The Chelsea Football Club is a professional football club – in American English that would be “soccer team” – in Fulham, London. Founded in 1905, Chelsea competes in the Premier League, the top division of English soccer.
Fulham is an posh residential area known for posh shopping streets like King’s Road and Fulham Road, which have posh boutiques, home-goods stores, and delis. Two football clubs, Fulham and Chelsea, play in Fulham.
Chelsea is one of England’s most successful soccer teams; they have been league champions six times and won six European trophies.
Their home ground is Stamford Bridge. (Notice my confident use of the British “home ground.”)
“Blue Is the Colour” is a football song associated with Chelsea Football Club, whose home kits (again – Tom effortlessly using British terminology instead of the American “uniforms”) are blue.
It was performed by the squad and released in 1970 to coincide with the club’s appearance in the League Cup final of that year against Stoke City. As fate would have it, song or no song, Stoke City won. It was Stoke City’s first major trophy in 109 years. It remains the club’s only major trophy victory
The record was issued on the Penny Farthing Records label and reached number 5 in the UK Charts. It is one of the most well-known English football songs.
Blue is the colour, football is the game
We’re all together and winning is our aim
So cheer us on through the sun and rain
Cos Chelsea, Chelsea is our name.
Here at the Bridge, whether rain or fine
We can shine all the time
Home or away, come and see us play
You’re welcome any day
Blue is the colour, football is the game
We’re all together and winning is our aim
So cheer us on through the sun and rain
Cos Chelsea, Chelsea is our name
Come to the Shed and we’ll welcome you
Wear your blue and see us through
Sing loud and clear until the game is done
Sing Chelsea everyone
Listening to and watching Jim Riley sing along with the recording embedded above was one of the top ten Quirky Berkeley perfect moments EVER.
This lovely Altar To Chelsea is in Jim’s living room.
More Chelsea iconography in the basement.
Riley’s studio on Hearst is not Chelsea-laden, but this one lovely player reminds us of the Blue.
And now the soccer sweaters, mostly Chelsea-themed.
In the caption above please note – again – my seamless code-swtiching and use of “side” instead of “team.”
The 1970 The Football Association Challenge Cup final was between Chelsea and Leeds United. The first game on April 11, 1970 ended 2–2, making it the first FA Cup final to require a replay since 1912.
The replay was played at Old Trafford on 29 April; after four hours of fiercely contested football, Chelsea eventually won 2–1.
Riley was ten years old. Chelsea’s win was a marvelous and lasting thing for Riley.~Z
Daleks are violent, merciless and pitiless cyborg aliens who demand total conformity to their will and who are bent on the conquest of the universe and the extermination of what they see as inferior races.
If you follow this link you can read more, much more, about the five different crest designs Chelsea has used.
Yes – not Chelsea – but our hometownish professional soccer team, the San Jose Earthquakes. About them:
(1) In 1974, the North American Soccer League awarded an expansion franchise to San Jose – the Earthquakes.
(2) During my UFW years working in Salinas, a group of us went to see an Earthquakes game against the New York Cosmos. The Cosmos star was Edson Arantes do Nascimento, aka Pele. He was past his prime but a real joy to watch.
(3) My brother in arms at work, Hunter Stern, played goalkeeper for the Earthquakes. He played in the 1985-1986 season, was hurt in 1987 (a basketball injury), and made the bench halfway through the 1987 season but did not play. I think I know the game until I hear Hunter talking about it at which point I know I don’t.
Hunter went to Brown University, out-prepping my preppy University of Pennsylvania. I call him “Stern, Hunter Stern.” I AM SO CLEVER!
I showed my friend this draft post.
He made a pot of brisk Lipton tea in my mother’s china teapot and fixed a brisk cup for me the way that I drank tea when I was a boy – sugar and milk.
If there is a cup of tea involved, you can bet on a self-indulgent digression. You wouldn’t be wrong here. In fact, bet big. All chips. This has the potential of being a long one.
He smiled as he looked through the photos of Riley’s Chelsea sweaters. “Soccer was your thing, wasn’t it?”
Yes it was. I played soccer for nine years at Episopal, my alma mater. It was a private boys’ school that was founded by the Episcopalian bishop of Philadelphia in 1785. I say “was” because in 1974 it began the transition to a coed school.
This is what was the upper school looked like. Forms III through VI. Grades 9 through 12. Episcopal demolished the building in the early 1970s. Bad thing!
To this day I have an occasional dream in which friends and I are roaming the building at night before the demolition.
In 2008, the school left the Merion campus completely. When I was there, the campus was centered around four former mansions. Two were still standing when they moved.
In 2019, my class celebrated its 50th reunion. I was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Normally it would go to a lawyer or banker or doctor who had over the years given the school a lot of money. I was genuinely touched and honored.
This photo is before my time, but you can get the vibe. Rich white boys leaving chapel in what we called the Old Chapel after the New Chapel was built. The Old Chapel became a study hall and then the library. I worked the summer of 1965 as a volunteer setting up the New Library. The top ten songs that summer were:
- (I Can’t Get No) SATISFACTION – The Rolling Stones (London)
- I CAN’T HELP MYSELF (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – The Four Tops
- MR. TAMBOURINE MAN – The Byrds (Columbia)
- I’M HENRY VIII, I AM – Herman’s Hermits (MGM)
- WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT? – Tom Jones (Parrot)
- YES, I’M READY – Barbara Mason (Arctic)
- WOOLY BULLY – Sam The Sham & The Pharaohs (MGM)
- CARA, MIA – Jay & The Americans (United Artists)
- CRYING IN THE CHAPEL – Elvis Presley (RCA Victor)
- WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE – Jackie DeShannon (Imperial)
We were crazy mixed up in our mutl-genre world. I find that songs 4 through 9 are hard to defend.
In 1965 I would have chosen “Mr. Tambourine Man” as the best of these songs.
On January 20, 1965, the band, along with a group of L.A. session musicians later known as the Wrecking Crew, recorded the Bob Dylan song “Mr. Tambourine Man” as their debut single at the Columbia Recording Studios in Hollywood.
The Byrds’ biographer Johnny Rogan has commented that the two most distinctive features of the Byrds’ rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man” are the vocal harmonies of Clark, McGuinn and Crosby, and McGuinn’s jangling twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar playing.
Roger McGuinn’s 1964 Rickenbacker 360-12 twelve-string still rocks me.
That said, today I might choose “What the World Needs Now.” In February 1964, Jackie DeShannon opened for the Beatles on their first American tour,
This photograph kills me, just plain kills me. How young
Since we got off on the Atlantic City tangent within a tangent, I should mention that the Beatles played at the Atlantic City Convention Hall only days after the Democratic National Convention with the controversy presented by the integrated Mississippi Freedom Delegation.
She formed a touring band for the tour with Ry Cooder, who was then 17.
Ry Cooder had played with DeShannon at the Ash Grove in West Hollywood in 1963 when he was 16. At about the same time Cooder performed as part of a pickup trio with Bill Monroe and Doc Watson, in which he played banjo. The trio was not a success, (“Well, son, you’re just not ready”, he remembered Monroe telling him after the first and only set he played with them), but Cooder applied banjo tunings and the three-finger roll to guitar instead. He is a god in my music world.
I wasn’t especially good at soccer, but I loved it. I played halfback and then goalie and then fullback. We played five on the line, three halfbacks, and two fullbacks. If you tell a soccer player today about that form or even use the terms “fullback” or “halfback,” they laugh. It is crazy unlike what is played now.
Cue Jerry Orbach singing “Try to Remember” from the 1962 musical The Fantastisks: The thought of a Pennsylvania October afternoon with the yellows and oranges and reds of the trees and the smelsl that autumn brought and the brisk air and being young and running endlessly on the field between Lower School and Wetherill House where my mother taught for ten years before I was born and the friends and my family still there and home and my room and Ginger Snap cookies and apple cider at home after soccer practice – the thought thrills. When I read Kerouac writing about playing football in fall in Massachusetts – wow, he nailed it for me and soccer.
This is what the house where I lived then looks like now. It is 505 Old Gulph Road, Bryn Mawr.
This is what a box of Ginger Snaps looks like now. Humor!
For many years, I thought that in “Walls of Red Wing” Bob Dylan sang “On a fall afternoon, you remember your hometown.” That, I thought, was a perfect lyric.
Red Wing is a reform school in Minnesota. This article by Brad Zellar makes it clear that it was no fun to be inside the walls of Red Wing.
On dit que Dylan may have been informed in writing “Walls of Red Wing” by the Scotch/Irish folk ballad “The Road and the Miles to Dundee.” The earliest known printing of the words of that song was in the Buchan Observer in 1908. In 1930 the words and tune were given in John Ord’s “Bothy Ballads,” a collection of songs sung by farm laborers in the northeast region of Scotland. The tune there is in the minor key, and is not used today.
The tune that is now usually fitted to the words is given in Colm O’Lochlainn’s “Irish Street Ballads” (1939). This might explain why the song is claimed both by the Scots and the Irish.
Dylan may have learned or heard “The Road to Dundee” during his trip to London in early 1963, from other aspiring folk singers, such as Martin Carthy. Carthy began his career as an actor but in 1959 became a skiffle guitarist and singer with the Thameside Four. Carthy is a virtuoso folk guitarist and was resident at London’s top folk club The Troubadour where he taught songs to visiting Americans including Dylan and Paul Simon who adapted “Scarborough Fair” from Carthy.
At some point I learned that I had heard the “Red Wing” lyric wrong. I don’t know how I learned this. I was shocked. The lyric that Dylan wrote is:
From the dirty old mess hall
You march to the brick wall
Too weary to talk
And too tired to sing
And it’s all afternoon
You remember your hometown
All inside the walls
The walls of Red Wing
Well – there is nothing ambiguous about it. It’s not what I thought all those years, but the lyric Dylan wrote is a good lyric too.
Just as I sometimes find comfort in calling MLK Way in Berkeley “Grove Street,” so do I find comfort in my erroneous hearing of the Dylan lyric.
Here is Dylan singing the song live in 1963.
Here is Joan Baez singing it. My parents gave me her Any Day Now album of Dylan songs for my 18th birthday. Peter Drake’s pedal steel guitar moves me. The dobro kills me. Hargus “Pig” Robbins on piano – as good as it gets.
And here is Ramblin’ Jack Elliott singing it.
There is something to be said for each version.
I asked my friend if he had heard anything more from his brother Earl who was in search of their brother Duke in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. My friend said he thought by next week he’d have something.
Ya Basta! Enough enough enough of this. My stream of consciousness in this digression reminds me of a Grateful Dead set list:
Soccer at Episcopal / Episcopal / Upper School / Old Chapel / Working in the Old Chapel in the summer of 1965 / Top ten songs in the summer of 1965 / Roger McGuinn’s 1964 Rickenbacker 360-12 twelve-string / Jackie DeShannon / The Beatles / Jackie DeShannon and the Beatles in Atlantic City in 1964 / The Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City in 1964 / Jackie DeShannon hiring Ry Cooder for her band / Jackie DeShannon and Ry Cooder at the Ash Grove in West Hollywood in 1963 / Soccer in Pennsylvania in the fall / Jack Kerouac / “Walls of Red Wing” / My 18th birthday
The point of the whole thing – a misheard Bob Dylan lyric – on a fall afternoon you remember your hometown.
It made sense at the time.
What did my friend think of Jim Riley’s soccer sweaters?