As another stultifyingly dull summer of cricket limps to a close, it's as good a time as any to reflect on that great tradition - the bad cricket song. There's been a few, through the years, from advertising jingles to novelty hits and even some "serious" pop songs. Here are some highlights:
Dreadlock Holiday - 10CC
Of all the faux-reggae pop songs by bands named for the volume of a man's ejaculate, this is in the top ten. "Dreadlock Holiday" doesn't have a great deal to do with cricket, but its catchy "I don't like cricket, I love it" chorus makes it the ideal soundtrack for those end-of-broadcast montages beloved of Channel Nine, so long as you ignore the fact that the third verse is about smoking pot, which Nine's sport producers seem more than happy to do.
Howzat - Sherbet
Probably the oddest cricket-themed pop song of all time. Some see the cricket references as a metaphor of love, loss, and saying goodbye, but a deeper reading reveals that "Howzat" does in fact concern the homoerotic love-hate relationship between two burly men with grass stains on their whites.
C'mon Aussie, C'mon - Shannon Noll
Originally written to promote the first season of World Series Cricket in 1977-78, "C'mon Aussie, C'mon" has recently been "revived" in a desperate attempt to evoke the spirit of a time when cricket was actually interesting. Although genuinely bad in their own right, the constipated vocal stylings of Mr Noll cannot distract attention from the sheer awfulness of the updated lyrics, viz: "Pigeon's pounding down like a machine/Dizzy's scarin' batsmen - lookin' mean/Gilly's gettin' wickets/Punter's clearin' pickets/And Warney's just the best we've ever seen".
Bradman - Paul Kelly
Our Don Bradman - Jack O'Hagan
There's something about "the Don" that causes otherwise talented people to churn out cliched mush. Paul Kelly, usually a solid lyricist, proved no match for the debilitating influence of his subject when he penned this biographical sketch of the master batsman. It's clunky stuff ("And at the age of nineteen he was playing for the State/From Adelaide to Brisbane the runs did not abate"), and would scarcely be worthy of Greg Matthews let alone Australian cricket's central figure. Mind you, things weren't much better back in the Don's day: Jack O'Hagan's 1930 tune "Our Don Bradman" features the memorably stupid lyrics, "Our Don Bradman, now I ask you is he any good?/Our Don Bradman, as a batsman he is certainly plum pud".
The Baggy Green - John Williamson
I Made a Hundred in the Backyard at Mum's - Greg Champion
Written by Steve Waugh and Gavan Robertson, "The Baggy Green" is every cricketing cliche you can think of sung to the tune of "Click Go the Shears". It's terrible stuff, and the fact that it is performed by John Williamson only makes it worse. Champion's popular song, however, is not without its appeal. It ain't art, but it's evokation of the pleasures of a casual game makes a nice antidote to the commercialism and hero-worship so prevalent in the international game.