Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Scottish Football Answers to Questions
Post Reply
Gorgiewave
Posts: 288
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2010 7:08 pm
Location: Madrid
Contact:

Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by Gorgiewave » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:38 pm

I understand that this song has been associated with Kilmarnock for a fair while. I remember hearing it sung once, versus Hearts in the cup. Can anybody shed any light on why it was adopted? I know many popular songs and hymns have been adopted and adapted by football teams, but I was wondering if there was any story related to this.

Cheers,

Iain
"He took about half an hour to do it, but he did it!"

Snuff
Posts: 556
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 8:55 am
Location: New Cumnock, Ayrshire
Contact:

Re: Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by Snuff » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:23 am

Local legend has it that the fans started singing Paper Roses as a taunt towards the then club board - who were if you like: "fiddling while Rugby Park burned", making all sorts of unrealistic promises of better days ahead, while letting the club stagnate.

The guys on the terraces recognised the board's promises as: "only imitation, like your imitation love for me (Kilmarnock FC).

That's the authorised version anyway - maybe 'Scottish' has a different take.
Snuff

Scottish
Site Admin
Posts: 7811
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by Scottish » Mon Dec 13, 2010 3:31 pm

Snuff wrote:That's the authorised version anyway - maybe 'Scottish' has a different take.
I've heard all sorts of reasons. In my book 'Killie - the Official History,' I wrote regarding the 1973-74 season:

"They took with them a new song. One which would be their own, which no other set of fans would even dare think of expropriating. For this was the year that the strains of 'Paper Roses' were first heard at Rugby Park. The exact origin, like all the best legends, cannot be too accurately traced. Was it after beating Hamilton in January? Or after winning promotion? No-one can be sure. The one certainty was that no-one else would steal the song from Kilmarnock; the only football supporters in Britain content to adopt a country and western tearjerker, alter not a single word yet turn it into a paean of praise for their team.

If supporters, sociologists, psychiatrists and psychologists from that day to this, have been unable to fathom out the reasons for a song of Marie Osmond's becoming a Rugby Park anthem, then the followers of Scottish football have given thanks to Killie fans for at least not choosing one of Little Jimmy's."

The Hamilton win which was the first sign that promotion was attainable, was on January 12th 1974 and the song was in the charts then. So that's a possible reason for when but why is still unfathomable to this day. I don't have any personal memories of it from that time as I missed quite a bit of that season due to working Saturdays in the old Saxone shoe shop in King Street.

I like Snuff's explanation but it strikes me as far too sophisticated a response from supporters whose usual cry against the then board was the more earthy "Lauchlan, Lauchlan, GTF."

Of course fans often adapt popular songs but these usually have the lyrics changed to suit the team in question and are mainly of a rousing and/or repetitive nature, suitable for a 'choir.' Think of the universal popularity of 'Guantanamera' and 'Son Of My Father' decades after they topped the charts. Even where the lyrics don't change ('Beautiful Sunday' at Dundee United or 'Delilah' at Stoke) the repetitive/rousing nature of the song goes some way towards an explanation. 'Paper Roses' doesn't really fit into any of these categories. The lyrics haven't been amended. There's no repetitive chorus. And it's not a song designed to be belted out with gusto.

Then again football is littered with odd examples. 'Bubbles' at West Ham (subject of a recent article in 'Soccer History'), the oddity of a Harry Lauder number being used by Birmingham fans ('Keep Right On To The End Of The Road,' the mind boggles at Blues fans belting out 'A Wee Deoch-an-Doris,' 'Roamin' in the Gloamin' or 'I Love a Lassie.') or as a recent glance at the tribute to Jim Cruickshank on London Hearts reminded me, the ubiquity of a 19th century Mexican folk song 'Cielito Lindo' on Scottish terraces in the 1960s/70s. Though in this instance an explanation might be provided by the existence of an English language cover version by Alma Cogan in the 1950s.

Snuff
Posts: 556
Joined: Tue May 26, 2009 8:55 am
Location: New Cumnock, Ayrshire
Contact:

Re: Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by Snuff » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:15 am

In his post on this topic David mentions the fans' more-usual go at the then board being: "Lauchlan, Lauchlan GTF".

I have long felt the tipping point in the departure of the Lauchlan brothers and the then discredited board came during the slide into Division Two; cannot remember the game, it may have been Dumbarton or Montrose or another of the Angus "minnows" in a rare season in the First Division toying with Killie at Rugby Park.

During a lull in an already sophoric game, a Killie player went down injured and while Hugh Allen got him back onto his feet, one fan in the main stand stood up, yelled: "Haw Lauchlan" and unleashed a torrent of abuse at the directors, before sitting down to some applause from the fans around him.

Emboldened, our hero had another go - this rant being greeted by even louder applause - so he came back with: "and yet another thing youse B******s" and really let rip. This third rant had everyone in the stand, plus the guys in the enclosure roaring in support and not even a steely glare from Walter McCrae could calm the situation.

Fortunately, play resumed, or the fans might well have stormed the directors' box.

Bobby Fleeting was installed shortly afterwards and the recovery began.
Snuff

sam peckinpah
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:53 pm
Contact:

Re: Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by sam peckinpah » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:40 pm

And what about Airdrie's anthem - 'Only The Lonely'? It gets blasted out as the team's take the field before every home game.

Jimmy Superscot
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2005 2:46 pm
Contact:

Re: Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by Jimmy Superscot » Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:11 pm

I seem to remember another story which was that Paper Roses was a hit for someone else in the early 60s and the Killie players (rather than the fans) used to sing it after games - presumably in the communal bath! However, there are several Killie fans who are adamant that it all started on a supporters bus returning from a defeat at Dumbarton during the dark days of the 70s when the lovely Marie's version was high in the charts.

soccerhistory
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 8:33 am
Contact:

Re: Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by soccerhistory » Sun Jan 09, 2011 10:40 pm

Birmingham City adopted 'Keep Right On' during their run to the FA Cup final in 1955-56. Legend has it that one of the players, Alex Govan (a Scot) led the singing on the team bus and this was part of his repertoire. It was then taken up by the fans and has remained associated with the club ever since.

As for 'Cielito Lindo' the version sung on the terraces seems to be much closer to the Frito Bandito advert from North America rather than the Alma Cogan version. This can be heard here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uXRslPrqZDU

I would guess it came to the UK after the 1970 Mexico World Cup but would be interested in any views on this.

Returning to Paper Roses - the Anita Bryant version was from the early 60s, Marie Osmond's from 1973, which ties in with David's comments.

Scottish
Site Admin
Posts: 7811
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by Scottish » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:19 pm

Jimmy Superscot wrote:I seem to remember another story which was that Paper Roses was a hit for someone else in the early 60s and the Killie players (rather than the fans) used to sing it after games - presumably in the communal bath! However, there are several Killie fans who are adamant that it all started on a supporters bus returning from a defeat at Dumbarton during the dark days of the 70s when the lovely Marie's version was high in the charts.
Anita Bryant's version never made higher than number 24 in the UK but peaked as high as five in the USA's Billboard charts and was in the top ten at the same time as Killie were on their first tour of America in May-June 1960 so that would make the players story plausible. Except....... it was never heard on the terraces before the mid-1970s. Marie Osmond's version spent 15 weeks in the UK charts from November 1973 onwards but Killie and Dumbarton were in different divisions.

I did hear the story that it was sung after winning promotion at Dumbarton in 1979 but it was already a favourite by then.

Scottish
Site Admin
Posts: 7811
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 4:51 pm
Contact:

Re: Kilmarnock and Paper Roses

Post by Scottish » Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:31 pm

soccerhistory wrote: I would guess it came to the UK after the 1970 Mexico World Cup but would be interested in any views on this.
I think it has to be before the 1970 World Cup. The Hearts version - Cruickshank v Yashin - suggests several years earlier as Yashin had retired from international football by then.

The Kilmarnock version also bears this out. Of the three Killie players celebrated (Billy Dickson, Eddie Morrison, Tommy McLean). Dickson and Morrison became first team regulars in 1967-68. McLean was transferred to Rangers at the end of 1970-71 and IIRC this was sung for more than one season. So I would hazard a guess at 1967 or thereabouts, certainly before 1970 and after 1966. In the Rugby Park version the players Dickson and Morrison are reputedly better than are Tommy Gemmell and Eusebio. Gemmell of course scored the winning goal in the 1967 European Cup Final and the presence of Eusebio in the Killie version and Yashin in the Hearts one suggests the use of players who made an impact in the 1966 World Cup. In those far-off black-and-white-days live TV football was rare and live foreign footballers rarer still. The World Cup finals being the main one.

Neither Yashin nor Eusebio featured in the 1970 finals.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 103 guests