Culture

Is this the most punk Welsh football song you’ve ever heard?

24 Jun 2021 4 minutes Read
The artwork for ‘Come On Give Us A Cwtsh’

Picture the scene.

The year is 1976.

Wales are through to the semi-finals of the Euros.

To celebrate, trailblazing Welsh punk band O Hi O release their riotous anthem ‘Come On Give Us A Cwtsh’.

As a result the song is adopted by the Football Association of Wales.

In a team photo before they head out for the tournament, manager Mike Smith’s Wales team are pictured wearing safety pins and bondage trousers.

Brian Flynn looks especially fetching with green hair, while Leighton James’ rainbow mohican causes quite a stir.

Well, that’s how it could have gone if the rollicking, gonzo single to celebrate Wales’ footballing achievements was transplanted to the advent of punk in the late ’70s.

Channelling The Clash and The Ramones, this punkoid banger is the brainchild of musician and journalist Ben Wright, who put the song out as a rough demo, but such was the positive feedback he received, he re-recorded it and has rush released it today in readiness for Wales’ titanic showdown with Denmark in the last 16 of Euro 2020 this weekend.

Hopefully the song will get an airing in the dressing room in Amsterdam on Saturday and inspire Rob Page’s men to a momentous victory.

Fingers crossed no one gets a yellow card for spitting.

Joey Ramone

“Just before the Italy game I just picked up the guitar and this song came out of nowhere,” says Ben. “I don’t know whether it was the beer I’d drank after the Turkey match or the ghost of Joey Ramone entered my body, but the lyrics and music just came out in one go.

“The aim was simple really: forget making money or getting 15 seconds of fame – can I write a tune that Welsh fans could sing-a-long to in a stadium.

“I did a rough version and stuck it out on the ether of social media to see whether there was any merit in the idea and thankfully people seemed to like it so I soldiered on with the song.

“When my unrealistic dream of Nicky Wire, from the Manics, hearing it and deciding he wanted to record it didn’t happen – it was just left to me.

SOS

“However I couldn’t quite get the bass parts quite right for it though, so I sent out an SOS and this lovely guy called Stephen Hines from the USA got in touch completely randomly. I sent him the track as a guide – no chords, no brief, nothing – and within two hours he sends over this thundering bassline which sat perfectly.

“He’s never been to Wales – let alone heard about the Euros – so I’ve had to give him a crash course in God’s Country…..He’s now au fait with the term Cwtsh and Nessa’s shouts of “oh!”. So if the song tanks, at least I’ve done my bit for my country.

As for the band name O Hi O?

“The song was thrown together very quickly because it might have a short shelf life if we get beat by Denmark,” he laughs. “I had literally a few minutes to think of one and the idea of O Hi O just fitted perfectly. Bassist Stephen is from Ohio, it has that “Oh” Nessa quality about it. I didn’t give it too much thought. It’s a lot better names than the crap names for bands I’ve come with in the past that’s for sure.

Welsh fans at Euro 2016. Photo David Owens

“The song has been a great catalyst though – and it’s opened up the floodgates to lots more new songs.

“I’ve started working on some new material with Stephen and we’re going to record some more stuff and see where it goes. We’ve already recorded a new song called Shut Your Mouth – which is a song for d***heads everywhere.

“As for the Euros, the fact that we are in a major tournament again is unreal.

“I remember going to the Arms Park and seeing us get thumped by the Netherlands or struggling against the likes of Georgia and Moldova.

“Can we repeat the heroics of Euro 2016? If a half Geordie from Pontlliw can somehow throw together a Wales football song with a guy from the USA then anything is possible.”

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