Z-Cars at 60

Rob Sawyer   07/01/2022 109comments  |  Jump to last

On 2 January 1962, people watching BBC television heard the first strains of a new theme tune. It may have been vaguely familiar to aficionados of folk music and adults harking back to their Liverpool childhood. It still resonates with football supporters of an Everton persuasion, to this day.

Z-Cars was a ground-breaking, gritty, police series, set in the fictional Merseyside overspill town of Newtown — loosely based on Kirkby. It followed the crimefighting exploits of the Lancashire Constabulary police squads, using cars with the (fictional) call signs Z-Victor 1 and Z-Victor 2 (the inspiration for the series' title — not, as some believed, the Ford Zephyr cars driven).

It was the show's contents rather than the theme music which caused a stir, on its first screening. ‘Storm over Z-Cars on TV' was the headline in the Mirror, the following day. It detailed how senior figures of Lancashire Constabulary — and some denizens of Kirkby, had made representations to the BBC regarding their unfavourable portrayal. Nonetheless, the show, initially performed and transmitted live, proved a hit. An initial five-season run to 1965 was followed by a revival from 1966 through to 1978. In all, a mind-boggling 801 episodes were broadcast (sadly many have been lost). It spawned several spin-off shows, notably Softly, Softly (later Softly, Softly Taskforce) and Barlow at Large.

Six decades after that first screening, the Theme from Z-Cars remains the players' entrance tune at Goodison Park (and, for that matter, at Vicarage Road and Workington). The track has been recorded by numerous artists (sometimes rerecorded by the same artist) - but the matchday staple is that performed by Johnny Keating and his Orchestra (also referred to as the Z-Men). Keating has become synonymous with the tune — to the extent that some may believe, wrongly, that he wrote it. The story of the song is far more convoluted.

The origins of the tune are a traditional maritime folk song called Johnny Todd (a maritime ‘twin' to Madam Will You Walk?). Frank Kidson captured it in his 1891 book Traditional Tunes. It was often sung by Liverpool children in the playground or street as an accompaniment to ball-bouncing or skipping games. The lyrics vary but one version of the first two verses goes:

Johnny Todd he had a notion
For to sail the ocean wide.
But he left his true love behind him
Walking by the Liverpool tide.

For a week she wept in sorrow,
Tore her hair and wrung her hands,
Till she met with another sailor
Walking by the Liverpool sand.

It had been recorded by several folk musicians in the 1950s and early 1960s (and was subsequently committed to vinyl by Bob Dylan). The shanty came to the mind of Fritz Spiegl, a Merseyside-based musician, conductor and arranger, when he was approached in 1961 by the BBC for a theme tune appropriate for a forthcoming Merseyside-based police TV drama.

Fritz Spiegl had a fascinating life story. Related distantly to Gustav Mahler, he had fled Nazi-controlled Austria with his Jewish family in 1939. At 13-years-old, and without a word of English in his vocabulary, he was sent, with his older sister, to reside in Northampton. On leaving school he worked for an advertising agency but, as a talented flautist, subsequently enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music. This led to him becoming principal flautist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra for fifteen years (hearing loss would curtail his playing days), and he'd go on to organise concerts - often those aimed at being accessible to a wide audience, including younger listeners.

Z-Cars record

Fritz is sometimes erroneously credited as the composer of the Theme from Z-Cars. However, an eagle-eyed owner of a copy of the record will spot that a certain Bridget Fry is given the songwriting credit. Bridget, a freelance musical arranger and multi-instrumentalist (harpsichord being her specialism) was, in fact, Fritz's first wife - she retained her maiden name for professional purposes. Now in her 90s and living in south Liverpool, Bridget recalls how the programme's theme tune came to fruition: ‘Johnny Todd was quite a well-known Liverpool song — so Fritz suggested that we use it, and I did the arrangement. It was only an eight-bar thing, but it needed to be a bit longer; so, I added a link that made it go round and round. I put in about half of it, really.'

She was ‘outed' as the arranger/composer by the Daily Mirror in March 1962 and explained how the song was given the green light: ‘The producer of the programme saw that the chamber music quartet, which my husband and I run, was giving a concert in Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall. He popped in, heard the theme, liked it and booked it.'

It was written to be played by four flutes, two drums, two horns, a double bass and a harmonium. One assumes (although we can't be certain) that the version which accompanied the programme's first opening credits on that winter's night in 1962, was performed by the Spiegl's colleagues in the Liverpool Philharmonic.

Maybe encouraged by the excellent viewing figures for the show, other musicians and producers were quick to see the hit-potential of the theme tune. This led to a flurry of singles being released in early spring. Norrie Paramor, who had worked with the likes of Cliff Richard and the Shadows, put out an orchestral version on Columbia Records.

A star of the show, James Ellis (in the role of Bert Lynch, lent his vocal talents to a rendition of Johnny Todd on a 45 issued by Philips:

However, most successful was the rendition released on Piccadilly by Johnny Keating and his Orchestra.

Keating was, at this juncture, a well-established artist who been staff arranger for the Ted Heath Band. He had also dabbled in the world of popular music by doing backing arrangements for Adam Faith and Helen Shapiro. With the Keating version riding high in the charts in April 1962, and the programme's links to Merseyside, it is little wonder that it was given a spin on the turntable at Goodison Park.

There is no definitive evidence of when it was first given an Everton airing, but Billy Smith's transcription of old newspaper report for his Blue Correspondent website confirms that it had become a pre-match favourite from early in the beginning of the championship-winning 1962/63 season. The Liverpool Echo and Evening Express match report from the Merseyside derby in late September noted: ‘The players had come on, traditionally in pairs (to the accompaniment of the Z cars theme song). They went off almost two-by-two to tumultuous applause and some handshakes.'

Z-Cars vinyl

Ernest Edwards' Echo column on 4 December made reference to the club dropping it for several weeks in the autumn: ‘Two followers of Everton from Childwall add their wonderment to mine that Everton's Z-Cars theme has not sounded before the last two home games. Ironically, after it had been played for the first seven or eight home matches, it was left out on the very day the late Mr. Leonard Williams of Twentyman fame was a guest of the club, only three or four days before he died. The club say there was no official adoption of the tune and that it has not been stopped for any special reason. As one who counted Twentyman and his Liverpudlian cracks as the most authoritative mirror of football fans in this city, it mightn't be a bad idea to adopt the Z-Cars drums and fifes and commemorate one of the city's notable sons.'

The tune was reinstated on the Toffees turntable. Recently rediscovered footage of the 1963 Charity Shield match at Goodison Park captures it being played as Roy Vernon was presented with the shield after the 4-0 defeat of Manchester United.

The actual version played as the team takes to the pitch has evolved — broadly in line with changes made to the theme accompanying the TV show. In the early 1970s a significantly reworked version was in evidence:

Footage of a February 1972 cup tie between Everton and Walsall captures this very different iteration being played:

I sought the recollections about Z-Cars of David Exall, the Blues' Promotions Manager in that era. David was the person responsible for the matchday music (and much more); he also engaged Graham Gouldman to produce Forever Everton. In 1971 he received a phone call from someone on behalf of John Keating (they were very clear that he was to be referred to as John, rather than Johnny), stating that when the conductor was doing a season at Liverpool Philharmonic, he'd like to meet to discuss the re-arrangement of — and royalties from — the Theme from Z-Cars.

A few weeks later Keating called David and they arranged meet at the concert hall in order to, in Keatings's words, ‘talk business'. According to David, he came across as ‘a nice chap — a bit serious but clearly proud of his place in classical music.' They chatted about the famous orchestras that he'd conducted and discussed other musicians, like John Barry, who had bridged the divide between pop and classical music. Then it was down to brass tacks. In summary, Keating felt that the Theme from Z-Cars had become the ‘Everton Theme' at no cost to the Toffees. David told me his reaction to the assertion: ‘I replied that it was a public record that we'd used for years and made it clear that we paid the due royalty. I had a chap who noted the title and number of every track we played, and every quarter we'd send it in to Performing Rights.'

Keating subsequently came to Goodison Park (not on a match day — he had no interest in the sport) and looked at what version of the record was being spun on a Saturday afternoon. He informed David that the Blues' copy was at least two versions out of date, adding that he would make sure that a copy of the latest recording was sent. There was a catch — he expected a contribution from Everton, by way of a ‘goodwill gesture'. Keating was as good as his word - but by then local record stores were already stocking it. So, David declined to make a payment to the arranger, knowing that the normal royalties due to him would be received (via the regular channels).

The theme tune accompanying the TV series continued to be updated — by 1977 it was given a radical revamp performed by English folk group Steeleye Span (credited on the programme as Steeleye Span Fuzz Music). The band's singer, Maddie Prior was the daughter of Allan Prior, a co-creator of the long-running police drama, so one assumes that this was what brought about the unlikely link up.

The very last episode of Z-Cars, broadcast in 1978, fittingly, reverted to a more traditional rendering of the theme tune:

In December 1966, the Spiegls were filmed for BBC Two's Music International programme at their Liverpool home (described in the item as ‘a bizarre house stacked with strange musical instruments'). Arthur Jacobs interviewed them about their work in music and the impact of the Z-Cars theme. Fritz — reportedly a Liverpool FC supporter — had a prodigious work rate as a conductor, author of books, newspaper columnist and BBC radio contributor. Blessed with a waspish wit, he was dismissive of pop artists ranging from the Beatles to Dylan and Joni Mitchell — quipping that popular music was ‘instant bliss without mental effort'. He died in 2003.

Bridget Fry had a long career as a freelance arranger and performer, whilst also raising three daughters. In 1966 she composed the theme tune for Softly, Softly. Listening to it you can discern knowing nods to its Z-Cars sibling; Fritz once jokingly described it having been created by turning the Z-Cars score sheet music upside down.

Bridget remains active as a keen gardener and charity fundraiser. She is not, however, a follower of football and has never been to Goodison Park. She admits surprise that her composition has endured as a match day favourite there. Asked if the regular airings still bring in a few pounds she told me: ‘Something changes with royalties after 50 years. One gets the odd ha'penny now and again…much less than it used to be; but never mind!'

The Theme from Z-Cars (now with the added ‘umph' of a siren preceding it) continues to send tingles down the spine of ardent Toffees as their team exits the tunnel and trots onto the pitch at Goodison. But it was endangered at the start of the 1994/95 season, as the new Peter Johnson regime sought to freshen things up. The club asked the Liverpool Echo to conduct a poll of fans' preferences for the ‘entrance music'. 54% voted to retain Z-Cars, 15% plumped for Simply the Best with lowers levels of support also registered for Here We Go, Forever Everton, We Shall Not be Moved and the theme from Chariots of Fire. So, when the players came out for the match against Aston Villa, there was dismay when Also Sprach Zarathustra, composed by Richard Strauss and featured in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, blared out. A credible report by Ken Rogers pointed the finger at Mike Walker for the left-field musical selection. A month later it was all change — again.

For the visit of QPR, the team exited the tunnel to the accompaniment of a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's Bad Moon Rising. It featured lyrics written by Swedish Evertonians and was performed by Lemon Tree. Lyrics, which were flashed up on big screen for supporters to join in with (they didn't), included:

I see players that are trying
I see players having fun
I see supporters that are screaming
I see the winning attitude
So come on (x4) Everton — we're going to make it to the top

Sense was seen, before further damage could be done, and Z-Cars was restored to its rightful place. There it has stayed. Surely, this part of the Everton matchday experience will transfer to Bramley-Moore Dock?

Credits:

Bridget Fry
David Exall
bluecorrespondent.co.uk (Billy Smith)
Liverpool Echo
Dave Prentice article
Daily Mirror
The Guardian
YouTube
Fritz Spiel obituary
Royal College of Music website

Follow @robsawyer70
Share article:

Reader Comments (109)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer


Steve Carter
1 Posted 07/01/2022 at 02:24:00
As always, a first rate article from you, Rob.
Assuming that nothing has changed percentage-wise since 1994/95, I'd be one of the 46 in every 100 who wouldn't mind a change from Z-Cars though. I don't see it as particularly, if at all, rousing or intimidating and, other than for true Blues, is not widely be associated with Everton. Compare God-damnit YNWA.
Steve Carter
2 Posted 07/01/2022 at 03:12:24
As always, a first rate article from you, Rob.
Assuming that nothing has changed percentage-wise since 1994/95, I'd be one of the 46 in every 100 who wouldn't mind a change from Z-Cars though. I don't see it as particularly, if at all, rousing or intimidating and, other than for true Blues, is not widely be associated with Everton. Compare God-damnit YNWA.
Kieran Kinsella
3 Posted 07/01/2022 at 03:41:57
Rob

It's funny but while Z-cars was before my time (born in 1977) I have had a number of dealings with actors and directors from the show in my non-Everton life, and all of them talk up their involvement in the show as a high-point even though most of them have been involved in more critically acclaimed fair. Something about it gets under their skin. kind of like Everton. As to the 46 percent, I am not in that group. Possibly cause I am a romantic, possibly because I am a weirdo who loves TV themes from 70s shows in general like The Persuaders, Randall and Hopkirk, The Prisoner etc. But I think it's easy to end a tradition on a fad but it's much harder to create a new one. So is it intimidating? no. Do most under 40s have a clue about Zcars? no. But if we got rid of it what next? The flavor of the month until we got tired of that? So I say let's keep it and to Hell with modernity.
Kieran Kinsella
4 Posted 07/01/2022 at 03:42:03
Rob

It's funny but while Z-cars was before my time (born in 1977) I have had a number of dealings with actors and directors from the show in my non-Everton life, and all of them talk up their involvement in the show as a high-point even though most of them have been involved in more critically acclaimed fair. Something about it gets under their skin. kind of like Everton. As to the 46 percent, I am not in that group. Possibly cause I am a romantic, possibly because I am a weirdo who loves TV themes from 70s shows in general like The Persuaders, Randall and Hopkirk, The Prisoner etc. But I think it's easy to end a tradition on a fad but it's much harder to create a new one. So is it intimidating? no. Do most under 40s have a clue about Zcars? no. But if we got rid of it what next? The flavor of the month until we got tired of that? So I say let's keep it and to Hell with modernity.
Kieran Kinsella
5 Posted 07/01/2022 at 03:42:11
Rob

It's funny but while Z-cars was before my time (born in 1977) I have had a number of dealings with actors and directors from the show in my non-Everton life, and all of them talk up their involvement in the show as a high-point even though most of them have been involved in more critically acclaimed fair. Something about it gets under their skin. kind of like Everton. As to the 46 percent, I am not in that group. Possibly cause I am a romantic, possibly because I am a weirdo who loves TV themes from 70s shows in general like The Persuaders, Randall and Hopkirk, The Prisoner etc. But I think it's easy to end a tradition on a fad but it's much harder to create a new one. So is it intimidating? no. Do most under 40s have a clue about Zcars? no. But if we got rid of it what next? The flavor of the month until we got tired of that? So I say let's keep it and to Hell with modernity.
Habib Erkan Jr
6 Posted 07/01/2022 at 03:52:15
Thank you Rob for the thoughtfully enjoyable read. As an American supporter I found your article fascinating.
Brian Murray
7 Posted 07/01/2022 at 04:00:31
One of my older bros. John. Now in his 60 s you may have seen the ToffeeWeb article Everton’s first mascot. He says he really felt part of the team with Roy vernon walking out the tunnel with him when the first drum roll of z cars was belted out and a big roar followed before the team could be seen. Don’t want to sound all kenright but it’s part of us. If anything our Latin phrase should be scrapped until we start behaving and acting like we want to be the best. Case in point cosy new board appointment.
Alan McGuffog
8 Posted 07/01/2022 at 04:45:35
Kieran. Well said. Like you I'm an avid fan of the Prisoner...the best thing ever shown on TV, in my humble.
It was very much of the sixties though. I think produced in 67, broadcast in 68 or thereabouts.
Coincided with the greatest football I have ever seen at L4.
Happy bloody days
Colin Glassar
9 Posted 07/01/2022 at 05:38:53
Never liked the Z Cars tune and certainly never liked the series. While the kop were belting out “Can’t buy me love”, or YAWN, we were humming this bloody inane tune.
Mike Gaynes
10 Posted 07/01/2022 at 06:54:55
Gotta admit I never understood how a theme song from a cop show became Everton's walkout music.

And even after reading this fascinating history, I still don't get it.

The city has been the cradle of so much great music... and... still...
John Keating
11 Posted 07/01/2022 at 07:24:55
Love it!
Thought it was great when it first was played and still till this day

I seem to remember lots of different crap prior to Z Cars being played including the odd band?
Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 07/01/2022 at 07:52:37
Brian - I could almost hear you blubbing!!! But for the right & genuine reasons, no crocodile tears from you sir. The article on your brother was great and I still hope to meet him. At Wembley. I will cry then. We can all cry!!

Z-Cars. I would keep it but interestingly, although I knew about it, I never used to hear it as much as in recent years. I don't know if that was my spot on the Gwladys Street, the noise of the crowd or the shit tannoy systems of the 80s. But that was when I used to queue waiting for the gates to open about 2 hours before kick off to get my spec and wait as the crowd and atmosphere built up. Very different now. Everyone stays in their preferred drinking holes until the last safe moment and takes their seat just before kick off. And the audio system is much improved!!

I like a bit of tradition, but you don't dwell on it. We've been doing that for too long. Use your history and traditions, but make history by moving forward. We keep looking back. That's worse than standing still, which is effectively walking backwards.

Great and very detailed article as always Rob. I can see an adapted version of the original shanty song words ringing out. Obviously we'd need to drop Liverpool out of the lyrics!!
John Cook
13 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:13:15
As an Evertonion spending most of my childhood in Kirkby,I always related z cars to the town and was an avid watcher.I love the tune and drank in the Johnny Todd in Westvale,a charming little wayside Inn..NOT !
Like Alan above,reminds me of the late 60,s. Early 70,s teams,the best footy played at Goodison ever,you definitely got a tingle down your spine when Labone led an Everton team out.Keep the tune always for me.
Peter Neilson
14 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:28:21
I’d keep it. The grass isn’t always greener, I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles, HiHo Silver Lining, Glad All Over et al. Best find out Moshiri’s musical taste before pressing for any change. Could end up running out to Dancing Queen.
Ed Fitzgerald
15 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:33:05
The Johnny Todd song/shanty has been knocking about for well over a century; its origins and authorship are contested. Some say it was a song that children in Liverpool sang around the turn of the 20th Century and there have been claims it originated from Glasgow or Belfast.

Prior to the makers of Z-Cars choosing it as a theme tune, It had been covered by quite a few folk bands. The legendary Bob Dylan has also covered it; if you have Spotify, check the version out.

The lyrics include the well-worn themes of the leaving of Liverpool and betrayal issues I suspect many Blues can relate to at present. Its nautical inspiration will make more sense when we are based in the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock.

Jim Lloyd
16 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:39:11
Danny (12)

I think we should always be proud of Liverpool, our town. Seeing as we'll be right on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey, I would love to see (hear!) songs with "Liverpool" in it. Liverpool Lou for a start, In my Liverpool Home as well. A few good songs about Liverpool, our town... great.

Rob, what a brilliant article and extremely well researched. You must have spent ages on it, well done.

Ken Kneale
17 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:43:58
Brian @7 - perhaps a better alternative would be to keep the motto and scrap the board?
John Burns
18 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:46:46
I thought every Evertonian loved Z cars! I've never heard any Everton friends say otherwise. So really surprised that nearly 30 years ago the poll was only 56% in favour, and some of the comments here suggests a split of opinion still exists.

It might be interesting to have a TW poll to gauge the current view on Z cars.

ps: Rob. What an interesting article.

Jim Lloyd
19 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:50:40
Ken, excellent idea! The thought of Sharpie on the board leaves me with mixed feelings. Hope, that he'll be a straight-talking feller, who knows loads about what makes footballers tick.

On the other hand :(

Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
20 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:50:52
I'm a keep it. Still makes the hairs on my neck tingle.



But I have always understood that some members of the cast came to the game and aware of this, the theme tune was played. Is that not true anymore? Why it continued, I do not know. Fan Pressure? That we won and considered a lucky charm? But 60 years of hearing it (my first game was 1962-63) I wouldn't want to change. Especially for the recent upstart Grand Old Team, so appropriate in the early 2000s.
Jim Lloyd
21 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:50:59
Ken, excellent idea! The thought of Sharpie on the board leaves me with mixed feelings. Hope, that he'll be a straight-talking feller, who knows loads about what makes footballers tick.

On the other hand... :(

Brian Williams
24 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:53:47
Some things you don't mess with (IMO). Love the tune, it's Everton for me.

Love it too when I hear it in a shop or somewhere busy and you see several fellas reaching for their phone as they have it as their ringtone (me included). I'd be gutted to see (hear) it changed.

Some traditions must prevail.

Eddie Dunn
25 Posted 07/01/2022 at 08:54:54
A super article Rob. I watched Z-Cars as a kid and loved both the theme tune and the show.

I would like us to go even more old fashioned and have a marching band play it live before every match. They could play "Bobby Shaftoe" as a warm-up.

John Daley
26 Posted 07/01/2022 at 09:00:54
Got to admit I’m absolutely mesmerised by the sheer brilliance of these revamped Bad Moon Rising lyrics. Gives whole new meaning to that scene in ‘An American Werewolf In London’ where David suddenly clasps his head in his hands and begins pulling at his own hair before rolling around on the floor in agony, screaming “What?! Jesus Christ. What?! Oh God” and deciding the only sensible response is to show his arse.

Incidentally, during Mike Walkers time, didn’t the ‘Richard Harris in a trackie borrowed from Bananaman’ looking tit also have the team running out to 2 Unlimited or some shite like that?

Alan McGuffog
27 Posted 07/01/2022 at 09:01:17
Quite like the idea of that fine Talking Heads number. "We're on the road to…"? Can't remember full title but I'm sure it's not Wembley.
Danny O’Neill
28 Posted 07/01/2022 at 09:02:56
The bird is blue, as they say, Jim.

Royal Blue Liver Building. Everton dominating our famous waterfront. Taking back the city.

John Cook
29 Posted 07/01/2022 at 09:59:01
Brian, you remind me of 2 Xmases ago, I was in the Liverpool supporters shop in Chester with my wife (yeah I know! A family thing… one son Blue, the other a Red). It was packed with all the so-called kopites when my phone went off with Z-Cars blearing out as I have it on very high.

The looks on the faces when it went off was a joy to behold, mind you a few didn't recognise it… but they probably wouldn't know YNWA if it was playing – we are talking LFC supporters here.

Andrew Ellams
30 Posted 07/01/2022 at 10:40:49
The tune makes the hairs on my neck stand on end every time I hear and I have memories of singing 'Johnny Todd' amongst other good old Liverpool tunes at family get togethers in the 70s and 80s.

Not sure why none of the cable channels have ever picked up old episodes of Z Cars or Softly Softly. Can't beat a bit of James Ellis on the TV.
Roy Johnstone
32 Posted 07/01/2022 at 10:46:38
Superb as ever, Rob. I didn't know about Fritz Spiegl's role in it. I just remember him for the Lern Yerself Scouse books.

Also shuddered at the memory of 1994-95. I was there for the Aston Villa game as everyone in the Main Stand turned and looked at each other and said "What the fuck is this?"

Paul Hughes
33 Posted 07/01/2022 at 10:51:50
John (29) - That reminds me of travelling on an early train from Manchester to London for the FA Cup Final against Chelsea. The opening bars of Z-Cars rang out, and three-quarters of the carriage looked their phones.
Dale Rose
34 Posted 07/01/2022 at 10:54:04
Cocktail hour in the Johnny Todd. Is it still there...?
Paul Birmingham
35 Posted 07/01/2022 at 11:06:49
Great story and research Rob, and trips down memory lane.

Scary where the years have gone.
Stephen Vincent
36 Posted 07/01/2022 at 11:24:32
Can't imagine match day without it. I always think back to the Chelsea cup final 40,000 blues belting out our wordless theme tune, amazing.

If we were to change, any of you guys of my age remember a skiffle band in the early 60's called The Vipers, who had a minor hit with Liverpool Blues.

Or the Jackie and Bridie song - Don't want to go to Kirkby.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 07/01/2022 at 11:55:30
Great memories of the tune and the series, it always made me laugh years ago and if I was late getting in and the Z cars theme would blare out and you’d see auld fella’s get a spring in their steps and literally dance their way to their seats or specs. I’m one of those auld fella’s now and still get a kick out of the tune now, like a large gin going down.
Ray Robinson
38 Posted 07/01/2022 at 12:16:14
I'm 68 and a great lover of tradition and therefore would hate to see the Z Cars theme dropped but we do have to update our cloth cap and whippet image. "It's a Grand Old Team" is great to sing along to when we've won (rare these days) but, God, it's dated!

Surely in the new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock, we need to harness our Liverpool identity and Beatles heritage? I'd love to hear "Ferry Cross the Mersey" belting out and adopt "Hey Jude" as an anthem. Has anyone heard local band Coral's song "Connector"? Also a great atmosphere setter.

We do need to move away from our museum image.

Incidentally, didn't Z Cars disappear for a while under Walter Smith when he instated a bloody awful pre-match bagpiper?

Habib Erkan Jr
39 Posted 07/01/2022 at 12:32:27
Thank you Rob for the thoughtfully enjoyable read. As an American supporter, I found your article fascinating.
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
40 Posted 07/01/2022 at 13:00:11
And what happened to "We shall not be moved"?

Did it stop when we signed on the dotted line for BMD?

Back in the 60s fans either sang this or YNWA. I'd rather have a song from the civil rights movement than one from a Roger and Hammerstein musical and sung when someone has just died.
Jim Lloyd
41 Posted 07/01/2022 at 13:04:07
Steve (36) Don't think I heard of the Vipers, but definitely Jacqui and Bridie (didn;t they have a club down Ullet road way).


And that song definitely, Liverpool was getting ripped apart by the bloody council, certainly Everton, Kirkdale, Greatie and Scottie road were all devastated. "Don't wanna go to Kirkby, skelmersdale or Speke, Don't wanna go from all I know in Back Buchanon Street! We were spread to the four winds...bastards!


The noise (was just goin to call in singing then!) at the Chelsea final was brilliant...best part of the match, well until chelsea realised we did't have a right side!

Chris Williams
42 Posted 07/01/2022 at 13:36:40
I think they had a Folk Club in the Gregsons Well pub, a couple of nights a week
Steve Carse
43 Posted 07/01/2022 at 13:46:25
Ray (38), I think Walter had the bag pipes supplementing Z Cars rather than replacing it. I recall the pipes helping to produce a fantastic pre-derby match atmosphere (1999?).

'Hey Jude' ? Oh dear. I think the use of The Beatles in Liverpool is pretty much maxxed out without us adopting a Beatles theme. Naa- na-na na-na na-na.
Dave Abrahams
44 Posted 07/01/2022 at 13:47:27
Chris (40), yes there was a Folk Club in The Gregsons Well pub in Brunswick Road, don’t know how many nights a week but The Spinners used to play there and now and again a couple of the group would come into The Goblin for a drink.
Chris Williams
45 Posted 07/01/2022 at 13:50:56
Yes I went along a few times. Jacki and Bridie too. Loads of folk clubs in Liverpool then. Used to be folk nights at the Bluecoat too.
Peter Carpenter
46 Posted 07/01/2022 at 13:51:51
Keep Z-Cars but stop Watford from playing it. It's just not right down there. Why do they play it?
Also, get rid of the f-ing siren. Nice the first time but it does my head in now.
Nick Bower
47 Posted 07/01/2022 at 13:53:12
"Power to the people" would be nice for a change..

Ray Robinson
48 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:04:32
Steve #43, I thought that Z Cars was only brought back after protests by the fans and that the bagpipes originally replaced it altogether. Memory must be going.
Barry Rathbone
49 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:11:27
Barry Rathbone
50 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:11:35
It just needs updating the drums and pipes at the beginning are fantastic they really get things going it's just the meandering mid section and lack of quality lyrics.

I wrote truly superb lyrics years ago but no one at the club responded confirming again what a bone idle unimaginative set of clowns infest the place.

Not that I'm bitter of course but they can shove it.
Barry Rathbone
51 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:11:47
It just needs updating the drums and pipes at the beginning are fantastic they really get things going it's just the meandering mid section and lack of quality lyrics.

I wrote truly superb lyrics years ago but no one at the club responded confirming again what a bone idle unimaginative set of clowns infest the place.

Not that I'm bitter of course but they can shove it.
Jim Lloyd
52 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:32:40
Agree with you over the tune Barry,it loses its way. Certainly agree with final two sentences as well. Have you put the lyrics down on here, at all? I haven't been trying to compete in anyu alcohol athlteics, its toffeweb misbehaving...see below!!!
Jim Lloyd
53 Posted 07/01/2022 at 14:32:59
Agree with you over the tune Barry,it loses its way. Certainly agree with final two sentences as well. Have you put the lyrics down on here, at all?
Barry Rathbone
54 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:16:20
Jim 52

I did some moons ago but what I've noticed with footy fans is you need the finished article for something to take off. If I had access to a studio I'd have a go but unfortunately I haven't. In fairness those who commented said it wasn't bad.
Brian Wilkinson
55 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:37:44
The only song I could ever see replacing Zcars is the Seekers we shall not be moved.
Brian Wilkinson
56 Posted 07/01/2022 at 15:51:13
The way we have lost a lot of our identity, would not suprise me in the least of us trotting out to Day trip to banger, complete with players wearing ballet tutu skirt, complete with a pirouette from Richarlison.
Jim Lloyd
57 Posted 07/01/2022 at 16:24:46
Barry, it's a shame the club wouldn't try it out. Typical though!.


The article that Rob's researched and written, should give the club some idea of all the sea shanties that they could collect and play at Bramley Moore.


From 1878, there'd be quite a few folk songs and shanties, that were common throughout Liverpool.


At one time in The Greson's wells Funny that, there was a greson's well on each side of the road! Anyway, the Spinners were on every week at one time me annd my mate and our girlfriends, used to go there most weeks.


And there was a grotty little pub a couple of hundred yards away, sawdust on the floor as well. Brilliant place! It was knocked down whenthey built that monstrous estate between Shaw Street and Everton Road. The architect got a prize as they reckoned it was just like a Cornish village...My arse!

Billy Bradshaw
58 Posted 07/01/2022 at 17:01:39
Jim 57, pub with sawdust on floor,The Boars Head just down from what used to be I think the Lyton picture house.
John Raftery
59 Posted 07/01/2022 at 17:53:40
Thanks Rob for this definitive history of the theme tune and how our club has used it over the decades. I remember it being played at the first match I attended versus Villa in October 1962. Its association with a very successful team did, I think, help establish it as part of the essential pre-match build-up.

Was it a coincidence that the temporary departure from the tune in 1994 heralded one of our worst ever starts to a season? What were the 15% of fans who voted for ‘Simply the Best’ thinking of?
Jim Lloyd
60 Posted 07/01/2022 at 18:18:44
That's it Billy!:) Well remembered indeed! I remember a proper Evertonian Character called Ginger...can't remember hios second name. Come every match, rain or shine Ginger would announce his presence, shirt unbuttoned down to his well muscled belly :) and from the Lower bullens Roar out EVER TON TON TON!

br>Well he did that on a table in the Boars Head in his black stocking feet.

Well we thought they were socks, but they were his feet!

Dale Self
61 Posted 07/01/2022 at 19:04:21
Good stuff old timers. And very well presented article Rob.

Dave Abrahams
63 Posted 07/01/2022 at 20:08:25
The Boars Head was at one time a nice local family club, clean and respectable, then in the seventies it became a run down pub but was open all hours when there was no all day opening hours. A mate of mine who was working on The Royal hospital, getting built at the time, brought one his work mates to the Boars Head when it was in full flow and this fella said “ I’ve worked all over the country and been in some dumps but this gaff takes the fuckin’ cake, I’ve never seen anything it” It was at it’s quietist during normal pub hours when there was loads of pubs to go to and then packed out when those pubs closed.
Chris Williams
64 Posted 07/01/2022 at 20:17:43
There was a picture house called The Hippodrome across from Gregsons Well, I think. I saw Bridge Over The River Kwai there on Christmas Eve 1957.

Colonel Bogey ! Whistling and floppy toecaps!
Jim Lloyd
65 Posted 07/01/2022 at 20:32:54
Dave, the cheeky get didn't know a pub of character if he fell over one! :) It looked like something right out of the 18th century. I loved it...the girls didn't tho.

I think that when they started building that awful estate, the little pub became a victim of it's one time locals being spread all over the place.

Dennis Stevens
66 Posted 07/01/2022 at 20:42:37
I wouldn't change it, although I do remember my home town team, Worcester City, running out to Time Is Tight by Booker T & The MGs which was an excellent tune for the job, imo.
Dennis Stevens
67 Posted 07/01/2022 at 20:42:51
I wouldn't change it, although I do remember my home town team, Worcester City, running out to Time Is Tight by Booker T & The MGs which was an excellent tune for the job, imo.
Jim Lloyd
68 Posted 07/01/2022 at 20:46:00
I've just had a look on facebook to see what there was about those two pubs, both with the same name. Names after a man who had a fine house big house built and a well installed for the people of the area. The pub where the spinneras played was said to have abeautiful oil painting showing a young girl collectin water ffrom the well. The spring came out of the mouth of statue a roman god. No sign of any of the several wells in the area now.
Interesting that and the last well that provided water to the township of liverpool is still there in the cathedral's, st James' cemetery. History all round us. eh.
Chris Williams
69 Posted 07/01/2022 at 21:12:47
There were over 70 folk clubs in Liverpool at peak, seemingly. In the early 60s, there was a massive peak in Scouse culture and music. Writers and songwriters like Pete McGovern And Stan Kelly came up with songs like In My Liverpool Home, Whisky On A Sunday,, Liverpool Lullaby, and plenty of others and the local culture became a big deal in the city.

Frank Shaw, one of Dave A’s favourites, wrote extensively about being Scouse. And huge debates took place in the pages of the Echo, in the days it was a proper newspaper.

All basically ‘folk’ stuff, and in a city bursting with confidence and optimism based on successful football teams and of course great music, and the Docks were busy.

Then we had Carey and Catterick, who never washed their dirty linen in public. Now we have Benitez.

Tony Abrahams
70 Posted 07/01/2022 at 21:41:15
It wasn’t long ago that we had Ancelloti, saying nice things, whilst quietly (slyly?) engineering a move away, even though he had to take a massive pay-cut, though Chris.

Im hoping that things will begin to look up soon, (especially if Benitez goes, I know!) but driving past Bramley-Moore today, my thoughts were not on how good the stadium is going to be, but how bloody cold it’s going to be during the winter, and with my pet hate during a game of football being wind, (just like Klopp) looking on the bright side, I suppose it’s always been a great leveller!

Chris Williams
71 Posted 07/01/2022 at 22:12:30
Tony,

Ancelotti moved from being the biggest fan and promoter of Formby. His home was then robbed and his daughter was threatened. Do you think this might have been an influence on him?

I’ve no idea mate but if it was me, I’d be taking a bit of a view.

We’ve no way of knowing, but it certainly shifted quickly.

Chris Williams
72 Posted 07/01/2022 at 22:19:48
By the way, in the original series of Z Cars there were 2 teams, Jock Weir and Fancy Smith, And Bert Lynch and whoever Jeremy Kemp played.

Who are the geezers in the photo at the top of this thread?
Danny O’Neill
73 Posted 07/01/2022 at 22:26:58
Well, City stole a Liverpool bands song so I'll steal a Manchester one.

Daydream Believer.

But thats probably more me.
Chris Williams
74 Posted 07/01/2022 at 22:33:48
Danny,

That might be Daydream Believer written by John Stewart?
Colin Glassar
75 Posted 08/01/2022 at 00:14:42
I used to enjoy singing, “you’re going home in a fucking ambulance” or if it was Norwich or Ipswich, “ you’re going home in a combine harvester”.

People don’t sing anymore. The atmosphere is crap at most games.
Colin Glassar
76 Posted 08/01/2022 at 00:15:14
I used to enjoy singing, “you’re going home in a fucking ambulance” or if it was Norwich or Ipswich, “ you’re going home in a combine harvester”.

People don’t sing anymore. The atmosphere is crap at most games.
Peter Mills
77 Posted 08/01/2022 at 09:40:21
Possibly because the 1963 Charity Shield is the first game I remember going to I have always loved Z-cars, and still do.

I’ve often been quietly pleased when my phone has rung when I’ve been in business meetings around the country, and I have judged other people by whether they recognise the significance of the ring-tone. Sad, I know.

Great article, Rob.
Tony Abrahams
78 Posted 08/01/2022 at 10:01:09
Ancelotti allegedly loved Bing “Crosby” not George “Formby” Chris! But I definitely should have left it alone on this thread mate, because there’s plenty of other threads to argue over the merits of all things divisive at Everton.👍
Chris Williams
79 Posted 08/01/2022 at 10:03:30
My mistake Tony.

Too much Glen Morangie! Or should that be Glen Campbell?

Tony Abrahams
80 Posted 08/01/2022 at 10:10:12
Like a nine-stone cowboy, Chris, the music always sounds better when you’re enjoying a little drink!
Chris Williams
81 Posted 08/01/2022 at 10:12:20
Very much so Tony, and it sounded great last night!
Tony Abrahams
82 Posted 08/01/2022 at 10:20:50
In amongst all the gloom, I’d nearly forgotten we have got a very, very important cup-tie later on tonight Chris.

My New Years resolution is to give up the booze, (I love the booze, but it absolutely destroys me, unfortunately) so I hope to stick to this resolution until we get to Wembley, and sing “our famous song”

Z-Cars is brilliant, hanging the kopites, on the banks of the Royal Blue Mersey, is even better, but when 30,000 Evertonians sing “WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED” I’m always in BLUE HEAVEN!
Chris Williams
83 Posted 08/01/2022 at 10:31:29
Yes I’ll be watching that Tony. Third round was always a red letter day to me, a New year tradition and its a difficult habit to kick. My lads were brought up the same.

Good luck with the abstinence mate. You’ll feel better, sleep better, have more cash in your pocket, but maybe a bit bored from time to time. I have long periods of abstinence, but that’s more to do with getting older, maybe finally growing up!

I’ll be joining you from Monday!
Tony Abrahams
84 Posted 08/01/2022 at 11:35:16
I hope you're drinking with happiness until then, Chris!
Michael Kenrick
85 Posted 08/01/2022 at 12:13:31
We could keep the Liverpool connection but go with something much more upbeat that captures the mood, spirit and effort of the current side.

I say Frankie and "Relax, Don't Do It".
Danny O’Neill
86 Posted 08/01/2022 at 12:20:16
Or play Two Tribes at the Derby Michael?
Michael Kenrick
87 Posted 08/01/2022 at 12:46:37
You know I don't like to give them anything, Danny.
Chris Williams
88 Posted 08/01/2022 at 14:27:09
“ Mess of Blues” by Elvis
Brian Wilkinson
89 Posted 08/01/2022 at 14:56:19
First cut is the deepest for our current loss of identity.
Dale Self
90 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:02:42
Ok I usually offer a Mott the Hoople suggestion but going with Brian’s theme i’ll pipe in with ‘Remake/Remodel’ by Roxy Music.
Brian Murray
91 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:11:42
Tony post 82. Giving up the booze for good is a serious vow but it’s quite easy. I’ve done it loads of times 👀🧐. How do you see all this panning out. Are we Wembley bound with the most ironic of Managers or hell in a hand cart until bk drags us to the depths.
Brian Murray
92 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:12:49
Tony post 82. Giving up the booze for good is a serious vow but it’s quite easy. I’ve done it loads of times 👀🧐. How do you see all this panning out. Are we Wembley bound with the most ironic of Managers or hell in a hand cart until bk drags us to the depths.
Dave Abrahams
93 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:18:14
Jim (60), I’ve been trying to remember Ginger’s second name,it’s Foran, Ginger was a huge character at Goodson and around Scotland Road where he lived, he had many a winger terrified when he came to take a corner in the Park End, Ginger would be right down to him giving him loads, loved the Blues couldn’t stand the red fans and even though in a Derby game they had that end Ginger would still be there with them, giving them the business and give them their due they appreciated a massive Blue and enjoyed the banter with him. Darren ( Hind ) might have a bit more I formation on him.
Brian Wilkinson
94 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:18:14
Brian@92, if we do get to Wembley, how is Bill going to big it up, he made it clear he wanted rid of Raffa.
George McKane
95 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:24:50
Ginger - Evertonski.
Tony Abrahams
96 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:25:35
I’m obviously hoping it’s Wembley bound Brian, but you know my feelings on the jinx mate, so I haven’t put my bet on, for us to go and win the cup, but don’t worry because I’m saving up for when he leaves, and I even think me dar, will throw a few ten bobs in the kitty, the day the saviour goes!

If it’s Frankie goes to Hollywood, Michael, then the only song I can think of, is THE POWER OF LOVE. I’ve been in love with Everton since I first went to Goodison to watch an FA CUP match at the beginning of 1975, and even though they often give me loads of pain-nothing has changed since that day.

Peter Neilson
97 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:28:24
Echo & The Bunnymen, Don’t Let It Get You Down.
Darren Hind
98 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:29:30
Dave

Ginger Parker

Lived in Orry Street being the old Corner house on Athol street.

Mad as a March Hare. Blue to the core and as George correctly says, always used the term Evertonski to describe a blue

Dave Abrahams
99 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:42:18
Darren (98) and George (95), thank you for the info on Ginger. Ginger will be at Hull tonight in spirit, wish some of these docile players had a just a whiff of Gingers love of Everton FC.
Stephen Vincent
100 Posted 08/01/2022 at 15:48:07
Jim #41 and others. The original club was in the Mission on Mill Street but didn't have a licence so we would all go down to the Herculanean Bridge for refreshment. When Mill St was redeveloped they moved to The Crown in Wavertree.

I went to the 50th anniversary of the club at the Phil. The people who turned up that night were unbelievable. If you can get hold of the cd of that night it is so worth it.
Simon Dalzell
101 Posted 08/01/2022 at 22:16:45
Great article Rob. I especially enjoyed watching the F.A. Cup match v Walsall.
Andy McNabb
102 Posted 09/01/2022 at 01:27:56
A wonderful article, Rob. Thanks so much for putting that together. I also love the way that promotes all the great stories of days gone by.

We have been in Australia for over 20 years now but, just this morning, I was listening to my brother back in the UK tell others of our Liverpool roots, where my great grandfather was an alcoholic street thief in Everton. I have no desire to be either of those things but my own life does seem a bit beige in comparison.

Just for the record, Z-Cars still makes the hairs on my neck stand up. Whoever on here said it is easy to tear down traditions but more difficult to establish new ones, is right.

Dave #99, maybe Ginger was indeed at the game last night.

Tom Hughes
103 Posted 09/01/2022 at 09:03:50
Does my memory deceive me or didn't Kenwright also try to tamper with our traditional entrance tune by trying to introduce "Land of Hope and Glory" or something similar?

It is surprising that some budding blue lyricist hasn't had a new version of Johnny Todd adopted by the fanbase before now.

Jimmy Hogan
104 Posted 09/01/2022 at 10:13:23
I think Z-Cars should die with Goodison. I have long hoped for a more dramatic piece of music to strike fear into the oppostion's hearts.

And as for Grand Old Team... Dear God, I can almost hear the away fans laughing at us.

Danny O’Neill
105 Posted 09/01/2022 at 10:27:00
I gave up on Grand Old Team years ago Jimmy.

I think Celtic can play it with more credibility as they can, in terms of the standard they play at, relate to history as well as recent success. For us, it means nostalgic meaningless nothing.

Your point about away supporters, I remember the Middlesbrough fans years ago; I think it was a Boxing Day home match. Obviously full of festive cheer, but when that came out through the tannoys, they started doing a jig. They loved it. Away supporters dancing to an Everton song?

My red cousins label it the Steptoe song.

I agree, get rid!
Colin Glassar
106 Posted 09/01/2022 at 10:33:53
I totally agree with you, Jimmy. We need to bin both of those tunes and go with something unique, classical, hair on the back of the neck standing, emotional and intellectually superior to YAWN.

52,000 scousers singing an anglicised version of Verdi's ‘March of the Hebrew Slaves' chorus (Nabuco). This song always sends a shiver down my spine and brings a tear to my eye. This could be our Nessum Dorma (Italia ‘90) moment to make a statement.

Jim Lloyd
107 Posted 09/01/2022 at 13:17:52
Thanks Dave (93) for the memories of Ginger.

I can remember being in a pub, (another grotty one) when we played Man city and they were a decent side. Anyway, the pub was full to bursting and a lot of singing going on.

As we were all drinking up and getting ready to go Ginger came out with is Ever-TON-TON-TON, ritual and we all star with the EV-ER-TON didn't shout it like they do now, it was belted out. He done it again... even louder and we all followed him out the door roaring our heads off. What a character.

Phil Wood
108 Posted 09/01/2022 at 13:34:15
Phil 40

Yes, I remember "We Shall Not Be Moved" being played and wondered why it stopped.

I loved it and still do love Z-Cars. I think it was in the late '60s as I think I remember Alan Ball running out and warming up while it played.

I much prefer those songs to "Grand Old Team" as I think of it as a Celtic anthem and not ours.

Bob McEvoy
110 Posted 09/01/2022 at 16:40:14
I always thought we started using the Z-Cars theme at the first league game of the 1963-64 season v Fulham. I attended the Charity Shield game the week before v Man Utd and have no recollection of it being used at that game. Almost 60 years ago so I could be wrong.
Jerome Shields
111 Posted 09/01/2022 at 20:52:11
Thank you, Rob, for the history of the Z-Cars tune. Much appreciated.
Brian Wilkinson
112 Posted 10/01/2022 at 22:17:08
Agree with a lot on here about Grand Old Team, never been stuck on that one.

I also think the singing has got quicker in the ground as well, used to belt out songs at a nice medium speed, now halfway through a song, it speeds up like it's your last 2p when the pips have gone, sorry to the younger generation of mobile techs out there scratching their heads at pips.

Mark Ryan
113 Posted 11/01/2022 at 19:49:17
Been listening to it since granny was a boy. I hope they keep it. No other clubs were doing it back then. We were trailblazers. Long may it continue.
Dennis Stevens
114 Posted 13/01/2022 at 20:55:14
If we are to have a change & replace the Z Cars theme then maybe the most appropriate would be The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum) by Fun Boy Three!

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.


About these ads


© ToffeeWeb