the return of Tony Christie’s Amarillo to the number one slot in the charts.

While offering an interesting reminder of the history of Comic Relief charity records the story doesn’t mention that there is another tale behind this particular return to the top. Usually ‘novelty’ tracks from the past return via television advertising but Amarillo featured just once in a scene from Peter Kay’s tv comedy series Phoenix Nights.

That was enough though to get it on the playlists at pub discos in Lancashire. I witnessed a dreadful ‘turn’ from Liverpool in a pub in Nelson last year, a women heading towards her pension, who was totally dying before she decided to sing Amarillo and the pub went loopy with people who had been heckling her suddenly leaping around and singing along.

It became the song that Bolton Wanderers ran out too and has been played at other North West grounds such as Burnley and Accrington Stanley. Inevitably DJ’s have been mixing it with techno tracks in nightclubs.

Christie’s comeback return to performing actually came at a fundraising gig last year for Burnley Football Club at the town’s Mechanic’s club. In short the song has become a Lancastrian anthem and reveals what I’ve often suspected about Phoenix Nights and Peter Kay – while southerners might laugh at it, we laugh with it and, for those of us who have passed plenty of Friday evenings watching ‘turns’ in working men’s clubs, even identify with it.

So now that songs can bubble up from the pubs of Lancashire to be chart hits could this be the next number one?

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