Sports betting PR legend GRAHAM SHARPE writes…
THE GROUP America’s ‘A Horse With No Name’ boosted my quest to own as many records as possible with any kind of link to horses and racing, when it came out back in 1971. Not that it really has anything much to do with the turf if you listen closely to the lyrics.
Released in the same year another horsey-titled song was the title track on the excellent ‘Pause For A Hoarse Horse’ LP by the group, Home.
I’ve been quite successful in tracking down equine-inclined music, though, and as I type this I’m listening to a 1976 – quite modern, then, to me anyway – track called ‘Race Horses’ by a group called A.F.T. which I am hearing for the first time, having just noticed it is the opening track on a compilation CD called ‘Prog-Rock Portal’, whose sleeve notes inform me that those initials stood for ‘Automatic Fine Tuning’, also the title of the group’s only LP.
‘Race Horses’ wasn’t on that record.
I’m not sure whether the LPs I own by an early seventies group called Stud deserve such equine inclusion here, despite the name, as although on three of their four records an image of a horse or horses features, none of their songs seem to involve racing in any way.
Other groups with horsey names include one named ‘Horse’, also the title of their one LP, released in 1970 and now changing hands for up to £400 – but I have yet to acquire this one – likewise anything by Horse Mouth, or Horsepower.
I would, though, very much like to own ‘Bookie Man’ by Race Fans, which appeared on the Trojan label in 1968 and is now worth sixty quid.
But I do have a copy of The Pioneers’ single, entitled ‘Long Shot Kick The Bucket’ from 1969 and also on Trojan – this one, the sad tale of an unsuccessful racehorse, was a favourite at my local disco back in the day. But, when it was played there was a sudden rush by anyone who wasn’t a fully fledged skin-, or suede-head, to leave the dancefloor, as it would be rapidly taken over by shaven-headed types keen to inflict damage on anyone with remotely lengthy hair, such as my own peace-loving self.
Another of the disco dancing faves from back then in 1968 was by Cliff Nobles, entitled ‘The Horse’. Other tracks by him included ‘The Camel’, ‘The Mule’ and ‘Horse Fever’.
Elton John’s song, ‘Live Like Horses’ featured on his 1997 LP, ‘The Big Picture’ LP. Amongst the lyrics:
‘Someday, we’ll live like horses
Free rein from your old, iron fences
There’s more ways than one to regain your senses
Break out the stalls, and we’ll live like horses someday.’
It is difficult to image those wrinkly old rockers Mick Jagger and Keith Richards taking time out from the Rolling Stones, to ride a nag or two, particularly at their advanced ages, but they did record a racey tune they’d written called ‘Wild Horses’, on their 1971 LP, ‘Sticky Fingers’, with the chorus – ‘Wild horses couldn’t drag me away; wild, wild horses couldn’t drag me away…..Wild horses couldn’t drag me away
Wild, wild horses, we’ll ride them some day.
‘No, I don’t think octogenarians, Mick and Keef will be doing that any time soon.
Nonagenarian country singer Willie Nelson has dedicated a great deal of time to saving horses from slaughter, and his “Ride Me Back Home” song, from the 2019 LP of the same name, was reportedly inspired by the horses he has rescued.
Lacy J Dalton’s ‘She Could Run’ from her 2004 LP, ‘The Last Wild Place’, is about a free-spirited racehorse ‘who had the fire in her heart’.
Tracks featuring racing-related references, include Yes’s ‘Going For The One’ which includes the baffling lyric: “Get the idea cross around the track/Underneath the flank of Thoroughbred racing chasers.”
Folk-rocker, Richard Thompson included a song about a deceased racehorse on his 1972 LP, ‘Henry The Human Fly’. The dead filly mentioned in ‘The Angels Took My Racehorse Away’ apparently won the Lanark Silver Bell; “There’s a racecourse in the sky/And that’s where all the racing horses must go by and by,” “And I believe every steward, lord and groom/I believe that they’re calling her home.”
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.